HC Deb 30 June 1864 vol 176 c496

said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works, Whether, for the purpose of providing for the due ventilation and comfort of the Ladies' Gallery, he will give directions for the removal of the grating in front of that Gallery?


Before the right hon. Gentleman answers the Question, I should like to know whether, instead of the removal of the grating in the front of the Gallery, he could not remove one of the panels from behind to allow of ventilation?


I have, Sir, already done what is in my power to promote the comfort of the ladies by improving the ventilation by an outlet in the ceiling in that part of the House in which they are allowed to sit. But the question of the hon. Baronet opens up another matter which is not within my province. He wishes to remove a grating which I suppose he thinks is of a too conventual character for this House, I remember that some years ago this subject was very generally discussed in this House, and many hon. Members maintained that if there was an open and visible gallery for the reception of the ladies, the influence exercised by that gallery over the proceedings of the House would be such as not to be altogether desirable. It was determined that it would be better that the House should not be exposed to such an influence. Until the House has pronounced a different opinion, I must decline to remove that conventual grating, which has its uses, for it enables persons behind it to see, without being seen.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the House of Lords ladies sit in an open gallery without any grating at all? And is this House likely to be influenced by the ladies when they do no harm in the House of Lords?

Forward to