HC Deb 25 March 1889 vol 334 cc699-700

asked the First Commissioner of Works whether Mr. Pearson, R. A., was responsible for the designs of the two new staircases and the southwest stone parapet which had lately been erected in Westminster Hall; whether these designs were considered and approved by the Select Committee on Westminster Hall; and, if so, why plans and elevations adequately representing them did not appear in the appendix to the Committee's report; whether the view of Westminster Hall, No. 22, in the appendix to the report, was the view referred to by Mr. Pearson in his answer, No. 158, to the chairman, or to what other view he referred, and why the principal staircase on the west side of the hall had not been made symmetrical with Sir Charles Barry's entrance to St. Stephen's Cloisters; whether the design for the stone parapet which had been placed at the southwest corner of the hall was approved by the Committee, and for what reason it had been substituted for the iron railing which formerly stood there, and which was in harmony with the iron railing leading to the members' south-east entrance to St. Stephen's Cloisters; and whether he was now able to fix a time when the public would be re-admitted to Westminster Hall?


I am informed by Mr. Pearson that the designs of the staircases and of the south-west stone parapet in Westminster Hall are his; that the arrangement of the staircases was submitted to and approved by the Committee on Westminster Hall, and that they are adequately represented on plans 5A, 6A, and 8; that the plan No. 22 was referred to him, and that his (Mr. Pearson's) answer No. 158 pointed out that communication existed originally from the hall by means of staircases, and that a similar method was now proposed; that the arrangement of the plan did not admit of the entrances being placed symmetrically with that on the other side, even if it had been desirable that they should be so placed, and that they are, besides, of a totally different character, and on different levels; that a stone wall was necessary to carry the steps and landing giving access to the new rooms at that end, and that this stone wall could only be properly finished by a stone parapet as shown on plans 5A and 6A. The existence of an iron railing similar to that leading to the Members' south-east entrance to St. Stephen's Cloisters would obviously be inconsistent with the steps, landing, and parapet referred to. As to the last paragraph of the question, I am in communication with the Secretary for the Home Department on the subject.