§ MR. BOWRING
asked the First Commissioner of Works, Whether it is true that it is intended to construct the floors of the new buildings of the National Gallery of wood; whether the Director and the Architect of the Gallery have been respectively consulted on the subject; and, whether he will be willing to 1171 consider the propriety of substituting fireproof materials in lieu thereof?
§ MR. AYRTON
, in reply, said, that the flooring of the National Gallery consisted of two things; in the first place, of that which upheld the surface, and in the second place of the surface itself. The solid part of the flooring was built of iron and of brickwork, and was therefore to a certain extent fireproof; but some disagreement had arisen between the trustees and the architect of the building as to the nature of the material that should form the surface of the flooring, the trustees preferring a wooden flooring, while the architect recommended a tile flooring. Perhaps there was not much to choose between the two materials, on the ground that one was less likely to take fire than the other; because having in view the fact that many of those who were likely to frequent the Gallery would be shod, not only with leather, but with iron, it would be absolutely necessary, in the event of the tile flooring being selected, to cover it with some material that would be equally liable to take fire with wood flooring. As the trustees were of opinon that wood flooring was for all purposes of convenient use better than tile, the former would be adopted.