HC Deb 14 February 1893 vol 8 cc1369-70
MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the fatal accident which occurred to a gymnast at Leicester on the 8th instant; due, as Reported in the papers, to the defective arrangements provided for the protection of the performers in case of accident; and whether he can see his way, either by legislation or Circular Letter, to oblige those who are responsible for these entertainments so to adapt their arrangements that they shall not fail, just in the event of accidents arising against which they are intended to provide?


My attention has been called to the accident in question, which I must lament. I have, however, no power to put a stop to exhibitions or performances which are dangerous to the performers but not necessarily dangerous to the spectators. On previous occasions where accidents have occurred the Secretary of State has caused warnings to be given through the police, requiring the persons responsible for the entertainment to take all proper precautions, and in one case the absence of a net under the performer was pointed out as a special source of danger. In this case there was a net, the property of the father of the gymnast, and it had been placed in position before the performance. The verdict attributes the death to accident, without any reference to any faulty arrangement of the net. I am afraid I cannot undertake any legislation on the subject, but the attention of the police is always directed to these performances, and they do what they can to insure precautions being taken.