§ SIR J. BAKER (Portsmouth)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, as one of the governors of the King William IV. Naval Asylum at Penge, why the vacancy for a widow, or orphan daughter, of a master, R.N., or the equivalent of that rank, which occurred in the autumn of 1897, has not been filled; whether the cottage has been vacant for the last 10 months; why the election to fill the vacancy did not take place in December last; whether the incoming tenant is, or is not, responsible for the internal repairs of the said cottage; what becomes of the annuity which has not been paid during the time the cottage has been vacant; and when steps will be taken to fill the vacancy in this Naval charity?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
The governors have been anxious that the meeting should be held as usual, under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, but His Royal Highness's illness and absence from England has caused unexpected delay. The cottage has been vacant for nearly 12 months. The incoming tenant is not responsible for the internal repairs of the cottage, but owing to the inadequacy of the Repair Fund the tenants have for some years past voluntarily done certain repairs. When the cottage is vacant, the annuity goes to the Repair Fund, which enables the trustees to obtain the means for putting the cottage in repair before its occupation by a new tenant. Steps will be taken to fill the vacancy at the earliest moment. The list of candidates will very shortly be completed for the consideration of the governors.