HC Deb 09 April 1889 vol 335 cc12-3
MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board if he has appointed, or is about to appoint, Mr. Thomas Hill an ex officio Guardian of the Poor for St. Martin's in the Fields; whether he is aware that Mr. Hill has. within the last few days withdrawn from the pending popular election of Guardians, and announced his attention not to again appeal to the ratepayers for re-election; whether Mr. Hill has been Chairman of the Guardians for several years; whether the terrible condition of the children in the parish schools did not exist during his term of office; and, if Mr. Hill has been, or is about to be, appointed as a Guardian, he will state the reason for such nomination?


It is the intention of the Local Government Board to nominate Mr. Hill as a Guardian of the Strand Union. Mr. Hill has been an elected member of the Board of Guardians for 21 years, and in. the case of most of the elections he has been returned at the head of the poll. For the past 16 years he has been annually elected Chairman of the Board of Guardians, and for many years he has represented the Union on the Board of Management of the Metropolitan Asylum district. Looking to these facts, and on the recommendation of the two Inspectors for the Metropolitan District, who have personal knowledge of Mr. Hill's services, he has been offered nomination as a Guardian. As regards the alleged "terrible condition of the children in the parish schools," I presume the hon. Member refers to the outbreak of ophthalmia. It is satisfactory, however, to me to learn that the specialist who was called in to examine, the children states— As the general result of my examination, I was struck with the healthy aspect of the children, which showed they were thoroughly well fed and cared for. I do not, therefore, consider the state of the eyes of so many of them to be due to any want of attention on the part of either the surgeons, the master, matron, or nurses, but simply to the fact that there is insufficient accommodation, which is especially apparent in the dormitories and schoolrooms. Plans for the extension of the schools are now before the Board.


The right hon. Gentleman has not answered one of my questions—namely, what are the reasons for the nomination of Mr. Hill as an ex officio Guardian? I would follow that up by another question, as to whether it is the policy of the Local Government Board to appoint as ex officio Guardians men who are afraid to face the popular verdict of the ratepayers?


As to the reasons which induced the Local Government Board to appoint Mr. Hill, I have given sufficient evidence to the hon. Gentleman to show that in our opinion Mr. Hill was a proper person to be appointed. It was because we thought he was a proper person that he was appointed. As to the hon. Gentleman's statement of Mr. Hill being afraid to seek reelection, I beg to say that Mr. Hill only withdrew from the list of candidates after he had received a notification from the Local Government Board that he was to be offered the appointment.