§ LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether any steps have been taken to increase the number of police stationed at the National Portrait Gallery, in view of the increasing number of visitors, and the damage done to pictures during last summer?
THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. R. W. HANBUBY,) Preston
I informed the noble Lord, in reply to his Question of August 13th last, that there were then in attendance at the Gallery ten curators and three constables. Two more constables have now been added, so that the total number of attendants during the day is now 15, in addition to a head porter, a head messenger, and nine pensioner messengers. The attendance of the public shows no increase. Indeed it has gradually fallen from 49,000 when the Gallery was first opened in April 1896, to 12,000 in December—the last complete month. As regards other means of preventing damage, I may say that the Treasury have agreed to ask Parliament to provide funds during the next two years for glazing the portraits which are immediately within reach of the public.