§ SIR C. DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, when Her Majesty's ship "Victorious" was sent to the China station, it was the belief of the Admiralty that she could be docked at Hong Kong; whether this has been found to be too dangerous: what progress is being made in the exe- 1015 cution of the plan for the addition to the Hong Kong Naval yard; and whether the arrangements with the Hong Kong Dock Company for the construction of a larger dock have fallen through?
THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN (St. George's,) Hanover Square
There is no question as to the capacity of the Hong Kong Dock. It is quite capable of receiving the "Victorious," though the margin is small. Later experience gained in clocking heavy vessels very little inferior in size to the "Victorious" has caused the Hong Kong officers to report that, in consequence of the existence of a current across the entrance to the dock at the very moment of high-water, when it is necessary to dock large ships, a certain amount of risk would be involved on account of the difficulty of managing the ship with sufficient nicety in passing her in. As there are docks in Japan which will take the "Victorious," it is not considered desirable to run any such risk. Sharps Buildings and the North Barracks have been acquired, thus doubling the size of the yard. The utilisation of the buildings thus obtained, as shops, storehouses, &c., is proceeding under the direction of the Commodore, and the arrangements made with the Colonial Government for the widening of Murray Road are being carried out. No arrangement has been concluded with the Dock Company for the construction of a larger dock. The Admiralty have now under consideration a proposal to construct a clock of their own, as part of the Dockyard Extension provided for in the Naval Works Acts.