HC Deb 23 February 1888 vol 322 cc1227-8

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the Metropolitan Board of Works have given notices, in connection with the Gray's Inn Road improvement, to the inhabitants of Fleur de Lis Court, part of Elm Street, and other places, of their intention to take about 56 houses wholly occupied by persons belonging to the labouring classes; and whether their powers purport to be exercised subject to the provisions of 47 & 48 Vict. c. 223, s. 42; whether, since the taking of these houses will entail the removal of a very large number of poor people, the Board have, in accordance with the provision of 40 & 41 Vict. c. 225, s. 23, proved to his satisfaction that sufficient accommodation, in suitable dwellings, has been provided elsewhere; and, if so, would he state whore; whether he, in accordance with the provisions of 44–46 Vict. c. 222, s. 4, has given a certificate as to the sufficiency of accommodation; whether he will declare upon what materials and information he did so; whether he will lay such certificate, and all Papers relating to the granting thereof, upon the Table of the House; whether he can state the approximate number of persons who have and will be removed in connection with these improvements, and the situation, nature, and extent of the accommodation provided; whether he is aware that a large number of the persons so removed, and to be removed, are costermongers and traders, and that there is no accommodation provided or permitted at the model lodgings in the neighbourhood for the housing of their barrows and other trade goods; whether his attention has been drawn to the Report of 1885 of the Royal Commission on the Housing of the Working Classes, which refers to the Gray's Inn Road improvements as the cause of gross overcrowding; whether he is aware that the rents of such model lodgings as exist in the neighbourhood are largely in excess of the rents paid by the inhabitants in respect of the said houses; whether he has taken any, and what, steps to prevent the carrying out of the projected evictions; and, whether he will take measures to secure adequate provision for the housing of those persons about to be removed?


The 33rd section of the Act of 1877, under which the Secretary of State has various powers for securing adequate provision for the housing of persons displaced in the course of the Gray's Inn Road improvement, has been repealed by the 45 & 46 Vict. c. 222, under which statute a scheme has been laid down by Parliament for observance by the Board; and the Secretary of State has no other function than to give a certificate that the Board have complied with the provisions of the Act. I have not yet been asked to give such a certificate, as the operations are not completed. I have received a Memorandum from the Metropolitan Board of Works answering the Question of the hon. Member. It is, however, too long to read to the House; but I shall be happy to show it to him. It is very voluminous indeed, and points out the difficulties in the way.