HC Deb 12 June 1902 vol 109 cc505-6
MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the premises at 67, Queen Victoria Street, where the fire took place on the 9th June by which ten persons lost their lives, was a work-; shop within the meaning of the Factory Act; and can he state whether the premises were erected after the 1st January, 1896, and whether forty people were employed there.


No part of the buildings in which the fire took place was registered as a workshop under the Factory Act. The question whether any part was used for purposes entailing an obligation to so register the premises is a difficult one and I am causing enquiry to be made. The premises were erected before 1896, and even if any part ought to have been registered as a workshop, I understand that only twenty-two persons were employed in that part.


If the premises were not so registered, what was the reason of the omission? Is it possible for anybody to carry on business in a workshop without registering his premises?


Yes, I am afraid it is possible to do so. It is the duty of the owner of a factory to give notice to the Inspector for the purpose of registration, and if he does not give notice he is, of course, liable to a penalty.

MR. JAMES O'CONNOR (Wicklow, W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the lives lost in the fire at 47, Queen Victoria Street, whether he intends to take such steps, by legislation or otherwise, as will in future secure the safety from fire of persons employed on the upper floors of high buildings.


The matter is a very serious one, and I shall fully consider the question whether legislation is necessary; but before arriving at any decision I must await the result of the inquest in the case under notice. In the meantime I will communicate with the London County Council, the authority primarily responsible in this matter.