HC Deb 19 March 1891 vol 351 cc1424-5
SIR H. ROSCOE (Manchester, S.)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is the case that an unknown donor has offered £80,000 to build an Art Gallery on a site at South Kensington, the erection of which would materially interfere with the purposes for which land was recently bought by Government for housing the Science Collections, and for the necessary erection of suitable chemical and physical laboratories in connection with the Royal School of Science; whether another site at South Kensington has been offered which would not interfere with the object for which Parliament granted the purchase-money for the land; and whether the Government will give an assurance that these objects will be maintained?


It is true that a public-spirited gentleman has offered £80,000 to build an Art Gallery on a site at South Kensington; but with regard to the further points raised by the hon. Member, I may say at once that the offer only affects about one-tenth of the land recently bought by Government, and the remainder would still be left avail- able, if required, for Science Collections. No pledge was given that the whole of the land would be appropriated to Science Collections. On the contrary, the Treasury, in accepting the offer of the Commissioners of the 1851 Exhibition, stated that the land was in excess of even future requirements of the Science Collections. It would be possible to make adequate provision for chemical and physical laboratories on the land between the Imperial Institute Road and the Technical Institute. This site adjoins the east galleries, and it is in these galleries, together with the west and southern galleries, and a proposed cross gallery joining the east and west galleries, that the Science Collections may ultimately be housed. The interests of the Royal School of Science, and of the Science Collections, are being carefully kept in view; and the hon. Member will understand that the acceptance of this generous offer will enable us to provide adequate space for exhibition purposes more rapidly than would have been possible under the old scheme.