HC Deb 15 April 1864 vol 174 cc1078-9

said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works, What number of Plans have been sent in for the proposed New Museums at South Kensington, where and when he intends to exhibit them, and who are to be the Judges to decide upon them?


said, in reply, that thirty-two sets of designs had been sent in by public competition, and those designs were now hanging up in the Royal Gallery, where they were accessible at any time to the Members of that House. The judges who would be appointed as a Committee to award the prizes would consist of five, and three of whom were architects of acknowledged reputation and experience, but not at that moment practising their profession. There would be also a painter, who was a professional man, and an amateur.


What is the object of the Museum?


said, the designs were for the plan of the new building that was to occupy one side of the front of the site which had been purchased at South Kensington, where the late Exhibition building stood, and which would afford space enough to receive the Natural History collection of the British Museum and a Museum of Patent Inventions, if it should be ultimately determined to place them in the building. The first thing would be, to get the designs for the new building as a preliminary step, and the use to which that building would be put would be a matter for further consideration. He apprehended that no steps would be taken which would prevent the hon. Gentleman, if he should think, fit, in any form he might desire, bringing the subject under the attention of the House.


said, he wished to know whether the judges were to be paid?


would beg to inquire, by what authority all those plans were prepared?


said, it was not usual to offer payment to gentlemen who were kind enough to assent to act as judges in such matters, and it would be going out of the ordinary course to press payment upon them. With regard to the other question, he thought it was his duty, as administering the affairs of the Board of Works, to endeavour to persuade the architects who were disposed to make designs to favour him with the exercise of their ingenuity and skill, and to prepare those designs for the consideration of Parliament.


said, he wished to ask two questions relating to this matter. The one was, whether the Government propose to submit to the House their plans for the Natural History collection, and, if so, how soon; secondly, whether those plans will be submitted to the House before any steps are taken to provide a building for that collection?


replied, that he was really unable to say at what particular period of time the matter would be brought before the House.


said, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman what he intends to do with Burlington House?


said, he believed that he would soon be able to lay on the table an estimate for erecting a National Gallery in the Garden of Burlington House, which was one-half only of the site.