HC Deb 25 May 1886 vol 306 cc31-2
MR. LLEWELLYN (Somerset, N.)

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether he is in possession of such information as satisfies him that all Union Workhouses throughout the Country are provided with efficient means of escape for the inmates in case of fire; and, if not, whether he will instruct inquiries to be made and reports furnished to him on this subject?


In the early part of 1882, the attention of the Board was drawn by their Inspectors to the want of appliances in many Poor Law Institutions for meeting an outbreak of fire and insuring the safety of the inmates in the event of an outbreak occurring; and they, therefore, deemed it right in March of that year to issue a circular letter on the subject to the several Boards of Guardians in England and Wales. The Board impressed upon the Guardians the importance of always having at hand ready means of dealing with an outbreak of fire in its earliest stage, and of aiding the escape of the inmates from the buildings. They also suggested the precautions which should be taken by the master, or other responsible officer, to guard against an outbreak of fire, the arrangements for giving immediate notice of an outbreak, and the appliances which should be provided for extinguishing fire, and for aiding persons to escape when the ordinary means of exit are cut off. As the result of that circular the subject has received the special attention of Boards of Guardians generally, and the Board entertains no doubt that their suggestions have, to a large extent, been adopted. It may be added that in several instances since the issue of that circular structural alterations have been made in existing buildings with the view of facilitating the escape of the inmates. In case of plans of new buildings, which are submitted to the Board, the arrangements for escape on the occurrence of a fire are always considered by the Board. It does not at present appear to the Board that any further action on their part is necessary.