HC Deb 01 July 1864 vol 176 cc680-4

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 (Repeal of recited Provisions, and Substitution of amended Provision).


who had given notice to move at the end of the clause to add these words— Provided he shall have been truly informed by such householder of the circumstances under which he is required to depart, and shall be given into custody by such householder, said, the object of the Amendment was to secure to the musician as a condition precedent to his arrest a knowledge of the circumstances under which he was given into custody. The hon. Member was proceeding when he was interrupted by cries for a division; whereon the hon. Gentleman said, he would move that the Chairman report Progress.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 52; Noes 138: Majority 86.

Amendment proposed, At the end of the Clause, to add the words "provided he shall have been informed by the person making such charge of the circumstances under which he is required to depart."—(Mr. Ayrton.)


said, a lady might be engaged in her domestic duties, and a German brass band with twenty performers might come to the window and blow a terrific blast. By the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman she would have to state to each performer why she wished them all to go away. They perhaps would be unable to understand English, and she might not be able to speak German. Well, then, the Amendment provided that the notice should be given to the musician by the householder. Why the householder might not be at home, and in that case the musician might play as long as he liked.


said, the Amendment was altogether unnecessary, because the present law provided that a person playing an instrument in the street, to the annoyance of an inhabitant, could be ordered to remove, and if he refused he could be summoned.


said, it was quite obvious that the right hon. Gentleman had misunderstood the Amendment. As the clause now stood it was altogether unnecessary that any communication should be made to the musician. If the Amendment were not adopted it would be left to the caprice I of any one to direct a policeman to take a street musician into custody.


said, he could see no objection to an Amendment requiring that the musician should be informed by some person in the house of the reason why he was told to withdraw. But it was utterly unreasonable to provide that the householder should perform that duty, for the householder might be absent, or might be laid up by illness.


said, he was ready to alter the Amendment by providing that the person who told the musician to retire should state the reason for his so doing.

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 67; Noes 98: Majority 31.

MR. AYRTON moved, at the end of the clause to add—"Provided he shall be given into custody by the person making the charge." His object was to provide that the charge should be made on the responsibility of the inhabitant of the house, and not merely on that of the policeman.


thought that the Amendment was a reasonable one.


also supported the Amendment.


complained of the arbitrary conduct of the metropolitan police, and said the Bill would largely increase their power.

Amendment agreed to.


then moved at the end of the clause to add— Provided that the person making a charge for an offence against this Act, shall accompany the constable who shall take into custody any person offending as aforesaid, to the nearest police station-house, and there sign the charge-sheet kept for such purposes.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause agreed to.

SIR GEORGE GREY moved to insert new clause— Whenever any person charged with an offence under this Act, shall be brought to any station-house during the time when the police court shall be shut, it shall be lawful for the constable in charge of the station-house to require the person making the charge to enter into a recognizance conditional as is provided by the Act passed in the 2& 3 Vict. c. 47, s. 72; and, upon the refusal of such person to do be, it shall be lawful for such constable to discharge from custody the person so charged.

Clause added to the Bill.

MR. AYRTON moved to add at end of the clause— And upon such recognizance being entered into, it shall be lawful for the said constable to discharge from custody the person so charged, on his entering into a recognizance to appear to answer the same.


said, that the proviso was already contained in the existing law.

Amendment withdrawn.

MR. AYRTON moved to insert clause— Any person who shall sound or play any musical instrument, or shall sing in any thoroughfare near any premises licensed for the sale of beer, wine, or spirits, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding 40s., and it shall be lawful for any con- stable belonging to the metropolitan police force, to apprehend any such person if he shall continue so playing or singing, after being warned to desist therefrom, in view of such constable.


thought there was an ambiguity in the clause which required explanation. At present the words seemed somewhat invidious. He had no objection to bands being required to remove upon being warned; but from whom was the warning to come? If from the householder he should not object, but if it was intended that any person passing along the street should have the power to order the removal of a band, he should certainly object to such a power. He had noticed that bands near public houses were generally tolerably good bands, and not mere barrel organs. He could not but suspect that the words were intentionally ambiguous, and certainly they would enable a person passing along the road to order the removal of a band.

Clause negatived.

MR. THOMSON HANKEY moved to insert proviso— That nothing in this Act contained shall extend or apply to a dramatic representation usually performed in the streets of the metropolis, and generally known as the show of Punch and Judy, nor to any person representing any of the characters in such show, nor to any music performed or payed in connection with such show, in the same manner as has been usual before the passing of this Act; but such dramatic representation, show, and music may continue to be played as heretofore, before the passing of this Act.


said, that the only effect of the insertion of such a clause in the Bill would be to render their legislation ridiculous.


said, he hoped the Committee would assent to the clause, and afford the necessary protection to an innocent amusement.


said, he believed the Bill would not in any way interfere with Punch and Judy.


said, that if Punch were to sound any musical instrument, and was ordered to withdraw, he would run a great risk of being taken to the station-house if he resisted that order.


said, he had no wish to oppose the clause.


did not think the representation of Punch and Judy would come under the Bill unless accompanied by music. He agreed that the clause would make the Bill absurd.

Clause (This Act not to extend to Punch and Judy)—(Mr. Sanhey)—brought up, and read 1o.

Question put, "That the Clause be now read a second time."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 34; Noes 65: Majority 31.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered on Tuesday next, and to be printed. [Bill 186.]

House adjourned at half after Two o'clock till Monday next.