HC Deb 11 June 1863 vol 171 cc698-9

said, he wished to ask Colonel French, the Chairman of the Kitchen and Refreshment Rooms Committee, What steps they are about to take to improve the state of the Refreshment Rooms, with a view to the next Session of Parliament?


replied, that it was generally said in Ireland that the best way of answering a question was sometimes to ask another. That he believed was the most satisfactory manner in which he could answer his hon. Friend, inasmuch as the Committee were not able to give a direct answer without, in the first place, appealing to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The attention of hon. Members had been already drawn to the great inconveniences connected with the refreshment department, owing to the rooms being so narrow and so badly ventilated, as well as to the fact that there was no certainty as to what number of Members would dine on any given day. It would, however, be seen by a Report which had been laid before the Chancellor of the Exchequer that a plan had been prepared by Mr. Barry, with respect to which the Committee, which had met that morning, had reported— That having further considered the expediency of enlarging the dining-rooms, they were of opinion such enlargement was absolutely necessary; and having seen Mr. Barry's improved plan, they strongly recommended its adoption. The Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to consider the outlay required for the purpose was greater than the House would be disposed to sanction—the amount, as estimated by Mr. Barry, being somewhere about £4,000. It was, however, the opinion of several experienced Members of the Committee that the necessary improvement could be mode for a smaller sum; but although a number of plans had been laid before them, none appeared to them to be so satisfactory as that of Mr. Barry. It was found that a better supply of wine could not be had without materially diminishing the profits of the present manager, and he trusted the matter would be put in such a light before the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he would see the propriety of securing proper accommodation for the Members of that House, which ought to be done all the more readily, seeing that the demands of the House of Lords in reference to their refreshment department were granted without the slightest hesitation.