HC Deb 04 July 1872 vol 212 cc636-7

asked the Chief Commissioner of Works, What reply he has received from His Royal Highness the Ranger of Hyde Park to a request made by the ladies and gentlemen who ride in the Park early in the morning, that there may be no firing by the Regiments of Guards from half-past 8 to 10 o'clock, as it not only disturbs their enjoyment of the Park, but might lead to serious accidents?


, in reply, said, that His Royal Highness the Ranger of Hyde Park had given to this request—as to every request respecting the enjoyment of the Park by the public—the most careful consideration; but the question was by no means free from difficulty, for it was frequently found that when arrangements were made for the convenience of one section of the public, extreme inconvenience was inflicted on another section. Therefore, the balance of convenience and inconvenience had always to be considered. As the House was aware, the Royal Guards were required to reside in the neighbourhood of Hyde Park, and for their efficiency it was necessary that they should parade and drill in that Park. It was part of their drill to fire blank cartridge, and the question to decide was at what time would that part of the drill be performed with the least inconvenience to those who frequented the Park? To go through the whole day—it had been suggested that 6 o'clock in the morning would be a convenient hour; but if those gentlemen and ladies who went to the Park at 8 o'clock in the morning were now inconvenienced by volleys from the Guards, what would be the condition of others who, residing near the Park, might be sleeping in their beds at 6 o'clock? The number of those asleep and in bed at 6 o'clock was infinitely greater than the number of those who went to enjoy themselves in the Park at 8 o'clock in the morning; the latter, he could testify from his own personal observation, were few. His Royal Highness, in considering this subject, had also to consider the usual course of discipline of the Guards in London, and if the drill were made later than 8 o'clock in the morning greater inconvenience might be felt, and at last they might come to the proposal of some enthusiastic Volunteers to have drill with blank cartridge as late as 5 o'clock in the evening. His Royal Highness had not been able to appoint a time other than that at which the Guards now usually drilled. Many suggestions had been made in order that persons might not be taken unawares by the sudden volleys; but the only arrangement which seemed possible was that a regiment of Guards, on entering the Park, should give notice at the gate whether or not it was to be a blank cartridge parade.