§ MR. DE LISLE (Leicester, Mid)
I beg-to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether his attention has been called to the decay of the new stone-work on the west side of Westminster Hall?
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. PLUNKET,) Dublin University
The new stone-work of the new buildings on the west side of Westminster Hall has been carefully examined, and, with the exception of two or three small stones, which are evidently soft, there is no decay. Some interesting stones which were taken from the old buttresses have, however, been raised in corresponding positions in the new buttresses and these, having been covered up in the old buildings for many years are, now that they are again exposed to the atmosphere, showing signs of decay on the surface, but this, after a time, will probably cease to a great extent. With respect, however, to the new stone-work which has been used as a facing to the main wall in the interior of the Hall, I regret to say that, from some reason which cannot at present be explained, certain patches of the work are undoubtedly decaying on the surface, and, strange to say, in the same places as the decay had principally occurred in the old stonework before the repairs were effected. The architect, Mr. Pearson, is at present quite unable to account for this mysterious decay, and assures me that the stone selected for the work (Ketton) is the best for the London atmosphere, and this opinion would appear to be borne out by its standing well on the outside of the building. It is believed that there must be some peculiarity in the mortar of those parts of the old wall where the decay is taking place, and I intend to have the matter thoroughly investigated at once, with a view of ascertaining the cause, if possible.