HC Deb 10 July 1879 vol 248 cc12-3

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is true that Her Majesty's Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 have commenced a suit in Chancery against the Royal Horticultural Society, with the view of recovering possession of the Gardens at South Kensington now in the occupation of that Society whether it is the fact that this proceeding, if carried into effect, would extinguish the liability of Her Majesty's Commissioners to pay the holders of the Horticultural Society's Debentures, ten shillings in the pound in 1892, provided Her Majesty's Commissioners should at that date decline to renew the Society's lease; and, whether, if the facts be as stated, Her Majesty's Commissioners propose to make any compensation to the Debenture Holders, for the security now held by them, which it is thus proposed to extinguish?


The Commissioners have commenced an action in the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice for the purpose of recovering possession of the Gardens at South Kensington, formerly agreed to be demised by them to the Royal Horticultural Society. The Commissioners never have been, and are not, and never can be, under any liability to pay the holders of the Royal Horticultural Society's debentures 10s. in the pound, or any other sum, because any possible liability to do so was contingent on the Society having performed the covenants in the agreements, which they have not done. Having regard to that fact, and to the fact that the debenture-holders have no lien or charge upon the property comprised in the agreements, the Commissioners, who hold their funds as trustees for the public, do not propose to make any compensation to those gentlemen.