HC Deb 12 June 1863 vol 171 cc807-8

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the offer of £80,000 made to Messrs. Kelk and Lucas for the removable portion of the Exhibition Building at Kensington was in writing; if so, whether there is any objection to lay a Copy thereof upon the table of the House; and whether the Estimate upon which that offer was made was prepared by Mr. Hunt, the Surveyor to the Office of Works, and on what data; and whether there is any objection to a Copy of any such Estimate being laid upon the table of the House?


in reply, said there was no document of any kind in reference to that matter which could be produced. The offer of £80,000 was not made in writing, but was made in the course of a conversation by him on the part of the Government, to the hon. Member for Finsbury (Sir Morton Peto) on the part of the contractors. With regard to the Estimate on which that offer was made, he had to state that it was the result of a careful examination made by Mr. Hunt, the Surveyor to the Office of Works, into the value of the materials of which the building consisted, together with all the information he possessed as to the probable opportunity of disposing of them. In estimating the value of the materials careful measurements were made for the purpose of ascertaining the quantities of them that were used. That was, he believed, the process usually adopted when people desired to make the nearest estimate that could be formed of what was the "removable value." But that value was not susceptible of any very close estimate, because so many circumstances, which cannot be minutely estimated, come into the question of the price that might be obtained for such materials. Of course it was very natural that in a question of that kind the estimates of the two parties should differ; and the hon. Member would see that it was stated in the Correspondence, that in the opinion of the contractor, £80,000 was less than even the removable value.


said, he wished to know, whether there would be any objection to lay those measurements before the House?


said, that the Messrs Kelk and Lucas were supposed to make great sacrifices; but he wished to know whether the paper prepared by Mr. Hunt did not show that the removable value was only £30,000 and whether the right hon. Gentleman was not aware of that fact?


replied, that he was not aware of it; but he certainly was aware of the contrary. Whether the paper of Mr. Hunt showed the number of bricks, the number of squares of glass, together with their thickness, and the weight of iron, and the number of feet of timber in the building, he was unable to say; but he did not think that such details as those would afford any additional knowledge to the House.