§ SIR HENRY ROSCOE (Manchester, S.)
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, in view of his promise that the recommendations of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Housing of the National Science and other Collections at South Kensington should receive the attention of the Government, and that a statement should be made to the House without unreasonable delay, he is now prepared to carry out that promise, and to make a statement on the subject?
§ THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
In answer to the hon. Member for Manchester, I have to inform him that shortly before the holidays the Chancellor of the Exchequer and I spent a morning at South Kensington, where we met the Vice President of the Council and the permanent officers of the Department, with a view to satisfy ourselves as to the necessity for further accommodation; and the conclusion we came to was to invite the assistance of some gentlemen well known in the scientific world to go through the Collections at South Kensington, with the view of ascertaining whether space may not be gained by the disposal of useless or unimportant articles or duplicates. As that Committee will be requested to meet at once, the Government propose to await its Report before arriving at any final determination as to the extension of building recommended by the Departmental Committee. I should say that the hon. Gentleman called my attention to Reports of previous Committees; but it appears that no Committee has yet 156 sat with a view to going through the Collections for the purpose of excluding useless or duplicate specimens.
§ MR. MUNDELLA (Sheffield, Brightside)
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman had informed himself of the fact that in 1883 and 1884 Committees of Experts examined into the "whole question of the housing of the various Collections, and the sifting out of articles which were redundant or useless?
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
No doubt the Committees in question did report in favour of additional accommodation for South Kensington; but the Government are not satisfied that they did go through the Collections for the purpose of sifting them, and they are satisfied there are some things which could be got rid of with advantage.