§ 1. £238,000, to complete the sum for Revenue Department Buildings, Great Britain.
§ MR. J. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid)
asked for explanations with regard to various items making up the Vote, including charges for maintenance and repair of buildings at Cardiff, Bristol, and Somerset House. An extra item this year came from Cardiff on account of the erection of a new Custom House, and he wished to know what was the reason for erecting these new buildings at Cardiff? Was the estimated actual cost of £5,000 to be followed later on 867 by an estimate for a much larger amount? And why, if new buildings were necessary, was the site of the present Custom House not utilised? There was another new item, a large item, for a new laboratory at Somerset House, including a provision for electric light. Why was it necessary to light these new offices in that particular manner? Then again, in regard to new offices in Bristol, he could not understand on what principle it should be put in the Estimates that "the purchase will not be completed until the buildings are erected." That seemed a very extraordinary arrangement, and called for some explanation. He put these matters before the First Commissioner of Works, because he thought the Department was more parsimonious in its treatment of Scotland as compared with England. The notion appeared to prevail that everything ought to be done on a larger scale with regard to England. He was entitled to point out the great disparity between the amount the Government expended on Inland Revenue buildings in England as compared with Scotland, and to insist on fair play.
§ * THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. AKERS-DOUGLAS, Kent, St. Augustine's)
assured the hon. Gentleman that there was no difference at all in the treatment which Scotland and England received in regard to demands made upon the Office of Works year by year. Any apparent inequality was accounted for by the fact that they could not deal with the whole of the demands for new buildings in any one year, and they had to deal with them more or less according to the requirements and necessities for buildings to be completed by a certain date. So far as policy was concerned, they knew no difference as between Scotland and England, except that of first urgency. With regard to Cardiff, they asked for an expenditure of £5,000 for buildings; the site was paid for last year, and they hoped to finish the building next year. The delay which had occurred had been owing to legal difficulties in regard to title and conveyance, and also as to some existing lights. The question had been at last settled between the owner and the authorities, and the arrangements and buildings appeared to satisfy all the interests concerned. 868 With regard to Somerset House, they were building near Clement's Inn at present a large laboratory, and, considering the important nature of the work to be carried on in it, it was necessary to go in for expenditure on electric light. With respect to Bristol, it had been arranged that the actual purchase money for the site should not be paid until the building was completed. The arrangement was one which was somewhat unusual, but it was one which the particular local circumstances appeared to justify. On the general question of the maintenance of buildings in England and Scotland there was no difference at all between the treatment of the two countries, though they had not the same demands from Scotland as from England.
§ MR. J. G. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that Scotland received similar treatment to England. He denied that. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take steps to put matters on a more satisfactory footing as between Scotland and England. Scotland was being starved to death. Then as to lights, fuel and household articles in the post offices of the two countries, he, found a great discrepancy between them. If London, for example, was spending too much, the question should be examined, and if Scotland was starved in the matter of such articles, the right hon. Gentleman should treat Scotland more liberally.
§ MR. CALDWELL
drew attention to the post office buildings, and pointed out that there should be taken into consideration in the cost of such buildings their probable liability to assessment for local rates. A building was erected on a valuable site, and the locality asked that it should be an ornament to the town. No sooner was a building of the kind erected than the Government was come down upon by the local authorities, who said that the valuation of the building and the site ought to be a great deal more than it was, and therefore move money paid to the local rates. The Treasury, he thought, could only deal with this question when the buildings were being erected, and it should say, "We will erect the buildings on a less valuable site; this will suit the purposes of the post office equally well, and we can erect plainer buildings." They 869 were entitled, therefore, to complain of the Government for putting up expensive buildings, where equally suitable buildings for a post office might suffice, thereby rendering the Government less liable to a probable large amount of taxation. The right hon. Gentleman should take into consideration the ultimate liablity that would follow from the erection of expensive buildings, and an understanding should be come to with the locality that if they wanted ornamental and expensive buildings, such as appeared to be the case in England, the local taxation should not be increased. In Scotland their requirements in this respect were more modest.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
pointed out that the Secretary to the Treasury was the official who should properly answer for the Post Office. The arrangements with regard to the sites for post offices were made by the Post Office Department. The doctrine of the hon. Member would, however, be an unpopular one, for every town seemed to desire the erection of a building which should be a credit to it. Scotsmen, he found, were as keen about the beautification of their towns as the English people.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 2. £159,100 to complete the sum for Public Buildings, Great Britain.
ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)
appealed to the First Commissioner on the subject of the maintenance and protection of ancient monuments. He wished to know whether it was the fact that the right hon. Gentleman had taken advantage of the clever arrangement made by the Navy League for the decoration of the Nelson Column in October last to engage a steeplejack for a small sum of money to effect certain repairs on the top of the monument? Had a contribution been made to the Navy League towards the considerable expense incurred by them in erecting the marvellous network of ladders up the column? Could the right hon. Gentleman reconcile his patriotic conduct in this matter with the conduct of another Department, which he would not name, which allowed the memory of Nelson to be covered with obloquy? [Cries of "Order!" and laughter.]
THE CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS
Order, order! I do not think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman can contend that the Nelson Monument is an ancient monument. [Laughter.]
§ Vote agreed to.
3. Motion made, and Question proposed,—
That a sum, not exceeding £22,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1898, for Expenditure in respect of Royal Palaces and Marlborough House.
§ MR. WEIR
, proposed, "That Item A (salaries, wages, and allowances), be reduced by £10, in respect of Holyrood Palace," in order to call attention to the insufficient staff and the charging of fees at Holyrood Palace. He was in favour of getting rid of the fees. The pictures in the Banqueting Hall of the Palace were mostly daubs, which were not worth 60s, apiece. If the right hon. Gentleman would send to Holyrood some of the Raphael's and Murillo's from the National Gallery it would at least contain something worth paying to see. He begged to move to reduce the Vote by £10 in respect of Holyrood Palace.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said that he promised last year to give this question every attention, and he had come to the conclusion that it was an anomaly to charge fees for viewing a Royal Palace in Edinburgh, when the same practice did not prevail in connection with Hampton Court and some other old palaces in England. He was not in a position to make any change this year, but he was prepared to say that, subject to certain arrangements to be made with the Corporation of Edinburgh, this item for fees appearing in the Appropriation-in-Aid would not again appear.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. T. W. LEGH (Lancashire, S.W., Newton)
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman could make arrangements for giving the public greater 871 facilities for viewing Buckingham Palace, which contained valuable collections of Dutch pictures and china. At present few people ever saw them. These collections, he believed, were made over to the nation by George IV., and, therefore, it was only reasonable that the public should be permitted to see them. Palaces in this country were, generally speaking, less accessible to the public than palaces in foreign countries.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)
thought it would be a great boon to the public to admit them to Buckingham Palace at certain times of the year when Her Majesty was not in residence. There were also works of art in St. James's Palace to which the public would be very glad to have access.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
observed that St. James's Palace was a very ugly collection of buildings on one of the best sites in London, and asked whether there was any intention of demolishing it and of erecting in its place a building with, greater pretension to architectural beauty.
§ SIR HENRY HOWORTH (Salford, S.)
agreed that it would be an immense boon to the public and students of art if they could be given freer access to Buckingham Palace, and suggested that a popular official catalogue should be prepared. He also thought that when the Palace was empty, it would be reasonable to admit the public to the gardens under proper regulations. He did not share the view of the hon. Member for Lynn Regis with regard to St. James's Palace, which was a building of great historical interest. That interest was continuous. Only the other day he was turning over some correspondence in the great Manchester Library, and found some letters written by the General who commanded the famous regiment which was in charge of the House when Cromwell cleared it. After the General's marriage, Cromwell assigned him St. James's Palace as a residence, and it was curious to come across his letters written from there; they were all headed "James's," the word palace being designedly omitted. There was one other story which, he should like to recall to hon. Members' minds in this connection. When Queen Anne had her 872 famous quarrel with the Duchess of Marlborough, the latter was living in St. James's Palace, and the Queen ordered the Chamberlain to turn Her Grace out, and put all her furniture into the courtyard. The Duchess revenged herself by buying a plot of land close by on which she built Marlborough House, but the Queen would never allow her to make an approach on the side of the grounds next to the palace. That accounted for the long blank wall without a gateway that faced the Palace. This wall, he thought, might be made a little more sightly.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
hoped it would be found possible to throw Buckingham Palace and gardens open to the public at certain seasons. The grounds covered 40 acres and were very beautiful. In Berlin and other Continental capitals it would be thought very strange that so large a garden should be closed to the public. Of course there was no thought of interfering with Her Majesty's privacy.
* MR. AKERS-DOUGLES
said he understood the suggestion to be that Her Majesty should be approached, and asked to permit Buckingham palace to be seen when the Court was not in residence. Hon. Members would recognise that there was a difference between the ease of Buckingham Palace and the case of Hampton Court or the Tower, but this was not a matter for his decision. However, he would consider the matter and take care that the opinions of hon. Members were duly represented to the Department concerned. ["Hear, hear!"] On the subject of St. James's Palace, he did not share the opinion expressed by the hon. Member for Lynn Regis, having always been under the impression that that was a building of which the nation was proud, and which they would be sorry to see removed. It was originally built by Henry VIII., and for many years the Sovereigns resided there.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said he had had his attention called to the matter. 873 He had visited Holyrood Palace, and saw that there was some ground for complaint. There was no doubt that the tapestries wore injured some years ago, but greater care had been taken of them since then, and he did not think it likely that the injury would be repeated. The tapestries had been repaired.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said he would not pledge himself to that at present, as he was not certain how far it would be feasible, but he would bear the suggestion in mind.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
called attention to the expenditure on fuel, light, water, and household articles in several of the "grace and favour "Palaces be would like some little account of these items in regard to St. James's Palace, Kensington Palace, and Hampton Court.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said there was no case in which the tenants of "grace and favour" residences received light and fuel, and in these cases the expenditure must be for the general keeping up of the buildings. Very great care was exercised to watch these items, but he would further look into the matter.
§ MR. CALDWELL
thought the right hon. Gentleman's answer in regard to Holyrood Palace was satisfactory so far as the future was concerned. He wished, however, to know what was the earliest date when the fees would be abolished?
THE CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS
said the hon. Member could not go back to that point, as the Amendment had been withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
4. Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £70.000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1898, for the Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said he did not see why some of the parks in London should 874 be maintained out of the Imperial funds, as in the large towns in the provinces similar parks were provided at the expense of the localities. The maintenance of these parks came to a considerable sum. They had to pay for Kensington Gardens a sum of nearly £5,000, Regent's Park upwards of £7,000, and St. James's, Green, and Hyde Parks £24,000 for maintenance. Comparing the two kingdoms of England and Scotland, he observed that in the latter country all that was provided was a small sum for the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, and Holyrood Park. It was argued that people came from the provinces to London and went to such parks as Hyde Park, but they went in like manner to the parks in Paris, and did not in that case have to pay for the privilege. Hyde Park added immensely to the amenity of London, and enhanced the value of the surrounding property. He admitted that an exception might be made in such a case as Kew Gardens, on the ground that it was an institution of a national character. Seeing there was a question of financial relations between England and Scotland pending, it was the duty of Scotch Members to object when they found items in the Estimates in the case of England for which they paid locally in Scotland. The Thames Embankment, instead of being under the control of the London County Council, might just as well be kept up by Imperial funds. The public parks in London ought to be under the control of the London County Council. While the Imperial right of property in Hyde Park and other parks should be maintained, when there was an important body like the London County Council, which had a large revenue and taxpayers who were an unlimited quantity, there was no need for helping London from the Imperial funds. London was not regarded as "necessitous" in regard to another Bill, and if so it was not necessitous in regard to its public parks. It was not a question of the amount of the expenditure, but of who was to bear it. It might be said, "What is the use of protesting. The Government will get the Vote." But continually protesting, ultimately brought about reforms, and he would continue to protest against items being placed in the Estimates which, in the case of the provinces, were paid for by the localities themselves.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he did not agree with the hon. Member, who desired either to abolish Hyde Park or to remove it to Edinburgh. [Laughter and cries of "No!"] It was not Hyde Park that had made London, but London that had made Hyde Park. Situated where it was, in the centre of the greatest city in the world, it indirectly produced considerable advantages to the rest, of the Kingdom, including Scotland. No one would come to these islands to see the Botanic Gardens at Edinburgh, but when they came to see the sights of London they were very likely to go on to Edinburgh, and spend a large sum of money there. [Laughter.] That was how it worked out. So that, even from the Scotchman's point of view, Hyde Park was a national institution, and ought to be kept up at the national expense. He was glad the hon. Member did not extend his animosity to Kew. There was a Vote for £740 for the Botanic Gardens at Edinburgh. That was enough to keep the whole of Scotland in greenstuff for a year. [Laughter.] He would be glad to find Scotchmen coming to Kew, but this £740 were paid to encourage their patriotic desire to remain in their own country. With regard to Hyde Park, the state of the Ride caused many serious accidents. An easy remedy would be to extend the Ride through Kensington Gardens. No one ever used the Avenue there, and this would be the means of extending the Ride two or three miles. It would interfere with no one. Years ago people were allowed to ride through Kensington Gardens northwards. Why the privilege was stopped he did not know. But in view of the increased influx of Scotchmen and other foreigners —[laughter]—into London it was desirable to add to the amenities and the safety of those who went down to the Row on horses. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. F. G. BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)
sad he desired to confirm what had been said as to the serious accidents that happened through the state of the Ride in Hyde Park. They might he obviated if sand were thrown on the stone pitchings, on which accidents occurred.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
thought that there would probably be more accidents if the ride were extended as suggested by the hon. Member 876 for Lynn Regis. Many of the people who rode in the Park were not fully masters of their horses, and for these people to he galloping across the roadway would he dangerous. The great majority of the riders in Rotten Bow nowadays were not sufficiently ornamental to attract foreigners to London, and he did not think the extension of their privileges would either increase the amenities of London or of Hyde Park.
§ SIR HENRY HOWORTH
said it had been proposed that Kew Gardens should be opened during the forenoon, instead of as now at twelve o'clock, until nightfall. Under pressure from residents in the neighbourhood, it was proposed to open the gardens earlier. He was informed by those who had charge of the Gardens that this would involve great difficulties and expense. The Gardens contained a large number of stoves and greenhouses, and if the public were admitted earlier than at present, it must be under vigilant custody, or every kind of mischief would be done. The greenhouses could not be opened before noon without the attendance of a number of gardeners and others, who were already considerably overworked. Up to noon, the persons chiefly attracted to the gardens were children and nursemaids, who no doubt benefited by the air, but were most dangerous in gardens and greenhouses unless there was proper custody. There was an enormous amount of scientific work done in the Gardens, apart from their being a "show place." In the Gardens and Museum there was a continual influx of scientific men for the purpose of serious study, and it was felt that they must have the use of the Gardens in the early part of the day. The privileges already extended to the public at Kew were ample and most generous.
§ MR. WEIR
pointed out that there had been an increase in this Vote so far as England was concerned, but the Botanic Gardens at Edinburgh, instead of receiving a larger sum, had actually received £20 less than they did last year. As to the money which was received from persons who had the privilege of letting chairs and selling newspapers in the parks, he should like to know whether tenders were invited for this privilege, 877 or whether it was accorded to the same individual year after year—in other words, whether it was a job? He considered that tenders should always be invited, and that the lettings should prove a source of income. He thought the London County Council should have charge of the parks, and that the rich people of London should pay for their own parks. Poor Scotland, which was already taxed enormously by this country, ought not to be charged anything on this head.
§ * MR. MUNRO FERGUSON (Leith Burghs)
called attention to the library at the Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, which, he said, was still in an elementary condition. The library at Kew was an excellent botanical library, and there were possibly three or four other libraries in London which were all equally perfect. The one in Edinburgh, however, was not sufficiently perfect for the educational requirements of those who attended the courses of lectures at the Royal Botanical Gardens. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman, when he was next at Edinburgh, would give some attention to the matter. They were very grateful to him for what he had already done in the way of the extension of buildings at the Gardens, which had been put in a much more satisfactory condition than they had been in hitherto. Of late years the courses of lectures had been much more important both to gardeners and foresters, and the want of a properly equipped library had therefore been very much felt. There was one other point to which he should like to draw attention, be hoped the buildings in connection with Linlithgow Palace would receive the right hon. Gentleman's attention. There had been some repairs carried out which were hardly an ornament to the building. Some of the floors had given way; they had been put up again in part, and some of them had been protected with a layer of pink cement. That was certainly out of keeping with the whole of the buildings. They were very beautiful pattern floors, but whether these remained or had been destroyed, it was quite impossible to tell, because, instead of the stones and tiles they had a layer of this pink cement round the two sides of the main courtyard. Wholly apart from the question of re-roofing the remains of Lin- 878 lithgow Palace, they ought to have some assurance that the work of repair would be carried on with some regard to the character of the building, and that where such acts of vandalism had been perpetrated as had been the case with these floors from time to time, these errors might be repaired. They all took a great interest in this building, which was perhaps the most beautiful of till of these ancient palaces which remained in Scotland, and care should be taken that it was not lightly interfered with.
§ MR. T. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
noticed that the expenditure on the Royal Parks had diminished by about £6,000 in the up-keep, which included a great number of parks, in which a vast number of people derived a deal of enjoyment. He should like to hear some defence as to the reduction of the cost, as he thought a great deal more might be done in the London parks than was done at present to increase the pleasure of the people who visited them. There were some works going on at Kensington Gardens in connection with the kiosk there. He saw under the head of "new works" only £50, which obviously would not cover the expenditure that had taken place. Was some private contractor the person to whom the kiosk was let, carrying out the works, and if so, under what sort of arrangement? With regard to Hyde Park there was an expenditure of £1,150, but it did not appear to him to cover the increase which the right hon. Gentleman told them about last year. The kiosk which he mentioned, for instance, had not been put up, and they would like to know if he had changed his mind about it? He further desired to know whether a cinder path might not be made for cyclists in either of these parks and thus greatly add to the pleasures of a large number of people.
§ * MR. CHAS. MCLAREN (Leicester, Bosworth)
on the question of cycling in the parks, asked the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether he could not hold out some hope of greater facilities being given. He did not go so far as to say that a cinder path was wanted, but it would be an advantage if some alley could he laid out or devoted exclusively to cyclists. He could not help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman, who had shown a great 879 deal of sympathy for the claims of cyclists, might distinguish his period of office by further reforms. In any other capital than London the Mall in St. James's Park would be a pleasant resort, instead of being a more or less disagreeable wilderness. There were four broad alleys, one for vehicular traffic; another, asphalted, was used by pedestrians, and two were deserted. Of these cyclists might be allowed to use one; the gravel was well suited for the purpose. There was a special Ride for Members provided in Birdcage Walk, but in these days more Members used the cycle than rode on horseback, and they had an equal claim for accommodation. In Hyde Park cyclists confined themselves largely to one road on the other side of the Serpentine, and it was very unfair to allow that road to be blocked by carriages and horses. The cycle riding in Hyde Park was one of the prettiest sights in London, and people were attracted by it in large numbers. Many ladies rode cycles there, and as people went to see the Row so they went to see the cycles, and some consideration should be shown to ladies who provided this interest for the public. The right hon. Gentleman had made statements with the object of discouraging people from using the road for driving, but these statements were not read by the coachmen who took their families there for an airing. Something more might be done, and if the right hon. Gentleman could see his way to do something for them, his efforts would be much appreciated by the cycling world of London.
§ MR. CALDWELL
repeated a question he had formerly put to the late Commissioner of Works, in reference to the refreshment kiosk at Kew. The difficulty was in getting a reasonable tariff for the refreshment supplied. Would the right hon. Gentleman consider the propriety of erecting buildings and letting them for a reasonable term of, say, three years to contractors, keeping some control or attaching some condition to the scale of charges? He made this suggestion in the interest of the many poor visitors to the gardens.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said the hon. Member for Lanark in his first speech took up the financial relations argument, but be trusted it would not be necessary to answer that argument on every 880 Vote. These Royal Parks were main-maintained at the Imperial charge, and he felt sure there was no desire to see them otherwise than so maintained in a manner worthy of the metropolis of this great country. ["Hear, hear!"] One hon. Member remarked on the cost being too great, but another said he thought that not enough was spent for this purpose. For his own part there was no limit to the amount he would like to spend on the parks, but he was held in check by the Treasury. He must cut his coat according to his cloth, his great ambition being to make the money go as far as possible in rendering the parks more beautiful and enjoyable for the public. He had been asked a question about the Row. As to the extension of the Row round Kensington Gardens, although that might be much desired by the riding public, it would not meet with general acceptance. ["Hear, hear!"] After all, it was but a small section of the population that had the privilege of indulging in horse exercise in the morning. Such an extension would not be popular, and it would be costly. The money could be devoted to better use in connection with the parks. As to the crossing at the top of the Row he had anticipated the wishes of his hon. Friend; he had given directions that the stone crossing should be first chipped and kept sanded, so that horses would be less likely to slip. Upon the Question of opening Kew Gardens earlier in the day he had made careful inquiry, with every desire to open the Gardens as much as possible for the benefit of the public. But he had first to consider that the raison d'etre of the gardens was scientific; they were the centre of botanical research for the whole country. This was the chief justification for the large expenditure upon Kew Gardens: Though residents complained of having to wait until noon, yet they were much more fortunately placed than the inhabitants of other London suburbs, for nowhere was there so much open space near London as in the neighliourhood of Kew and Richmond. Kew Gardens must be recognised as a scientific institution, and there was a general agreement among scientific men that the contention of the director was perfectly reasonable that there would be great difficulty in the way of students and in carrying on the classes if the 881 public generally were admitted. He had heard from Professor Balfour, at Edinburgh, where the gardens were opened earlier, that though he did not wish to go back from the arrangement, he experienced great difficulty in conducting his classes because of the large number of visitors. Therefore, he hoped that gentlemen who lived in the neighbourhood of Kew would be moderate in their demands, and would recognise the value of the gardens for purposes other than the exercise of their children in the morning. The hon. Member for Islington had asked as to the works at the kiosk in Kensington Gardens. They consisted merely of putting a kiosk into better condition, and carrying out some drainage— quite a small matter under the head of general repairs. With regard to the proposed new kiosk in Hyde Park, he admitted that he had not carried out the undertaking he gave, when, with the general approval of the Committee, he took the money for the purpose last year. He had been anxious to have a proper kiosk erected, but he had not been able to arrange with the Ranger a satisfactory site near the band stand. He hoped, however, to make a satisfactory arrangement at a later period. With regard to bicycles in the park, he ventured to differ from the hon. Member for Bosworth as to the picturesque nature of bicycles or bicycle riders. [Laughter.] He did not think any extension in the direction of cinder paths or asphalte paths would tend to beautify the park, and he did not know that those who rode bicycles would lend any additional attraction to the park. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] He had taken some interest in this matter, and had laid down what he thought were reasonable regulations for the admission of bicyclists. It seemed to be thought that they were limited to one road. As a matter of fact, they were allowed to go on any of the roads in the park from the moment it was open till 12 o clock. The cyclists original request was that they should be allowed to use the roads in the park up to 10 o'clock in the morning. Shortly after that permission had been given the Ranger extended it, to meet their views, up to any hour in the forenoon that the First Commissioner liked to adopt. He 882 (the First Commissioner) named the hour of 12, and he was bound to say that he had not found sufficient support to justify him in again approaching the Ranger and asking him to extend the hours further. He certainly did not feel inclined to take into his consideration at all any question of making cinder or asphalte paths in the park for this purpose. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Member also suggested that bicycles should be allowed on one of the tracks in the Mall. That opened up rather a larger question than the hon. Member had in his mind. At the present moment, he believed he was right in saying the law of the land was that no bicycle might go on a footway. These tracks in the Mall were footways, except that the Commissioner of Police might turn carriages down them on the occasion of a Drawing Room, and he did not think it would be worth departing from the law of the land in order to enable bicyclists to ride down them. ["Hear, hear!"] With regard to the question which the hon. Member opposite asked him about Linlithgow, he ventured to think that the improvements, which were begun in the time of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, were of a very important character. He was not prepared to admit the terms of reproach which the hon. Member applied to them. A great deal of attention had been paid to Linlithgow both by the right hon. Gentleman opposite and by himself, and they had taken money in the last few years for the purpose. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman in his appreciation of one of the most magnificent buildings they had in Scotland, and it certainly would be his endeavour to keep it, as far as he could, in the best possible repair. It was a magnificent ruin in its present state, and he ventured to think it would be a very great mistake to attempt any modern restoration. If they did they would probably have a similar result as they had some years ago at Holyrood, where, in an endeavour to put a new roof on the old walls, they came down altogether. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark asked him about the refreshment kiosk at Kew. He had not heard recently of any complaint of the kind. He had himself constantly visited Kew, and had enjoyed the advantage of the kiosk. If the hon. Gentleman wished to see how excellent the food was and how cheap, he would recommend that 883 he should spend some of his Easter holidays in visiting Kew and testing the quality of its refreshments. [Laughter.] In answer to the hon. Member for Lynn Regis, he had to say that the Ranger of Hyde Park, who received no pay whatever for being Ranger, had no power with, regard to the general management of the landscape gardens, though he maintained a nominal control. The Bailiff of the Parks had a salary, and he (Colonel Wheatley) was one of the best servants whom the State had at the present moment, and it was largely to his energy, ability and skill that they owed the very great improvements which they had seen in the park. He was entirely under the control of the First Commissioner of Works, and not under the control of the Ranger. In answer to the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty, he had to say that when he came into office he found that no charge had been made for the right of letting chairs in Hyde Park. He at once gave instructions that they should seek for a more satisfactory arrangement, and the result was that he obtained from the persons who had the privilege the sum of £1,000 a year. ["Hear, hear!"] With that money he had been able to pay the bands, which performed, he thought, to the satisfaction of everyone in the Park.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
said he had heard with sincere regret the reply the right hon. Gentleman had made with regard to the opening of Kew Gardens. He would like to put before him another view of this matter, and he hoped he should have the support of the Colonial Secretary. They were likely to have this year what was termed a foregathering of English-speaking people from all parts of the world, and he asked that Kew Gardens should be opened, if for this year only, earlier in the day than they were now, my as to prevent parties of Colonial visitors, Americans, Frenchmen, and Germans, who wont down to Kew early in the morning, being obliged either to kick their heels at the riverside until the gardens opened at 12 o'clock, or to leave without the opportunity of seeing the gardens at all. He believed that was an injustice to people who came to London, and that the scientific training and education could be carried on without interfering with the admission of such visitors. There was no reason why 884 the gardens should not be opened at 10 o'clock, and the gatekeeper might have some discretionary power as to the admission of people. He did not believe what the professors said with regard to the teaching of their classes if the public were admitted. If artistic education could be carried on as it was in the museums under these circumstances, he saw no reason why it could not be done at Kew Gardens. It was absurd to suppose that, owing to pure cussedness on the part of the permanent officials, who wished that the students should have privacy, this magnificent public institution should be closed until 12 o'clock in the day.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
said the hon. Gentleman had appealed to him, as Colonial Secretary, to support him in his attack on the administration of Kew Gardens.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
did not see the object of the interruption. The hon. Gentleman sat down having just appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works to protest against the pigheadedness of those who were administering Kew Gardens.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
Pure cussedness! That was, perhaps, worse. [A laugh.] Cussedness implied some control, whereas a man might be born pigheaded. [Renewed laughter.] But he rose, in answer to the hon. Gentleman's appeal to join him in his attack upon the administration of Kew Gardens. The hon. Gentleman had appealed to him as Colonial Secretary only, but he might have appealed to him as a very enthusiastic horticulturist, for he could certainly say that to him gardening was even a greater delight than politics themselves. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Member had failed to realise the peculiar position in which Kew Gardens stood; he treated them as if they existed for the benefit of the inhabitants of Kew. That was not the proper merit or 885 claim the gardens had upon the support of the Committee, but it was as a great scientific establishment. We were very justly proud of the gardens. He had seen almost every botanical garden in Europe, and he thought lie was right, in saying there was nothing in the whole of Europe which could hold the candle to Kew. ["Hear, hear!"] He was not speaking as to the decoration of the gardens, but as to their scientific value. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Gentleman said that French and German people had to wait outside the gates, having got there before the time of opening; and he complained of the cussedness of officials because they did not open the gates before the proper time. That was really a little too absurd. If one went at 11 o'clock to an institution in France which opened at 12 o'clock, that was his pigheadedness, and not the pigheadedness of the officials, who kept the door closed. [Laughter.] There was nothing peculiar in Kew Gardens opening at 12 o'clock. A great number of foreign institutions opened at 12 o clock, and some did not open until late in the afternoon. It was, of course, the business of Frenchmen and Germans to be at Kew Gardens at the proper time and not before. [A laugh.] But the point was that if they opened the gardens at the time his hon. Friend desired they should be opened they would must materially interfere with their value as a scientific institution—["hear, hear!"]—and they would interfere with the work of the officials, In his capacity as Colonial Secretary he was continually applying to Kew in reference to the cultivation of all kinds of plants, and he did not hesitate to say that, some of the great improvements made in the Mauritius and some of the West Indian Islands were due almost entirely to the advice and assistance received from the Kew officials— ["hear, hear!"]—the gentlemen whom the hon. Member had described as pigheaded or cussed. It was not fair to attack public servants who were really performing useful duty, and it was not fair to throw on them, for the benefit of children and nurserymaids and Frenchmen and Germans, duties which would depreciate from their value as advisers of the colonial and other officers of the Government, who might from time to time, have occasion to apply for their 886 services. He thought that on consideration the Committee would see that the public were sufficiently provided for when the gardens were opened, as now, every weekday at 12 o'clock and on Sunday afternoon, which was, alter all, the most popular time, and when Kew was visited by the largest number of people. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. LOUGH moved to reduce the Vote by £110. He said the hon. Member for Battersea did not get much sympathy from the Colonial Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman might surely have dealt more kindly with the hon. Gentleman. Certainly if the Estimates were to lie discussed in the spirit which the right hon. Gentleman had displayed, there would not be the same progress with them in the future as there had been in the past. But he rose particularly to refer to the treatment the First Commissioner of Works had received from the Ranger of Hyde Park in respect to the kiosk it had been decided to erect there. Last year they voted money for the kiosk, but now they were told the First Commissioner of Works could not carry out his wishes because of the action of the Ranger of the park, for whom, as Ranger of Richmond Park, a sum was taken in this Vote. The erection of the kiosk was prevented because the Ranger would not give the site the First Commissioner desired to have. The Committee ought, he thought, to protest against the interference of the Ranger in the matter, and as a means of making a protest he moved to reduce the Vote by £110.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said that in all the negotiations he had had with the Ranger for two years he had found his Royal Highness anxious to meet his wishes and those of the public. He did not desire the House to understand that there were any difficulties placed in his way except as to a particular site.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said a year was a long time for coming to an arrangement as to a, site in a restricted area. There were many possible sites, and he should like to know whether there was any prospect of an arrangement being arrived at? If there was none, then he thought the House should know. He thought they might ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there was a prospect of an early agreement?
§ MR. BURNS
joined in the point raised by the Member for Islington. The public were in favour of this kiosk; there was, in fact, only one person who objected to it, and he thought if they applied sufficient pressure they could induce every Ranger to climb down easily, and sometimes quickly. It should not take more than three months to build the kiosk; and he instanced a building operation in Battersea Park by the County Council as an example to the right hon. Gentleman. The fact was, they had no control over some of the expenditure on Royal Parks and Gardens.
§ MR. WARNER
did not want to see any additional buildings in Hyde Park, and sincerely hoped they would be kept out. He thought that if any kiosk was put up it would take away from the rural aspect of the park. He thought that public opinion would back up the Ranger.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
said this kiosk was for the comfort of thousands who could there get refreshments and shelter, and he considered that it would add considerably to the attractions of the park.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said a very important question was here involved. Did the Ranger manage the park, or the House of Commons, which, provided all the money for the maintenance of the parks? He knew of no constitutional reason why the Ranger should arrogate to himself a power greater than that of the House of Commons in dealing with the Royal Parks. In this action of the Committee there was no reflection cast on the First Commissioner, but they wished to give expression to their feelings on the matter.
§ The Committee divided:— Ayes, 52; Noes, 114.—(Division List, No.l69.)
§ MR. J. BURNS
said that, notwithstanding the adverse criticism which his suggestion had met with in a, very high quarter, he again rose to press it upon the First Commissioner of Works. In doing so he would say that a taste for horticulture and a love of orchids did not beget either the scientific or an impartial mind on small matters of administration. Certainly it did not beget a knowledge of the facts with regard to Kew Gardens. His anxiety was not for the residents around Kew Gardens, but 888 for the visitors, who at present were prevented from using them either for pleasure or for scientific purposes before twelve o'clock. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken with much cocksureness about what took place in Continental capitals; but if he made inquiry he would find that similar gardens and institutions in Berlin, Vienna and Paris were open earlier than twelve, or even ten, o'clock in the day. It was ridiculous to say that earlier opening would necessitate a double staff. The men started work at six or seven o'clock in the morning, and most of the staff was at work between the hours of eight and eleven o'clock. London, the hon. Member proceeded, was swarming with polytechnics, where large numbers of young men and young women attended classes for botany and kindred subjects. Very frequently it happened that the only time teachers could take their students to the gardens was between ten and twelve o'clock in the morning; and under this antiquated rule they would be refused access. By admitting these students they would be carrying out the real object of Kew Gardens as a scientific institution. There was no reason why it should not be done. He denied that he had attacked the permanent officials. They were paid to do their work, and he maintained the right of the House to criticise the administration of any public institution on which public money was spent. He would not follow the Colonial Secretary either in the bad taste or in the ungentlemanly temper which he displayed.
§ MR. HERBERT GLADSTONE (Leeds, W.)
said that his hon. Friend was fully justified in bringing this point before the notice of the Committee. It was desirable to extend the privilege of visiting Row Gardens to as many people as possible; but the question was not so simple as his hon. Friend supposed. Of course, sometimes, when pressure of this kind was brought to bear on public offices, a way was found to meet the suggestions that were made. But as to this matter, 889 he had gone into it fully when he was First Commissioner of Works, and he found that when the Gardens were opened on Bank Holidays at an earlier hour than twelve, comparatively few people availed themselves of the privilege. He did not think that sufficient advantage would result from this arrangement to balance the extra cost which would he involved. But it might he possible to give more facilities to societies and students to visit the Gardens under special permission. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said that there could be no doubt that arrangements might be made in that direction. He had made special inquiries, and found that anyone wishing to visit the Gardens early for scientific purposes was never refused admision. If institutions, such, as the hon. Member for Battersea had mentioned, wished for the purposes of study to visit the Gardens, he was sure that they would be admitted, and more than that, he would take care that they should be admitted. [Cheers.]
§ MR. BURNS
said that there were 30 or 40 polytechnics and similar institutions from which classes, under charge of teachers, would like to visit the Gardens, sometimes on Wednesday mornings, but generally mi Saturday mornings. As the London School Board gave marks both to teachers and scholars for visiting public institutions in classes, he hoped that such classes would be given the same privilege as the polytechnic classes. If the Gardens could be opened to them at 10, a great convenience would be accorded, and the work of the gardeners would not be interfered with.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
said that he had consistently spoken for 11 years on this question, and had succeeded in obtaining certain advantages for the English people. The First Commissioner tried to meet every suggestion in a kind spirit, and he wished, for the sake of the country, that all Government Departments were conducted in the same spirit. It was always easy to approach the First 890 Commissioner of Works. The refreshment kiosk at Kew—which Lord Rathmore, when First Commissioner had described as "Tanner's kiosk"—did not give sufficient accommodation to the people. He had seen many turned away; and, furthermore, the waiters were all Germans. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to see that the tea kiosk in the Gardens was enlarged; and if he could not get all Irish waiters, to put on a few English, and, at all events, to see that they were not all Germans.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said that the Auditor General in his last Report called attention to the fact that no inventory of tools was kept in the various parks; and that no uniform plan was kept for checking and issuing the return of implements. He thought those matters should be attended to.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
thought there was a system of satisfactory inventories kept, but he would look into the matter himself.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
5. Motion made, and Question proposed,—
That a sum not exceeding £23.000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1898, for the Houses of Parliament Building.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
objected to the tiles of the Lobby and Central Hall. In the first place they were of a bilious yellow colour, which was enough to drive an hysterical man to violence, and in the next place they were so extremely slippery that it was dangerous to walk upon them. [Laughter.] In fact, he often thought they must, have been put down by the junior Members of the Government who were desirous of creating vacancies in the Cabinet. [Laughter.] He suggested that stone pavements should be substituted for the tiles.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
was glad to notice that a beginning was about to be made to till up the three vacant panels in the Central Hall with mosaics, in harmony with the fourth panel of St. George. He wished to know whether there were any cartoons or paintings in the possession of the Office 891 of Works from which mosaics could be constructed for those panels? He understood that Sir Edward Poynter, the President of the Royal Academy, who prepared the design of St. George, had provided another design, and that two others had been provided by Mr. Albert Moore. He also hoped that attention would continue to be paid to the frescoes in the Houses. The late Commissioner of Works, carrying out another old suggestion of his, had called in the highest authority in the world on the subject of frescoes, Professor Church, who very handsomely agreed to gratuitously look after the frescoes, and everyone who recollected what the condition of the pictures was before the Professor took them in hand must admit that they had been most successfully renovated. Professor Church presented a Report, in which he described his method of work, and said he was prepared, if invited, to continue his benevolent care of the pictures. The House and the country, therefore, owed a debt of gratitude to Professor Church. He should like to know whether it was intended to put up in the Central Hall another statue to Mr. Bright. Mr. Gilbert's statue was a great artistic work, but it was not an adequate representation of Mr. Bright as he was known in the House; and it would be a pity if there was to be no statue of that great Statesman at Westminster.
§ MR. H. C. F. LUTTRELL (Devonshire, Tavistock)
suggested that Members should have one room for reading or writing in which some other than the electric light was used.
§ MR. HENRY LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
explained the circumstances under which the panels in the central hall had remained empty so long. When first the arrangement was made by which certain panels were filled, it was decided they should all be filled in the same way, with glass mosaic work. The then Chief Commissioner of Works was interested in a manufactory at Venice where these mosaics were made, and it was therefore assumed that he had some pecuniary interest in the matter, but the fact was he simply took a great interest in art, and he really had no monetary interest in it at all, and was simply spending money there with a view to art. They were only carrying out the original intention 892 if now they proceeded to fill up these panels. He rose more particularly, however, to plead the cause of the smokers. The Chief Commissioner had done all he could to help them, but his efforts so far had not been very successful. Most unquestionably the present smoking room was very inadequate as regarded accommodation, and the atmosphere was not precisely what could be wished for in a smoking room. It had been suggested that the quadrangle should be covered over and utilised for the purpose. This, however, was a proposal which would always be resisted by the Government Whips, because if hon. Members managed to slip down on the plea that they were going to the smoking room, in all probability they would forget the duty they owed to their country and Party, and slip out of the House entirely. He pleaded for better accommodation for the smokers. He believed the business of the House would hardly be carried on if it was not for the smoking room. They would have everybody crowding the Chamber, and, as Satan found some work for idle hands to do, so also he found some work for idle mouths to do. They would double the talking if they had not a smoking room, [Laughter.] Then the temper and irritation would also be doubled if it were not for the soothing, calming effect of nicotine on the Members. If he was horrified by something said on the other side his first impulse was to protest, but what did he do? He went to the smoking room, lit a cigarette, and came back perfectly calm.
§ SIR H. HOWORTH
wished to say a word on behalf of another class, namely, the tea drinkers, who ought to have a room better suited to their needs, providing larger accommodation. If possible, they should also secure better accommodation for newspaper readers. In both those respects the present accommodation was small and inadequate.
§ MR. LOUGH
complained of the bad ventilation of some of the large committee rooms, and the stifling atmosphere in them, and asked why they should not all be ventilated by having a fan erected? He hoped the telegraphic communication, of the speakers in the House would be extended to all the rooms. One item he strongly protested against, and that was the sum of £200 for extending the bookcases along the library corridor. These 893 bookcases were the greatest disfigurement that existed in the House. They should be all removed, and their places occupied by pretty statues or pictures.
§ MR. BURNS
called attention to the expenditure of £750 for panel decoration in the central Lobby, and asked whether the other three panels were to be in keeping with the panel already completed? If the panels were to be completed in mosaic, he suggested that the example of the method of decoration followed in St. Paul's Cathedral ought to be followed, instead of the flat Italian mosaic. He also appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to make an effort to keep together the small school of English mosaic craftsmen who had been employed at St. Paul's Cathedral. The work there had been carried out by a City firm, and by English designers and workmen, in a very creditable way, and he hoped these workmen would have an opportunity of showing their skill in the completion of the three panels in the outside Lobby.
§ DR. TANNER
called attention to the completion of the decoration of panels, the construction of a glass awning outside the Speaker's house, and the formation of a new doorway to the terrace. He complained that the terrace was made a kind of show place, where a large number of ladies walked up and down blocking the gangways to the free egress and ingress of Members. The terrace, indeed, was a place for afternoon tea, a society parade, instead of being a place where hon. Members could take a small outing.
§ MR. WEIR
complained of the ventilation of the House, and described the atmosphere in the Chamber as poisonous. Sewer air permeated the Chamber and the Committee Rooms, the Reporters' Gallery, and the Ladies' Gallery. He also wanted to know whether the House was supplied with water, especially the dining room, from the artesian well, or whether it was a mixture of Thames water and artesian water. He personally preferred good water to whisky.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
protested against the strictures that had been passed on the ventilation of the House, which was probably the best ventilated Chamber in the world. No sewer gas could penetrate into it, and the building was now, he believed, absolutely free from any pernicious ingredient.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
called attention to the question of warming the House when there were all-night sittings. During very late sittings, when human vitality was at its lowest, the heating apparatus invariably ceased to act, with the result that the House became quite cold. He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would pay special attention to the desirability of warming the House during late sittings. In some parts of the House there was, perhaps, more than adequate ventilation, for he had heard several Members complain that they had suffered from something like rheumatism in the feet in consequence of the excessive ventilation under the seats. But as far as the freshness of air was concerned, he doubted whether any better ventilated building could be found. He thanked the right hon. Gentleman for the extension of the telegraph indicator to the dining-room and library. He noticed that there was an item of £1,000 for furnishing the residence of the Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod. Was it customary to refurnish the residence of that official, or had a new residence been assigned to the present holder of the office? There was another matter requiring attention, now that the South African Committee was sitting. There had been some peculiar proceedings, and some witnesses had actually refused to answer questions put to them. If it should become the duty of the Committee, he presumed that they would take notice of contumacy of that kind. In these circumstances the apartment in the Clock Tower would be called into requisition, and he wished to be told whether that apartment was in readiness for the reception of gentlemen who were apparently determined to go there? Was the room quite near the clock?
THE CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS
The hon. Member is misinformed. It is only Members of the House who are committed to the Clock Tower. [A laugh.]
§ MR. CALDWELL
complained that when the House of Lords was in vacation, Members of the House of Commons who 895 wished to show the Peers' Chamber to their friends were prevented from doing so. He had himself experienced this, and when he asked for an explanation was told that he and his friends could not be shown the chambers of the Upper House because they were not in charge of the First Commissioner of Works. He thought this was carrying matters rather far. It was absurd that visitors who were accompanied by Members of the House of Commons should not be allowed to see the magnificent Chamber where the Peers assembled. He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would be able to arrange for the removal of this unreasonable restriction.
MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Notts, Mansfield)
observed that the hon. Member for the Flint Boroughs appeared to anticipate that late sittings would become the normal state of things. For his part, he trusted that they would be rare. In connection with the subject of ventilation which had been raised, he wished to say that personally he often suffered from too great an abundance of air, especially in the Division Lobbies and Library, in the summer months. During the summer season it was almost impossible to find any part of the House that was free from draughts in certain states of the weather. Fresh air was introduced in a line with the person, and windows were constantly being opened, without regard to the quarter whence the wind blew, or to the temperature. He hoped that something would be done to remedy the existing state of things.
§ DR. TANNER
referred to the possibility of filtering fog, if necessary, through masses of cotton wool. As regarded ventilation, the floor of the House had been kept perfectly clear, so that the draught might come up; but he thought it was desirable for hon. Members to wipe their boots before walking up the floor of the House, lest particles of dirt should be carried by the draught into the atmosphere they breathed.
§ MR. J. LOWLES (Shoreditch, Haggerston)
asked if the right hon. Gentleman would take care that the furniture and articles of that sort which were purchased should be as far as possible of British manufacture?
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said with regard to the item for the panels in the 896 central Lobby, there was a misprint in the Estimates. The sum asked for was not "for the completion," but "towards the completion" of the decoration. He was afraid it would not be possible to complete those panels for the sum of money on the Estimates—namely, £750. As to the designs, there were in the South Kensington Museum, on loan from the Office of Works, two water-colour designs of the late Mr. Albert Moore for two of the panels of the central hall, and there was also a sketch which Sir Edward Poynter had prepared. They had not got very far with the matter yet, but it was his intention to send for the designs of Mr. Albert Moore, and if this money were voted they would consider how far they could utilise these designs and that of Sir Edward Poynter. He was entirely in sympathy with the hon. Member for Battersea with regard to the class of work which had been done in St. Paul's Cathedral. He had seen it on several occasions, and watched it carefully, with a view to seeing how far it was applicable to the building. He ventured to say that the class of work might be very well adopted in that House, and he proposed to give his attention in that direction. ["Hear, hear!"] The item of £100 for repairing frescoes, to which the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire had called attention, was a sum which ought to have been spent last year in restoring certain frescoes which Professor Church had taken in hand. He believed it was the fact that this work could not be carried out in certain conditions of the atmosphere, and, consequently, it had had to be postponed. He would like to express the great obligation which the Government were under to Professor Church for the profound skill he had shown in doing this very practical work, and for placing his services gratuitously at their disposal. With regard to the question of the Bright statue, nothing, so far as he knew, had been done further in the matter. The House would remember that the statue which was placed in the Central Hall last year was placed there by a Committee, but it was found that the statue was so out of keeping with the general desire of the House that, after a good deal of negotiation, it was removed. No approach had officially been made to him to put another statue in its place, but he had no objections—in fact, 897 he should be glad to find accommodation in the building for a representation of Mr. Bright. ["Hear, hear!"] In future, however, some steps ought to be taken to see these works of art before they pledged themselves to admit them within their portals. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Member for Northampton had raised the question, very familiar to most of them, of the want of smoking-room accommodation. He was perfectly ready to admit that it was a well-founded complaint, as the smoking tendencies among Members were very much greater, no doubt, than they were in days gone by. In addition to that they wanted more tea-room and newspaper-room accommodation, but he did not quite see how they could get it. He had made the suggestion last year that one of the court-yards should be roofed in, and extra accommodation provided in that way, but he admitted that the suggestion was open to objections. He did not think the objections were very serious, however, but he thought they could not go in for so large a proposal without much more consideration. He was now in correspondence with the officials of the other House in regard to some small accommodation which had become vacant through the resignation of the late librarian, and it might be possible by this means to provide another room, though he could not pledge himself to that as yet. In regard to the question of bookcases in. the corridor, he pointed out that a great deal of extra space for books was required. The hon. Member for Cork criticised the cost of the awning over the entrance to the Speaker's house. But the awning was an improvement, desired not only by the Speaker, but by very many of his guests at dinners and levées. He himself was not aware that the estimate was excessive, or compared unfavourably with what the hon. Member said was the cost of the previous awning. During the Easter recess every effort would be made by temporary expedients to improve the ventilation of the Committee rooms. During the autumn recess of 1895–96 the ventilation of the House itself was fully considered. It was found that, in certain respects, it needed improvement, and arrangements were made which rendered it impossible for any foul air to enter the House. He hoped there would 898 be no all-night sittings this Session, but whenever there was an all-night sitting, directions had been given that the House should be properly heated in the early hours of the morning, when one's vitality was always lowest. As to the admission of strangers to the terrace, he had suggested, beside an alteration in the rules as to the number of ladies each Member might introduce, that ladies should be asked to go direct to the terrace by the carriage entrance, or else through the outer Lobby, that the central Lobby and central staircase might not be blocked, as had often been the case when there were large numbers of visitors on busy nights. He would endeavour to ascertain the rules as to the admission of visitors to the House of Lords during the recess, and to obtain for the hon. Member for Hackney the information he desired.
§ After the usual interval, the Chair was taken by Mr. GRANT LAWSON.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
said that he was rather disappointed that the right hon. Gentleman could not give them a little more encouragement with regard to a statue of Mr. John Bright. He had seen it stated that the family of Mr. Bright were prepared to give a statue or a bust, and he hoped it might be possible to utilise the offer in a proper way. He thought it would be a great satisfaction if they could have some memorial of Mr. Bright in that House. There was no party feeling in the matter, for that great statesman was appreciated not only on that side of the House, but equally by hon. Gentlemen opposite. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said the hon. Baronet would recognise that this matter did not really rest in his hands. It was not as though the statue which had been removed had been put up by the Government. It was put up by a Committee, but it proved so distasteful to Members generally that, acting as their mouthpiece, he represented to the Committee that the feeling of the House was outraged by having so bad a statue of a statesman whom they wished to honour, and it was withdrawn. ["Hear, hear!"] Since that time no representations had been made to him officially that it was the desire of any section of the public that a statue of Mr. Bright, should be 899 placed in the House. He did happen to know privately that the family of Mr. Bright were anxious that a statue of their father should be placed in the House, but he thought the hon. Baronet would recognise that he must have something further to go upon than that before he could give assent on the part of the Government. He had no desire to keep out a representation of so distinguished a statesman.
§ DR. TANNER moved "That Item A (New Works, Etc.), be reduced by £150, in respect of the formation of a new; door to the Terrace." He would not say one word against the fair sex, but he thought the large number of ladies who were allowed to walk up and down the terrace was making the House unpopular with a certain section.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said he had a good deal of sympathy with the proposed reduction. In the normal condition of affairs, the present access to the terrace was quite sufficient, but during the last two years there had been an inroad on the terrace not altogether compatible with the position of that House as a Legislative Assembly. What they wanted was to make that building as effective, as efficient, and as comfortable as possible for its purposes as a Legislative Assembly, and not as a restaurant.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
hoped that the First Commissioner of Works would take steps towards the erection of a statue of the late Mr. Bright. He was confident that upon inquiry the right hon. Gentleman would find that hon. Gentlemen in every quarter of the House were just as anxious that there should be some statue of the late statesman placed in the building as they were to get rid of the very inadequate representation of him which was put in the Lobby some time ago. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ DR. TANNER
could not understand why, in addition to the £1,000 allowed 900 them, the Kitchen Committee should want £350. They had exceptional advantages, and in order to elicit from the Government an account of the expenditure, he moved" That item G (maintenance of refreshment plant, House of Commons), be reduced by £10."
§ Amendment put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ 6. £25,000, to complete the sum for the Admiralty, Extension of Buildings.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
asked what was the cause of the enormous increase between the original and revised Estimate?
§ * SIR JOHN LENG (Dundee)
wished to know whether the extension of the Admiralty buildings was to be in continuation of the same style of architecture as prevailed at present? He did not know the technical name of that architecture, but thought it was altogether unworthy of public buildings intended for Government offices of a permanent character. They had one example of it in New Scotland Yard. He thought brick was a very good material in some places—when, for example, it was the chief material for the exterior of a building. But it seemed to him that it was altogether incongruous in those buildings which were composed to a considerable extent of stone, and taken altogether were very puny and insignificant, and lacking in anything of an impressive and imposing character. Anyone who travelled through, the capitals of Europe must be impressed with the dignity and stateliness of their Government buildings. Capitals very much smaller than this Metropolis— capitals of countries with nothing like the wealth of this country—had buildings which impressed one as being worthy of Royal and Imperial capitals. But this new mongrel style of architecture was, he thought, unworthy of the position in which it was placed, and he had risen to 901 protest against it. He hoped that, in the new block of buildings about to be erected adjacent to the Palace of Westminster, care would be taken that they would be worthy of the position in which they were to be placed. He was not one who sympathised with a cheeseparing policy in regard to the edifices that were intended or ought to last for centuries. Seeing how much this country was now frequented by visitors from foreign states and colonial dependencies, he hoped that edifices would be erected in this Metropolis which would be superior to those in their own capitals. What, he thought, must be obvious to many hon. Members, was that the provincial cities and towns of this country were setting an example to the Metropolis instead of the Metropolis setting an example to them. The town halls in cities such as Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool, and the one which was about to be opened in a few weeks by Her Majesty in Sheffield, were, with regard to their size, stateliness, grandeur and internal arrangements, far superior to the great majority of modern Government erections in this Metropolis. Instead of going back from the relatively noble style of the Foreign Office to this decadence in the Admiralty Office, he hoped that the First Commissioner of Works, and the heads of the other Government Departments who were interested in the new edifices which would be shortly erected, would endeavour to make them worthy of this great Metropolis. He presumed that these extensions must, for the sake of consistency and congruity, accord with the present buildings, but he thought the style was altogether unworthy of the position they occupied, and he hoped that, so far as future structures were concerned, the example set in the Foreign Office and the Treasury Buildings on the west side of Parliament Street would be followed, and that Parliament Street would be so completed as to make one proud of the buildings therein erected.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said that the increased expenditure this year as compared with last year was accounted for 902 by more work. As to the point raised by the hon. Member for Dundee, he could not say that he did not, to a certain extent, agree with him; but he must say that it was most unfair for hon. Members to judge the whole of the new Admiralty building by the one new wing. It was only a portion of a large scheme. They might as well judge Chelsea Hospital buildings by one small wing.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 7. £39,000, to complete the sum for Miscellaneous Legal Buildings, Great Britain.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
pointed out, that the country was still paying for the maintenance of the London Police Courts, as of old. Why should the country maintain the London Courts? Towns like Liverpool and Manchester maintained their own polite courts, and why should they be taxed in addition for the London Police Courts? He awaited with some interest the answer which the right hon. Gentleman would give to the House on this question. Were the Government going to take some action in the matter?
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said he certainly did hope that this item would not have appeared this year, but a Bill had been introduced, and it was on the Paper for Monday next. He was afraid it would not then be reached, but the intention was that the Bill should be proceeded with, and that the cost of these Courts should be transferred in the way suggested.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said the Police Courts of the country had to be provided out of the rates. [Cries of "Agreed!"] Of course, he could understand London Members crying out agreed. They thought they could go to a division, beat those who protested, and that then there would be nothing more said about it. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is the ordinary way."] In the end, however, the protest raised from year to year would lead to a 903 reform. They could get nothing in the House unless they pressed for it. They held that there was no reason why London should be treated in a different manner from the rest of the United Kingdom. They had objected, on the question of financial relations, that such London charges as these were thrown on the Imperial Estimates. They knew nothing about the Bill referred to, and he was entitled to ask the First Commissioner of Works how lie proposed to do away with this anomaly? How was he going to remove these sums from the Imperial Estimates? How were they going to provide for these buildings in future, whereby London would be placed in the same position as the rest of the United Kingdom? Nobody knew better than those in charge of the Bill that it was intended to make no difference. It would be a mere transfer to bring about the same result.
§ MR. G. C. T. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said that for years be had advocated that this charge should be borne by the locality, and he understood that it was in consequence of what he said in the last Parliament, that the Bill had now been brought in by the Government.
§ SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)
said he noticed that there was an item in the Vote for the acquisition of a site for the new County Court at Birmingham, and he would like to know how far that matter had proceeded, and exactly what the town of Birmingham might expect with reference to the new County Court? He thought the old County Court buildings were the ugliest they had in the town. The only building to compare with it for ugliness was the old Post Office, which was now used as the Revenue Office. He sincerely hoped that, in erecting a new County Court, the Government would take care that the best street in Birmingham was 904 not disfigured by the erection of a building of the same architectural ugliness as the present County Court, and that it would contain accommodation sufficient for many years to come. He hoped when the site was acquired it would be in a good position, and that they would have a handsome building, sufficiently large and capable of extension. If this were done, they would not have these repeated requests for renewing buildings within the space of a quarter of a century.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said that the original proposal was to buy a piece of land adjoining the County Court at Birmingham, and on it to build additional offices for the County Court and the Official Receiver in Bankruptcy, who, he believed, was now in hired premises. But unfortunately the land immediately adjoining was recently let by the Corporation, and the present occupier required so much compensation that they were unable to deal with him. They had, therefore, thought it desirable to proceed in another direction. He trusted that, should a building ultimately be erected, it would be worthy of Birmingham, and he would take care that when they came to the question of plans, the authorities of Birmingham would be acquainted with their intentions.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 8. £16,000 to complete the sum for Art and Science Buildings, Great Britain.
§ MR. LOUGH
pointed out that the Vote was decreasing year by year. The policy if the Government seemed to be to pinch and squeeze everything connected with south Kensington to the lowest possible point. He hoped the Committee would lave an assurance that steps would be taken as soon as possible to complete the buildings there. A proposal had been made that if the money necessary to provide a proper building for the housing of he valuable collections at South Kensington could not be found at once, it might 905 be raised by loan. The Vote was this year reduced by an amount that would meet the interest on a very substantial part, of the sum required. The Government were treating the matter shamefully. Everybody was agreed that this was a most pressing question.
§ MR. BARTLEY
said that when the question of the shameful condition of South Kensington Museum was raised four or five years ago, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, promised that in the following year he would give a Vote to begin the work of completing the building, but when the time came for the right hon. Gentleman to fulfil his promise, he stated that the public demands on the Exchequer were so great that he could not do it. He noticed that the Government were paying; as much as £4,500 a year for the hire of temporary premises in which to place portions of the collection. As money could now be raised by the Exchequer at 2½ per cent., a sum of nearly a quarter of a million could be obtained for the building without any addition to taxation for the £4,500 a year now paid for inferior premises. He thought the Government ought to raise the necessary money in that way, and spread its repayment over a series of years. It certainly was a scandal that the buildings which had been inaugurated by the Prince Consort should be left in such a, disgraceful condition in the jubilee year of Her Majesty's reign. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ * SIR FRANCIS POWELL (Wigan)
said that for many a long year he had been endeavouring to impress upon Government after Government the necessity for doing justice to the South Kensington Museum. It was greatly to be regretted that a mistaken economy on the part of the Treasury prevented the completion of the building. It was a misfortune to science and art, and a scandal to the administration of the public affairs of the country. ["Hear, 906 hear!"] Noble work had been done in Lancashire and Yorkshire in providing splendid buildings for similar scientific and artistic collections without any appeal to the public purse, and it was to be regretted that the State should be so laggard and niggardly when local communities were so forward and liberal in the cause of technical education. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. BURNS
said that the Government had appointed a Committee to inquire not only as to the administration, but the completion of the housing of South Kensington Museum; and he thought that, pending the report of that Committee, the Government would be unwise in spending a single sovereign on South Kensington. But he would make one suggestion. South Kensington was paying £4,400 a year for the rent of certain galleries in Exhibition Road previously connected with the Imperial Institute. This charge ought to cease; and it could be put an end to if the Government had the courage to approach the Queen and ask that the Imperial Institute—which had not proved a success for its particular purposes—should, together with these external galleries, be handed over to the South Kensington authorities to accommodate that large collection of objects which were seeking room. The rent which South Kensington paid for the galleries simply kept the Imperial Institute on its legs. He believed that Her Majesty would respond to the petition, and he knew of no better way of celebrating the jubilee than by clearing out all those snobs and "Johnnies" who had not secured the knighthoods and baronetcies which they expected to get out of the Imperial Institute. The extraordinary genius of Sir Somers Vine had not made a success of the Institute, which was the laughing-stock of the West End of London, and the envy of every South Kensington official.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said that he had no objection to the money being spent on what were national buildings; but be 907 wished to make a claim for Scotland, which received very little under this Vote. Some arrangement might be made to increase the building accommodation of the Edinburgh Museum, so that more loan exhibits might be sent down from the British and South Kensington Museums. It was no longer held that the contents of a museum should be fixed and invariable; and the interest of the Edinburgh Museum would be greatly increased for the people, who were too far from London to avail themselves of the national museums there, if more exhibits could be temporarily transferred to Edinburgh from London. The Treasury, he was sure, would not grudge the money for the transport of these objects.
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
assured the hon. Gentleman that he entirely approved of the principle of the distribution of works of art, in order that as large a number of people as possible might have the opportunity to see them. With regard to the point that no money was yet found for the completion of South Kensington, the Treasury were really tied by the Report of the Royal Commission on Secondary Education and by the fact that a Committee was inquiring at the present moment into the whole administration of South Kensington. The Royal Commission, which reported a short time ago, recommended that part of the staff at South Kensington should be put under the roof of the Education Department at Whitehall. As the Committee knew, the Office of Works was now having plans prepared for new Government offices at Whitehall, and provision would be made for sufficiently large Education Offices to house any additional staff that might have to be placed there. Apart from that objection, it was idle to expect that the House would sanction a large expenditure on South Kensington when the whole subject of South Kensington was under the consideration of a Parliamentary Committee. He could assure the House that the Government were most 908 anxious to get rid of the scandalous condition of the approach to South Kensington, especially at the part next to the Brompton Oratory.
§ MR. BURNS
pressed his point with regard to the Imperial Institute. The building was perfectly useless as it was, and should be diverted to art and education. He was sure that if it were brought to the knowledge of Her Majesty and the Commissioners of the Institute that South Kensington wanted it, the transference would be made. The Institute very soon became a cross between a restaurant and Burlington Arcade, then it "petered-out," until now it had become a centre to which trade union secretaries and officers of friendly societies were invited for cheap dinners.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 9. £16,000, to complete the sum for Diplomatic and Consular Buildings.
§ GENERAL LAURIE (Pembroke and Haverfordwest)
asked whether there was any Report published showing the state of the cemeteries abroad?
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said that a Report existed, but unless the hon. Member could mention a specific case he feared that he could not give him accurate details at the moment. He should be happy, however, to give the hon. Member the Report, while assuring him that the Government watched this subject with great care.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
asked as to the system of check which prevailed as to the expenditure of money in different parts of the world on embassies and other Government buildings. In Vienna, for example, he found that nothing was charged in the Estimates last year, but this year there was a sum of a thousand guineas for renewing the heating apparatus at the Embassy. There was apparently no check on these items at headquarters in this country.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said that when he was in China he heard of a case where a building was to be erected at a cost of 1,000 taels. The contract was sublet for 700 taels; the second sub-contractor re-let the contract for 500 taels, and ultimately the amount was reduced to 300 taels. The last sub-contractor began the work but was unable to go on with it for want of funds. Were precautions taken in distant parts of the world in these matters, and what was the nature of the reports received as to the various necessities of the Embassies?
§ * MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said they had resident surveyors in certain places abroad in charge of these buildings, and there was a surveyor who went, from place to place on the continent, while there were other surveyors who were stationed abroad. Reports were placed before the Department, and he had an opportunity of seeing them at certain times of the year. Great care was taken to see that the expenditure was authorised and that the contracts were properly fulfilled. But the work of checking was not so easy as in this country, though he was certain that no more efficient control could be kept than at present.
§ SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central,)
drew attention to the rooms for Attachés and Secretaries at the Paris Embassy, and said that some effort should be made to improve the accommodation.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £132,291, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending mi the 31st day of March 1898, for the Survey of the United Kingdom, and for minor services connected therewith.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
complained of the confused way in which the Estimate was drawn up. No country 910 existed where the Ordnance maps were more required to be drawn up in an intelligent manner than in Ireland, owing to the fact that every tenant needed a map showing his holding in appearing before the Land Commission. The Ordnance maps were far worse now than they were 50 years ago. The maps made in the forties had all the levels and heights upon them, and they were most valuable details; but they had been omitted in the present maps. Why was this? He understood that the Treasury would not make a sufficient allowance to meet the expense of their production. Many engineers and surveyors used to complain of the fulness of the old maps, saying that the bread was taken out of their mouths, because with those maps anybody could do the work of surveying himself. In consequence of the establishment of the Registration of Titles Office in Ireland, accurate mapping had become very essential. The fine accuracy of the maps of the forties was not now reproduced, although it was so desirable that I he details should be microscopically accurate. Why was the survey of Ireland in a more backward state than that of Great Britain; and why was there not a larger stock of the maps published? He urged the Government to exert pressure with a view to bringing the larger Irish survey to a conclusion within a reasonable time. The survey for England was to be completed in 1910. but the survey for Ireland was only to be completed in 1920, and yet there was more necessity for dispatch in the case of the Irish survey than in the case of the British. The information which had been expected from the Government as to the progress of these surveys had not been given. On the last occasion when this Vote was under consideration the President of the Board of Agriculture promised that he would endeavour to make these maps primâ facie evidence of their contents. He knew it was not a simple matter, but thought that these maps ought to be constituted good evidence, especially when they had 911 existed unchallenged for 40 or 50 years. For example, a right of way marked in a map 50 years ago ought to be accepted to-day. Take the case of the Giant's Causeway, which had recently been the subject of litigation. The question of a right of way was raised, and the right of way was shown on the map. In such cases more importance ought to be attached to the evidence of the map than was sometimes attributed to it in Courts of Law. When Estimates of this kind were prepared for next year, he hoped that the sums spent in England and Ireland respectively would be distinguished. He observed that £3,000 appeared for work done in the Land Judges' Court in Ireland, although every penny of that sum was repaid to the Government by the suitors in the Court. This ought not to be debited to Ireland. The Estimates were mixed Estimates for the United Kingdom, but in view of future inquiries they ought not to be presented in that way. It ought to be possible to discriminate between the charges for England and Ireland. This was an omnibus Vote and it was, therefore, very difficult to say how much went to pay men in Ireland, and how much to pay men in England. If the Estimates were prepared differently, it might appear that too much was being spent in England and too little in Ireland, but at present it was not possible to form a definite opinion upon the subject. He wished to know what had been done to ameliorate the condition of the clerks about whom so much was heard a year or two ago?
§ * SIR BARRINGTON SIMEON (Southampton)
said that the civil assistants on the Ordnance Survey were very hardly treated. They received very small pay and no pension, It had been represented that the work of the Ordnance Survey would be finished in 1880, and yet the Department was now as busy as ever. The fact was the work of the Ordnance Survey would never be completed, as it would always be necessary to keep the plans up to date, and these men ought, therefore, to be treated as a permanent staff. Those 912 men who had joined since 1873 had not been allowed to benefit in the superannuation. The hon. Gentleman opposite said that, the Ordnance Survey for England would be completed in 1910, and that for Ireland in 1920, but in reality it would never be completed.
§ * SIR BARRINGTON SIMEON
said whoever made the statement must be mistaken. It had been argued that the wages of these men were so good that they did not require pensions. The facts were that after 15 years' service these men would get the great wage of 30s. a week, and after 21 years' service, if they never misconducted themselves and were fortunate, they would get 50s. a week. These men, however, were not labouring men, their education had cost them money, for which they not unnaturally wished to repay themselves. They had, moreover, to keep themselves fairly well dressed. They entered the service at 14, and earned only 50s. a week when 48 years of age. He knew about 600 of them, and they were, many of them, obliged to wear spectacles, their work tried their eyesight so greatly. When they left the service, they found it difficult to obtain fresh employment, especially work requiring good eyesight. He could produce several men who would swear that when they joined the service, they were solemnly told they would receive a pension at the age of 60, and but for this they would never have joined it. He trusted the Government would see their way to help the men for whom he spoke, who deserved pensions much more than many people who received them.
§ MR. JOHN DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said he desired to support the appeal that had just been made on behalf of the civil assistants in the Ordnance Survey. They were mostly engaged in drawing ordnance maps, and he was assured that the work required considerable skill and education. He could not understand why these civil servants wore not granted pensions like the rest of the Civil Service of this country. The workers in the Ordnance Survey deserved pensions as much as anyone. Moreover, promotion to the higher posts in the service was denied to them. He thought the officials for whom he was 913 speaking had the additional claim that in this particular Department the avenues to promotion were to a great extent blocked, as the higher positions were hold by military men. He did not think it could be for a moment contended that the wages of these servants had been fixed specially on a, high scale in view of their not receiving pensions. Even if the Secretary to the Treasury could state that every one of these civil assistants had been warned before he entered the service that he would not get a pension, that would not much alter his mind us to the justice of their claim, because it was a matter of common knowledge that the Treasury might, if they chose to sweat the employés of the country, get men to come into the Civil Service and do work for a much less salary and pension than now obtained. But that was not the principle upon which the public service of the country was run. The Government had always recognised that: they ought to treat the Civil Service in a fair spirit, and if any hardship could be proved to exist—even if the men had joined knowing that hardship—it ought to be removed.
§ CAPTAIN BETHELL (York, E.R., Holderness)
suggested that reports should be published periodically showing the progress that had been made in the survey.
§ MR. CALDWELL
complained that the Estimate in the form it was presented did not give the information to which the Members of the Committee were entitled. For instance, with regard to Class A, they simply knew that these men were in receipt of military fees from the Army Fund, but they were not informed the amount. Not only were some of the men drawing the sums mentioned in this Vote, but at the same time they were drawing full pay from the Military Fund. Here it was stated that the Director got £1,200 a year on this Vote, but he should like to know, and they were entitled to know, how much he was drawing as a pension in addition. They did not want to have pluralists coming in and cutting other men out of employment, because they, being pluralists, could afford to do the work at a much less salary than should, perhaps properly, be attached to the office. There ought to appear on the face of the Estimate a statement of the real 914 salaries these men were drawing. The military assistants were not all men who entered the Civil Service and rose gradually in position; they were persons who drew pensions in addition to the pay they received. These pensioners look less pay than men who relied on the employment, and so the rate of wages paid by the State was kept down, but the salaries did not represent all their emoluments. There should be a sheet giving the particulars of what each man received, both pension and salary, and he hoped that fuller information would be given next year.
§ MR. LOUGH
thought this one of the most important Votes that had come under consideration during the evening. We spent nearly a quarter of a million of money on our Ordnance Survey, and got less value under that head than any country in the world. Our maps compared badly with those of other countries. A short time since he saw some maps of Norway, beautifully coloured in half-a-dozen tints, the whole configuration of the country—rivers, mountains, waterfalls—all clearly shown and beautifully executed. There was much to be done to bring our Ordnance maps up to the level of other countries. The sale of Ordnance maps had never been large, but he noticed there had been a falling off in the sales to the amount of £2,000 or £3,000. Could the right hon. Gentleman explain this? Had he made any progress with the proposal for keeping the maps on sale at post offices? As to the remarks of the hon. Member who had just spoken, he believed this Ordnance Survey Service was little short of a scandal. The right sort of men were not employed, and proper discipline was not maintained among them. The hon. Gentleman opposite complained of the rate of pay, but he did not mention that they were nearly all pluralists—that there were a number of Army and Navy pensioners among them. Each one of these classes was full of pluralists, and the men who were engaged were not selected for the work, and, he considered, were not fit for the work. He believed in public servants being well chosen and well paid, but they could not choose them well if they made a great Service like this a refuge, principally for military men who had not been successful at their 915 other work. Each officer not only received the amount mentioned in the Estimates, but his full Army pay; and, in addition, he saw by the Vote that they were allowed to give lectures at the Science and Art Department, South Kensington, for which they got further emoluments from that Department. How could they have a great Service like this properly conducted under such a system? They should select Gentlemen who were well suited for the positions, and should get the best servants they possibly could in each Department, and then he would go with the hon. Baronet opposite and say that they should pay them well. He would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would be willing to appoint a Committee to inquire into the important questions raised by the hon. Baronet opposite on the present state of this very important Service.
§ MAJOR JAMESON (Clare, W.)
said he rose to protest against the attack made by the hon. Member who had just sat down, and by the hon. Member for Mid Lanark, on the soldiers who were employed in this Service. The hon. Member for Islington had told them that one of the first essentials was discipline. Where would he no for discipline if not to the Army? ["Hear, hear!"] Would he have them go to himself? [Laughter.] He thought these men were grossly underpaid, and the hon. Member argued that they should living up the salaries. But how was he going to begin? He reminded him of the individual who, in order to lengthen his blanket, cut a piece off the top and sewed it on to the bottom. [Laughter.]That was just what the hon. Gentleman wished to do. Every single officer who had been appointed to this Survey was a man who was thoroughly trusted by his superiors, and who had done good and long service for his country. He did not believe that in any country in Europe they would get men who had more faithfully served their country, or who were greater authorities on the subject on which they were employed. When he was on active service he had had frequent occasion to consult the Ordnance maps, and had always found them sufficient for his purpose.
§ MR. BURNS
said the hon. and gallant Gentleman had entirely ignored the criticism directed against the preparation 916 of this Estimate, lie found that 24 officers received £7,938, and he was informed that that was pay and allowances given to them plus their military active pay, and, in some cases, plus their pension. The only thing that Members on that side of the Commitee wished was that they should know the total amount of pay they received for Survey work. It was well the Committee should be told what the officers received as active service pay or as pensions in one or other branch of the Imperial Service. If they were they would be able to separate the Survey Vote from the Pluralist Vote, and much of the criticism directed against the Army officers, who had such a large share of these appointments, would be disposed of. His suggestion was that the Estimate should be so framed that the Committee would know what was paid for survey, pensions, and for active military service. It seemed to him that Army Reserve and long-service men, whose pensions were small, might reasonably be employed as labourers and office cleaners; but how could lion. Gentlemen opposite defend two Lieutenant-Colonels getting £1,095, for what, after all, was civil engineer work? The fact that a man belonged to the Army did not prove that his qualifications for survey work were superior to those of civilians. How could the President of the Board of Agriculture, who evinced such great interest in this subject, defend a system under which 1,650 civil assistants got no pensions, while officers got £1,095 for Civil Service survey work, and £400 or £500 a year as pensions? He believed in good salaries, and he was not against Army men being employed under fair and just conditions; but there was a feeling growing that Army Reserve men, and Royal Engineers in particular, were being unduly employed. There were military men in that House who were under the impression that in the Survey Department and in the Science and Art Department, and many other departments, the Royal Engineers should get hold of all the good civilian employment. He protested against it. He thought they ought to have many men like Mr. Stanford and other experts in the Civil Service, and he cordially supported the hon. Baronet in his contention, for he objected to pluralists.
§ * THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. WALTER LONG,) Liverpool, West Derby
said he did not think it was necessary for him to reply to the whole of the speeches. The speech of the hon. Member for Islington had been abundantly replied to from the hon. Member's own side of the House. He was very glad that the interest attacked had found an eloquent and competent defender on the other side. ["Hear, hear!"] When they wanted skilled men for Ordnance Survey work they naturally went to the Royal Engineers, and not to other branches of the Army. The hon. Member for Louth complained earlier in the evening as to the condition of the survey in Ireland. He admitted that the Ordnance Survey, with regard to the production of maps in Ireland, was not so satisfactory as they could wish to see. But he was bound to say that their expenditure in Ireland was fully sufficient, amounting as it did to 24 per cent, of the total expenditure. He was sorry, in regard to the production of the one-inch map, that it was not so modernised as in England, but that was largely owing to the fact that they were anxious to complete the one-inch survey in England. The skilled men who were now employed in England would then be ready for the product ion of the work in Ireland. Many of the one-inch maps in Ireland were not brought up to modern requirements. They were now endeavouring to complete the one-inch map in England, and so soon as that was done, they could employ the men in bringing the maps in Ireland up to the most modern form. With regard to the general survey map for England, which had been condemned, he had been at considerable trouble to ascertain how it compared with the maps of foreign countries, and all the evidence he could obtain was entirely opposed to the statement that our map was inferior to those of other countries. But any suggestions for the improvement of the map would be considered by the Department, who in the discharge of their duties spared no trouble to secure a satisfactory result. As to the distribution of the maps, a Committee was appointed and made some very valuable recommendations, He had been able to carry out their suggestions, and had arranged that no fewer than 800 post offices should be made 918 depôts for the sale of the maps; and he hoped he would be able to increase the number. These offices were in all parts of the United Kingdom. At each office maps could be ordered, and an index of all the different maps could be consulted. With regard to the military officers, he pointed out that the aggregate amount they received was stated in the footnote to the, Vote. The amount they received from the Army Votes was £26,900. He did not think it was reasonable to ask that, in addition to the money paid them for services to the Ordnance Survey, the Vote should state the exact sum that, each received as soldiers or as men who had served their country in other branches.
§ MR. JOHN DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said the Treasury ought to give some information on this point. A strong case had been made out in favour of the civil assistants, whose claims had been treated with silent contempt.
§ MR. DILLON
said there was plenty of time. These men, who did the bulk of the work, were entitled to more consideration. He had made a calculation, and found that they received an average of £95 a year each.
The HON. MEMBER was speaking at midnight, when the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
Resolutions to be reported upon Monday, 26th April; Committee also report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.