HC Deb 14 March 1867 vol 185 cc1803-4

said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, If, as a portion of Greenwich Hospital has been granted to the Seamen's Hospital Society for seamen of the Mercantile Marine, the Government will also grant a portion of the unoccupied space, upon the same conditions, for a public hospital for the reception of sick and diseased persons belonging to the borough of Greenwich?


, in reply, said, it was perfectly true that the Government had sanctioned a loan of a portion of the unoccupied part of the Hospital to the Seamen's Hospital Society, the Government, however, reserving the power to resume it if, in the event of a naval war breaking out, or any other contingency, the accommodation was needed in the interest of the seamen of the Royal Navy. It was thought that the Mercantile Marine had a strong claim for some further direct share in the benefits of Greenwich Hospital, to the funds of which it had largely contributed. The Government, however, were unable to admit that a similar claim could be urged with equal justice by any portion of the community which had no direct connection with Greenwich Hospital, and which had never contributed to its resources. To divert any portion of the building of Greenwich Hospital to such a purpose would be to sanction the application of the building to purposes directly contrary to the intentions of its founders, and would materially enhance the difficulty which might arise if on any contingency the Government should think it necessary to regain possession of the unoccupied portion in the interest of the Royal Navy. And, therefore, however desirable an object in itself the establishment of a local hospital for the borough of Greenwich might be, he could hold out no hope to the hon. Member that the Government would ever be likely to sanction any appropriation of the building of Greenwich Hospital for such a purpose.