§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir Charles Forster.)
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, he was very much astonished at the course which had been taken with regard to this Bill. It was a Bill of considerable bulk and importance; but the House was left to gather its character from a perusal of the Bill itself, and hon. Members were well aware that as Private Bills were not circulated, hardly anybody was ever in a position to say for himself what was the nature of a Private Bill brought before the House. As a general rule, when they had a debate on a Bill of this sort they had a speech to explain its objects, or someone made a statement as to the nature of its provisions on moving the second reading. On this occasion they had had nothing of the kind, and the House was left to derive its notions as to what the Bill 1730 was from a perusal of the Bill itself, which, in regard to Private Bills, was a very difficult matter indeed. Now, it appeared that the City of London had lately appointed a new Remembrancer, and he believed that one of the duties of the Remembrancer was to jog the memory of hon. Members of that House in regard to Bills in which the City was interested, and to inform them of the character of each measure. He had received a statement that morning signed by the Remembrancer, but it was a statement of the baldest possible character. It merely stated that the Bill was coming before the House, and went on to say—The object of the Bill is the establishment of a new market, in lieu of the ancient Leadenhall Market, and the improvement of the neighbourhood by the formation of new streets.No reason whatever was given why the House should pass the Bill, and the House was, therefore, put in the position of being asked to pass a Bill for which not one single word was said, and in regard to which no statement had been made to the House, except the two lines contained in the document of the Remembrancer, that—The object of the Bill was the establishment of a new market, in lieu of the ancient Leadenhall Market, and the improvement of the neighbourhood by the formation of new streets.He was glad to see the Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) in his place. Last year they discussed very fully in the House the Cattle Bill, and the question was incidentally mooted of the establishment of a market monopoly in London, and the desirability of having new markets in London. Under the monopoly now enjoyed by the Corporation of the City of London, the construction of markets was very much mixed up with the City improvements, and this was done in such a way that it was impossible to gather from the figures laid before the House what was the profit or loss to the City upon their markets. The City contended that they lost money on the whole by the markets; but, on the other hand, it was contended that they made very large sums of money by their markets, but appeared to lose, because they mixed up the expenditure on markets with that incurred in the formation of new streets, which was not an expenditure of a remunerative kind. He 1731 thought, therefore, that a statement to clear up this matter ought to have been made in moving the second reading of the present Bill, seeing that one of its objects was the formation of new streets. It appeared to him that if the Bill passed large tolls would be levied in Leaden-hall Market at the expense of the consumer, which would be wasted or spent, as the case might be, in the formation of new streets, and the result would be that on the whole a loss would be shown upon the market, instead of what ought to be indicated as a clear gain. He was informed that the Bill did not come before the House with anything like the unanimous support of the Corporation itself. Quite apart from the question of the monopoly of markets possessed by the Corporation, he believed there was considerable opposition in the City itself to this particular Bill. The old Leadenhall Market had nearly died out. It was almost extinct, and had been replaced by a large number of very flourishing shops. The market itself, as a market, was, however, very nearly dead. The object of the present Bill was to revive a bygone state of things, and to create a new Leadenhall Market. It put down the 40 or 50 shops by which the old market had been replaced. With regard to the markets generally, the City monopoly had this result—that it produced a concentration of markets, all the markets of the Metropolis being either in the City or close to the borders of the City. He contended that this concentration of markets was a bad thing for the consumer. It caused a large amount of food to be brought into one place. Owing to the great size of London, it had to be carried a long way in order to get to where it was to be for the second time sold. The result of the concentration caused by the monopoly was that a large amount of food was kept so long that it became unfit for human food. If they were to have markets—and there was a doubt whether the market system was on the whole advantageous for London—they ought to be more scattered, and not concentrated in the City or close to it. In this case the City, by this Bill, were proposing to carry on a competition against their own market, because they had already one market in another locality in which they sold the same kind of goods which would be sold at the new Leadenhall Mar- 1732 ket. The competing market also was not at a very great distance from the proposed market. He believed it was the competition with their own market which had given rise to the great opposition which the Bill met with in the City; but he would not enter into that question, because he saw several hon. Members in their places in the House who were Aldermen of the City, and who would be better able to state what the facts of the case were. He had no desire at present to go into the matter at any greater length, because he felt it was inconvenient that the Public Business of the House should be postponed by too long a discussion upon a Private Bill. His only object in moving the rejection of the Bill was to elicit the opinion of those who had more acquaintance with the subject and all its details. He would only make once more the remark with which he set out, that the House was asked to read the Bill a second time without one word having been said or printed and sent to hon. Members to explain and support its provisions. He begged to move that the Bill be read a second time on that day six months.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Sir Charles W. Dilke.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. CHARLEY
said, this was a very small Bill on which to found an attack upon the City of London. The Bill dealt with a very ancient market—a market established in the reign of Edward IV., and re-built nearly 150 years ago—in the year 1730. The Corporation of the City of London, having observed that Leadenhall Market was rapidly falling into a state of delapidation, thought that the time had arrived when the old market should be replaced by a new one better adapted to satisfy the wants of the people, and more accessible to the public. The Corporation proposed that this should be done at their own expense, and they asked in the Bill for the usual compulsory powers of purchase. That simply was the object of this Bill; but there was another matter included in it—the opening out of 1733 new streets. That question had been touched upon by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke), and if the hon. Member would look at the plans, which had been published by authority, he thought that the hon. Member would say that the new street, which it was proposed to run from Leadenhall Street to Fenchurch Street, would be a very great improvement, and would afford a very considerable relief to the traffic in that part of the City. If this had been a Bill brought forward by any other municipality than that of the City of London, he did not think that any hon. Member would have risen in his place to move the rejection of the Bill—the ordinary courtesy would have been extended to the promoters of the Bill of allowing them to go before a Private Bill Committee up-stairs, that they might have an opportunity of stating their case. But because the Bill was introduced by the Corporation of the City of London, the hon. Member for Chelsea, who entertained a great dislike to the City—as he did, indeed, to most of the useful institutions of his country—got up in his place and moved the rejection of the Bill. The hon. Baronet had referred to the monopoly of the City with regard to its being the market authority within a radius of seven miles round St. Paul's. No doubt it was so; but did the hon. Member want to erect a market in Chelsea? If he did not, he (Mr. Charley) did not see why the hon. Member should come down to the House to oppose the present Bill. It was simply a dog-in-the-manger policy. The hon. Member did not want a market for himself or for his constituents, and yet he objected to the citizens of London enjoying the benefits which this Bill would confer upon them. This was not a new market at all, but one which had existed from time immemorial. He trusted the House would reject the proposition of the hon. Baronet, and consent to read the Bill a second time.
§ SIR ANDREW LUSK
remarked that, at all events, his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Salford (Mr. Charley) could not say that he (Sir Andrew Lusk) had no interest in the City of London. If he thought that the City had done what was right and proper in the case, he should not have risen to oppose the Bill. He need not remind those Mem- 1734 bers of the House who were interested in the matter that some 18 or 20 years ago, after the Cattle Market was moved up to Copenhagen Fields, several gentlemen, and among them Mr. Charles Pearson, conceived the idea of having the Metropolitan Railway made, and of moving Newgate Market and Leadenhall Market, and of constructing a new market on the site of the old Smithfield Cattle Market. That project, in the end, was carried out, and the City went to the expense of building a splendid new dead-meat market there, and in that market, by the authority of the House, Leadenhall Market and Newgate Market were included. The new market at Smithfield had been of great benefit to everyone who was engaged in the City. At the present moment, they were able to get along Leadenhall Street without having 50 or 100 butchers' carts standing in the street. It appeared to him somewhat singular that the same men who carried out this great improvement, so far as the City was concerned, should now desire to revive the old market in Leadenhall Street. It was of no use talking about the City doing this at their own expense. No doubt, they were going to spend £100,000 in reviving the old market; but it would be necessary to levy tolls in the market, and it would require a good many tolls to make up interest on that sum. These were really the facts of the case. Leadenhall Market at present was not a market, but a place where a great many stolen dogs were sold, and stolen cats, stolen partridges' eggs, stolen pheasants' eggs, and foxes, and things of that kind. Perhaps hon. Members would appreciate the advantages of that class of trade. He was not one of "our old Nobility." He did not count his acres by tens of thousands; but he could say this, and he believed he would be confirmed in what he stated, for it was a very important fact—that it was a great trouble and a great expense to produce food in this country—beef, mutton, and corn—for the people. And many hon. Members must be astonished when they looked at the enormous disparity between the amount they received for what they sold, and the sum they paid when they bought in London. He attributed part of this result to the concentration of markets in one place, which had the effect of raising up 1735 third and fourth and fifth men between the seller and the buyer. He did not think it was desirable for the benefit of those who bought and sold to concentrate the number of markets they now possessed. All the meat went to Smith-field, and all the fish to Billingsgate. In the case of the latter market, there was a great difficulty in getting there. Three-fourths of the people who wanted to go there could not get into the market. The streets leading to the market were constantly blocked up, and it was impossible to get access to Billingsgate. The consequence was that, in some way or other, more than 400 tons of fish every year were destroyed, because it could not get out of the market in time to be of use to the public. It was very questionable, therefore, whether it was desirable to revive the market in Leadenhall Street. He should like to know where the advantages were to be found? He spoke as a merchant in London. He and other merchants having business in the City wanted to get to their offices, and did not want to have the streets blocked up again, as was the case in times past. They had been endeavouring to set the traffic in the City free by the aid of the Metropolitan Railway, and other means. He objected, therefore, to the concentration of the markets of the Metropolis in the City where they were not wanted. There was nobody there to buy, and they had already a splendid market elsewhere. Therefore, in the name of the merchants of London, and of those who had business to carry on in the City, and wanted to get out and in, he asked the House not to concede to the Corporation permission to start another great market in the centre of the City. It certainly could not be recommended from a sanitary point of view; because, wherever they had a market of that kind, they got a great deal more dirt than was desirable. For these reasons, he appealed to the House to throw the Bill out, or, at any rate, to send it to a Select Committee to ascertain whether it would be for the benefit of the Metropolis generally to establish another market as proposed.
§ SIR THOMAS CHAMBERS
pointed out that the request of the hon. Member for Finsbury (Sir Andrew Lusk) was all that the promoters of the Bill asked— namely, that the Bill should be sent to a Select Committee to ascertain whether 1736 it was a suitable Bill to pass or not. It was quite true, as the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) said, that no particular reasons had been circulated for the passing of the Bill; but it was by no means the rule that such reasons should be circulated. It was not uncommon to do so; but in the case of the majority of Private Bills he believed it was not the practice. The Bill was brought into the House, not on the authority of individuals or of private speculators, but upon the authority and credit of the Corporation of London. And as to the Corporation not having been unanimous in its favour, it was hardly necessary to remind the House that the Corporation was unanimous on very few subjects. But what Corporation was? He could not help telling the House that his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury (Sir Andrew Lusk), who had just spoken, knew very well that the maintenance of Leadenhall Market was a concession on the part of the Corporation of London to the feeling of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. Indeed, there was a Petition, signed by upwards of 10,000 persons, praying that this very ancient market should be maintained in their midst. But the Corporation of London could not keep Leadenhall Market in its present condition. It had fallen into decay, in a certain sense, in its trade and in its buildings, and in all the accessories of a market it was absolutely deficient. There was, as had already been pointed out, no proper access to it. No doubt, his hon. Friend (Sir Andrew Lusk) would be disturbed in coming to and going from business if there was no better access to the market than existed now; but the object of the Bill was to do that which, however, was complained of by his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke)—namely, to carry out street improvements at the same time that the market was made. The hon. Member for Chelsea made it a matter of complaint against the Corporation that whenever they made a market they made street improvements in order to give a better access to it. The hon. Member for Chelsea also complained of the market monopoly enjoyed by the City of London. Now, if there was one duty which more than another imposed a primary obligation upon a united municipality, it was that of making provision 1737 for markets for the use of such united municipality. It was a duty of every municipality to take charge of that matter so far as it could, and in London, with a population of 4,000,000 of persons at stake, it was the imperative duty of the Corporation to take the lead. At the same time, it was a matter of great difficulty to provide markets to which the people would resort. Lady Burdett Coutts spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in establishing the Columbia Market. The great object which Lady Burdett Coutts had was to provide accommodation for the buyer. She did everything that could be done to make that market a success; but she did it all in vain. Then, again, did not the City take away one of the greatest scandals that existed in London before most hon. Members were born—the Fleet Lane Market—which was situated opposite a ditch, and build a beautiful market in the same neighbourhood—the Farringdon Market? But it had been a dead failure, and the new market had never taken root at all. Again, in close contiguity with the Great Northern, the North-Western, and the Midland Railways, in an admirable situation, amidst an immense population, a market was established which was intended to supply food cheaply to the public. Upon this new market great efforts were expended and large sums of money spent. An admirable market was built; but no customers would come. He could multiply instances of the same kind. It was by no means easy to plant a market. Let anyone try to plant one at Chelsea. A market in London was the most delicate thing in its constitution that could be imagined. And some which had been in existence for 30 or 40 years were comparatively empty and without profit. The Corporation of London had spent £2,500,000 in markets; and as far as the income of the Corporation was concerned, they were none the better for the markets they had built. They had built them because they considered, and he supposed the House would also consider, that it was one of their primary obligations to do what they could towards performing the daily miracle of feeding 4,000,000 of people with food—meat, fish, and fruit, and all other things necessary. No doubt, the obligation which thus fell upon them was well discharged. Whether it might be done better was another 1738 question, but that it was done well at the present moment nobody could doubt. Four hundred tons of fish might be condemned every year, not through the fault of the market, but through a fault which, in many cases, happened before the fish arrived in London at all. All the Corporation asked was that the Bill should be allowed to go to a Select Committee. No doubt, the Corporation were divided about it. It was a competition with their own market; but that was rather in its favour than against it. It showed that they wore willing to allow competition with their own market, if a demand was made for it by a sufficient number of their constituents, who felt that a local market would be of advantage to them. His hon. Friends the Members for Chelsea and Finsbury said it was a great mistake to bring all the markets to one point and to pass a Bill with that object. But the arguments of his hon. Friends would not hold water at all. If the Bill went before a Select Committee, and if it then turned out that there was no reason why it should be passed into law, the House might depend upon it that it would not be passed into law. But, at any rate, it ought to be read a second time; and if the Select Committee thought it was a proper measure to become law, they would be bound to pass it.
§ MR. W. H. JAMES
thought the Corporation of London would have done wisely, and have shown a little more worldly wisdom, if they had taken the advice once given by a distinguished statesman, who said—"Why cannot you let it alone." It would be within the recollection of the hon. and learned Member for Salford (Mr. Charley) that the whole of this subject of markets was raised last year in the discussion of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Bill. At that time it was said that it was rather an awkward and undesirable thing that the question should be raised at that particular moment. He thought this movement ought to have been a little longer deferred, and then the Corporation could have come forward boldly and have asked Parliament to support their Bill. The hon. and learned Member for Salford said that it was a very small Bill. Primâ facie he was ready to admit that it was, and that there was a tolerably good case for improving Leadenhall Market if it was ever again to be used 1739 as a market. In its present condition, the market was a very dirty and disagreeable place. But if it was a small Bill, it was one that affected a very large question; and he must contend that the present provision for the supply of markets over the whole of the Metropolis was absolutely indefensible. There was not on the Surrey side of London a single market. Walworth and Camberwell were destitute of markets. Then, again, on the North side of London, there were no markets either at Stoke Newington or Hoxton, and nothing was proposed to be done there for providing anything in the shape of market accommodation. No doubt, the present Bill would have slipped through the House unnoticed if it had not been for the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke). Hon. Members had only had to-day to gather information. He (Mr. James) had inquired in the Library if there was any information to be gathered upon the question of markets. There were very few subjects which some time or other had not been inquired into by that House; but the only information to be obtained on the question of markets was to be found in some little evidence given before a Royal Commission which inquired, in 1854, into the finances and general state of the Corporation. And the evidence taken at that time all tended to show that even then the want of markets in London was greatly felt, and was, indeed, something absolutely deplorable. No Committee of the House of Commons had ever at any time inquired into the subject; and he asked the hon. and learned Member the Recorder of London (Sir Thomas Chambers), whether he was prepared to contend for a single moment that the City of London, the population of which was dwindling away every day, and was not more than 75,000 at this moment, was the proper authority to possess the entire market monopoly of this great Metropolis, with a population of 4,000,000 of people? He had no wish to attack the Corporation of London; but he thought he had the right to defend the wants of the Metropolitan ratepayers, who had no good opportunity for expressing their opinion on this or any other question. In the absence of favourable markets, costermongers' carts filled the streets, and distributing their garbage in every direction, were instrumental in placing the thoroughfares in a 1740 bad sanitary condition. Sometimes, when unable to sell their wares, they took them home and deposited them in their backyards; and the consequence was that many of the homes of the poor were placed in a very unsatisfactory sanitary condition. He had placed an Amendment on the Paper in regard to the present Bill, the effect of which was that after it had been read a second time it should be sent to a Select Committee nominated by the Whole House. At the time the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Bill of 1869 was brought in by his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), the right hon. Gentleman proposed to take away the monopoly now enjoyed by the Corporation of the City of London, unless they complied with and fulfilled certain conditions which were considered necessary in the interests of the inhabitants of the Metropolis. As the Corporation had not complied with and fulfilled those conditions, it was only a reasonable request that the House should now be asked to refrain from passing this Bill, which dealt with a small part of the larger question, until the whole matter had been inquired into by a Select Committee. If this proposition were not accepted, he should feel it his duty to offer an uncompromising opposition to the second reading of the Bill. He must confess that from time to time these ancient and antiquated privileges possessed by the Corporation required revision. The whole thing ought to be gone into entirely, and made the subject of a full and complete investigation. If the Corporation objected to inquiry, the House could only come to one conclusion—namely, that they were afraid of giving a full explanation, because they knew perfectly well what the nature of the exposé would be, and that, when weighed in the balance, they would be found wanting.
§ MR. ALDERMAN COTTON
, in supporting the second reading of the Bill, said, he could assure the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. James) that the Corporation of the City at all times courted inquiry, and nothing would please them more than to answer any queries addressed to them by a Select Committee or any inquiry which the House might be pleased to make. With regard to the Bill now before the House, it was pretty well known that the market at Leaden- 1741 hall was one of the most ancient markets in the City. The land on which it was built was the property of the City of London, and the Corporation, in their present Bill, simply asked the House to allow them to improve that market and the approaches thereto. The City had been moved to take this action by one of the largest, most influential, and most honestly signed Petitions ever presented to the Corporation of the City of London. It contained upwards of 7,000 signatures, all duly certified with name and address. It was one of the most useful markets in London, and, situated as it was on the borders of Gracechurch Street, it was easily approached both from East and West, and North and South. Then, again, the market was required by City men themselves, who lived mostly in the suburbs, and required to take their provisions home with them. In the market every necessity could be obtained, and he failed to see what advantage would be derived from destroying this very useful market. He certainly hoped that the House would not listen to the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke), and let it go forth to the City that the markets, which had always been well conducted, and had always given satisfaction to those who frequented them, were no longer required. He trusted that the House would reject the Amendment and read the Bill a second time.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
remarked that if this Bill came up from any Corporation in the Provinces, he did not suppose that the House would waste any time in its discussion. It seemed to him to be a very reasonable Bill, so far as it took power to improve a very ancient market. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down described the market of Leadenhall as one of the oldest in London; but the whole difficulty in the case arose from the fact that the market authority of the Metropolis was not the municipality of the whole of the Metropolis, but the municipality of only a small part of it. His hon. Friend behind him the learned Recorder of London (Sir Thomas Chambers), in his eloquent pleading for the City, told them there was no greater duty a municipality could perform than to look after the markets. That was perfectly true, and he did not for a moment deny it. But, in this case, what were the condi- 1742 tions? It was proposed that the Corporation, which represented some 200,000, or even a much less number of the inhabitants of the City, should provide markets for the 4,000,000 which formed the whole population of the Metropolis. They could not now go into the question whether they ought or ought not to intrust this special power of providing markets to the City of London. The power did exist at the present moment, and it was proposed now, to some extent, practically to extend it. One great argument which had been used by the City when fresh markets had been projected was that they had already spent a great deal of money upon markets, and that there ought to be no competition. At the present moment, however, some little difference of opinion seemed to exist among the Corporation as to the propriety of having a competition among themselves. And by the Bill now before the House, he understood it was so proposed to alter Leadenhall Market as to make it a market of competition with the existing markets. He thought if they did that they afforded a very fair ground for the rest of the inhabitants of the Metropolis to say that their interests ought to be thoroughly considered when the Bill got into Committee, and that they ought to have a full opportunity of opening the whole of the Market Question. His hon. Friend the Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Raikes) would correct him if he was wrong; but his impression was that if this Bill went upstairs without any special direction, but simply as an ordinary Private Bill, the consumers in the Metropolis would not have a locus standi before the Committee. He imagined that the Metropolitan Board of Works would have a locus standi on account of their Building Acts which gave them power over the erection of buildings in all parts of the Metropolis, even including the City of London. But he did think that when they were proposing to establish a fresh dead-meat market, which was to be not merely for the sale of meat to consumers in the City, but for the sale of meat to consumers outside the City, that the consumers in all parts of London should have a locus standi. At the same time, he did not believe they could have that locus standi unless the Bill was referred 1743 to a Select Committee, nominated by the Whole House in the manner proposed by his hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Mr. James). He did not suppose that there would be any real objection to that proposal. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Alderman Cotton), who was well acquainted with the feeling of the Corporation of London, said there was nothing the authorities of the City would court more than an inquiry into the matter. If they really desired to have the whole question fairly sifted in the interests of the consumers, he could not help thinking there would be no real objection to the suggestion of his hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Mr. James). Under these circumstances, he hoped his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) would not persist in his opposition to the second reading of the Bill, but would allow the Bill to be read a second time with the view of having it referred to a Select Committee nominated by the Whole House.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
thought that if this was an attempt to construct an absolutely fresh market outside the jurisdiction of the Corporation of London who were the promoters of the Bill, it was possible the objections which had been raised to it by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke), and his right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. W. E. Forster), might have considerable force and weight with the House. In such a ease—he did not say that he agreed with the proposal—it might fairly be argued that if such an attempt were made by the City to extend the number of their markets, the time had come when they should consider generally the question whether the old Charter granted to the City of London constituting them the sole market authority of the Metropolis, was one which ought not in some way to be altered. But he would remind the House that in this instance they were not dealing at all with any such creation of a fresh market All he understood from this Bill was that the City asked within their own limits and under their own Charter to provide, instead of a market which at present was inadequate for the wants of the locality, a better market on the same site—carrying on the history of the market from the past, only under improved conditions. 1744 Such being the simple object of the Bill, it rendered it difficult, he thought, for the House to refuse its assent to the second reading. They knew perfectly well that the Bill would be submitted to the consideration of a Committee upstairs, where, as his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) had said, the Metropolitan Board of Works would have a locus standi, and where the owners of property in the neighbourhood who objected to it would also have a right to be heard. But the question, which the right hon. Gentleman referred to, of the consumer's interest, would arise simply on the creation of a fresh market outside the limits of the existing one, and not in the continuing of a market which existed at the present moment, and which would be found of great convenience to the locality in which it existed. Although he was not in a position to speak with the same authority as hon. Members for the City upon this matter, he believed that, in connection with another market in the City—Billingsgate Market—there were people who had business in Leaden-hall Market, and therefore any idea of satisfying the wants of the traders, or customers who had for so long a period been accustomed to the market in Leadenhall Street, would not be met by sending them to the market in Smithfield, which the City held as another outlet. He confessed that he was considerably surprised at the arguments adduced by his hon. Friend the Alderman who represented the borough of Finsbury (Sir Andrew Lusk). The hon. Baronet had endeavoured to prove to the House the disadvantages of centralizing all the traders in one market, and had then asked the House to refuse the continuance of the second market in Leaden-hall Street. The two things did not seem to him (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) to be consistent, so far as the interests of the consumers in the Metropolis were concerned. He thought the whole of the arguments they had heard upon the Bill had simply been addressed to the general question which ought to be raised at some other time, and which certainly did not apply to the continuance of Leadenhall Market, which had been, and would be, under the proposed arrangement, a useful addition to the market purposes of the Metropolis itself.
§ SIR SYDNEY WATERLOW
said, the district affected by the Bill occupied a very large portion of the ward which he represented in the Corporation of the City of London. He trusted that the House would consent to read the Bill a second time on account principally of the very great improvements which it would effect in the City itself. It would, among other things, enable the old Hide Market in Leadenhall Street to be properly utilized, and a new street would be carried from Leadenhall Street to Fenchurch Street, which would greatly facilitate the traffic in that part of the City. There was a very strong feeling in the district in which the market was situated that the market itself ought not to be abolished, and an important Petition signed by a very large number of persons had been presented to the House, praying that the market should be continued. The Bill now before the House was in reality a compromise. The City had consented, at the request of a very large number of persons, to continue the market. But what was the market? There was in reality nothing that could be called a market. There were two wholesale dealers, a few small shops, and a variety of dealers in foxes, dogs, cats, rabbits, and all sorts of animals; but to call it a market from which was distributed any considerable portion of the food of the Metropolis was a folly and absurdity. It never could be made a large market in its present condition, for this reason. It was right in the centre of a block of houses, and at the present time it could not be got at except through a few narrow courts. The hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. James) asked why they should not leave things alone? Now, that was the very thing they ought not to do. At the present moment, it was an abomination and not a market at all, and it was so situated that it could not be carried on as a market. He hoped that the House would consent to the second reading of the Bill, and leave it to a Committee upstairs to determine whether it would be an improvement to make the new street and re-constitute the market, or whether it would be an improvement to be without any market at all.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) had asked him a question in regard to the locus standi of the 1746 citizens of the Metropolis if the Bill went before a Committee upstairs in the ordinary way. He was not aware that the consumers in this case would have any more locus standi than they would have in any other case. Their opposition was precisely the same as that of the consumers in Liverpool or Manchester, supposing the Bill had been introduced by the Corporation of Liverpool or Manchester in regard to the markets already existing in those towns. He hoped that the discussion, which had no doubt been a useful one, would not end in a division; because, although the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. James) and the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had shown that there was a great deal of interest felt out-of-doors with regard to the monopoly possessed by the Corporation of London in regulating the markets of the Metropolis, it appeared to him (Mr. Raikes) that this was hardly an occasion, nor did the present Bill afford the most fitting opportunity, for conducting an inquiry into that subject. The Corporation of London, by this Bill, asked for no power to make any new market, or to make or regulate any market beyond the limits of the City itself. If, therefore, in any case the promoters of a Bill ought to be allowed to proceed and to bring forward their Bill in the ordinary course of procedure, adopting the usual mode of dealing with questions which formed the subject of Private Bills, this was a case of that nature. If it were intended by this Bill to establish a new market in the borough of Chelsea, or if it were a proposition which involved in any way the opening of new markets on the Southern side of the river, where he had every reason to believe market accommodation was greatly required, such a proposal would certainly have afforded a fair opportunity for instituting such an inquiry as that suggested by the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. James), and the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke). But on this occasion the Corporation of London, as the promoters of the Bill, were merely asking to be allowed to improve an already existing market, which was altogether unfit for the purposes for which it was intended. It was notorious that the present market at Leadenhall was inconvenient and difficult of access. The Corporation of 1747 the City proposed as part of the present Bill to construct a new street, and he believed that such a street would be a very great convenience to that part of London. Under all the circumstances, it did appear to him that it would be hard upon the Corporation of London that they should be placed in the trying position of attempting to carry out improvements that were essentially required, and, at the same time, that their action should be hampered by requiring them to enter into a long and troublesome inquiry as to the nature and advantages of the general powers which they possessed by Statute. He trusted that under these circumstances the House would allow the Bill to follow the ordinary course, and be sent, not to a special Committee, but to an ordinary Committee, who would have full power to go into all the details of the matter in the ordinary way. He might, perhaps, be allowed to add in regard to the question which had been raised with respect to the costs being defrayed by heavy tolls, which would ultimately come out of the pockets of the consumers, that that was a matter which an ordinary Private Bill Committee had full power to investigate, and it would be their duty to see that no injustice was done by the imposition of any undue charge. He hoped that, under all these circumstances, the House would now consent to read the Bill a second time.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, he proposed to accept the advice of his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) and allow the division to be taken on the Amendment of the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. James) to refer the Bill to a Committee nominated by the Whole House, after it should have been read a second time. He, therefore, begged to withdraw the Amendment which he had submitted to the House.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time.
§ MR. W. H. JAMES moved that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee, to be nominated by the Whole House.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
, in seconding the Motion, said, he had only one remark to make, and he wished to 1748 make it in reply to an observation which had fallen from the Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Raikes). The Chairman of Committees spoke of the consumers in London being in the same position as those in other towns. That was hardly the case. In other towns they were represented by the Corporation, but in London they were not.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed "That the Bill be committed to a Select Committee."—(Mr. James.)
§ SIR THOMAS CHAMBERS
remarked that the Bill was promoted under the authority of the Corporation of London, and the nature of the measure had already been fully stated. It was not to establish a new market, but simply to improve an old and existing one, and a more unfair occasion for raising any general question of the kind which had been suggested, and of which it must be remembered the Corporation had had no notice, could not be conceived. The whole object of the Bill was merely to re-construct a tumble-down market, and give a better access to it.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 83; Noes 137: Majority 54.—(Div. List, No. 28.)
§ Bill committed.