Motion made, and Question proposed—
That it be an Instruction to the Committee to take into consideration whether the offices and buildings of the Stock Exchange shall be exempted from the operations of Part VI. and VII. of the principal Act."—(Mr. Banbury.)
§ MR. F. G. BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)
The Instruction which stands in my name is simply an instruction to give the Stock Exchange power to appear before the Committee on this Bill, and place their case before the Committee, and the Committee, after hearing that evidence, will, of course, give its decision accordingly. The buildings of the Stock Exchange are of an exceptional character, requiring large open space, and 184 are practically without furniture, and not in any way used for storage of goods, and contain nothing of an inflammable character. The building is in the nature of a public building, but having regard to the definition of a public building in the Act of 1894, which was framed to apply to warehouses, it is open to doubt whether it is a public building within the meaning of the Act. There are various provisions in the Act of 1894, framed to apply to warehouses and similar buildings, which are inappropriate and practically inapplicable to the Stock Exchange, and were not framed with the object of applying to a building of its class, but which, nevertheless, would, if the Stock. Exchange is not a public building within the meaning of the Act, extend to it. These provisions are mainly provisions against the possible spread of a fire should one occur by reason of large spaces used for storing or warehousing goods and, therefore, limit the cubical contents to 250,000 cubic feet; and Section 77 provides that no building may be united to another building if the cubical contents of the building would exceed that amount, except by small openings, seven feet by eight feet. The hall, or market, of the Stock Exchange and the settling rooms below it, have been extended from time to time, so that the area is more than double what it was 14 years ago, and it is necessary that every part of it should be freely open to the rest. Further extensions will shortly be required, but it would not be possible to make them if the restrictions of Section 77 to the size of openings apply. Apart from the House itself, the requirements of the Act as to iron doors and party walls prevent the free use of the buildings by Members and others having access thereto, besides introducing unnecessary inconveniences into the planning and other arrangements. Buildings of a similar character to the Stock Exchange are exempted from the operations of the said Act, such as the Royal Exchange, the Bank of England. Mansion House, the Guildhall, Covent Garden Market, and the Metropolitan Cattle Market, and it would only be reasonable that the Stock Exchange should be exempted in like manner from the provisions of the Act. This is simply an application to allow a building, which 185 is an empty one, which cannot in any way be considered inflammable but merely a building in which a certain number of man meet for business purposes, to have the same advantages which are possessed by buildings of a similar character, and which I have enumerated just now. As I explained at the beginning, it is an Instruction merely to allow the Stock Exchange to put its case before the Committee of this House. I beg to move the Instruction which stands in my name.
§ MR SPEAKER
The Question is—That it be an Instruction to the committee to take into consideration whether the offices and buildings of the Stock Exchange within the City shall be exempted from the operations of Parts VI. and VII. of the principal Act.
§ MR. E. H. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
I am very sorry that the House is troubled with this discussion to-day, but I must personally disclaim al responsibility, because I suggested to the hon. Member opposite that his Instruction should be postponed.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
Through the intervention of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeenshire, who has charge of this Bill.
§ MR. BANBURY
The hon. Member for Aberdeenshire asked me if, in view of the statement that was going to be made later on, I would postpone this Instruction.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
That is exactly my point. There is no difference between any hon. Friend and myself, and therefore I think, Sir, that as we are quite agreed, our own wishes and the general convenience of the House would be met if this Debate be adjourned; and I therefore move that it be adjourned.
§ Debate adjourned.