HC Deb 14 March 1864 vol 173 cc1909-10

Sir, if the House will permit me, I will ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department a Question, of which I have given him private notice. I have no doubt his attention has been called to the terrible calamity which occurred at Sheffield on Friday night. I wish to ask the right hon. Baronet, Whether there will be any objection to the Government sending down to Sheffield a Government Inspector to inquire—first, into the cause of the catastrophe; second, as to the number of persons killed and the amount of property destroyed; and lastly, as to what means, if any, there are of relieving the distress of those who have suffered?


Sir, I hare, in common with, I suppose, all hon. Members, read with deep concern the accounts of the dreadful catastrophe at Sheffield. I received to-day from the Mayor an application for a Government Inspector to be sent down to inquire into the circumstances connected with the calamity. I also received from the coroner a request that an Inspector might examine the works, and be prepared to give evidence at the adjourned inquest. In consequence of these applications, Mr. Rawlinson, civil engineer, has been directed to proceed immediately to Sheffield, and to put himself into communication with the authorities of the place, in order to give every assistance in his power in the inquiry. Mr. Rawlinson will arrive in Sheffield this evening. I have informed Mr. Rawlinson that if, on conferring with the local authorities, he thought that additional assistance was required for the purposes of the inquiry, another gentleman would be associated with him. With regard to any aid being afforded, I understand the hon. and learned Gentleman does not refer to pecuniary help, but merely to assistance to persons deprived of their homes by the inundation. I can only say that the Government will be glad to do anything they can to co-operate with the local authorities. No statement has, however, been made to me by those authorities that any such assistance is required.