HC Deb 19 July 1864 vol 176 cc1706-7

said, he rose to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he did not communicate with the Mayor of Bradford, two years ago, on the dangerous state of the Doe Park Reservoir, who replied that it had been emptied, and should not be again filled until the embankment was secure; whether Mr. Rawlinson, the Government Inspector, has not reported to the Home Office that "this Reservoir has been full and overflowing several times; on some occasions it has been full, or nearly full, for several successive weeks; and there is a dangerous leak beneath the main embankment, and that the Reservoir is in a dangerous state;" whether he has not also reported that "the bye-wash space should be increased at the several Bradford Reservoirs, and that such floods as occurred in July, 1855, ought to be guarded against in future;" and whether, after this Government Report, and the danger to which hundreds of persons have been exposed by the non-fulfilled pledge of the Mayor of Bradford, it is not the official duty of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to exercise his authority to protect them from danger in future; and whether he will not incur grave responsibility if he fails to do so?


in reply, said, he had communicated with the Mayor of Bradford in March, 1862, with reference to the Doe Park Reservoir, who informed him that the water was let off, and that the Waterworks Committee proposed to examine the reservoir on the next day, accompanied by their engineer; and that every precaution would be taken to secure the safety of the public. He afterwards received the Report of the engineer, who stated the instructions he had given to the contractor as to some alterations, which he trusted would prove entirely effective. The engineer did not say that the reservoir would not again be filled till the embankment was secure, but it was obvious that it could not be so filled until the alterations in progress were completed. No further complaint of this reservoir was made until March in the present year, when Mr. Rawlinson was directed to inspect it. His Report was on the table of the House and could be referred to by any hon. Member. A copy was sent to the Mayor of Bradford. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ferrand) was mis- taken in supposing that the Secretary of State had any official authority to insure the safety of reservoirs. He could only, as in this case, call the attention of the persons under whose charge they were to any alleged defects in their construction, and on those persons alone rested the responsibility of making them secure. At the time of Mr. Rawlinson's inspection of the Doe Park Reservoir it was empty. He reported that both at Doe Park and Barden there was a leakage, that the work of repair would be heavy in both instances, but that he was assured that it should be complete. With those exceptions he reported that the Bradford Reservoirs and works had been well devised, and appeared to be well executed.


asked, Whether the right hon. Gentleman did not think it would be desirable to appoint a Commission, composed of engineers, to inquire into the best mode of constructing reservoirs in future?


said, he had not lost sight of the suggestions which had been made on the subject; but the Government had not come to any decision with respect to it.