HC Deb 30 July 1894 vol 27 cc1268-9

I beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works if he will state whether the gases from the drainage of the Houses of Parliament are still liberated into the upcast shaft which ventilates the Chamber, notwithstanding the alterations and improvements which were made consequent upon the 1891 Report; whether his attention has been called to the evidence of Mr. John Taylor, Surveyor to the Office of Works, before the Select Committee on House of Commons (Ventilation), 1891, in which he stated that there might sometimes be a back draught, and sewer gas would then come down the shaft, and that there are occasions when the current is distinctly downwards in a shaft; whether he is aware that the vitiated air from the building generally and sewer gas in the upcast shaft has, under certain conditions, a tendency to enter the Chamber, to the detriment of the health of the Members and the officials; and whether steps will be taken to remedy this serious state of matters during the Recess?


It is a fact that vitiated air from a part of the drainage system of the Houses of Parliament is liberated into the upcast shaft which draws off the foul air from this Chamber. But since the recent remodeling of the drainage the furnaces in the exhaust shafts are kept burning day and night throughout the year, maintaining a constant and powerful upward current. There is now, therefore, no tendency whatever for any vitiated air or sewer gas to enter the Chamber from the upcast shaft in any state of the atmosphere. Mr. Taylor explains to me that his evidence in 1891 had reference only to what might occur in a shaft in which an upward current is not constantly maintained by artificial means.