HC Deb 15 May 1902 vol 108 cc390-437

1. Motion made, and Question proposed "That a sum, not exceeding £37,800, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1903, for Expenditure in respect of Royal Palaces and Marlborough House."

(3.0.) MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)

said that perhaps he might be permitted to say, on the first occasion on which the Chairman of Committees had taken the Chair since his recent illness, that every. Member of the Committee entertained a feeling of gratitude at his restoration to health, and on his being enabled to preside in his courteous manner over the Committee once again. On the Vote before the Committee, he desired to move that it be postponed, for reasons which the Committee would at once see if they turned to page 6 of the Estimates. They were asked, in the form in which the Vote was presented, to vote a blank page which had always been accustomed to contain details of the salaries, wages, and allowances. They had heard from the hon. Member for Oldham and the hon. Member for Exeter during the week about the lack of control which the House exercised over public money; and the presentation to the Committee of a blank page, with the request to vote public money, was remarkable evidence of that. He had taken the trouble to look up the Estimates for previous years, and he found that last year, for the first occasion for as many years as he had been able to look back, the Estimate was also presented in blank. No attention was called to it last year, as hon. Members considered that, owing to the recent decease of her late Majesty Queen Victoria, there might be reasons, as to which it was not desirable to inquire, why the Estimate was presented in that form. But the Estimate was now again presented in blank, and if the Committee did not refuse to pass it in that form, it might become a precedent, which might extend in many other directions. There were two funds voted by the Committee without particulars being supplied as to the manner in which the money was spent. One was the Civil List which was granted to His Majesty, and no details were required as to that, as it was for the King to spend it when and how he pleased. The second fund was what was called the Secret. Service Fund, and for many years the House had been extremely jealous as to the amount of money allowed for that purpose, and it was one of the great principles of the House of Commons to watch it very carefully and jealously in order that the amount of secret service money should not increase too much. The Committee gladly passed those two Votes without any account being required, but it was entirely a novel proceeding, and he submitted a very dangerous one, to present a Vote to the House in the form of a complete blank. He trusted, therefore, that the Committee would support him in his Motion that the Vote be adjourned until the particulars had been placed on the Paper. He moved his Motion, in the first place, on pure principle, because he thought it was a matter in which the Committee should stand on its rights; and in the second place, because the Vote had increased during the last few years to a very serious extent. The total of the Vote before the Committee was 60 per cent. higher than the Vote for the same Department four years ago, and surely, therefore, it was a case in which particulars should be supplied before the Committee proceeded to consider it. Lastly, he claimed that if the Government agreed to postpone the Vote, they should undertake that it would not be guillotined at the end of the session, but that it should be brought up when there would be a proper opportunity for considering it. He moved that the consideration of the Vote be adjourned.


I cannot put the motion in these terms, as it would be a quite unusual thing to do in Committee. I could put the question that I report progress and ask leave to sit again, but then the debate would be confined to that Motion. Perhaps the better way would be for the Minister in charge to reply, and then if the hon. Member is not satisfied, he can remove to report progress.


said the hon. Member desired to postpone the Vote on two grounds. One was that full details of expenditure had not been given either in the present year or last year with regard to the items of expenditure, and the other was that there was a large increase in the Vote over what it was four years ago. The Estimate was presented in a slightly different form from that of last year, but there was no objection taken to it by the Public Accounts Committee. He could assure the hon. Member that every detail which had been previously given appeared on the Estimate. If the hon. Member would turn to pages 4 and 5 he would see all the details of expenditure under the various heads. The particulars as to the new works were contained in page 5.


said he referred to item A—salaries, wages, and allowances.


said he believed that these items were given in detail in no other Votes, but he would be glad to give the hon. Member any details he required as to them. He could assure the hon. Member that there was no desire whatever, on the part of the Government or of his Department, to keep any details from the criticism of the House of Commons. He thought he would have the Committee with him when he stated that the Estimates in Class 1 were more detailed than the Estimates of any other Department. He also wished to point out that the Votes for which he was responsible instead of being given in one Estimate, as was the case in many other Departments, were given under no less than eight Estimates. For instance the Vote for the Local Government Board, which was a very large service compared with the relatively small amount of money for which he was responsible, only appeared in one Estimate. Certainly, there was no intention on his part, or on the part of the Government, to withhold any information from the Committee. Then with regard to the increase in the Vote, the hon. Member had taken the Committee to a period four years ago. A great deal had taken place during the last two years, and the expenditure was undoubtedly higher than it was four years ago, but it was owing to one reason, and one reason only, and that was the accession to the Throne last year, and the large amount of money that had to be spent in connection with it. The amount of money taken last year, including Supplementary Estimates, was £104,600; this year there was a decrease of £31,800, and although the Vote for £72,800 was higher than the normal Vote for the service, it was entirely accounted for by the extra expenditure necessary in consequence of the change of occupancy of the Throne and the accession of His present Majesty. Those, extra sums would disappear from the Estimates in future years. They were foreshawdowed last year, he thought, by his right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in a statement to the House, and his right hon. friend then said that they would cover a period of two years, because it was quite impossible to carry out the necessary work in one financial year. The hon. Member might accept his assurance that the expenditure was abnormal, and that it was only connected with the accession of His present Majesty to the Throne. He looked forward to the normal expenditure of £50,000 or £60,000 a year as likely to prevail in the future. Any hon. Member who had followed the Estimates for many years would admit that there was less variation in the amount of the Estimates in his Department than in any other Department. Naturally, there were public improvements to be carried out; but in a time of great stress it was natural that the Department connected with buildings, parks, and public spaces should go to the wall. But so far as the Votes for which he was personally responsible went, there had been during the last few years very little variation in them. The variation in the Vote before the Committee was, as he had already said, accounted for by the accession of His present Majesty and the necessary preparations which had to be made in the Royal Palaces. If the hon. Member withdrew his Motion, he would be quite prepared to give him full details of the extra expenditure. There was no desire to conceal anything in the Vote from the cognisance of the Committee; and he hoped the hon. Gentleman would be satisfied with the explanation he had given and allow the discussion to proceed.


said the right hon. Gentleman had not realised the point which he had endeavoured to make. He did not question the amount of the Vote in any way. His complaint was that Item A, both this year and last, was presented in blank, which was not according to precedent. He had expected the right hon. Gentleman to have said that that was due to an error on the part of the printers or somebody. This item was for salaries, wages, and allowances, and two years ago these Estimates contained a complete list of the officers who received the money; now it was presented in blank, and the Vote certainly ought not to be allowed to proceed until the particulars were before the House. He was not in any way protesting against the increase as suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, but simply to Item A being presented in blank. In order to raise the question he moved that the Chairman report progress and ask leave to sit again.


pointed out that it would be more convenient if the hon. Gentleman moved a reduction, which would enable the whole matter to be discussed, rather than to report progress, which would restrict the discussion to this particular point.


accepted the suggestion, and moved to reduce the Vote by £500 in respect of Item A.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A (Salaries, Wages, and Allowances) be reduced by £500."—(Mr. Whitley.)

(3.18.) MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)

thought the hon. Gentleman had moved the reduction under a misapprehension. He had said there were no details under this head, whereas, as a matter of fact, the old details were there in a different form. Instead of being carried out horizontally, they were put in vertically. That was almost the only change. But then came the question of whether the details were sufficient. It was perfectly true that the details were not so rich in this as in other Votes. He thought the particulars were sufficient, but that, of course, did not prejudice the right of the hon. Member to criticise and examine them. The hon. Gentleman was pressing for further information, and the right hon. Gentleman had rather put the responsibility on the Public Accounts Committee. The Public Accounts Committee was not in the least responsible for the form of this Estimate. It must be clearly understood that this was a form adopted by the Treasury, and for which the Public Accounts Committee was in no way-responsible.

MR. GODDARD (Ipswich)

said the explanation given by the hon. Member for King's Lynn did not quite dispose of the point. It was not a fact that all the information given in the Estimates two years ago was given in this Estimate. All the information given by the vertical columns was that this sum was divided between the various palaces. They did not give, as in former Estimates, the number of officers employed. No doubt the information could be obtained by constantly pestering the right hon. Gentleman until they got what they wanted, but that was not so satisfactory as the old method of having the information set out in the Estimates. In the old form, instead of this blank page there were full details showing how this money was expended. There might be certain officers employed with regard to whom some criticism might be necessary, but that could not be ascertained until the Vote was brought up in the House, and then the information could only be obtained by questions, and in the event of the Vote not coming on, but being guillotined, there would be no information at all. The Public Accounts Committee had not taken any notice of this change because they were engaged in seeing that the money voted was properly expended, rather than looking after the form of the account, and attention had not been called to the alteration. He thought his hon. friend was quite right in moving the reduction, and unless the right hon. Gentleman gave an undertaking that in future the old form of the Estimate should be reverted to, he should support the Motion.

MR. NANNETTI (Dublin, College Green)

said in his opinion the hon. Member had made out a good case. This change was the thin end of the wedge, and would supply for future years a precedent for inserting blank pages in other Votes. He trusted the hon. Member would press his Motion to a division. The House when voting public money was entitled to know how it was spent.


contended that not only the salaries but also the number of persons to whom those salaries were paid should be set out. How were the Committee to know whether the £1,400 put down to Hampton Court Palace went to one man or twenty men? Members were deprived of that information by the absence of this page of details, and he should certainly press his Amendment to a division.

MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)

thought that if an assurance were given that the details required would be given next year the Amendment might be withdrawn. There was no suspicion that anything was wrong this year, but the omission of these particulars opened the way to things which might be important in the future.


thought the particulars would not be of very great convenience to the Committee. Most of the persons concerned, though most excellent servants, were in extremely humble positions. There was not a single case in which the salary exceeded 30s. a week, and the men included turncocks, night watchmen, coal porters, stokers, and, he believed, a rat catcher. Surely it was not desirable that the time of the Committee should be wasted by discussing such details, when the excess of the present Estimate over that of four years ago was only about £50.

(3.35.) Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 87: Noes, 139. (Division List No. 176.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Reddy, M.
Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud Horniman, Frederick John Redmond, John E. (Waterford
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Rigg, Richard
Blake, Edward Jacoby, James Alfred Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Boland, John Jones, William Carnarvonshire Roche (John)
Burke, E. Haviland- Joyce, Michael Roe, Sir Thomas
Burns, John Law, Hugh Alex (Donegal, W. Runciman, Walter
Buxton, Sydney Charles Leamy, Edmund Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Caldwell, James Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Levy, Maurice Shipman, Dr. John G.
Carew, James Laurence Lough, Thomas Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. Sullivan, Donal
Channing, Francis Allston MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Tennant, Harold John
Condon, Thomas Joseph MacVeagh, Jeremiah Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Cremer, William Randal M'Fadden, Edward Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Mansfield, Horace, Rendall Thomas, J. A (Glam'rg'n, Gower
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Mooney, John J. Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)
Delany, William Murnaghan, George Tully, Jasper
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh. Nannetti, Joseph P. Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan
Dillon, John. Norton, Capt. Cecil William Weir, James Galloway
Doogan, P. C, Nussey, Thomas Willans White, Luke (York, E. B.)
Duncan, J. Hastings O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Elibank, Master of O'Brien, Kendal, Tipp'rary, Mid Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Farquharson, Dr. Robert O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Ffrench, Peter O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Woodhouse, Sir J T(H'dd'rsf'd
Flavin, Michael Joseph O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Fuller, J. M. F. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.
Goddard, Daniel Ford O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Hayden, John Patrick Palmer, George Wm. (Reading) Mr. Whitley and Mr. Wallace.
Hayne, lit. Hon. Charles Seale- Partington, Oswald
Helme, Norval Watson Power, Patrick Joseph
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex F. Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Bartley, George C. T. Cavendish, V. C W (Derbyshire
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Beach, Rt Hn Sir Michael Hicks Cayzer, Sir Charles William
Arkwright, John Stanhope Bignold, Arthur Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Blundell, Colonel Henry Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worcr
Austin, Sir John Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Coghill, Douglas Harry
Baldwin, Alfred Brotherton, Edward Allen Cohen, Benjamin Louis
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Campbell, Rt Hn. J. A. (Glasgow Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse
Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready Hickman, Sir Alfred Plummer, Walter R.
Colston, Charles Edw. H. Athole Hoare, Sir Samuel Purvis, Robert
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Hogg, Lundsay Randles, John S.
Cranborne, Viscount Hope, J. F.(Sheffield, Brightside Remnant, James Farquharson
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton) Hornby, Sir William Henry Renshaw, Charles Bine
Dalkeith, Earl of Horner, Frederick William Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas, Thomson
Dorington, Sir John Edward Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Doxford, Sir William Theodore Lawson, John Grant Rollit, Sir Albeit Kaye
Elliot, Hon. A Ralph Douglas Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Ropper, Colonel Robert
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S. Russell, T. W.
Fergusson, Rt. H n. Sir J. (M'ne'r Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham Rutherford, John
Fielden, Edward, Brocklehurst Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Finch, George H. Loyd, Archie Kirkman Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone. W.)
Fisher, William Haves Lucas, Reginald. J.(Portsmouth Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight
Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Macartney, Rt. Hn W G. Ellison Sharpe, William Edward T.
Foster, Philip S (Warwick, S. W. Macdona, John Gumming Simeon, Sir Barrington
Galloway, William Johnson MacIver, David, Liverpool Smith, James Parker (Lanarks
Gardner, Ernest Manners, Lord Cecil Spear, John Ward
Gordon, Hn. J. E (Elgin&Nairn) Maxwell W. J. H. (Dumfriessh. Stanley, Edward Jas. Somerset
Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby (Line.) Middlemore, John Throgmort'n Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Mildmay, Francis Bingham Stone, Sir Benjamin
Goulding, Edward Alfred Mitchell, William Talbot, Lord E. Chichester)
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Green, Walford D.(W'dnesbury Morrell, George Herbert Walker, Col. William Hall
Greene, Sir E W (B'ry S. Edm'nds Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Gretton, John Mount, William Arthur Warr, Augustus Frederick
Hain, Edward Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute Welby, Lt-Col. A. C. E. Taunton
Halsey, Rt. Hn. Thomas F. Murray, Charles J. Coventry) Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und Lyne
Hamilton, Rt Hn Ld. G. (Midd'x Newdigate, Francis Alexander Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'rry Nicholson, William Graham Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Nicol Donald Ninian Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath
Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Hare, Thomas Leigh Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Haslam, Sir Alfred S. Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n Sir William Walrond and
Heath, James (Staffords, N. W. Percy, Earl Mr. Anstruther.
Heaton, John Henniker Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard

Question put and agreed to.

Original Question again proposed.

(3.45.) MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)

contended that the same proportion of money should be spent upon Holyrood Palace as upon the other Royal Palaces in England. Her late Majesty occasionally made Holyrood Palace her residence. This palace ought to be kept in a reasonable state of efficiency, but only £470 was being expended upon new works. Amongst other small items was one of £150 for an addition to a greenhouse in the palace gardens at Holyrood, and £120 for improvement of fire appliances. How far would that go for additional greenhouses? The amount was ridiculous. The sum of £200 for the renewal of kitchen apparatus was certainly very economical, and practically nothing was being done to keep the buildings in an efficient state of repair, or to prepare them even for a temporary Royal residence. He thought they had a right to complain of the great need for expenditure in preserving the national buildings. If the First Commissioner of Works would compare the expenditure upon these buildings in Scotland with other places, he would find that Scotland did not get its fair share. He hoped the House would receive some assurance that Holyrood Palace would be kept in an efficient state.


said that he did not feel inclined to quarrel with the argument that a larger amount should be spent at Holyrood. He would like to see more money spent on all the public gardens in Scotland, but he had to do the best he could with the sum at his disposal. He thought the hon. Member opposite would admit that some progress had been made in the direction he desired in the course of the last year or two. This year the sum asked for was higher than in the past, and one reason it was not larger was that it was not necessary to include proposals for structural alterations necessary at Holyrood for making it suitable for a residence for the Royal family. The hon. Member opposite had often brought forward the wishes of his Scotch friends with regard to Holyrood Palace, but he thought the hon. Member would admit that since he had been First Commissioner of Works they had succeeded in making the palace at Holyrood and the gardens far more popular than they had hitherto been. A request which had often been made in the House had just been granted, namely, that in future the gardens at Holyrood would be open to the public at certain hours of the day; and further, if found possible to make arrangements, His Majesty would be pleased to allow bands to play in the gardens at Holyrood. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark might rest assured that Holyrood would not be forgotten.


expressed his satisfaction with the right hon. Gentleman's reply.

(3.55.) MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)

drew attention to an item of £150 for the construction of a new outside larder at Kensington Palace. The occupants of Kensington Palace were as a rule pensioners, and got their quarters free. It was often the practice of these people to put up such things as washhouses and outside larders, and the fine old building was being completely spoiled simply to please tenants who were having a good time of it at the nation's expense. These people ought not to be allowed to vandalise the nation's property, and he objected to Kensington Palace being spoiled by the construction of outside larders. Near to Kensington Palace was a beautiful building known as the Orangery, and near it were being erected a number of temporary buildings. He knew very well what temporary buildings became when they were erected near palaces occupied by free tenants. It might at first be a temporary iron building, then later on lath and plaster, and subsequently brickwork, until it assumed the shape of a permanent building out of keeping altogether with the original building. He trusted that Kensington Palace would be left intact as bequeathed by her late Majesty the Queen, and that it would not be allowed to be spoiled by the erection of outside larders. In past years he thought the right hon. Gentleman deserved the thanks of everybody for the steps he had taken to keep Hampton Court Palace, as it should be kept, as an old building, without having grafted upon it those brick and mortar excrescences which had been dabbed on in the past. The right hon. Gentleman this year appeared to be departing from that artistic taste, for there was on the Estimate an item of £200 for the enlargement of the stud groom's house. He did not wish to see Hampton Court Palace destroyed by the erection of such buildings. The question whether Hampton Court or Fontainebleau was the more beautiful was one on which art critics were divided, but it was certain that no French Government would allow a stud-groom's house to be grafted on to the original building of Fontainebleau. He asked the Chief Commissioner of Works to save this£200. It was wanted for war and many other things. If the stud groom wanted a larger house, he should get one elsewhere. During the past four or five years the First Commissioner of Works had really improved Hampton Court, not by spending money on new erections, but by pulling down a number of so-called improvements which were carried out by his predecessors at the express wish of the tenants. It was now proposed to erect a brick and mortar excrescence which would offend the esthetic sense of the Bank holiday makers. He objected to the Palace being treated according to the ideals of the South African plutocrats who were erecting monstrosities in stone and iron in Park Lane.


said he had looked very carefully into what was proposed with regard to the addition at Kensington Palace. The structure referred to was required to take the place of one which was about to be taken down. With regard to the buildings between the Orangery and the Palace to which the hon. Member for Battersea referred, he had to say that they had nothing to do with the occupants of the Palace. He thought all of them were put up before he was Commissioner of Works, and they were very useful for a purpose with which he sympathised a good deal, namely, giving pleasure to the working classes and children. They were sheds used for keeping the small yachts which were so often to be seen racing on the pond. If these were the sheds to which the hon. Member referred, he could assure him that they were not put up for the convenience of the tenants whom His Majesty allowed to occupy the Royal Palace. The proposed building was absolutely necessary, and he could assure the hon. Member that it would not in any way be an eyesore. As to the studgroom's house at Hampton Court, he did not wish any one to go away with the idea that it was for a sinecure. It was a labourer's cottage, and it was found to be insanitary. There were, he thought, only two rooms in the house, and was it consistent with morality to allow a man and his family to live there? They were allowing the erection of another bedroom.

MR. RUNCIMAN (Dewsbury)

called attention to an item of £450 for the ground rent of two houses at 77 and 78 Pall Mall, which were purchased originally for the purposes of the War Office on the outbreak of the war in 1898, because the War Office was stated to be short of accommodation. The cost of purchasing the leasehold of these houses was £6,700, and they now discovered that the houses had been transferred from the War Office to the use of Prince Christian. These houses now appeared as a "grace and favour" residence. He should like to know whether the sanction of the Treasury was obtained for the transference, and whether the alterations on the houses to make them suitable as a residence were to be paid for out of the War Office Vote, the Civil List, or the Vote the Committee were now dealing with.


said he did not think this came within the Vote now before the Committee, but, as he did not wish to be discourteous to the hon. Gentleman, he would state what the nature of the transfer was. It was perfectly true that the buildings were originally purchased for the War Office and were found to be inadequate for the purpose. At that time there was a great demand for a site for a physical laboratory, and the Royal Society were most anxious to acquire Bushey House for that purpose. The late Queen had allowed the use of Bushey, taking in exchange the use of the houses in Pall Mall as a grace and favour residence. Both properties, however, still remained State properties. He understood that the transfer was appreciated by the Royal Society and by the scientists of the day, as Bushey House afforded, he thought, an extremely useful home for their delicate scientific instruments, and one which it would have been absolutely impossible for them to procure except by the expenditure of a very large sum of money.

(4.10.) MR. RUNCIMAN

asked whether he was to understand that Prince Christian could not be accommodated in Bushey House.


No; the Royal Society will utilise the house for scientific purposes.


I have no ill feeling in this matter——


I do not think that this matter can be properly discussed on this Vote. The Minister in charge of the Vote says it does not come under it.


I would ask an explanation of the £450, which I understand is ground rent for the two houses in Pall Mall.


said that, if there was ground rent charged in the Vote, it could clearly be discussed. He hoped the Committee would receive some information in reply to the question why buildings bought for the War Office had been transferred to a different purpose. In the Civil Service Vote, money, he thought, amounting to £1,200 was voted to be expended on these buildings for the purpose of the War Office. It would be interesting to know whether that expenditure was made by the War Office. Probably it was, and if so was the expenditure on alterations suitable for the purpose to which the property was now applied?


said he was not satisfied with the reply received from the First Commissioner of Works. So far as he could find out, the buildings had never been used by the War Office, so that there had been no opportunity of testing whether they were suitable for the purpose for which they were bought. The Committee had a right to know why the War Office had not occupied them, and why they were transferred to be used as a grace and favour residence. He had no objection to Prince Christian being provided with a good residence, but the objection was to this being provided out of War Office Funds.


said that arrangement was a pure exchange, and that matter had not been dealt with without the consent of the Treasury, who thought the arrangement a very desirable one. He himself believed that it was extremely advantageous to the State.

MR. NUSSEY (Pontefract)

said they did not object to the exchange, but to the manner in which it had been done; because it was misleading if moneys voted under one Estimate were transferred to another, and entirely different, Estimate. The right hon. Gentleman assured them that all this had been sanctioned by the Treasury, but there was a still higher sanction required, viz., that of the House of Commons.

* MR. HENRY J. WILSON (Yorkshire, W. R., Holmfirth)

said that, so far as he could understand this involved business, the transaction appeared to be part of the expenses of the South African War; and, if so, he thought it was very extraordinary.

* MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)

hoped that before this Vote was passed the First Commissioner would give the Committee some guarantee that the Estimates would be presented in future in the form that hon. Members had had them not so very many years ago. There was an absense of information from the Treasury Bench. It was very easy to raise a laugh, and talk of the royal ratcatcher, the turncock, and the housemaid——


The division recently taken must be accepted as having settled something; and I take it that that division settled the question which the hon. Gentleman is about to go back upon.


said he bowed to the decision of the Chairman, but he was bound to say that——


The hon. Member must not contravene my ruling.


said what he wanted was some guarantee that the original form of these Estimates should be restored and more detailed information supplied. Further, he wanted some information in regard to the contracts for furniture and buildings. He had raised this question some years ago when he understood that there were only two firms which supplied new furniture for, and repaired the old furniture in, public buildings and royal palaces, and that they practically fixed their own prices for the new, and charged what they pleased for repairing the old. He was then promised that public tenders would be invited for such work, both from east and west-end cabinetmakers; but there was no evidence that that promise had been given effect to. It was the same with regard to the contracts for the erection and repair of buildings.

* MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)

wished the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner to give the House some information as to the restoration of the fine old tapestries in the Palace of Holy-rood. Two years ago the right hon. Gentleman had promised that that should be done. He noticed that this year there was an increase in the estimate for new works, repairs, etc., on Holyrood of over £400, which was a step in the right direction. He also wished to ask whether arrangements had been made to put the ancient palace in such a condition as to make it fit for the King on the occasion of his visits to Scotland.

CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)

said that, in regard to the point raised by the hon. Member for Dewsbury, he would ask whether the matter did not stand thus: that the public had acquired those houses in Pall Mall at a cost of £450 ground rental. Of course they understood that the War Office had purchased these houses and then found that they were not suitable for their purpose. It would scarcely have been a transaction brought about by the War Office unless they had purchased two houses totally unfit for the purpose intended.


said that the houses had been bought by the War Office because they required more accommodation; but when the war broke out it was found that the houses so acquired were inadequate to the requirements. Hence the exchange was made, and the payment of the £450 per annum was, he considered, a fair arrangement. In reply to the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty, he could say that the repairs of the tapestries on the first floor of the palace of Holyrood had been completed, and that the repairs of the others were in course of being proceeded with. As to the hon. Member for Haggerston's inquiry as to contracts for new buildings and repairs of old buildings, these contracts were triennial, and were obtained after public advertisement. On the last occasion seven or eight firms tendered, and the lowest tender, which was on a schedule of prices, was accepted. He might add that there was a provision in the contract that the current rate of wages prevailing in the district was to be paid to the workmen. In regard to furniture, everything possible that could be acquired by public tender was so acquired, but there were some articles required for State purposes which could only be obtained from certain firms.

MR. JOHN DEWAR (Inverness-shire)

thought that the method of carrying out the transaction in regard to the houses in Pall Mall was extremely likely to cause confusion, and he imagined that the matter might be put right by the charge for the alterations at Bushey House being made a capital charge against the Scientific Department.


said that he would consider the latter suggestion.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

2. £66,200, to complete the sum for Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens.

(4.30.) MR. RENSHAW (Renfrewshire, W.)

hoped the First Commissioner of Works would give them some information upon the position of affairs in regard to Richmond Park and its use by Volunteers. He supposed there was no division of opinion among Members as to the great value attaching to the park and the necessity of preserving its conspicuous natural beauties. He understood that reference had been made to the importance of regarding the sacred character of the heronry in the park. Much as he valued that heronry on account of its being one of the few in the neighbourhood of London, he yet thought that if the existence of the herons and of deer in Richmond Park was the only reason which prevented the free use of that Park for so great a national institution as the Volunteers, a body who were doing a great work for the public, it was not sufficient. They ought to have some clear statement as to what other reason there was which prevented the use of the park by the Volunteers. He had noticed in the newspapers that representations had been made to the First Commissioner of Works by the Mayor and Town Council of Richmond in which they urged that Richmond Park should be maintained in its present state, and that the Volunteers should be prevented from using it because of the injury to the town of Richmond. The State paid £4,000 or £5,000 for the maintenance of this park, but he did not think the Town Council of Richmond provided a single halfpenny; therefore he thought they ought not to put the interests of the locality before the national interests.

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

referred to the restrictions in force with regard to the admission of cyclists to Hyde Park and Regent's Park. There appeared to be some quite unnecessary restrictions upon cyclists, and the way they were treated was almost absurd. They were absolutely excluded at first, but in consequence of discussions in the House various concessions had been obtained but there still remained some restrictions as to hours. In Hyde Park they were admitted up to two o'clock in the afternoon, but from two to seven they were excluded. The result was that very frequently innocent cyclists returning from business found themselves stopped and treated as if they were criminals. He wished to know if the right hon. Gentleman could see his way to yield to the needs of cyclists who had placed their case before him by a deputation which waited upon him recently. Years ago, when people were only learning to ride bicycles, there used to be a great many accidents, but now anybody could ride a bicycle. He would like to know from the right hon. Gentleman whether those restrictions on cyclists were going to be removed, and whether in future the Royal parks were going to be opened as freely as those parks under the control of the London County Council. He should also like to know if the position of the motor cyclist had been made clear. He believed that the riders of that horrible invention found themselves in a most unhappy position. If a motor car had four wheels it could rush into the parks at any hour, but if it only had two wheels it could only enter the parks at certain hours.


asked what were the duties of the rangers of Regent's Park and Hyde Park. It was quite clear from the Estimates that they did no work whatever. There was a bailiff of the Royal parks, an assistant bailiff, superintendents and assistant superintendents, but he desired the right hon. Gentleman to tell the Committee what the rangers did. If they could be told what the rangers and deputy-rangers did, and their duties justified them being retained, well and good, but if not they should be abolished.

(4.40.) MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

said he had always regarded the rangers of the Royal parks as among the darkest mysteries of the British Constitution. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to give a favourable answer in regard to the use of the parks by cyclists. The right hon. Gentleman had shown much sympathy in reference to the use of the parks by cyclists, and in the improvement of the surface of the roads, which made a great deal of difference to their pleasure and enjoyment. He supported the appeal which had been made by the hon. Member for West Islington.

MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)

said he wished to vindicate the position of the poor unfortunate motors, for they did not appear to have any friends in the House. He happened to be a member of that unfortunate brigade who used four-wheeled motors. He understood these open spaces were called parks or pleasure gardens, and what he wished to urge upon the right hon. Gentleman was the advisability of keeping some of these roads in a better state of repair, and more especially Constitution Hill.

MR. CHARLES ALLEN (Gloucestershire, Stroud)

said it was idle to expect people to join the Volunteers if they could not find places for them to manœuvre and drill in. He hoped the First Commissioner of Works would see that the Volunteers were allowed the free use of Richmond Park.


urged that free residences were sufficient recompense for the work done by the rangers of the Royal parks, and that their salaries should be taken off the Estimates. The parks under the management of the London County Council covered nine teen parks, thirty-five gardens and forty other open spaces, and they managed them with one chief officer and two superintendents, at a total cost of £1,250. In this Vote they had thirteen officials for the Royal Parks, and they cost no less than £28,050.


raised the question of the scale of pay of the keepers of the Royal parks. The constables employed in the County Council parks were paid at a much higher and better rate than the keepers of the Royal parks. Wages generally had risen during recent years, and attention had been called to the fact that even men of a similar class in London, the Metropolitan Police, had received an increase in their pay of 1s. 6d., plus 1s. 6d. rent and allowances yet the Royal park constables were kept at the same rate of pay. These park keepers had to be of the rank of staff-sergeant, and must be of exemplary character, and when they applied to the authorities for an increase of pay, they were met by the statement that there would soon be a great many non commissioned officers returning from the front, when their services could be dispensed with. A footnote to the Vote stated that the pay of the park keepers and gate keepers was between 25s. and 30s. a week, but how many of these men received less than 24s.? Men in corresponding positions under the London County Council received 27s. The argument that would be used for employing these men at less than the current rate of wages, would be that they were old soldiers and old sailors, and that they were in receipt of a pension, and it was against that he wished to protest. The men who received pensions for serving their country, received them in the nature of deferred pay, and were as fully entitled to them as if they were the result of property they had acquired in other ways. It was monstrous that those pensions should be used as a means of competing with the labour market, because they enabled the men to take lower wages. He protested against the scandalous way of taking into consideration, in settling the pay of, these naval and military men, the pensions which they had earned in the service of their country.

MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester S.W.)

pointed out that many of these men had residences supplied to them in addition to their pay, which should also be taken into consideration. He asked the right hon. Gentleman not to be too ready to give way to the appeal which had been made to him with regard to allowing Volunteer manœuvres to take place in Richmond Park. If we were going to have Volunteer forces at all, it was essential that they should be provided with proper places in which they could manœuvre and exercise, but that was no reason why they should have those places at the expense of the people who enjoyed Richmond Park, because if it was used for that purpose, it would be necessary to exclude the public, as it would be impossible to have them there under other conditions, as would be seen by anybody who saw the number of people who used this park on a Saturday, the day when these manœuvres would usually take place. There was plenty of good ground, he understood, for this purpose at Wimbledon, and if that was too far off for the men to march to perhaps the right hon. Gentleman could find a way out of the difficulty by supplying some financial assistance towards taking them there.

MR. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)

protested against the invasion by motorists of Constitution Hill. If one were riding in the country there was some protection against motors; but in the London parks he had often seen motors driven in such a reckless and irresponsible manner as to cause ladies to be unhorsed, and he himself had been nearly unhorsed in the same way on more than one occasion. He had often complained to the police, who, however, said they could not stop them. When they were stopped, it was found that the riders were mostly Members of Parliament. The police should see that the rate at which motorists were allowed to drive through the streets was not exceeded in the Royal parks. Could not the First Commissioner do something for those who still desired to encourage the breed of English horses, even though it would be at the expense of those who drove French machines with American oil.

*(5.0.) MR. CREMER

said he desired to draw attention to the quality of the refreshments supplied at the kiosks erected at Kew Gardens, Regents Park, Primrose Hill, and other places. For some time after these kiosks were erected the public were able to get refreshments of a good character at a cheap rate, but later on he discovered that the tea which they professed to supply fresh made to each customer was drawn out of a huge tin containing several gallons, and had been so stewed as to be poison to people of nervous natures, while the butter did not appear to be butter at all but looked like margarine. He thought it was abominable that in these places, some of which were erected at the public expense, and for which no rent was paid, the contractors should be allowed to treat the public in this manner. He brought the question before the House, and the contractor asked him to call and he would explain. One could easily understand what that meant. He treated the invitation with contempt. The contractor now artfully concealed from the public the process by which the tea was brewed, and except a person got inside he could not see the way in which articles were prepared for public consumption. If the First Commissioner would from time to time appoint someone in whom he had confidence to visit the kiosks in the parks and gardens and sample the refreshments, the public would be better served and the quality of the food and drink improved. The hon. Member also asked whether any rent was now paid for the privilege of erecting these refreshment establishments. Another matter was the question of the seats. Some years ago he raised the question, and was told that no rent was charged for the privilege of placing chairs in the parks, for which a charge was made to the public. In the following year, however, no less than £1,000 was recorded as having been received from the contractors for the privilege. That item was now mixed up with two or three others, and appeared as £2,000 for licences for letting chairs, boats, and cycles, and selling newspapers. Was £1,000 the amount still received in connection with the chairs? That sum would be refunded to the contractors in two or three Sundays, in fact, thousands of pounds profit must have been made each year. It was not simply a matter of a penny for a chair, but each chair would be let a dozen times a day, and he was certain a very large revenue must be derived from this source. The grievance was intensified by the fact that as these hired chairs had increased the free seats had diminished, so that poor men who took their wives and families into the parks were unable to get seats without paying a penny for each member of the party. He asked how long the contract had to run, and suggested steps should be taken to invite public tenders for the privilege of placing chairs in the parks and gardens under the control of the Government.

MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

reminded the right hon. Gentleman that, some time ago, speaking on behalf of cyclists, seeing the success which had attended the laying down of wood-pavement from Marlborough Gate, he urged that that policy should be pursued in regard to certain other roadways in St. James' Park, and the right hon. Gentleman held out hopes of the same thing being done in Birdcage Walk. There was also Constitution Hill, which it would be an advantage to have so paved it was to be remembered that, running parallel with each of the two roads he had named, ample provision was made for equestrians.

(5.10.) MR. PARKER (Gravesend)

referring to the further use of Richmond Park by Volunteers, was certain that the objections, if any, would come from the officials and the administration rather than from the frequenters of the park. There were 40 acres occasionally used for Volunteer drill, while the park consisted altogether of 2300 acres, many portions of which were not at all frequented by the thousands of people who were said to visit the park for amusement on Saturdays. Certain parts of the park consisted of plantations, and were specially adapted for manœuvres. He had too much faith in the good sense of the rangers and the administration to doubt that if it was the wish of the Committee and of the Volunteers to have a larger portion of the park set apart for their use the privilege would be granted. The people of the country, who had a sincere admiration for the Volunteer system, would make many sacrifices for its benefit, and would not raise objections to the granting of these facilities. He was certain the privilege would not be abused, and the policing necessary to prevent the area of operations being invaded could be done by the military authorities themselves, as was done in Hyde Park. Even if the park were not used as much as it was anticipated it would be, he believed it was a good policy to give every facility possible for Volunteer drill in the open spaces surrounding London.


said that the other day he saw Volunteers exercising all over Regent's Park, and he sincerely hoped that this right would be preserved in regard to Richmond Park. He could not agree with the hon. and gallant Member for Newington with regard to positions as gatekeepers being considered as compensation to old soldiers. As for the deputy ranger, his salary was very small, and he believed his duty was to exercise discipline over 112 park keepers.


said he was afraid he had not made himself understood with regard to the park keepers. He did not complain that soldiers and noncommissioned officers were employed, but his point was that they were receiving a lower rate of pay than they would have received if they had been civilians. Therefore, their former service as soldiers was being taken advantage of, whereas in his opinion, they should receive the current rate of wages irrespective of their former service.

LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)

called attention to the smoke nuisance in Kew Gardens, which was becoming increasingly great, and asked the First Commissioner to take this matter into his earnest consideration.


said that several hon. Members had pointed out the grievance which cyclists had in regard to the restrictions placed upon the use of the parks, and which they felt all the more since the great introduction of motors into London. He understood the grievance to be, that whereas motor cars could enter the park at all hours of the day, cyclists, who did very much less harm and made less noise, were not allowed to ride their bicycles in the parks between the hours of three and seven. In the year 1895, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Leeds was his predecessor in office, cyclists were admitted until ten o'clock in the morning. He (Mr. Akers Douglas) extended this at first to twelve o'clock, and finally to all hours of the day except between the hours of three and seven o'clock in the afternoon, when in certain months of the year the park was very greatly crowded. He admitted that circumstances had very much changed in the last two or three years. Cycling then was a fashionable craze, and anyone who remembered the crowd of cyclists in the park, many of them unable to manage their own mounts, and the danger they caused to the other traffic, would admit that some regulations were then necessary. He was not sure that restrictions were any longer necessary. Any one who watched the traffic along Knightsbridge between five and seven in the evening must be struck by the large number of ladies returning from their work on cycles through that crowded thoroughfare, and he had thought it would be reasonable that they should be allowed to follow the road immediately inside the park. In further considering the question, however, he doubted whether it was worth while having two bites at a cherry. He therefore approached the ranger, who, recognising the altered circumstances, seeing that cycling had come to stay, and that it was used for business purposes and for getting about the country, and not merely for show and parade, at once agreed to allow him to remove the restrictions between three and seven, with this proviso, that if it was found by experience that in the months of May, June, and July some restriction was deemed necessary, in that case the hours of restriction should be from three to six. He was very glad to be able to fall in with the wishes of Members of the House in this matter. He was aware that his hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn had strong dislike to motors and cycles, but, after all, the parks were for the general use of the public. He had the ranger's permission for stating that the present restrictions would be withdrawn after July 1st. As regards Richmond Park, local Volunteers had already the privilege of exercising over 640 acres of the park. He could not find that any applications for leave to drill there had been unsuccessful, except in one case. He was of opinion that there was ample room both for the Volunteers and the public, and that the acreage now offered to Volunteers for manœuvres might very well be increased. But he was also of opinion that some portion of the park should be reserved. With regard to the subject raised by his hon. friend the Member for Graves-end, he would confer with the ranger. He was certain that the ranger had no desire to exclude Volunteers from all reasonable opportunities of drill in Richmond Park, But he could not find that there had been any great number of applications from the military authorities. He had heard a great deal about a number of letters sent to various journals on the subject by Volunteer officers, but he had certainly not come across any of them himself. He thought that the ranger had been rather badly treated in this matter, because it had been taken for granted that possibly by his refusal in this case he was not prepared to give facilities. That was not the case. The ranger was prepared to extend the area in any reasonable way which the military authorities of the district might suggest. He would like to prick a bubble which had not yet burst, although it had been blown upon, and that was the idea that His Royal Highness desired to keep the Volunteers and the public out of the park because of the game which he was privileged to keep. It was perfectly possible for His Royal Highness to preserve game in a moderate way, and at the same time to admit of public facilities in the park. Personally, he thought that the preservation of game in the parks in the immediate neighbourhood of London was out of date; but whether that was the ease or not he asked hon. Members not to believe that His Royal Highness, who had rendered devoted service to the Army for so many years, was raising any wretched little question of this kind as against the efficiency of the Volunteer force. Hon. Members might rest assured that this question would be carefully considered, and he suggested that officers commanding Regulars and Volunteers should communicate with the ranger responsible for this portion of the park. His hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn had asked what were the duties of the ranger. There was in connection with certain parks a joint control. In those parks he was responsible for the maintenance of the roads, the lighting, and other matters, while the ranger dealt with the herbage. His attention had been called by the Director and by Sir William Richmond to the damage done to the plants by smoke in Kew Gardens. In the early part of the year he had asked the local authorities to take proceedings in the matter, but he did not succeed. He then consulted the law officers of the Crown, and he had been taking evidence with a view to proceedings, which would be begun shortly. He had rather parried certain questions on this point, and the House would now see that the reason was that he desired to get the necessary evidence before he said what his action was going to be. The Department was alive to the danger caused by the smoke to plant life at Kew, and they would take whatever steps the law would allow to stop the nuisance. He would see that the condition of Rotten Row was thoroughly gone into, and he would instruct the bailiff of the parks to pay particular attention to the Row. When he came into office seven years ago he found that no rent was being paid for the privilege of supplying chairs. If the Department had undertaken to supply the parks with chairs, a subject which he had carefully considered, the capital sum necessary would have been about £30,000. In order to popularize the parks by bands on Sundays and weekdays it was necessary to raise funds, and he obtained a rent of £1,000 for the chairs from a contractor.


How long does the present contract last?


said he was not quite certain whether it was out this year or not, but he could assure the hon. Member that when it did run out they would endeavour to get an advance. The hon. Member had raised the question of the kiosks and the quality of the refreshments supplied in them. Complaints on that subject had recently been received. New contracts had been asked for in respect of refreshments. One contract had already been let under stricter conditions than before, and strict injunctions had been given to officers to see that the public were better supplied than before.


Will the right hon. Gentleman state whether any rent is derived from those who have the privilege of selling refreshments?


Yes, on the same principle of public competition. The hon. Member for Newington called attention to the condition of the park keepers and their pay. He agreed that it was desirable to give the appointments as park keepers to those who had served their country, and, so far as his administration had gone, every appointment had been given either to a soldier or a sailor, and the popularity of the service was proved by the number of applicants. He had tried to adopt a system whereby a length of wood pavement might be put down each year in the park roads. There had been great difficulty in securing sufficient funds to lay down wood pavement in the most important part of the roads in the parks. He intended to proceed with the section comprising Birdcage Walk, Constitution Hill, and Storey's Gate; but as he had been unable to obtain funds in the last two years, the work was in a state of abeyance. As to the rough state of Constitution Hill, he said that a certain class of the traffic was very destructive of the road. That was a macadamised road, but it had been found difficult to keep it in proper repair on account of the nature of the traffic. In addition to what he might call the "heavy light" traffic, there were a large number of vehicles with rubber wheels which were found to be destructive to a Macadamised road. Practically all the traffic went one way. When water was on the ground india-rubber tyres were apt to suck up the stones, and there was no heavy return traffic to replace the stones. As to Constitution Hill there was another feature, the overgrowth of trees and the constant dripping from the branches in wet weather. Hon. Members acquainted with country life and administration knew that the local authority always called upon proprietors to cut off the boughs of their trees which overhung the roads.

*(5.47.) MR. JOHN BURNS

said he wished to acknowledge the generous way in which the Chief Commissioner of Works had on certain points met various Members this afternoon. This was the only opportunity Members had for discussing these questions of detail, and that being so, they must utilise it, though his wish was that some other means could be provided for threshing these out, leaving the House to deal with larger subjects. He wished to emphasise the complaint made by the hon. Member for Haggerston as to chairs for the parks. He confessed he was staggered when told that the capital charge for new chairs would be £30,000. Anyone knew that a garden chair could be got for from 1s. 3d. to 2s. 3d. The right hon. Gentleman acknowledged that he was making a profit of £1,000 by letting the chairs in the Royal parks. Why was not that sum devoted to gradually acquiring new chairs, instead of diminishing the public free seats for the benefit of the contractors? The right hon. Gentleman should follow the example of the London County Council, and make all the seats free except those immediately surrounding the bandstands, as was done in every country on the Continent. He saw no reason why a rich country like this should make a net profit of £1,000 a year by letting out chairs in the public parks. Poor, old, respectable people, having very little else to do, went to the public parks to spend the time, and it was a consideration for them to pay for the use of a chair, not 1d. a day, but 4d. or 5d. [Cries of "No, no!"] Oh, yes; if they moved from one spot they had to pay another Id. [Cries of "No, no!"] He begged hon. Members' pardon, they did not know their chairmen as well as he did. But from these poor; respectable people even 1d. ought not to be exacted. Passing from the old people, he came to the young. The old open sites in London were being rapidly built upon, and the children not only of the poor but of the well-to-do were being driven to the public parks for open-air enjoyment and exercise. Why should not these boys and girls from nine or ten to fifteen years of age have the delight of a row on the lakes in St. James's or Hyde Park? He would tell the Committee what the London County Council did in regard to this matter. They found that the contractors in Battersea, Victoria and Finsbury Parks charged 1s. for the use of a boat for the first hour and 6d. for every subsequent hour. But that was a prohibitive price for the children of even well-to-do classes. He had been told that even Harrow, Eton, and Rugby boys were not always blessed with too much money; and if they cared to pull their sisters round the lake in Hyde Park or St. James's Park there was this prohibitive tariff for the hire of the boats. Now the London County Council found that these rates did not only a great deal of harm to the boys and girls, but that they did no good to the contractors. The London County Council invited the latter to reduce the charges, but nothing would move them. "Very well, then," the London County Council said, "we have a right to eater for the public who elect us, and if you will not reduce the charges we will get rid of you." What was the effect? In one year the London County Council paid £800 for boats and men—the latter under better conditions than the contractors had paid them. The charges were reduced from 1s. the first hour and 6d. for every hour after, to 6d. the first hour and 3d. for every hour after; and in one year a net profit of £600 was made over the £800 expended in two parks. He would say to the Chief Commissioner that it was much better that Whiteley's shop assistants should spend their hours of evening leisure in a more agreeable way in a row on the lake in Hyde Park with their female fellow-workers than in smoking cigarettes at street corners. He had read the needlessly heated controversy about the use of Richmond Park which had appeared in the Spectator—the only journal which had asked for the universal and unrestricted use of the park for military purposes. It seemed to him that it was exceedingly selfish of the Richmond people to protest against the use of the park by a Metropolitan Volunteer battalion, while their own local Volunteers, not numbering more than 500, had the use of 640 out of 2,000 acres. His point was that if the area in Richmond Park was to be extended for the use of the Volunteers, it should be granted by the Chief Commissioner on conditions. The local Volunteers or the regular military should not be allowed to rampage all over the park just as the commander might feel disposed, because the park had a distinctive charm in its wealth of bracken, furze, and wild flowers, and it was not right that these should be trampled down, even in the interest of patriotism or Volunteer efficiency. He suggested to the Chief Commissioner as conditions he should lay down for the use of the park by the Volunteers or regular military that the area to be drilled on should be limited to say 1,000 acres, that firing should not be permitted, because the exhausted cartridges would make the park unsightly and untidy and be a nuisance to horse riders. Above all, he would not allow the transport waggons to leave the roads and go over the grass-lawns. His last point was as to the use of the Old Deer Park by golfers. He knew that there were a number of hon. Members in the House who were good golfers, although he was told that there were members of the Press Gallery who could give them points. But even if golf were a healthy game, like all other recreations it ought to be carried on under conditions satisfactory to the public. He regretted that the park at Hampton Court, which contained one of the grandest sweeps of grass land and splendid old trees in England, was being spoiled for the enjoyment of the public by the creation, through the influence of the golfers, of enormous numbers of artificial bunkers all over the place. That should be stopped. He knew that the Committee would forgive him for going into detail, but it was part of his business and pleasure to look after, not only the inner amenities of London, but of its outer environments also, He knew of no finer stretch of river than the magnificent sweep from in front of the Duke of Northumberland's house to the Old Deer Park. The beauty of that sweep, with its land, river, trees, and plants, was being spoilt gradually. There was first the admission of the athletic ground into the Old Deer Park, with its iron railings, temporary buildings, and other abominations. Then along came the highly placed golfer, who was completely spoiling the look of the Old Deer Park with his bunkers. That was not fair to the general public, who paid for the maintenance of the Park. He protested against the indefinite multiplication of artificial bunkers, which looked like the graves of political Titans from the river. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would put a stop at once and for ever to the encroachments which had taken place on Hampton Court grounds, the Old Deer Park, and the Home Park at Richmond; and that he would not allow the golfer to have any more privileges than were given to the bicyclist, the equestrian, the pedestrian, or the motorist. If the right hon. Gentleman would approach the question in the spirit in which he had approached other questions for the improvement of the Royal parks and pleasure gardens, he would increase the gratitude which many Londoners felt for what he had already accomplished in that direction. The right hon. Gentleman might take it from him that the golfer intended to occupy every pleasure garden that was maintained at the public expense, and that ought to be stopped.

(6.5.) MR. PARKER

said his mind was not quite clear as to what the First Commissioner had said. He understood that the right hon. Gentleman was sympathetic, that the ranger was sympathetic, and he supposed he could not assume that the War Office authorities were not sympathetic. The sympathy which had been expressed was not, however, an explicit promise, and he should be very glad indeed to know that that sympathy would be resolved into an explicit statement, and that they should be assured that the ranger, the First Commissioner of Works, and the War Office authorities would deal with the matter, and not carry it over from one year to another by a mere expression of sympathy. As to the applications to the ranger for the use of certain portions of Richmond Park, was it not a fact that the 640 acres were reserved for certain local Volunteers, though not by rule, or law, or logic. He knew that a great many Volunteer battalions would have asked for permission to drill in Richmond Park if they had not known that, if not by rule at any rate by practice, it was reserved for local Volunteer battalions. He hoped he might be pardoned for asking the First Commissioner of Works if he might translate his expression of sympathy into a definite promise.


said he hoped that when the addition had been made to the Volunteer ground, the First Commissioner of Works would not permit the whole of the Park to be trodden down. He thought it was desirable to reserve a considerable part of it. As to the hire of the chairs, the First Commissioner of Works said he thought that the contract expired during the present year or next year. That made the question rather important, for it was evident that the rent was very inadequate as compared with the amount of profit obtained. There was an instance of that in the case of the boats. The hon. Member for Battersea pointed out that County Council boats in two parks alone made considerably over £1,000, although the rates were much lower than were charged in the other parks. He thought the rents were too low. It would be different if the profit was spent on public purposes, but if the matter were left in the hands of contractors, higher rents ought to be paid.


said that when the contract came to be renewed he would take care to secure the highest price by public competition. With regard to the question of his hon. friend the Member for Gravesend, what he said was that Volunteers would have a much larger area for drill purposes, but that certain other portions of the park should be reserved. He would be glad, however, to place the matter before His Royal Highness.

MR. COGHILL (Stoke-upon-Trent)

said he hoped the First Commissioner of Works would be able to assure the Committee that no further inroads would be made on the Green Park. He was extremely sorry that part of the park had been taken away for the widening of Piccadilly, as it was most important that it should be preserved for Londoners. If it was necessary to widen a street, some other means should be found for that purpose, rather than that the Park should be invaded. Three parts of the scheme put forward last year had been abandoned, which proved that hon. Members were perfectly justified in their opposition to it. He desired to thank the right hon. Gentleman for allowing hon. Members to express to him, by a deputation, the views which they were prevented from expressing in the House, owing to the Vote being closured. The right hon. Gentleman had stated with regard to the trees which had been cut down in Piccadilly, that other trees had been planted, but it would be a long time before Piccadilly presented the same appearance it did last year. With regard to Constitution Hill, there were some very promising shrubs there, but immense structures were now being erected on it in connection with the Coronation processions. What would be the appearance of Constitution Hill when all those structures had been removed? Then the right hon. Gentleman, in reply to a Question, said that he was not responsible for what had occurred at St. Margaret's Church. He only wished that the right hon. Gentleman had done something in time to prevent the rector and churchwardens from committing the abominations which were perpetrated there.


That does not arise on this Vote.


said he was merely expressing the wish that the right hon. Gentleman had done something to prevent the orgie of destruction of the trees near the Abbey. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to say that the Coronation year would not be celebrated by the cutting down of all the trees in London.


said he hoped he might be permitted to say a word in reply. The trees to which the hon. Member referred were cut down one night, and he had no notion that they were going to be cut down. Immediately he saw they were cut down he made inquiries, and found that the matter was within the jurisdiction of the rector and churchwardens. With regard to Constitution Hill, he thought there were six elms; none of them had been removed, but they had been pollarded. The reasons for that were two-fold. Firstly, the trees were not in a healthy condition, and secondly, the lower boughs hung over the roadway along which the Coronation procession would pass. Those old elms were the cause of constant accidents whenever there was a crowd, because people could not be prevented from climbing up into the lower boughs and occasionally coming down with a broken bough, thus causing injury, and sometimes loss of life, to those below. All the trees along the route of the procession were examined, and only those in a dangerous state were pollarded. The only alternatives were to remove them altogether, or to endeavour to prolong their life by pollarding. With regard to the structures for the Coronation, the prices charged for the seats would provide not only for the cost of erection, but also for the restoration of the ground. A great improvement was effected in St. James's Park at the Jubilee in 1897. A stand was erected over a worn-out piece of shrubbery, and when the stand was taken down, the shrubbery was replanted and much improved.

Vote agreed to.

3. £27,500, to complete the sum for Houses of Parliament Buildings.

(6.15.) MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

said, he noticed in this Vote there was a sum of, £5,000 for carrying-out alterations in the smoking room, kitchens and other portions of the House. That was, no doubt, due to the Report of the Accommodation Committee appointed last year. Before he said anything about the action of the First Commissioner of Works with regard to that Report, he desired to say a few words on the question of the ventilation of the House and the Committee Rooms the condition of which had been a disgrace to the House for many years. The condition of the Committee Rooms had been intolerable and most deadly to those who had had to do business in them, and had been the cause of much illness to Members of the House and the public engaged in them. There were some matters in the Vote connected with the Report of the Accommodation Committee he would like to refer to. Members had complained for years of these matters, and the general feeling was roused to such a pitch at last that this Accommodation Committee was appointed. That Committee recommended alterations and changes which would cost £55,000, and he was surprised to see only £5,000 put down for that purpose. For years Members had complained of the disgraceful character of the cooking, but when the Committee enquired into that matter they found it was not so much the fault of the cooks as the accommodation. They found the conditions under which the cooking was done were so absolutely disgraceful that if it had been anywhere than the House of Commons, they would long ago have been the subject of a public scandal. The recommendations of the Committee with regard to that matter had not been fully carried out. There were many other recommendations which ought still to be carried out, though some were not now so necessary owing to the change in the habits of the House which had been caused by the new Rules. He complained of the obstruction of the Treasury to these necessary reforms, when the health and convenience of Members of the House of Commons were concerned. In the legislative buildings of America and many colonies the accommodation for Members was infinitely superior to that of the House of Commons. It would hardly be believed that the Committee which sat last year found that the House itself was under the care of four independent and separate departments. One dusted the table and swept the flour; another dusted the galleries; and another dusted the benches of the House. Between these departments there was a conflict of authority, and actually for years a dispute raged as to whose duty it was to dust under the benches of the House. During that period nobody dusted under the benches at all, and the air they breathed was impregnated with the injurious particles of the thick black dust which accumulated there. And that was the condition now unles some one had broken through the iron rules of discipline and had dusted under the seats. He had drawn attention to this point to show the enermous difficulties with which hon. Members had to contend in endeavouring to introduce any kind of reform in these matters, and he hoped that, as a result of the debate, and of the labours of the present First Commissioner, who had already effected many reforms, a new departure had been made. There ought to be one official responsible for all the ventilation, cleaning, housekeeping and general attendance to the affairs of the House. In the instance to which he had referred nobody was responsible, and each of the Departments concerned declared that the work did not come within its province. The House ought to take this matter into its serious consideration, and insist on all the rooms being placed under one authority, who should be responsible to the Minister who was responsible to the House Whatever was necessary to make the House wholesome and as comfortable as possible for those who had to attend it ought to be done, without constant niggling over small items of expenditure. The recommendations of the Committee on the subject ought to be carried out, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would promise to bring forward a comprehensive proposal dealing with the whole question.


thought there was great force in the remarks of the hon. Member for East Mayo as to the numerous authorities having partial power in the House. At one time it was part of the First Commissioner's duty to keep a sort of chandler's shop for those who had free residences within the precincts. It was certainly true that between the Lord Great Chamberlain, the Sergeant-at-Arms, the First Commissioner of Works, Mr. Speaker, and the Table, there was a great division of authority. All sorts of things were being re-casted. It was proposed there should be a Minister of Commerce. He did not know whether the office of the President of the Board of Trade was to be abolished, but, if so, the present holder of that position might be made ranger of the Houses of Parliament. The hon. Member for East Mayo had pointed out that the sanitary condition of the House was not what it should be.


said he did not refer to the sanitary condition of the House, as he believed Sir Henry Roscoe's Committee placed that on a good basis.


said the great difficulty in that respect was that the House was built in a marsh. That was a circumstance which could not be altered, and would, therefore, have to be endured. As to ventilation, he did not share the views of some of the hon. Members; he thought it was very well done. There was only one suggestion, which might not be practicable, that he would make on that subject. The air was drawn from the level of the river, with the result that most obnoxious smells were sometimes introduced into the House. If the air could be drawn in from the top of the clock tower it would be an improvement. With regard to the expenditure of £5,000, which some hon. Members complained of as being too small, it was only right that the Committee should go warily under present circumstances. The effect of the new Rules on the attendance at the House had already been very serious, and might be more so. It would, therefore, be unwise to spend any large sums of money. He was not at all sure that too much had not already been spent on the dining and kitchen accommodation, because, as a result of the new Rules, not more than one half of those who formerly dined in the House now did so. His chief reason for rising was to make a claim on behalf of a large, deserving, and down-trodden section of Members viz., the smokers. Those who managed the arrangements of the House were greatly behind the age. They did not seem to appreciate the fact that smokers had increased, were increasing, and were not likely to diminish. They were those whose wits were so dull that they could not work unless they smoked at the same time. Speaking for himself, he had frequently to go the library and spend an hour over several books in order to confound Ministers with quotations when a debate came on. But no smoking was allowed in the library, and consequently he had to purloin these frequently heavy books and do his work in the smoke-room. There would be no difficulty in allowing smokers to use the map-room of the library. That room was separated from, and the smoke would not penetrate to, the rest of the library, and if such an arrangement were made it would be a great convenience to those who desired to work and smoke. He was speaking in the interest not of the idle, but of the working smoker, who had a distinct right to a place where he could refer to books and at the same time smoke.

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire. W.)

thought that under ordinary circumstances they ought to have an exhaustive discussion upon the House of Commons in its sanitary aspects, and it was incumbent upon those who had had a smattering of a scientific education to endeavour to remove the scare promulgated some time ago as to the free and unrestricted operations of the universal microbe which was said to be slowly but surely undermining the body politic. He could testify to the admirable manner in which the Committee on this matter was doing its work, and to the golden opinions entertained of the First Commissioner for his care of the health and convenience of the House of Commons. He was surprised to hear that the Treasury were putting obstacles in the way of getting all that was necessary. The right hon. Gentleman was to be congratulated on the improvements he had effected in the ventilation of the Committee rooms and division lobbies—a matter which had urgently required attention. He had been in the habit of bringing under the notice of the House their artistic decorations of which they were rather proud. The condition of those fine frescoes in the Royal Gallery he was afraid was not quite satisfactory, and he should like to know from the right hon. Gentleman if Professor Church was satisfied with their condition, and whether, if the Professor desired to improve their condition, he would be allowed to do so. In the central hall there were two fine mosaics; the patron saints of England and Wales looked down upon them, but how long would it be before the patron saints of Ireland and Scotland would fill the two vacant places? He wished to know whether his right hon. friend could find room for a few more decorative pictures. It was not necessary to have expensive mosaics, for they could get a very good design for a few hundred pounds, in a more modern style, which would be far more effective. If the right hon. Gentleman could not find the money, would he allow private benefactors to provide it I Supposing a South African millionaire came forward and declared that he did not like the look of the House of Commons, and said he would provide funds to put up some more pictures, would the right hon. Gentleman consent to such pictures being put up by private generosity? Some years ago they were promised a statue of John Bright. They had already got a very fine statue of Mr. Gladstone, which was considered a first class work of art, and he hoped that alongside of Gladstone some day would be placed a statue of John Bright, who was one of Gladstone's greatest companions.

(6.50.) MR. LODER (Brighton)

asked if some accommodation could not be found for Members who wished to smoke and write at the same time. When Sir Reginald Palgrave's residence in the House was vacated, it was thought that some of those vacant rooms would have been allotted to further smoking room accommodation. At present there were eight or nine small rooms there which were empty, some of which he thought might be used to provide further smoking room accommodation. He thought that after certain hours of the day the Committee rooms upstairs might be used by Members who wished to smoke and write at the same time. Between 9.30 and 10 o'clock upon the previous night he counted no less than 68 hon. Members in the smoking room at the same time, although there were only seats for about 50. Besides the great discomfort, it was positively unhealthy, and he hoped his right hon. friend would give this matter his very serious consideration. One effect of the new Rules had been to diminish the number of people dining at the House, and he did not see why one of the present dining rooms, which at one time was used as a smoking room, should not again be de-voted to that purpose.

MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)

said the hon. Member for King's Lynn had put in a plea for that much oppressed class, the smokers of this House. He wished to speak on behalf of that class who did not smoke and who objected to smoking. The hon. Member for King's Lynn had indicated that his oratory was inspired by nicotine, and he had told them that unless he smoked while he was referring to the volumes from the library it would be a very great inconvenience to him. The speeches of the hon. Member for King's Lynn were always listened to with delight in all quarters of the House, and in no quarter was more attention paid to them than on the Front Government Bench. Therefore, he should be the last person to deprive the hon. Member of his source of inspiration. It would, however, be a very serious matter if the hon. Member was allowed to turn the library into a smoking room. He did not know how far the inspiration of nicotine might go, but if the hon. Member introduced nicotine into the library, he also might draw those inspirations, and become a greater thorn in the side of His Majesty's Government than the hon. Member for King's Lynn. Of late years smokers seemed to have been encroaching more and more upon what was before neutral territory. Already there was one section of the dining room devoted to smoking after a certain hour, and he wished to know when these threats of encroachment would stop. Perhaps some hon. Gentleman would rise in his place next year and claim that they ought to be allowed to smoke in this House. [Cries of "Hear, hear."] He believed there were some Parliaments in which smoking was allowed, notably the recent Parliament of the Transvaal. That Parliament, however, had come to a most unhappy ending.


said that smoking was permitted in the United States Senate.


said that even the example of the United States Senate would not reconcile him to agreeing to hon. Members sitting round these Benches and smoking while Parliament was sitting He hoped the line would be drawn somewhere, and that at least the library would be preserved from this encroachment.

* MR. MILDMAY (Devonshire, Totnes)

, although he was not a non-smoker, did not wish to be in the atmosphere of tobacco when he was not smoking, and complained of the accommodation at the House for non-smokers, and especially of the discomforts of the reading room, which was a passage room, and the great inconvenience to which Members were subjected thereby. If one were sitting under the window one got a draught of cold air down one's back. The reading room and the library could not be more disagreeably lighted. The lights were arranged in such a way that it was impossible to sit without there being a naked electric light flashing in one's eyes. Surely it was possible to shade them and provide reading lamps for those who occupied chairs. In the reading room there ought to be shaded reading lamps and a lower light for the central table. The question of lighting the House of Commons was a serious one, for the act of sitting under a bad light for hours had a permanently injurious effect upon the eyes and was a very great discomfort. He hoped some-thin would be done to remedy this state of things.

MR. GEORGE WHITELEY (Yorkshire, W. R., Pudsey)

hoped the right hon. Gentleman would sec his way to putting some additional hat-pegs downstairs in the cloisters. It was almost pathetic to see the tricks and subterfuges which hon. Members had recourse to to find accommodation for their hats. Some had even to resort to hanging them upon the gas brackets and other absurd places. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would see his way to provide a few additional hat pegs.

(7.0.) MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

said that they were now discussing a large increase of expenditure, and hon. Members were inclined to grumble because it was not larger. He did not say that they had every accommodation they should have. During the past three or four days they had been debating economy, and yet hon. Members were urging that large sums should be expended on kitchens and dining rooms, when it was apparent that the new Rules were to a large extent doing away with the necessity for them. They should wait until they saw how the new Rules would work. He thought smoking was becoming rather a nuisance to many of them. It was now a common practice for some Members to begin to smoke in the ladies dining room before the dinner was half over. That did not seem to him to be a reasonable thing. There ought to be no difficulty in allowing one or two of the large Committee rooms to be made into additional smoking rooms if necessary. He hoped that his right hon. friend would hesitate to spend money on alterations. He was convinced that if the new Rules lasted the dining-room accommodation would in a few months be too large.

MR. ALLHUSEN (Hackney, Central)

said he had observed that the passages radiating from the central lobby had been recently painted, and he thought many hon. Members objected to seeing the stonework of the Houses of Parliament coated with paint. He supposed the paint was put on to conceal the dirty condition of the stonework, and asked if in future it would not be possible to clean the stonework by some means, or even leave it alone altogether, in preference to using paint.

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

said he had sometimes suggested to the House that there should be certain expenditure on their comforts, but at the present moment he disagreed with his hon. friend the Member for East Mayo. They were at present in very exceptional circumstances. He did not think that at a time when they had spent £200,000,000 on war they ought to look to their own comforts. On the contrary he should be glad that so long as this war expenditure lasted Members should be made as uncomfortable here as possible. It should be an object lesson of what this war was bringing on them. He was delighted to hear that the hon. Member for King's Lynn was very much disturbed because he could not smoke and write and get the extracts for his speeches in this House. He was delighted to hear that the ventilation was bad and that Members felt it. He was delighted to hear another hon. Member complain of the smoking room accommodation. Let them realise that their discomforts were to go on as long as the present abominable system of government went on. His hon. and learned friend the Member for the Dumfries Burghs had stated that the tax collector was the best schoolmaster in the world in these matters. Hon. Members came down and made grandiose speeches about war and patriotism, but he wanted the state of things to be brought home to them with respect to their own comfort. If the dining room and the smoking room and everything in this House was bad they would have to suffer, and it was desirable that they should do so when they had voted vast sums for the war. He thought they might have one of the library rooms as a reading room, with a supply of papers. That would benefit the just and the unjust, but as for such expenditure as was suggested by the hon. Member for East Mayo, he was ashamed of him for making the proposal. He must express his horror at the sentiments put before the Committee by his hon. friend.


expressed the hope that something would be done to improve the smoking room accommodation.


said the hon. Member for East Mayo began the debate by complaining that the recommendation of last session had not been carried out. That Committee went very carefully into the requirements mentioned—the demand for more smoking accommodation, and as to improved quarters for many of the officials of the House, who were condemned to work in rooms without sufficient ventilation. As to the latter he had persuaded the Chancellor of the Exchequer to put a sum in the Estimates for this year, and as to the former he had first to consider carefully the effect of the new Rules proposed by the Government. It seemed certain that under the new arrangement of the sittings of the House, less dining room accommodation for Members would be required. He had, therefore, decided to wait for a longer experience of the working of the new Rules before spending more money in providing additional dining room accommodation, as it might be money thrown away. He regretted very much that he had not been able to carry out that portion of the scheme relating to the smoking room downstairs, because while the number of diners might be reduced under the new Rules, the number of smokers was likely to be increased. Hon. Members who dined at home would likely return for their after-dinner smoke. Mention had been made of the wretched accommodation for the telegraph operators, twenty of whom were squeezed into an office where there was barely standing room, and where they had to work all day. By arrangement with the House of Lords, the telegraphic operators were provided with another office. Everything had been done, again, that was necessary on health grounds for improving the accommodation of the staff of the kitchen. However, the greater portion of the scheme could not be carried out, because it would have involved an expenditure of £30,000, an expenditure which had been objected to from many quarters. He acknowledged that there was still a legitimate demand for further smoking accommodation. He would suggest that it the end dining room was not being used it might be restored for smoking purposes. It was a pleasant room and looked out on to the river. At any rate no harm would be done if the experiment were tried. With regard to the frescoes in the building, mentioned by the hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire, he was glad to bear testimony to the good work o£ restoration performed by Professor Church, and he took that opportunity of thanking that distinguished man again for having placed his eminent services gratuitously at the disposal of the Board of Works. Then the hon. Member raised the question of mosaics in the central hall, and asked whether the Government, if they could not find the money to complete the mosaics would object to receiving a gift of them. This question was raised five or six years ago, but the Government were asked to lead off. The Government had led off, but the suggested donor had not yet come forward. He did not think there was much likelihood of his finding £1,000 for each further mosaic to fill in the vacant places; but if any private Members were prepared to offer such mosaics the Government would be willing to receive contributions. His predecessor had given a promise in behalf of the Board of Works that a site would be found for a statue of the late Mr. John Bright. It would be remembered that a statue of Mr. Bright had been placed in the central hall, but it was so unpopular and unsatisfactory to the friends of the deceased statesman that the statue was removed and the site occupied by that of Mr. Gladstone. He had given a promise that a site would be found for a new statue of Mr. Bright which would meet with the favour of his friends. He understood that a replica of the statue to Mr. Bright in Birmingham had been put in hand and he had given his sanction to its erection in the lower vestibule leading up to the Committee rooms. The sculptor had declared that the site was suitable, and there was every probability of the memorial being placed there before the year was out. During the autumn the paint which disfigured the corridors would be removed and the stonework properly preserved.


said that so much had been demanded in the way of expenditure to increase the comfort of Members that there was no opportunity of economising. He should, however, like to suggest some items that ought to receive the attention of the Committee. He referred especially to the expenditure for lighting and warming. The cost of gas, electric light, and fuel was always going up; and it had increased by £5,000 more than it was four years ago. That was a serious increase, and there must be some explanation of it. It might be due to the conflict of authorities in the building. He should have thought that when the electric light was introduced the quantity of gas would be less.


said that the only reason for the increase, which he admitted was considerable, was that many more rooms were now in use, and therefore there was a necessity for more light and fuel. They were paying considerably less for gas than a few years ago, and less for the electric light.


asked if the electric light was bought.


said the matter had been gone very carefully into a few years ago, and it was found that it would cost less to buy the light than to instal the machinery for its production in the building.

Vote agreed to.

It being half-past seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday, 26th May; Committee to sit again this evening.