HC Deb 27 February 1891 vol 350 cc1844-6
MR. BAUMANN (Camberwell, Peckham)

I beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether he is aware that certain persons, on behalf of the promoters of the Kensington and Paddington Subway Bill, have already begun to peg out portions of Kensington Gardens; whether this has been done with his authority; and whether, in view of the fact that the Bill has not yet passed either the Committee stage or the Third Reading in this House, he will order the promoters to suspend all further operations, and to cease interfering with the public enjoyment of the gardens?

MR. COBB (Warwick, S. E., Rugby)

I should like to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the plans and sections show that the proposed railway will cross Kensington Gardens in an open cutting, which will afterwards be covered over?


The Kensington and Paddington Subway Bill has passed a Second Reading in this House, and it will now be for a Select Committee to examine in detail the arguments for and against the measures. As to those general questions, I do not desire to express any opinion one way or the other. But I must be prepared to inform the Committee, should it otherwise approve of the scheme, to what extent the construction of the line would involve any interference with the amenities of the park. With that view I called upon the promoters to indicate the line which they intended to take by the usual method of placing a few temporary pegs here and there in the ground. I may say that to their first proposal I objected, and I am now about to consider an alternative route. I do not believe that the placing of these pegs in the ground has in any degree interfered with the enjoyment of the gardens by the public. The case stands thus: The promoters must, if they can, satisfy the Committee in order to get their Bill; and they must, I suppose, satisfy the public in order to get their money; and my hon. Friend may rest assured that, until they have achieved these two purposes, they will not be allowed to begin operations in Kensington Gardens. I may add that, if all objections were overcome, and the Bill were passed by the Committee and afterwards by the House, the assent of the Crown would still be required. In answer to the supplementary question, I have to say that the course that it is proposed to take is to construct the railway in sections, so that only a small part of the gardens at a time would be interfered with. Of course, the whole question is one of the balance of conveniences for the public.


May I ask whether arrangements have been made for working the line by electricity or by cable, or whether it is merely intended to construct a subway for foot passengers as far as the Albert Hall?


Objections were raised by the Science and Art Department to the proposal that it should be an electrical railway passing under their premises; and so the promoters have agreed to work by cable instead of by electricity. So far, that difficulty has been overcome. The idea is that there should be a subway connecting the South Kensington Railway Station with the Albert Hall and Paddington by way of the Kensington Gardens. Through the Gardens the subway would consist of two tubes, and nothing of it would be visible. The most serious permanent alteration that would be involved would be the destruction of a certain number of trees.


Has the right hon. Gentleman been informed that the running of cars in the subway will materially interfere with the scientific instruction given in the Normal School of Science and in the large school connected with the City and Guilds of London Institute? Does he know that arrangements have been made by which the construction can be carried on without interfering with the work in the schools?


My impression is that all these objections have been overcome by the promotors.

MR. PICTON (Leicester)

When the right hon. Gentleman stated that the assent of the Crown would be necessary, did he mean anything more than the Royal assent which must be given to every Bill?


Yes, Sir; Kensington Gardens are Crown property.