HC Deb 14 May 1891 vol 353 cc709-10

I wish to put a question to the First Commissioner of Works, of which I have given him private notice, namely, whether his attention has been called to a letter in the Times, written by the hon. Baronet the Member for Hallamshire (Sir F. Mappin), calling attention to the manner in which the temperature of the House was regulated last week; whether he can, while consulting the wishes of those hon. Members who are endowed with a superfluity of physical health and strength, pay some regard to the comfort of those weaker Members (of whom I am one) who are susceptible to the influences of chills and draughts, and who desire to discharge their duties as Members in this House, and also to avail themselves of the advantages—say, one room in the Library and one of the Reading Rooms—without being exposed to the risk of severe and perhaps serious indisposition?


I have seen the letter referred to in the Times of this morning. Of course, I regret very much that the hon. Baronet should be suffering, and should attribute his illness to the imperfect arrangements for the ventilation of the House, but the hon. Baronet is entirely under a misapprehension in stating that alterations are made in regard to the lighting of fires and the opening of windows at fixed dates, corresponding with certain seasons of the year. From day to day, and from hour to hour, the temperature is regulated by a system of inspection and the use of the thermometer, and every possible care is taken to keep the temperature uniform. The fact of the matter is that there is the widest possible divergence of opinion on the subject between Members of the House, and I very often receive complaints from some hon. Members because the Reading Room or Library is too hot, and almost at the same moment from others that it is too cold. I can assure my right hon. Friend and those who are either physically or mentally weak— though I should never have thought of including him in either of those categories—that, for one Member who complains of excessive cold in this House, there are—I was going to say a score— at least a dozen who complain of excessive heat.