§ SIR SAMUEL MONTAGU (Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel)
I beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works if he is aware of the fact that the grand staircase and State rooms in Kensington Palace (the birthplace of Her Majesty the Queen) are in a most dilapidated condition; whether he will have them restored, as far as practicable, to their original state, replacing therein the furniture, pictures, and other works of art pertaining to the Royal House; and whether he will then give the public free access to this interesting palace?
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. HERBERT GLADSTONE) Leeds, W.
With the exception of the north wing, which forms no part of the State rooms, the structure of Kensington Palace is in sound condition. But the internal decoration of the grand staircases and State rooms has for many years been left unrepaired, as there seemed no object in spending money on it, unless the rooms were to be used for some definite purpose. I doubt whether restoration for the purpose proposed would be worth the considerable expenditure that it would entail. Owing to the danger from fire it would be extremely undesirable to place any valuable collection of pictures and other works of art in the palace.
§ SIR S. MONTAGU
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would obtain an estimate of the probable cost of the restoration.