HC Deb 13 July 1863 vol 172 cc659-60

said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works, Whether his attention has been called to the mutilated condition of the Statue in Leicester Square, and to the present neglected state of the space inside the railings of the Square; and whether he will state upon what conditions a site is granted in the Metropolis to private bodies for the purpose of erecting thereon a statue or other monument, and when such grant has been made, whether the designs for the proposed work are submitted to him or to any other public functionary for approval previous to its commencement?


said, that when he last passed through Leicester Square his attention was arrested by the very horrible mutilations which the Statue of George II. had been subjected to. It had only one leg, and that crooked, and only one arm, and that not the sword arm. This was, perhaps, owing to the fact that the statue was not made of sufficiently strong materials to bear the crushing weight of the Great Globe which was lately placed over it. This statue was not, however, under the jurisdiction of any officer of the Government, and it was not therefore in the power of Government to remove the figure or mend its legs. It was erected in the reign of George II. himself, and it was not till subsequently that the Statute was passed, prohibiting the erection of any statue in any public place without the written consent of the First Commissioner of Works. He conceived that it was the duty of the First Commissioner not to give his sanction in such a case unless he was satisfied that the proposed statue was suitable to the site and in harmony with the architectural features of the locality. As the law at present stood, the First Commissioner was entitled to impose such conditions as he deemed necessary for the preservation of the beauty of the metropolis, before sanctioning the erection of any statue in a public place.