HC Deb 29 May 1891 vol 353 cc1328-48

1. £135,770, to complete the sum for the Surveys of the United Kingdom.

(4.24.) MR. ROBY

I rise to continue the remarks which I began on the 6th of April, and which were interrupted at midnight. I wish, in the first place, to say that I do not in any way reflect on the officers of the Ordnance Survey. I believe the survey has been conducted with great ability and excellence, and I desire not to be understood as throwing any blame on the Department. Nor is this in any respect a Party matter; it is one on which I hope Members on both sides of the House will make common cause. I can assure the Minister of Agriculture who has charge of this Department, that I have not the smallest desire to say anything against his conduct of the business. I believe he will agree with me in saying that this survey ought to be carried out more speedily. The real fault is, as is generally the case, with the Treasury, the money appropriated not being adequate for the work that is to be done. It will be known to many Members that the survey comprehends three principal distinct publications. The most important is the survey of the country on the scale of 25 inches to the mile, the next six inches to the mile, and the next one inch to the mile, besides some very large surveys of towns. The 25 inch survey constitutes practically the parish plans. I find that the whole of England has been published on that scale, with the exception of Lancashire and Yorkshire. Part of Scotland has been published on it, but at present very little of Ireland, and the survey there is now proceeding. The survey itself on the 25 inch scale has been carried on since the year 1862–30 years. As to the six inch survey it is that on which a a map of the whole of England and Scotland and Ireland has been published. But the survey is still older. It began in 1842, and went on to about 1854. Consequently we have 25 inch survey, which is the root of the whole, reduced to six inch, and then to one inch, in a period reaching over 30 years. The six inch survey reaches up to 50 years, and hardly any of it is less than 35 years. Now we come to that which is regarded by many people as the Ordnance Survey, namely, the one inch, and it is upon that I wish particularly to speak. It is the only one which comes within the ordinary notions of a map for military or general purposes. Indeed, the origin of the whole survey arose from the necessity of making military roads in Scotland, after the rebellion of 1745. After being stopped for a time at the beginning of the century, it was pushed forward at the desire of gentlemen in Lincoln who wanted a good hunting map. I hope that will win the sympathy of the Minister of Agriculture. Well, now, the first publication of the English survey began in 1801, and was finished in 1870. The maps which we have at present of Lancashire and Yorkshire rest upon the survey of from 35 to 50 years. These counties have changed in the course of that time, and I cannot help thinking it an extraordinary thing that it should be left to me in the year 1891 to plead for more rapidity in the publication of the survey of these two counties. I find from the Director General's Report that at the present time the maps of half of England are based upon the old survey. I do not know whether many hon. Members have looked at the publications of the Ordnance Survey. These are now published in two ways; in outline or with contour lines, and with hill-shading. It is sometimes said that outline maps are more popular than hill-shaded maps, but I believe that the real reason of the greater popularity of the former is that they are generally of later date. I have been in the habit of frequently using both, and undoubtedly, for all practical purposes, the hill-shaded maps are the best. For ordinary persons a map with hill-shading is the only map that realises their idea of what a map should be. Yet only one-fifth of the maps of the new series have hill-shading. Now, there is the old series of maps going back to 1801, while of the new series only one-fifth have been published with hill-shading, and of those the great bulk are of the 6in. survey. If any one examines the maps attached to the Director General's Report, he will see that the hill-shading is hardly to be found anywhere except in the Northern Counties maps. The Director General reckons that the new series of 1in. maps will not be completed before 1925, or, on the average, 55 years after the survey was made. It has often been urged that strenuous efforts should be made to expedite the work, and in 1882 the Treasury in a Minute "recognised the necessity of a revision of the survey, which should be constantly in progress at such a rate that the whole would be completed in 15 years at least." Before I knew of this, my feeling was that 20 years might be a reasonable limit; yet the Treasury in 1882 said 15, and the Director General, in his last Report, admits that at the present rate of progress the series will not be completed till 1925. When, on 22nd December, 1886, the Treasury issued an Instruction on the subject it took care to add a cautious Memorandum, and to insist "it should be clearly understood, with reference to the revision of the survey, that it did not bind itself to any fixed term for its completion, or to supply any fixed annual sum for executing the work." In other words, having come to a certain resolution, they intimated that they would give no effect to it. It is a curious fact that that Memorandum was issued just at the time when a right hon. Gentleman, who is now surveying Africa, described himself as appalled by the magnitude of the Estimates for the Army and Navy. Was he frightened by the word "Ordnance"? The Director General, in an article contributed to a magazine, recently explained that the revision of the survey had unfortunately fallen so much in arrear that in many places revision really meant a new survey. Those who wish to learn something about the topography of Leeds and its environs can only do so by taking two maps, repre- senting the survey of 1853, and two others representing the survey of 1843, and these maps are of different sizes. The plates from which the maps were printed are much worn; the hills have almost vanished, and the rivers are disappearing rapidly. Indeed, the maps will be worth keeping as a curiosity, because they will show what was considered to be an adequate representation of the English country towards the end of the 19th century. The question of revision is simply a question of money. It is almost impossible for the Survey Department with its present staff to cope with the arrears that have accumulated. When once the arrears have been cleared off, it would become simply a matter of revision. I would suggest to the Government that the Survey Department should be divided into two parts— one to undertake the revision of the survey, and the other for the maintenance of the survey. Of course, it would be necessary to increase the staff, in order to bring up the survey to a reasonable date. The Director General reports that for this work a military organisation is much more satisfactory than a civil one. May I point out it always has been a military organisation? The heads of the Department are officers of the Royal Engineers, who hold their appointments for five years only. I think that they ought to continue at the work for a longer period, instead of being removed just when they have thoroughly mastered their duties. A large number of civil servants are employed, but they obviously hold inferior positions, seeing that in the Estimate they are all lumped together under one head at wages of 25s. a week. I do not profess to be able to give a confident opinion as to the desirability of a change in this respect, beyond urging that the officers' period of service should not be limited to five years. That would ensure a more permanent staff. I am told that the officers do not care for the work. Mr. H. T. Crook, the Civil Engineer of Manchester, to whom, as I said before, I am so much indebted, writes to me— The major portion of the work is now in no sense military, and I know of Royal Engineer officers who have resigned their survey appointments on that ground. I commend that matter to the attention of the Government. Nobody could desire less than I do to cast a slur on the Engineers, but the Government might consider the conditions on which these appointments are held. It is sometimes said that the delay in issuing hill-shaded maps is due to the difficulty in finding a sufficient number of persons trained to do the hill shading. I do not agree with that. Another point I have to urge is that the convenience of the public would be greatly served if the three or four sheets which a person wishing to become acquainted with the topography of an important locality, such, for instance, as Manchester, Bradford, or Leeds, or any tourist district, is now in many cases compelled to procure, could be reduced to one by a photographic process. Another essential thing is that on every sheet the date of the publication and the date of the survey should invariably be put. It seems to me to be a matter of sheer honesty and of necessary information for the purchaser that these particulars should be given on a map published by the Government. There is only one other matter on which I think I must detain the Committee. In the two last Reports there has been a chapter repeated in identical terms on the utilisation of the survey. The Director General complains that though in Ireland the survey is recognised by Act of Parliament as of authority, it is not so recognised in England. If we go to the expense of making a survey, it ought to be recognised as of authority. The greater the authority attached to it the better will the work be done. I believe it is excellently done now; but my point is that the maps should be kept lip to the mark continually. They should be useful maps of the country, as people know it and see it. I will not move the reduction of the Vote, because I want to see the money spent upon the survey increased by half as much again. I only commend these remarks to the attention of the Minister of Agriculture, and trust he will use his best exertions to signalise his advent to office by taking the requisite steps to secure thoroughly trustworthy maps.

(4.50.) SIR G. CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)

I think we are under the greatest obligation to my hon. Friend for having brought this subject so clearly before the House. Accustomed as I am to countries more civilised in this respect, I am rather astonished that we have nothing better than this barbarous, out-of-date, military survey. In France and in most European countries they have the survey kept up to date. In India the surveys are incomparably ahead of the surveys in this country—so far ahead that is impossible to compare the two—and the shading is admirable. I have often been surprised at the perfection of the surveys, even of those portions of that vast country only reached by sportsmen or explorers. It is wonderful, but in my own country I find nothing of the kind. Here in one of the most cultivated and civilised places in the world we have nothing but the old survey. It is a disgrace to the country that we should not have decent maps. Coming from India, where I was accustomed to those complete surveys, and having some property to deal with, I wanted to make use of the maps, but I found I could obtain nothing to answer any purpose, and we were obliged to survey our own property. It is absolutely impossible to have a proper system of land registration or land transfer unless there is a proper system of land survey. I hope the Government will say that they are determined to correct the evils of the present system, and to have a survey which shall be complete and adequate.

(4.55.) MR. HOBHOUSE (Somerset, E.)

I happen to represent a part of the country which is extremely badly off in this respect. In the County of Somerset our 1in. survey is between 80 and 90 years old. The consequence is that the maps are practically useless, and there is this further aggravation—that in the greater part of that county the 6in. survey has been completed and published for some years. Surely it is not beyond the power of the Department to quicken the reduction of the 6in. survey into the 1in. The other day I asked a question with regard to the establishment of an office in London where these maps can be consulted by persons in the Public Service. It seems a pity when one wants to con- sult them that they have to be sent for from Southampton. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will now be able to give me some satisfactory assurances on this point.

MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

wish to endorse every word which has fallen from the hon. Gentleman opposite on this subject. The same complaints were made when I first had to do with this particular branch of the Public Service. I think the secret of the delay is to be found in the fact that the work is left in the hands of military officers under the present conditions. The Engineers are excellent for their proper purpose, but they remain only a short time at the work, and then they go to something else. The consequence is, the survey is not carried on as rapidly as it should be, for fresh officers have to learn the duties continually. It would pay much better as a commercial speculation if the work were pushed on with greater rapidity. Thirty years ago a Treasury Minute was issued that the survey then in progress should be completed with much greater rapidity, and an increase of the staff was agreed to, but I do not think that the increase of the staff has led to a proportionate increase in the rapidity of the survey. I think the time has come when the work should be put into the hands of a permanent staff, and that the maps should be continually revised and kept up to date.

(5.0.) MR. MORTON (Peterborough)

I quite agree that the survey ought to be made as complete as possible, and that we ought not to grudge any necessary expenditure. I, however, wish to receive some information with regard to the account before the Committee. I notice that the estimated expenditure this year is £215,770, exactly the same as that of last year. Although there are reductions, the expenditure in the two years is the same. Perhaps we may receive some explanation of this remarkable circumstance. Then, I should like the right hon. Gentleman to tell us why all these Major-Generals, Lieutenant-Colonels, and Majors are required in this service. I have never seen these gentlemen do any work: it is only the noncommissioned officers who do the work, and I desire to know, therefore, why we are called upon to pay these Major-Generals, Lieutenant-Colonels, and Majors?

MR. MALLOCK (Devon, Torquay)

My complaint is not that the country is not even never re-surveyed, but that when the survey has been made the maps are not published for a long time afterwards. Maps relating to some parts of Devonshire were published 30 years ago. They were revised some five or six or seven years since. I have tried two or three times to get the revised maps at Stanford's, and have always been told they are not yet published. It seems that if the heavy part of the work, namely, the survey, has been done, it is advisable the map should be published as soon as possible. The population of the particular part of Devonshire I am speaking of has increased enormously during the last 30 years, and it is clear there must have been great alteration in the towns of that district. It is very necessary, therefore, that the maps should be published at once.


I have listened with great interest and attention to the speeches made on this subject, more particularly that made by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Roby), who introduced the question, and who evidently spoke after the most careful study of the subject. It is not very long since the Ordnance Survey has been placed under the control of the Department over which I have the honour to preside, but we have had some opportunity of gaining information on the subject. The hon. Gentleman appealed to me to take such action as may be in my power to give effect to the views he has laid before the Committee, and I am bound to admit there is great force in many of the hon. Member's statements, and I assure him there will be no lack of endeavour on my part to bring about such changes as may be desirable in the conduct of the Survey Department, and to effect some, if not all, of the improvements he desires. In the first place, let me notice some of the minor matters to which the hon. Member drew attention. He raised the question of the military element, which occupies so prominent a position in the Staff Department under which all these operations are conducted, and my hon. Friend and the hon. Member for Islington (Mr. Bartley) seemed to think that some of the deficiencies and shortcomings which are complained of are due more or less to the fact that there is so large a military element in the staff of the Department. With all respect to the hon. Gentlemen, I must say I hold an exactly opposite opinion. From the inquiries I have been able to make, and from personal inspection of the Department, I am convinced that it is not possible that any Department could be more admirably conducted than the Ordnance Survey is at present, considering the means at its disposal, and I attribute this, whether rightly or wrongly, very largely to the large employment of the military element.


I should not like to be misunderstood. I did not object to the military element as a military element. I took exception to the system of temporary employment—five years— under which the men are constantly changed, and to which I thought was, to a great extent, to be attributed the slow progress which was made with the work.


So far as I am aware the changes are not so frequent as the hon. Member seems to imagine, and if there is a deficiency at all in the work I am afraid it must be traced to the deficiency of funds at the disposal of the Department. The hon. Member for Eccles went on to ask for a reduction of the size of the maps for the convenience of travellers and others.


What I asked for was such a reduction from three or four maps as might make one convenient map.


I did not quite gather that.


I do not want a smaller scale than the 1-inch. Take the case of Leeds and the district around. Instead of having a map with Leeds in the south west corner, and three other maps with the district around, I should like one map of convenient size, with Leeds in the middle.


I thank the hon. Gentleman for the correction. I am not aware of any reason why what he suggests should not be carried out. I cannot pledge myself that it shall be done, but, at all events, I can promise that the matter shall receive my careful consideration. Then he suggested that on every map that was newly published the date of publication should be printed.


And the date of the survey.


Yes; well there again I cannot give a pledge on the subject but I see, myself, no objection to the proposal. Now I come to the question of the utilisation of the maps of the Ordnance Survey. No doubt, we are all agreed that an enormous amount of money has been spent in the production of the maps which are issued by the Ordnance Survey Department, which production has now extended over a great number of years. It is eminently desirable that those maps should be brought into the widest use. I am of opinion that probably this might be brought about by a re-consideration of the mode in which the maps are sold at the present time. I do not wish to convey to the House that I have formed a final or decided opinion on the subject, but it is a matter which is receiving the most careful attention of the Department, and in that direction I myself look for the wider circulation and use of these maps than could be obtained in any other direction. The hon. Member for East Somerset (Mr. Hobhouse) asked whether it was not possible that some convenient place might be found in London where Ordnance Survey maps might be deposited and where they would be available for the inspection, either of the general public or the officials of Public Departments. I hope to be able to make a satisfactory arrangement of that kind, and within a very short period. I may inform the Committee that some extension of the offices of the Board of Agriculture is being arranged, the present accommodation being very insufficient, and as soon as some portion of the Department is enabled to be moved into the new building I see my way at once to the establishment of a place where the maps will be open to public inspection, in a way which I hope will fully meet the views of the hon. Member. As to the more important questions raised by the hon. Member in the speech with which he opened this discussion, I wish, in the first place, to make some few observations with regard to the revision of maps. I may, perhaps, state what is the work on which the Ordnance Survey Department is engaged at the present moment. We are now surveying Lancashire and Yorkshire on the 25-inch scale, all the various towns in Lancashire and Yorkshire on the 10-feet scale, Ireland on the 25-inch scale, the new parts of London on the 5-feet scale, whilst maps are being made of the new parts of Plymouth on the 10-feet scale. I do not think the Committee, considering the amount of the Estimates, will be of opinion that full value is being received for the money which is being expended.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say what is being done in Scotland?


I will deal with that presently. Everybody must admit that it is very desirable that the Ordnance Survey maps, on which so much money has been expended, should be revised at such intervals as will make them of real use. At present many of the maps have gone for a much longer period than the 15 years which it is considered ought to be the limit without revision. That, of course, destroys to a large extent the use of these maps. On the other hand, I have to draw the attention of the Committee to this somewhat serious consideration, that it would cost an extremely large amount to bring about a complete revision within a comparatively small number of years. We are at present spending £215,000 a year, but to complete a system of revision under which no survey should be more than 15 years old, would mean a very large expenditure. It has been estimated that if we were to do this and complete it within the next 10 years, it would involve an addition to the Estimates of at least £55,000 a year. I do not say it would be necessary or desirable, in the first instance, to spend so large an additional sum as that, because it takes a long time to obtain the necessary staff; and it would be impossible within two or three years to obtain a sufficient and effective staff to deal with so large an addition with advantage. A good deal might, I think, be done by a much smaller outlay than that to begin with. To carry out a system such as that pointed out by the hon. Member, and which would ensure that for the future, at the expiration of a period of 10 years, the survey should not go on longer than 15 years without revision, would involve an expenditure of something like £500,000. No doubt it would be extremely advantageous that this should be done. But if the whole is impossible, I think something might be done on a somewhat smaller scale. At any rate, the hon. Member may rely on it that the matter is receiving my attention, and, as far as it is in my power to bring about adequate improvements, I shall be glad to do all I can on the question. Coming to the next point, the statements of the hon. Member with regard to the 1-inch maps, which are deficient in hill shading, are perfectly correct. It is contemplated that the 1-inch map of Scotland will be completed in 1893, and that of Ireland in 1894; but it is perfectly true that in England it is not in contemplation that they will be completed until the year 1925. It is, however, I think, exceedingly desirable that there should be one uniform topographical map prepared before a period so distant as 1925, and I do think the work might be expedited without any great or serious cost. I am informed that by a proposal now under my consideration, and by the aid of the modern invention of photo-zincography, maps of this description might be completed by the year 1900. I have myself seen specimens of the work done by means of this particular invention, and the results appear to be excellent, and I hope, as I think, that by this means it may be possible to meet the views of the hon. Member upon this point. I have now only to deal with the observations made by the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Morton). He dealt rather with the details of the Estimates than with the general questions raised by the hon. Member who opened the Debate. The hon. Member expressed some surprise that the Estimate for this year was precisely the same as that for last year. He seemed to imagine that because we have a certain sum at our disposal we think it necessary to spend it. I can assure the hon. Member that is very far from being the case, and the only complaint I have heard made on the part of the Department is that we have not as much money as we should like.

SIR C. PALMER (Durham, Jarrow)

May I ask whether the Royal Engineers engaged in Ordnance Survey are subject to five years' service or not?


I am very sorry that I am insufficiently informed on this point, to say positively whether that is so or not. A question was asked as to why there was a decrease in the military element and an increase in the civil element. The reduction in the military element is due to a re-arrangement of duties. The increase in the Estimates for the civil part of the Department is accounted for in this way: The increase is an increase of necessary expenditure, which has for several years exceeded the amounts in the Estimates. I hope the explanation I have given may be satisfactory.

(5.28.) MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)

The statement made by the right hon. Gentleman, as far as he is personally concerned, is a very satisfactory one; but, unfortunately, the matter does not rest with him alone. It rests largely with the Treasury. My hon. Friend (Mr. Roby) pointed out that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is practically mainly responsible for the expenditure under this Vote. The right hon. Gentleman has stated that he has not as much money to spend on the matter as he could wish. This subject has been for many years under the consideration of the House. The right hon. Gentleman has referred to what took place in 1882, when I was myself responsible in this House for the Ordnance Survey Department. In that year, in response to the great pressure put on the Government by this House, there was a very large increase in the Vote for the Survey Department, with the view of accelerating the survey, and completing the 25-inch maps within reasonable time. No less an addition was made to the Vote than £60,000. The Vote was increased from £184,000 in 1882–3 to £243,000 in 1883–4. In the following year it was further increased to £247,000, and in 1886–7 to £249,000. I find on referring to Hansard that I stated that this great increase was agreed to by the Government with the express object and intention of completing the 25-inch survey by the year 1890. There can be no doubt whatever that if expenditure had been continued at that rate, we should have seen this important branch of the work completed by 1890. But as the right hon. Gentleman says, the 25-inch maps for Lancashire and Yorkshire are not completed, and a large area of Scotland, six counties, which, I think, embrace nearly half the entire area of the country, are undealt with in this way, and very little has been done in Ireland. What, I would ask, is the reason for this delay in the 25-inch maps, which in 1882–3 were promised should be completed in 1890? It is perfectly obvious, if you look at the Votes, how it is that the promise made in 1883 has not been fulfilled. Between 1887 and the present time there has been a reduction in the annual Vote of £30,000 a year. In 1887–8 there was a reduction on the preceding year for the Survey Vote of £20,000, and in 1889–90 there was a further reduction of £10,000, and I think that affords a sufficient explanation of the delay in the completion of the 25-inch survey. Such an economy effected by the retardation of this work is, I think, unfortunate, for, as my hon. Friend behind me has said, when work of this kind is undertaken the sooner it is completed the better, and I do not think it is a wise economy to make such a reduction and retard the work. I hope the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Agricultural Department will use his influence with the Treasury to obtain an acceleration with a view to the completion of the work so far as the 25-inch scale is concerned, and if it is necessary I hope an increased Vote will be asked for the purpose. Then again, my hon. Friend behind me has called attention to the fact that the smaller hill shaded maps will not be completed until 1895, but again I say when once the series was begun it should have been pushed on with all possible rapidity, and this could have been done had the 25-inch scale maps been completed according to the original undertaking. It is a question of present expenditure, and I suppose the Treasury are responsible for the delay, and it has been their desire to reduce the Estimates by economy in this branch of the Service.

(5.35.) MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)

I should like to get some information in reference to the non-completion of the counties of Scotland on the 25-inch scale, and I can supplement what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford has said by a further piece of information. During the past 10 years it has always been a complaint that the metropolitan counties of Scotland have not been surveyed on the 25-inch scale. Experience has shown that this is the best scale on which a survey can be conducted. About the year 1886–7 the survey office in the Post Office Buildings, Edinburgh, was closed, and the staff were transferred to the North of England. Complaint was made at the time that the staff should be removed before the survey was completed, but we were told that work in the North of England was urgent, but that when this was completed the work for the home counties of Scotland would be taken in hand and completed. This, however, has not yet been done, and I hope that now the Survey Department is under a new authority the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Chaplin) will apply the necessary pressure to have this work completed. I think it is a reflection upon the administration of affairs in this country that the 1-inch survey with hill shadings should not be completed until 1925. We are behind all the countries of the Continent and of the United States in this respect, and I would urge that by a more liberal annual grant we should put ourselves on a par with foreign States in this respect. On this subject, too, I would mention another point more than once raised in this House, and I think by Lord Balfour of Burleigh in "another place." In Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and I think in the United States, the survey includes not only the geographical contour and the lines of hills, but also of the sheets of water and their varying depths. This has been done with the lakes of Italy and Switzerland, and it has been often urged by scientific authorities that it would be of value in describing the configuration of the country that soundings should be taken of sheets of water in the United Kingdom. A survey was made by naval officers of Loch Lomond and Loch Awe in the early part of the century, and there were soundings made in the locks on the Caledonian Canal, but these soundings were not undertaken upon any system, and the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh have often recommended that such soundings should be included in a complete survey. I hope this will be taken into consideration, for I am sure the reliable data thus acquired would, from a scientific point of view, amply repay the expenditure.


Complaints have frequently been made, and are I think well founded, that publication of maps is so long delayed that in many cases the map is obsolete when it is issued. I certainly know such an instance in regard to Hampshire. I forget in what year the survey was completed, but I know that a road the construction of which was completed three years before the map was published, yet was not marked upon the map, that is to say, the map was three years old before it was brought out. Therefore I would urge that the publication should follow as quickly as possible after the survey is completed, that the public may have the advantage of really reliable information.


I can confirm what has been said by the hon. Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan) in reference to the Scotch counties; and in regard to the general question, I think it must be admitted we require a radical change in the system. For my part, I cannot say if this amount of £216,000 is economically administered or not, but I am quite sure that if by the expenditure of another £50,000 we can get a better system, we ought to have it, especially if, as we have been told by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), there has been a reduction of £30,000 a year from the sum formerly allocated to the Department. I have a suspicion that it may not be altogether a question of money; the mode of publishing and other circumstances lead me to fear that the Survey Department proceed on stereotyped and antiquated lines; that it is not a progressive establishment permitting and promoting reform. I should like to know something more of the personnel of the establishment. The right hon. Gentleman tells us he has visited the Survey Office, and is convinced that the military character of that establishment is a great advantage. I can quite understand his feeling. In official life in India I have worked a great deal with Engineer officers, and I found they did admirable work. I desire to speak of the corps with the greatest respect; but I have grave doubts, founded on my experience, whether the work, which is more of a civil than a military character, can be effectively done by military officers liable to constant change. The right hon. Gentleman is not, I think, quite aware of the rules, but I know that in India there were complaints that while Majors and Colonels were receiving appointments in the Department most of the work was being done by civilians, and you cannot get good civilian work unless civilians have prospects of promotion in the Department. The heads of the Department appear to be purely military, and I gather from the Estimate submitted that the civil element is entirely subordinate. Civil assistants to the number of 1,600 receive £143,000—an average of £90 a year—and that seems to imply that they only fill the inferior positions. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can give us some information as to what prospect these civilians have of promotion.

(5.50.) MR. CHAPLIN

In reply to the questions of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, it is undoubtedly the case that the military element does form the basis and foundation of the staff of the Ordnance Survey Department. With regard to the questions asked in reference to the Scotch counties, I have to say that while we think Scotland has been fairly well treated in this matter, we do consider ourselves pledged, as soon as the Lancashire and Yorkshire maps on the 25-inch scale are completed, at once to proceed with and complete the Scotch counties upon that scale. I may remind the Committee of what has already been done in Scotland. The maps on the scale of 25-inch to the mile are complete for 28 counties in Scotland; and the 6-inch map has been completed for the whole of Scotland. The new 1-inch map for the whole of Scotland has been completed, and on this 28,000 acres out of 30,902 acres have been hill-shaded. On the whole, while I respect the zeal Scotch Members display in the interest of their country, I think they will admit that Scotland has been in no way neglected.


As the Secretary to the Treasury is now in his place, I think I am entitled to ask him why the expenditure on the survey has been so largely reduced during the last four or five years? As I pointed out a few minutes ago, a large increase was undertaken in the year 1882–3, with the object of completing the 25-inch scale surrey by 1890. On referring to Hansard I find that the increase of expenditure by £60,000 was agreed to on the express understanding that the survey should be completed in 1890, and had the expenditure been maintained there is little doubt the work would have been completed. Yet while a very considerable portion of Scotland remains unsurveyed, a reduction of £20,000 was made in 1887, and a further reduction of £10,000 in 1889–90. Nobody can object to economy in this or any other branch of the Public Service, but it can scarcely be called economy when useful work is thus delayed in spite of the assurance given in 1882.


Although I am not acquainted with the circumstances under which the promise was made in 1882, I imagine that what was then said referred to the cadastral survey being carried on at that time, and which it was contemplated would be completed in 1890. As work became completed expenditure naturally fell off. So much has this been the case that a large number of those employed on the survey have been transferred to Ireland, in order that the work there might be proceeded with more quickly. There has been no reduction made with the idea of stinting the work, and there has been an increase of expenditure on the work of revision, which has been taken in hand more actively.


Still, the fact remains that work which it was said would be completed in 1890 remains in 1891 uncompleted.


The Director General states that the total area of Scot- land, published on the 25-inch scale, amounts to 12,687 square miles, and that is not half the area of Scotland. I must say that it is no answer to a complaint to assert that the survey has been completed if the results of the work have not been published. The survey is of no use to the public unless the maps are accessible. Not half of Scotland has been published, and very little of Ireland, on the large scale. It is possible and reasonable that the survey should be completed in a shorter time, and I hope that persistent pressure will be put upon the Treasury to that end. I am informed on good authority that the whole survey of Austro-Hungary was completed in 11 years. If that is done in 11 years—and the Treasury say 15 years ought to be enough for revision —I sincerely trust that steps will be taken to carry it out. I hope that a strong step will be taken to insure that we have practical, usable, living documents in our hands, representing the work of the Ordnance Survey. It seems to me that maps based on surveys 20, 30, or 50 years old may be suitable for antiquarian documents, but are not suitable for present practical purposes.

(6.2.) MR. MORTON

As long as the money is spent economically I am willing that it should be spent. I thank the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture for what he has said, and for his courtesy. Will he allow me to say that I think he has been better occupied here this afternoon than he would have been if at the Oaks.

Vote agreed to.

2. £16,596, to complete the sum for harbours in the United Kingdom and lighthouses abroad under the Board of Trade.


I think some explanation is due to the House in regard to this Vote. I find that almost all round there has been an increase of expenditure. The expenditure on Dover harbour has increased from £3,000 last year to £4,100 this year; the expenditure on Holyhead harbour has increased from £10,000 last year to £30,000 this year. In like manner there have been increases in connection with the other harbours mentioned in the Vote. We have had no explanation of these increases, and I think we are entitled to ask for one.

(6.4.) MR. JACKSON

The explanation is very simple. In regard to Dover harbour the Admiralty Pier belongs to the Government. The ways on the pier have from time to time to be improved, and this year there is to be a very large improvement effected. As to Holyhead harbour, it has been decided to expend £7,000 this year on improvements, because during the recent severe storms there have been difficulties experienced in bringing up steamers to the pier in consequence of its exposed condition. These improvements have been pressed upon us for some time, and it has been thought desirable to proceed with them this year. In addition to this expenditure, there is to be a further outlay of £2,500 to make a new landing for small boats. It is a curious fact that, magnificent as the harbour is, there is no place where a boat can land.


What is the reason of the increase for Flamborough Head?


We have had a ship at the Bahamas which is old and practically worn out. It is a question whether we should build a new one or hire one, and whilst the matter remains undecided it has been resolved to hire a vessel at a cost of £1,000.


Are the works at Dover and Holyhead to be put out to tender?



Vote agreed to.

3. £25,040, for Peterhead harbour.


As this is a very large item, I think we have a right to ask what is being done. The total amount to be expended on the harbour is £785,000, of which £140,000 has been spent, leaving over £600,000 to be spent. If the money is only provided at the rate of £30,000 a year it will take 20 years to complete the harbour. How is the work to be conducted? Do the Government contemplate spreading it over 30 years? I should like to have some explanation of this point.


The hon. Member forgets that Peterhead harbour is rather an undertaking for the purpose of providing work for convicts than for the purpose of providing a harbour. The work done, so far, has been mainly preliminary, and there are at present some 200 or 250 convicts employed upon it. It is necessary, in the interest of the men themselves, that some work should be provided for them. There has been no complaint of the manner in which the work has been done. The engineers have been instructed to report from time to time, showing the amount of work done.

Vote agreed to.

4. £3,000, to complete the sum for Caledonian Canal.

5. £140,173, to complete the sum for Rates on Government Property.

Forward to