HC Deb 18 February 1897 vol 46 cc714-5
ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will ascertain if the Lord Chamberlain has had his attention called to the performance of a play at the Avenue Theatre last week called "Nelson's Enchantress," in which the greatest Naval commander of the century, who died in the service of his country, is held up to public contempt; whether the Lord Chamberlain will call upon the manager of the said theatre to withdraw the play in question, under a distinct notice that otherwise the licence to perform stage plays will be suspended or withdrawn; and whether, seeing that a former Lord Chamberlain prohibited a certain performance in a London theatre which lampooned the Members of the Government of that day (1870–74), similar protection will be afforded to the memory of the honoured dead?

MR. HARRY FOSTER (Suffolk, Lowestoft)

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers the Question, I should like to ask him whether he is aware that the public performance of the play named under the shadow of Nelson's monument has caused considerable indignation and pain in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, where the memory of Lord Nelson is especially cherished. [Laughter and ironical cheers.]


I am not aware of any feeling of indignation in the counties mentioned. I had no knowledge of the play referred to until my attention was called to it by the Question on the Paper. I am informed by the Lord Chamberlain that the play was duly submitted to him for licence, and that, as the play contained nothing which in his Lordship's judgment would justify a refusal, the licence was granted, and it is not proposed to withdraw it.


Am I to understand from that answer that the Lord Chamberlain will sanction dragging up the Duke of Wellington and other heroes—


Order, order!


Then, Sir, I beg to give notice that, in consequence of the answer that has been given, I will draw attention to the matter when the salary of the Lord Chamberlain comes up to be voted. [Laughter.]