HC Deb 05 April 1877 vol 233 cc673-82

SUPPLY—considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(1.) £34,105, Royal Palaces.


asked for an explanation of the large sum of £3,000 for improving the accommodation of the Queen's Guard at St. James's Palace.


called attention to a proposed outlay on the stables at Hampton Court, and asked for some explanation with respect to the sale of the yearlings.


complained that the dilapidated state of Kensington Palace was not creditable to the country.


explained that £3,000 was all that it was proposed to expend this year on the guard-house, and the remaining £2,000 next year. Complaints had been made of the sanitary condition of the War Office, but it was a paradise to this guard-room. The stables at Hampton Court were in a most dilapidated condition, and scarcely suited to a breeding stud. He agreed with the hon. Baronet with respect to the state of Kensington Palace, and regretted that the Vote was not larger, so as to make a complete repair, as there was very little true economy in patchwork.


protested against the mode in which the Royal Palaces not in use for the comfort and happiness of the Sovereign were occupied. He believed that a small portion, or, at all events, only one-half of the sum that was expended in maintaining Hampton Court, St. James's, and Kensington Palaces, and in making additions, improvements which occurred every year, would provide the persons who now occupied them with better and more suitable accommodation than that which these big buildings afforded. As the Crown had transferred to Parliament the buildings which were not needed for the personal use of the Sovereign, it was only fair that Parliament should have the right of disposing of their occupation. It would be better for the House to come to an agreement as to the money value of the right of the Crown to bestow residences in these palaces, and to place the amount at the disposal of the Crown for distribution to the classes who were now selected to live in those palaces. Besides, when Royal visitors came to this country there was only one palace, and that one retained for the personal use of the Sovereign, which could be used. This was objectionable in many ways. This country ought to have palaces capable of receiving visitors in a Royal manner, and not require them to be put into Buckingham Palace. Public buildings set apart for the Crown ought to be maintained for the Crown, and not for residences for private individuals. But as respected palaces not used for the Crown, other persons ought not to be occupying these buildings and putting the nation to expense.


was of opinion that the whole of the expenditure on palaces not in the occupation of the Sovereign was very unsatisfactory. He inquired whether Bushey Park was still occupied by the Duke d'Aumale?


stated that Bushey Park was occupied by the Duke de Nemours. As to Hampton Court, that was very much devoted to the recreation of the public, thousands of whom went there. It was necessary that these palaces should be kept in proper repair. With regard to the persons who occupied them, about £800 was all that was spent in repairing the rooms occupied by gracious favour of the Sovereign, and most of those rooms were occupied by persons who had served under Her Majesty.

Vote agreed to.

(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £117,645, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1878, for the Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens.


moved the reduction of the Vote by £250, the sum which, he understood, was required for the levelling of the mounds in Hyde Park. Considering that the mounds had been erected only a year ago, the proposal to demolish them reminded him of the extravagance of the Augustan age. The facts were simply these—In 1875, the present Government expended £400 in erecting these mounds. In 1876 a Vote of £350 was taken to complete them, and now the First Commissioner of Works proposed to undo the work of his Predecessor. A more direct censure upon the noble Lord (Lord Henry Lennox) could not be conceived. He neither defended nor condemned the mounds, but he protested against so reckless a waste of public money.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £117,395, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1878, for the Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens."—(Mr. Monk,)


said, he had already stated that after the opinion expressed in the House last year he thought there was no other course open to him but to propose the removal of these mounds, and from what he had since learned he believed it was the general wish that they should be removed. For his own part, he did not think they were adapted to the locality. They obstructed a most beautiful view over the Serpentine, and they were planted with shrubs, which, being unsuited to the atmosphere of London, were likely to become more and more unsightly. The sum required to effect the improvement in question was only £200, and he expected to be able by judicious economy to obtain that amount without asking the House specially for money for the purpose.


said, he had expressed an opinion at the time the mounds were formed that plants put into the ground in the month of April would not grow, and he found they had not done so. It was for the House to decide whether the First Commissioner of Works should expend £200 in rendering the mounds sightly, or in getting rid of them entirely as a nuisance; and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would adhere to the determination which he had expressed—namely, get rid of them.


complained of the present state of Rotten Row. Accidents, he said, were of daily occurrence there; and altogether the condition of the drive was most unsatisfactory. Did the right hon. Gentleman intend to take any steps to improve that part of the Park?


asked if another path was to be constructed near the top of Rotten Row?


said, that constant requests had been received by the Department to make a good walk from the top of Rotten Row to Kensington Palace, a route which was very much used at all times, but with great discomfort in wet weather, and it had been determined to comply with those requests. The path, however, would not be a broad one; and, instead of being an eyesore, it would be an improvement. He must admit that he was very much disap- pointed at the state of Rotten Row; but this was attributable principally to the unprecedentedly wet weather which had latterly prevailed. Perhaps the steamroller had been used too much, so that the water could easily get through the surface of the road, while the gravel itself might be of too absorbent a character—other gravel would have been too costly. All kinds of suggestions had been made to him to deal with the Row; but the expense of adopting such suggestions would be enormous, and such as he could not entertain. He had done all he could to improve it, and he hoped it would be better with a change of weather. In Paris the ride from the Arc de Triomphe to the Bois de Boulogne was impassable, and it was generally believed that that ride was kept in as good condition as it was possible to keep such a place, so that we were not alone in suffering from the effects of the rains.

In reply to Mr. T. E. SMITH,


stated that no Vote was taken for the Row last year. What was done last year was taken out of the maintenance money by strict economy.


regarded the Vote of £2,963 for the maintenance and expense of keeping up Greenwich Park as very large as compared with that for other Parks. It exceeded the amounts for Bushey Park and Hampton Court combined. He would also like to know who lived in the Ranger's house at Greenwich Park. A large portion of the Park was shut out from the people by the Deputy Ranger's house, and of this he must emphatically complain. He should also like to have some explanation with regard to Richmond Park. He had heard many complaints of the way in which that Park was being taken up by game preserves; and he thought it was much to be regretted that any portion of that beautiful recreation ground should be wrested by degrees from the people in that way.


said, that he had recently observed on passing through the Park, a new building close to the Guard Room adjoining the house of the Ranger in the centre of Hyde Park, but he considered it most objectionable that any Minister of the Crown should allow encroachments on the Parks, without previously obtaining the permission of Parliament by express Resolution. In his opinion, private individuals had no right to encroach upon the commons, and he denied the right of the Government to interfere with and encroach upon the people's Parks, and the erection of this new building in the very centre of Hyde Park was in disregard of the rights of Parliament, and of the convenience of the people who used that Park.


remarked, that so long as there was a concrete 'foundation for Rotten Row it would be perfectly impossible to have a good road there.


said, the items for maintenance of Greenwich Park would be found in the Estimate. Lady Mayo occupied the Ranger's house. In regard to that portion occupied by the Deputy Ranger, it was a very small plot, only about half an acre. The Deputy Ranger had always had a right of grazing there, and it could in no sense be called an encroachment. In regard to Hyde Park, no new buildings had been erected; but a Superintendent's Lodge had been built near the Deputy Ranger's house in substitution for that which formerly stood in Kensington Gardens.


said, the right hon. Gentleman had not answered his hon. Friend (Mr. Dillwyn) in regard to Richmond Park. He entirely concurred in all that had been said in regard to that Park, as he had frequently received complaints from his constituents. It was swarming with game, and the public were on this account excluded from paths which they were formerly allowed to use. He protested against a Park so near London being converted into a game preserve; and if the right hon. Gentleman would tell the Committee how much was expended in feeding the game, he would move to reduce the Vote by that amount.


said, his kitchen garden adjoined Richmond Park, and if it were swarming with game he believed his garden would have suffered, and as it had not, there could not be much game there.


said, he was not aware that there was a large amount of game in Richmond Park. In regard to plantations, as the old trees were cut down they were obliged to plant new trees. This accounted for the new plantation. The cost of the feed of the deer during the winter was not a very large item.


said, that perhaps the hon. Gentleman opposite had wire round his garden. [Mr. BARING: No, I have not.] He (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had seen swarms of rabbits in Richmond Park. He thought that the Ranger of that Park had no right to call upon that House to pay for keeping up the game for him to shoot.


hoped that the game in Richmond Park would not be destroyed, because the people who flocked there from London looked upon the deer and the other game as their own property.


said, the question was whether the lowest figure had been put down in each of the items in the Vote. He expressed no opinion whether the amounts charged were too large or not; but he should vote for the Amendment of his hon. Friend, because he objected to money being voted on general grounds when it was to be expended upon a particular piece of work.


thought that it would be inconvenient for the Committee to prescribe how many loads of gravel or how many yards of turf were to be laid down in the public Parks. Something ought to be left to the discretion of the First Commissioner.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 18; Noes 70: Majority 52. — (Div. List, No. 56.)

Original Question again proposed.


moved that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £155, the amount asked for the purpose of feeding the deer in Richmond Park.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £117,490, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1878, for the Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens."—(Sir Charles W. Dilke.)


said, he could not vote for the Amendment, as the Ranger had now enjoyed the right of shooting in the Park for many years, and the amount expended in feeding the deer was exceedingly small.


said, it was not at all a question of renewing the privileges of the Ranger, but one of paying a certain sum of money for feeding game of which nobody knew what became.


wished to know the amount received from the sale of the game?


replied that game was not sold, but given away. Question put.

The Committee divided: — Ayes 21; Noes 68: Majority 47. — (Div. List, No. 57.)

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. William Henry Smith).


opposed the Motion, and explained that his reason was to prevent a most important Bill affecting Ireland (Public Health) being read a second time, at an hour when the measure could not be properly discussed. He had seen recently a letter written by an anonymous scribbler in The Times, who signed himself "M.P."—


called the hon. Member to Order. The Question was that the Chairman now leave the Chair.


would not proceed with the topic. The Government had done a great deal to got through the other business in order that the second reading of the Public Health (Ireland) Bill might be taken at a time when there were few Irish Members in the House to discuss it. He should be quite willing to have the House divided into two portions, one sitting by night and the other by day, and he was willing to take his share with either portion; but under the present arrangement he really did not see how the House was to get through its business.


requested his hon. Friend to withdraw his opposition. He agreed I with him that it was very desirable not to have discussions at a late hour on Bills with respect to which there was likely to be any dispute. The Bill, however, which his hon. Friend wished to obstruct was simply a Bill for consolidating the sanitary laws in Ireland, and it was the universal opinion of those who administered those laws that the Bill should be passed. If it were not now read a second time the result would be that it could not pass this Session, and he thought anyone who prevented sanitary legislation would not find his conduct approved of by the people of Ireland.


was proceeding to make some remarks criticising the Public Health (Ireland) Bill, when—


called him to Order.


said, ho regretted that the obstruction had been thrown in the way of the Bill. He was not aware that a single Irish Member was opposed to the measure; and, on the contrary, he thought the Government were entitled to thanks for introducing a measure which gave an instalment of Home Rule.


said, the hon. Gentleman could not have read the Bill. [" Order, order !"]


said, he would not press his opposition, in deference to the wish of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Limerick, but he must object to the way in which Irish business was transacted.


said, the hon. Member for Meath had by his Motion attempted to obstruct the measure.


rise to Order. The right hon. Baronet has made an inaccurate statement. He said that I made a Motion. I have made no Motion.


I should have said, "by his speech on the Motion for reporting Progress." I was proceeding to state the course that I had taken in respect of this Bill. It was as follows:—On the last day before the adjournment for the Easter Recess I stated publicly to the House that I hoped to be able to take the second reading of this Bill to-night, which, as has been said, is really a Consolidation Bill. This evening I met many hon. Members connected with this Bill, and I stated to them that it was my intention to proceed with the Bill, having the further intention of referring it to a Select Committee in order that it might be thoroughly discussed. Considering that this was merely a consolidation of an existing law, with certain amendments of some importance, but which I have always represented as inferior to the great object of the consolidation; and considering that I was anxious to have it discussed before the Select Committee, and that, therefore, the second reading would be merely a formal stage, I leave the House to judge of the conduct of the hon. Member.


thought the Bill ought to have been read a second time, for it could easily be discussed by his hon. Friend the Member for Meath after it came from the Committee, if necessary. He protested against a good Bill like this being stopped from passing simply because it came on at that hour.


said, he had not prevented its passing the second reading; but if the Bill was such a very good one, and no time was necessary for its discussion, why did not the right hon. Baronet bring iton at an early hour of the evening?

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;

Committee to sit again To-morrow.

House adjourned at One o'clock.