HC Deb 31 January 1878 vol 237 cc724-5

asked the First Commissioner of Works, Whether he proposes to take the opinion of the House before finally deciding on the site of the Egyptian obelisk, or in what manner it is proposed to elicit public opinion as to the position most suitable for its erection?


Sir, when the announcement was first made that the Obelisk had left Alexandria and was coming to this country, it was intimated to me by the gentlemen who were bringing it over that they were anxious it should be placed in Parliament Square. I therefore requested that a model might be put up, in order to elicit public opinion; and, on the whole, I think public opinion was favourable to that site. We now find it cannot be erected there on account of the Metropolitan District Underground Railway, which runs exactly under that site, and I am informed that they demand a perpetual guarantee against accident, which, of course, could not be granted. Another site has now been selected on the Embankment, at the Adelphi Steps, between the Charing Cross Railway Bridge and Waterloo Bridge. Over this site the Office of Works have no jurisdiction. It is under the control of my hon. and gallant Friend the Chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works, and he, no doubt, will facilitate the erection of the Obelisk there. Should, however, this site be found unsuitable, and another in the neighbourhood of the Parks or elsewhere has to be selected on the ground under the jurisdiction of the Office of Works, I assure my hon. Friend that I will give it careful consideration, and every opportunity shall be afforded for public criticism before any decision is arrived at.