HC Deb 04 April 1876 vol 228 cc1247-50

rose to call attention to the mounds of earth now being erected on the south bank of the Serpentine; and to move— That the mounds at present being erected on the south of the Serpentine are unsightly, and will, when planted, be detrimental to the picturesque character of Hyde Park, and ought to be removed. The hon. Member said, these earthworks had been already carried on to so great an extent as nearly to obliterate the view of the ornamental water for all pedestrians, and, generally speaking, for those who rode on horseback, for nearly half the distance of the southern bank of the Serpentine. He ventured to say that the sum of £350, which was set down in the present Estimates for completing these mounds, would be far better spent in removing them. As regarded the mounds being a protection for bathers, he contended that they did not answer that purpose, since there were large openings between them, and viewed from the opposite shore bathers were actually placed in relief against the mounds, and were far more conspicuous than before. It was a disgrace that there was so little suitable accommodation for bathers, and some remedy in this matter was much wanted. His chief objection to the mounds was that they were opposed to the whole spirit of landscape gardening, and would destroy some of the prettiest parts of the Park.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the mounds at present being erected on the south of the Serpentine are unsightly, and will, when planted, be detrimental to the picturesque character of Hyde Park, and ought to be removed."—(Mr. Pease.)


said, he entirely agreed with what had been said. The works which were being constructed would destroy one of the most beautiful views in the Park, and it would be real economy to spend some money in removing them. The Park was large, and ladies need not go near the bathers. The first thing that might shock the delicate feelings of a lady on entering the Park at Hyde Park Corner was the statue of Achilles. Yet it was dedicated to the memory of Wellington by the women of England. Now, however, it was said that women would be shocked by seeing bathers at a distance of 300 or 400 yards. He hoped the mounds would not be allowed to remain.


trusted that they would be able to express the sense of the House in such a way as to induce the First Commissioner of Works to revert to the plan which was originally proposed in reference to this matter. It was a great mistake to take a part of the Park, which was very pretty in itself, for the purpose of planting shrubberies upon it, and thus preventing it being used by the public, in the way it ought to be.


regretted that the question, being urgent, had to be brought forward in the absence of Her Majesty's First Commissioner of Works, but it was desirable that the House should intervene before the works that were objected to had proceeded further. The question, however, really at issue was one of much wider scope than that of the erection of these mounds, as it involved the constitution of the Office Her Majesty's Works and the question whether a First Commissioner should have it in his power to alter the Parks, cut down trees, and erect public buildings according to his own taste. It was important that there should be some sufficient check in these respects. He hoped that the Government, seeing the strong opinion which existed against the erection of these unsightly mounds, would give orders to stop them. The ladies who had objected to what the First Commissioner had called "nude bathers" had an easy remedy in their own hands—they could either not go to the Park when the bathers were permitted to use the water of the Serpentine or go to Regent's or Battersea Parks, or when in Rotten Row turn their eyes away from what shocked them.


also supported the removal of the mounds.


considered that no real annoyance or indecorum was caused by bathing in the Park.


said, these mounds were objectionable in every respect: seeing the strong feeling against them he hoped the Government would gracefully yield the point. The First Commissioner of Works was unfortunately not able to be present; but there were several other Commissioners in the House, and he hoped they would give the House an assurance that further progress would be stopped.


said, there were many grave questions involved in this Motion, which could not be discussed at that hour of the morning, and he should therefore move the adjournment of the debate.


said, that in the absence of the First Commissioner of Works, it was undesirable to come to any conclusion. He could, however, say, on the part of the Government, that there was no disposition to continue the mounds if there was a strong feeling against them. The mounds, however, being there, he thought they would agree with him that they should not be removed until the matter could be more fully considered than was possible at that hour, and there would, therefore, be no objection to the adjournment of the debate.


drew attention to the bad state of Rotten Row, which was full of holes, and might occasion the loss of a Cabinet Minister.


consented to the adjournment of the debate, and expressed a hope that the works, for the present at least, would not be further proceeded with.


begged to congratulate the House on the proceedings of that evening, and upon the fact that a considerable number of the Members of that House had remained at that hour to discuss the question of a few dirty little shrubs, whilst no less than four attempts at count-out had been made whilst they were discussing coercion laws forIreland—the coercion of the Irish people. Those mounds and shrubs were more important in the eyes of hon. Members than the coercion of the Irish people.

Debate adjourned till Monday next.

House adjourned at a quarter after One o'clock.