HC Deb 15 March 1883 vol 277 cc548-9

asked the Chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works, If his attention has been called to the statement made by Sir Frederick Bramwell before the Committee of the House of Lords on the 19th of May 1881, with reference to an accident which occurred with an omnibus on the 28th of January in the Euston Road, in which he states that as the driver was proceeding to the City, when approaching the ventilator over the railway, a large volume of steam came up, frightening the horses, who both reared; in another instant that he lost sight of them, and that it was only by hearing their feet upon the pavement and the wheels striking against the palisade he knew where he was, and that had there been outside passengers they must have been thrown off; and, whether the ventilator in question is similar to those being now placed in the Embankment and Victoria Street; and, if so, what steps the Metropolitan Board now propose to take to protect the traffic from the recurrence of these or similar accidents in this neighbourhood, and what power they possess to remove those obstructions or nuisances which imperil the lives of street passengers?


I am aware of the evidence given by Sir Frederick Bramwell before the Committee referred to by the hon. Member; and I may say that I entertain the strongest objections to the mode of ventilation by apertures into the street, and that I gave decided views upon the subject before Captain Galton, the arbitrator. The ventilators on the Embankment and in Queen Victoria Street are intended to be raised above the street levels; but though, perhaps, not so likely to frighten horses, they must necessarily be dangerous and obstructive to the traffic, and a nuisance to the neighbourhood. They have, however, been sanctioned by Parliament, in spite of the strenuous opposition of the Metropolitan Board and the City of London, and I am not aware of any steps which the Board or the Corporation can take for their removal.


May I ask the hon. and gallant Baronet whether, notwithstanding these difficulties, the Metropolitan Board of Works, or the Corporation, can take any steps for the removal of the ventilators?


My hon. Friend is well aware that, by the Forms of the House, there are very great difficulties; but, notwithstanding these, one of my colleagues has put a notice on the paper for the meeting of the Board of Works to-morrow, to discuss the question whether it is possible to bring in a Bill for the repeal of the obnoxious clauses. The General Purposes Committee will consider the matter, and I think they will have power to act.