HC Deb 05 July 1872 vol 212 cc699-700

asked Her Majesty's Government, Whether it is their intention to authorize the expenditure of public money in the execution of the design for the Strand Front of the New Law Courts, which is now exhibited by Mr. Street at the Royal Academy, and which was dated November 1871?


said, that on more than one occasion he explained to the House that the design for the New Law Courts was not approved by him, but by the Lords of the Treasury; and since they approved the sketch of the design, Mr. Street intimated that he was making some small changes in the elevation towards the Strand. The nature and extent of those changes he was not able to judge of, because he had adjourned the consideration of them until Mr. Street sent in his regular contract plan and elevation for the building. The design exhibited at the Royal Academy was not the real elevation, but was merely a perspective drawing of the design which Mr. Street had in view in November or December last. As soon as Mr. Street sent in his regular contract plans and drawings, they would have to be considered either by the Office of Works or the Treasury; he could not say which at the present moment. If by the Office of Works, they would only have to see whether the contract plan was in accordance with the sketch plan sanctioned by the Treasury. If the contract plan was to be considered by the Treasury, they would be able to judge of the whole plan as before. No doubt, a great many observations had been made on the elevation of the Law Courts towards the Strand; but while great difference of opinion and much dissatisfaction had been expressed, there had been no such general disapproval as would render it necessary for the Office of Works to take any steps on the subject. In the case of the University of London great dissatisfaction with the elevation was at first felt; but, then, any hon. Member of that House took the decisive course of moving a Resolution condemning that elevation, and though the building had been partly erected, the Office of Works was compelled to take down what had been done, and to have a new elevation made in deference to the opinion of the House. That was the precedent which any hon. Gentleman who disapproved the design of the New Law Courts ought to follow, and if he succeeded in inducing the House to adopt his view, it would then be the duty of the Office of Works to reconsider the subject.