HC Deb 27 February 1871 vol 204 c936

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whether the sale of Deptford Dockyard to Mr. Austen was completed, and the purchase-money paid, before the transfer of Mr. Austen's rights in the property to the Corporation of London; and, also, if he is aware that a very large sum was given for the site by the Corporation beyond the price for which it was sold by the Admiralty?


The sale of a portion of Deptford Dockyard was so far completed that the bargain had been made before the transfer of Mr. Austen's rights to the Corporation. The purchase-money, however, had not been paid, because, in the first instance, there was considerable delay in consequence of questions having arisen between the Admiralty and the Woods and Forests, and afterwards because the City of London applied to have the title direct from the Admiralty. I have no knowledge, except from common rumour, of the pecuniary arrangement which has been made between Mr. Austen and the City of London; but I do know—and I stated it to the House in May last—that the Corporation then might have purchased the property for the price given by Mr. Austen. Let me remind the hon. Baronet that when he brought forward this question last year my statement was corroborated by the hon. Baronet the Member for Greenwich, whose words were, he (Sir David Salomons) called on the Secretary of the Admiralty and asked him whether a price had been put upon it, and the reply he received was that he thought the price was £80,000, but that £75,000 might be taken. With this information he went into the City, and, failing to induce the Corporation to purchase the dockyard for their contemplated market, he tried to induce the dock companies to do so, but failed in this also.