HC Deb 27 June 1876 vol 230 cc501-2

asked the First Commissioner of Works, If he can inform the House what are the final arrangements for the Volunteer Review?


In answer to the Question of my hon. Friend I have to say that as far as I know the arrangements for the Volunteer Review on Saturday next in Hyde Park are finally settled. Her Majesty's Government, after consulting with His Royal Highness the Ranger of the Park, have decided that no stands should be admitted at all. They came to this decision owing to the great damage which must necessarily be caused to the Park by attempting to erect structures on so large a scale as would be required. In place of the stands, however, there will be an in closure, and this in closure will be hurdled off, and will extend the whole range of the bases for saluting. That will comprise about 2,200 feet in length, and 30 feet in depth. It will be divided into various smaller in closures for the accommodation of various public bodies of the State. In the centre, immediately behind the saluting point, where His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales will stand, there will be an in closure which will be devoted to the Royal carriages, and none other but Royal carriages will be admitted to the Park. In immediate contiguity to that there will be an in closure for those members of the Diplomatic Body who may wish to take advantage of this opportunity to see our Volunteer Force. On either side of the Royal in closure there will be a large space set apart for both Houses of Parliament. I may say that I hope to be able to give each Member who may apply two tickets. I propose not to make one in closure for the House of Lords only, and another for the House of Commons only, but that the two in closures shall be open to the Members of both Houses. I think that would be a convenience in cases where a Member might wish to bring his family and go into the same in closure with them. I have to make an appeal to hon. Gentlemen on this point, and that is, that they will have the goodness to apply for any tickets they may require on or before the rising of the House on Thursday evening next. The Speaker's Secretary has been kind enough, as usual, to undertake to distribute the tickets, and it is quite evident that, where so many tickets have to be issued, that gentleman must have at least one clear day in order to make sure that the tickets have not miscarried on their way to those who may have asked for them. Besides this, there will be in closures for the friends of the Volunteers, and I propose to issue—what I hope will be considered a handsome amount—namely, 5,000 tickets. The rest of the in closure will be devoted to public bodies, and at the extreme end there will be a small space set apart on each side for the general public—a very small space. [Laughter] I can assure hon. Members that if for the last four days they had been occupying the post I have the honour to fill, they would not have met that remark with a laugh, for it appears to me that there is no end to the applications, both in point of numbers, distance, professions, and quarters in London and out of it, that have been flowing in by every post, and that before I had the honour of making any public announcement on the subject. Before I sit down I may be allowed, as guardian of the Parks, to make one appeal, not to hon. Members, but through this House to the general public. The Parks are now in all their beauty, both as regards flowers and trees, and, of course, as we must expect on Saturday next to see a vast concourse of people in the Park, so we must expect that there will be a great many persons who are not in this limited list which I have given to the House, and who will try to climb into the trees to see the Review. Everything will be done, as far as police arrangements are concerned, to guard on this occasion against the recurrence of that disastrous destruction of public property in the shape of trees that took place on the occasion of the last Review that was held. Everything will be done to prevent youths from breaking the trees, and breaking their own necks by tumbling out of them; but on an occasion of this kind, in the last resort, we must trust to the good sense and feeling of the general public to protect their own property as far as possible.