HC Deb 28 May 1880 vol 252 cc667-9

rose, pursuant to Notice, to call the attention of the House to the unsatisfactory conditions under which the preliminary examinations of candidates for the Army were conducted. Owing to the large number who were brought together on those occasions, and especially the large number who were dictated to at one time, great inconvenience was very often the result. He would specially refer in support of that statement to what occurred on the 7th or 8th of April. On that occasion as many as 400 young men were gathered together in the same place for examination, the questions of the examiners were frequently received with ironical cries of "Hear, hear;" and he had received complaints from candidates who had been prevented from hearing the examiner's questions by the wilful noise made by the others, who were allowed to go into the upper galleries and there whistle, and, by other annoyances, disturb the people at work below. In these circumstances, he wished to point out that it would be well if the examinations could be conducted in a separate, and not in a vast chamber like that at South Kensington; and he hoped the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War would be directed to the subject.


while bearing testimony to the pains taken by the Civil Service Commissioners to employ skilled Examiners, concurred with the hon. Gentleman in the opinion that the Albert Hall was not a fit place for dictation. He had heard that during the examination persons other than candidates were allowed to walk about in the Hall. He should be glad, if these and other such examinations were to be continued on so large a scale as they were at present, if his right hon. Friend, or whoever else was responsible, could see his way to securing a more convenient place beforehand.


stated, from the terms of the Notice he had no idea to what point in connection with the preliminary examinations of officers the hon. Member intended to refer; but what he had said related to matters of which the War Office had no official knowledge, the arrangements complained of being under the sole responsibility of the Civil Service Commissioner. He would, however, bring the complaint of the two hon. Members under their notice; and he would feel obliged if the hon. Member for West Cumberland (Mr. Percy Wyndham) would send him any letters, with precise facts communicated to him, which he would undertake should not prejudice the writer. No doubt, there was a great want of convenient buildings in London for public examinations—probably the most convenient being at Greenwich Hospital.


thought the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Cumberland was fully justified in bringing the matter before the House; but he considered that it might be very satisfactorily left to the Civil Service Commissioners.

Motion, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," agreed to.