HC Deb 11 March 1901 vol 90 cc1157-8
MR. THOMAS DEWAR (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the delay in the rebuilding of the Central Criminal Court is due to the action of any Government Department; whether he is aware that the Corporation of the City of London have duly approved plans for the rebuilding but are unable to proceed owing to the difficulties placed in their way by the Government; and, seeing two judges have recently been indisposed in consequence of having to preside at trials under the present insanitary conditions of the Old Bailey, whether any steps can be taken to temporarily avoid such a state of affairs pending the erection of the new Courts.

The following question also appeared on the Paper:—

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

To ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the attention of the Government has been directed to the insanitary condition of the Central Criminal Court, which has injuriously affected the health of the Lord Chief Justice and other Judges who have had occasion to sit there; and whether they are in a position to do anything to remedy such a dangerous state of matters.


I beg to ask the same right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that the Corporation of London have already paid £25,000 to his Majesty's Commissioners of Prisons in part payment of the £40,000 agreed upon between the Corporation and the Government for the purchase of the male wing of Newgate, and that the City Lands Committee, who have the matter in hand, are quite prepared to start the work of rebuilding the Central Criminal Court as soon as they gain possession of this land from the Government.


With regard to the question of my hon. friend the Member for the City of London, I have no doubt the facts are as he has stated them, but the City Corporation will allow the financial arrangements with the Government are very favourable to themselves, and they have made them on the express understanding that the prison would not be handed over until accommodation elsewhere was provided for the prisoners. With regard to the question of my hon. friend the Member for St. George's, I have to say that the City of London authorities are responsible for the building in which the Central Criminal Court is held. In order to furnish them with a site on which to build a new court, His Majesty's Government have agreed to surrender Newgate Prison, but in order to make this possible extensive alterations have to be made in prison buildings elsewhere. This involves considerable delay, but it is not the case that His Majesty's Government are placing difficulties in the way. As a matter of fact, the Prison Commissioners are doing all they can to complete the arrangements which are a necessary preliminary to the discontinuance of Newgate Prison, and the transfer of its site to the Corporation.