HC Deb 30 July 1872 vol 213 c110

asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whethere there exists any obstacle or objection to opening the Museums at South Kensington and Bethnal Green to the public on Sundays?


, in reply, said, he must refer his hon. Friend to the answer he had formerly given on this subject. The Government, after due consideration, were not prepared to open Bethnal Green Museum on Sundays. That would involve a change of policy which, if adopted, must lead to the opening of the British Museum and other museums on that day. Undoubtedly, there was a feeling in the minds of some persons in favour of the opening of museums on Sundays; but there was also a very strong feeling on the part of others against the adoption of such a course. He had received an important deputation of representative working men on the subject, and they referred him to the last occasion when a decision was given by the House of Commons relative to the opening of the British Museum in 1856, when 376 voted against, and 48 for the opening of the Museum; 24,000 persons had petitioned in favour, and 629,000 against it. Whatever his individual opinion might be, his hon. Friend would see that with regard to the principle involved, it was not a matter on which they should change the policy of the country without having reason to believe that there had been a change of public opinion in regard to it.