HC Deb 01 May 1890 vol 343 cc1814-5

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is responsible for the adoption of the design of Mr. N. Shaw, R.A., for the Police Buildings lately erected on the Thames Embankment; whether the Commissioners of Woods and Forests as Trustees of the Crown Lands on which these buildings have been erected, protested against the design, or made any representations with respect to it, and whether he will produce any correspondence on the subject which may have taken place; and why these designs, before being carried into execution, were not submitted for the inspection of the Members of both Houses of Parliament?


I am responsible for the adoption of the designs for the Police Buildings on the Embankment It is not the fact that the Commissioners of Woods and Forests protested against them. The designs were before the Office of Works and the Office of Woods for the purpose of satisfying them that the building did not infringe certain conditions considered necessary for the protection of adjoining Crown Land. They made no representation adverse to the designs. It has never been the practice to submit the designs of Police Buildings to the inspection of Members, and many other large public buildings have been erected without such inspection. The original designs, from which some variation has been made, were exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1887 and were favourably noticed in the Press. Having regard to the results of the most conspicuous recent instance of a competition in designs for a large public building, I preferred to select an eminent architect on whose artistic and practical knowledge full reliance could be placed. I cannot in the space of an answer argue the point whether the style is or is not out of harmony with surrounding buildings. The design was submitted to, and sanctioned by me, and I consider it to be a successful solution of the difficult architectural problem of providing accommodation for a staff of some 300 persons upon a site limited in dimensions, and the building appears to me worthy of its site and its purpose.


Is there no correspondence on the subject between the Home Office and the Office of Woods and Forests?


I have stated the purport of the communication.