HC Deb 21 April 1903 vol 121 cc9-43

1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £40,600, 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, 1904, for Expenditure in respect of Royal Palaces."

MR. JOHN DEWAR (Inverness) moved to reduce the Vote by £100 in order to draw attention to the decision of the Lord High Commissioner to remove his Court and Levées from Holyrood Palace to the Station Hotel. He declared that if this change was to be made permanently, it would do a good deal to remove the sentiment which at present existed in Scotland in favour of the State connection. If the Church of Scotland was to be disestablished, the people of Scotland would prefer that it should be disestablished on broader grounds than on the question whether or not Holyrood Palace was habitable. He should like to be informed whether this was a mere temporary arrangement, and if, in another year, the Lord High Commissioner would revert to Holyrood Palace, which had so many historical associations. To put himself in order he moved the reduction of the Vote by £100.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £40,500, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. John Dewar.)

MR. AILWYN FELLOWES (Huntingdonshire, Ramsey)

said he knew that the question had created great consternation in Scotland, and he might say on behalf of the Board of Works that what they had heard and seen during the last two or three days had come as a great surprise to them. He might say at once that the Lord High Commissioner Lord Leven and Melville, was acting on his own responsibility and without any authority from the Government as a body. The Board of Works were fully alive to the fact that some little work was wanted to be done as regarded the drainage of Holyrood Palace, and this year they had set aside a sum of £3,500 for drainage and other sanitary arrangements. These arrangements were not nearly so bad as had been made out by certain newspapers, and he could assure the hon. Gentleman that although the Lord High Commissioner had, on his own responsibility, determined not to live at Holyrood, but simply to hold his Levées there, yet at the same time this was not to be regarded as a precedent, and was only a temporary arrangement. He hoped that by next year the drains would be brought to a satisfactory state.

MR. THOMAS SHAW (Hawick Burghs)

said they had got very little enlightenment from the statement which had just been made. What they wanted to know was what was being done by the additional money to be expended on Holyrood Palace? In Scotland the feeling was not only one of surprise, but one akin to indignation that this slight should have been put upon their country. For his own part he had very little sympathy with the whole of the procedure of the Lord High Commissioner, with bands of music playing and processions in the streets; but the other aspect of the question was that they were voting money for the upkeep of this Royal Palace absolutely in the dark as to the true reason why the representative of Royalty declined to establish himself there. Instead of going to the Royal Palace, he had taken up his quarters in a public-house in Edinburgh. This representative of Royalty did not even think of establishing himself in a temperance public house—but in a place with an "on" licence, facing a public street, where his State coaches and the like would be a great interruption to the traffic of Edinburgh. There he would receive, and give dinners, and in the meantime Holyrood Palace would be given over to the moles and the bats. What were the intentions of the Government with regard to Holyrood? Did they mean to hand it over to the moles and bats, or did they mean to let it as a brewery? It seemed on the face of it to be a great slight to pay to the Church of Scotland, and to historic associations, which were dear to very many of the Scottish people. The statement they had heard was that the Government were just about as much surprised as the people of Scotland. Why should they be surprised? He supposed the Government had some share in the selection of this representative, whose salary was put upon the Votes passed by the House. If Holyrood Palace was not fit to receive him, why should that not have been foreseen and provided for? If his salary was not sufficient to enable him to reside in the Palace and he had to go into licensed premises, why was that not also put upon the Vote? It was said that the Lord High Commissioner had done all this upon his own responsibility. Were the Government going to leave him in that position, that he might put this slight upon the Church and upon the nation? All the Government told them was that they were very much surprised. He never heard of public money being expended on grounds of that kind, and he hoped that before they were done with it they would have the question threshed out. He would ask, therefore, whether the Government knew and approved of what Lord Leven and Melville had done, whether they meant to put Holyrood in a state fit to live in, and whether, if by this Vote it was put in a habitable state, Lord Leven and Melville was to reside there, or to live in licensed premises.

MR. JOHN WILSON (Falkirk Burghs)

said he desired to associate himself with the remarks of the hon. Gentlemen opposite. He could assure the Government that the announcement that the Lord High Commissioner was going to reside in the North British Station Hotel, and not at the ancient Palace of Holyrood, had raised a feeling of consternation. Nations were moved by sentiment; they were proud of their Holyrood Palace, for they had few Royal Palaces existing in Scotland now, and if the Lord High Commissioner did not find it suitable to reside in Holyrood, he thought it was a matter that deserved a reprimand from the Government. He should like to hear something stronger. He should like to hear that the allowance of the Lord High Commissioner was withdrawn unless he held his Court in Holyrood Palace.


said he entirely associated himself with the views expressed as to the sentiments of the Scottish people regarding Holyrood and its associations, but he confessed he did not understand why on this not very important matter they should have suggestions about the severance of Church and State, temperance legislation, "on" and "off" licences, and slights on the Scottish national character and historical associations. He was sure that no one would less desire to put any slight upon the Church of Scotland, or upon the historical associations of the Scottish people, than Lord Leven and Melville. He was the more satisfied of that in vie w of the historical connection of Lord Leven's family with the office he now held. The situation, he thought, had been quite fairly described by the hon. Member for Ramsey. He noticed that the Vote they were now dealing with was put thus— Holyrood Palace—Sanitary Improvement, £3,700. A very thorough overhaul and rectification of the drainage is necessary according to the report from the Board's principal architect in Scotland. He thought the condition of the drains went no further than that they were not quite up-to date. Lord Leven and Melville's position was this, that while these works were in contemplation and in progress, and entirely as a temporary measure, and not in the least degree to sever the connection between Holyrood and the pageant connected with the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, he should take the next best alternative by residing in what was undoubtedly the newest hotel in Edinburgh, and therefore, he supposed, the most up-to-date, and, so far as he remembered, one of the nearest, if not the nearest, to Holyrood Palace. It was quite plain it was out of the question that they should, as suggested by Mr. Shaw, express disapproval of the action of the Lord High Commissioner or give orders as to where he was to reside. So far as his recollection served him, there was no item of salary attached to the office of Lord High Commissioner, but a certain amount was allowed for entertainments—which amount he understood was very inadequate so far as the actual expenditure was concerned. He hoped the Scottish Members and the Committee generally would accept the assurance that there was not on the part of the Government, and certainly not on the part of the Lord High Commissioner, any desire to cast a slight upon Scottish feeling in this matter, and that when the necessary operations have been carried through the old practice will be reverted to.


said that he should like to say how the matter struck him. The statement of the Solicitor-General left the matter in all that mystery to which his hon. friend referred. They had had no explanation whatever. Surely there was something under the surface here. [A VOICE: Drainage, and Laughter.] He admitted that his phrase had a larger meaning than he intended. What there was under the surface had existed in Holyrood for a considerable length of time, and Lord Leven and Melville had been Lord High Commissioner two or three times, so that he was well aware of the condition of things. It must be borne in mind, too, that Lord Leven and Melville only occupied Holyrood for a short time, perhaps not more than a fortnight in the year. During the remainder of the year the Palace was at the disposal of the Board of Works to set things right. There should be no possibility of the interruption of any function by the Board of Works setting things right. What he wanted to know was whether the Lord High Commissioner had complained of the state of Holyrood before this year, and whether he had complained of the action of the Board of Works. If the state of things was so bad as to at all justify him in taking this step, then the Board of Works ought to have corrected what was amiss during the time at their disposal. In this year they were taking money to repair and renew what required repair and renewal, and until this was done Lord Leven and Melville was reluctant to take up his residence in Holyrood Palace. An explanation was clearly required of the action, or rather the inaction, of the Board of Works. That the Board of Works should delay putting Holyrood Palace into a habitable condition until the very fortnight in the year when it was required for a public function which was of immemorial habit, and which excited a great deal of interest among the Scottish people, required some explanation. As regarded the coming year, Scotland was now particularly happy, because they had not only a Scottish Chancellor of the Exchequer but a Scottish Financial Secretary to the Treasury, whom they were glad to see in that office. He had no doubt that under the watchful eye of the new Financial Secretary similar neglect of Holyrood would not occur again, and that the new Secretary would be willing to spend any money required in order to put the ancient residence of the Royal House of Scotland in good condition. But they wanted an explanation of the neglect of the Board of Works to put Holyrood House into a fit state to receive Lord Leven and his household, and to be the scene of the festivities and the ceremonies which usually occurred at this time of year.


said he did not think that Scottish Members would derive any advantage from pressing this matter to a division, as the only result would be that the money would not be expended at all. He understood that the real delinquent, if there were one, was Lord Leven himself. Here he should also like to congratulate Mr. Elliot in his double capacity of Scotsman and Financial Secretary, and, he might add, as Liberal Unionist. Lord Leven was also a Scotsman, and after he had accepted this State appointment he had found that his duties required him to expose himself to the risk of typhoid in an insanitary Scottish castle. Although he held that Lord Leven ought to sacrifice himself on the altar of his country on this occasion, there certainly remained the question why these drains were not altered sooner. He had always understood that the proper time to overhaul sanitary arrangements was the winter. [Mr. ANSTRUTHER: Not in Scotland, and Laughter.] However, it was clear that a most inopportune moment had been chosen for the work.

MR. BLACK (Banffshire)

associated himself with the remarks of preceding speakers on the Opposition side of the House. Even after the explanation which had been given there was no guarantee that the drainage of Holyrood would be put in proper order. The question was whether sufficient money would be expended to make Holyrood Palace habitable, not only for the Lord High Commissioner, but for His Majesty, who was so soon to visit Edinburgh, and who they all hoped would repeat his visit. There really seemed to be a conspiracy on the part of the Front Government Bench to stifle national sentiment north of the Tweed. They first of all found utter callousness to Scottish sentiment regarding the numerals of the Royal title, and now they found an attempt to divorce from the sittings of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the time-honoured custom of the Lord High Commissioner's residence in Holyrood.

MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)

thought the Committee ought to be informed why this drainage had not been attended to at an earlier stage. He deplored the fact that the Lord High Commissioner should seek to change his quarters, and to hold his courts at a public-house instead of in the Palace at Holyrood, and he hoped the Government would give an assurance that it should not happen after this year.


agreed with the hon. Member for Banffshire that there was nothing more to be deplored than the loss of sound national sentiment, but he was bound to say that "sound national sentiment" occasionally broke out in most unexpected places. It had never occurred to him until this afternoon that the fact that the High Commissioner thought it safer, in the existing condition of the drains at Holyrood, to live in an hotel, would have been the cause of an outbreak of national sentiment. Most Members probably had experience of the extremely inconvenient season at which those with whom they were connected found it impossible to live in a house because the drains were not in a fit condition. The hon. Member for King's Lynn had said what an inconvenient moment the present was for the drains to go wrong. Had his hon. friend ever known drains to go wrong except at an inconvenient moment?


I said it was an inconvenient moment for putting them right.


said he would modify his statement to suit his hon. friend's interruption. Had his hon. friend ever known drains to require to be put right except at inconvenient times? He never had. It was always at the most inconvenient moment that all the arrangements had to be upset in order that the newest improvements in sanitary science might be adopted. A sum of over £3,000 had been placed on the Estimates to put the drains right. Whether that indicated that the drains were in so insanitary a condition that there was serious risk to life in living at Holyrood was not for him to say, but he did not think it would be right to blame the High Commissioner if, when those responsible considered the time had come for the expenditure of £3,000 on the drains, he began to think that possibly it was not the exact moment at which he would desire to take up his residence in the building on which such extensive and costly repairs were required. Hit would be any consolation to any of his countrymen to know that the last thing the Government, the High Commissioner, or anybody else, in or out of Scotland, desired was to interfere with these great historic traditions, he was prepared to give the most ample assurances on the point. They would not, however, be paying a judicious tribute to Scottish sentiment if they said it was to take the form of insisting on a high officer of State living in a house which he thought was insanitary. He did not think that was a form of devotion, of sacrificing one's life for one's country, which they could exact from the High Commissioner for Scotland. But when these sanitary arrangements had been completed, when this money had been voted and spent, as he had no doubt it would be, to the best advantage, he trusted the present High Commissioner and his successors would be able, as in the past, to carry out their high functions in the ancient residence of the Kings of Scotland.


said the right hon. Gentleman, coming rather late into the discussion, had in a magnanimous way cleared the Government of the imputation of desiring to expose the Scottish people to a direct insult. But no one had ever supposed that the Government had any such desire. What had been urged was that this was a piece of mismanagement on the part of a Department of the Government, because Lord Leven, whose knowledge of Holyrood as a habitable house was derived from the experience of past years, had doubtless represented the condition of affairs to the Board of Works. No doubt while in residence there he was in constant communication with the Board of Works.


said he understood that that was not so.


thought that in that case Lord Leven must be ruled out of court, if he had not suffered it was difficult to see where his cause was for going to the hotel. He assumed, because a Vote was placed on t the Estimates, that the Board of Works, on the representation of the only man who lived at the Palace, had come to the conclusion that the drainage was imperfect. If so, they had had some months in which to put the matter right, but had deliberately postponed doing so until the time came for the place to be wanted again. That was the point upon which no information had been given, and it was a piece of maladministration which deserved the attention of the Committee.

MR. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid.)

said that the Prime Minister in excusing Lord Leven for not occupying Holyrood Palace had lost sight of the fact that Levées would continue to be held there. If the Palace was as insanitary as had been represented nothing could be worse than to ask people from all parts of Scotland to attend these Levées, as there would be far more danger with the large crowds that would then gather than if Lord Leven simply resided at Holyrood. Moreover the King was to hold a Levee at the Palace in May, and the same danger would be then present. Since the death of Queen Victoria there had been ample opportunity for putting the place in a perfect sanitary condition. He did not begrudge the expenditure of money, but the building had been in an insanitary condition for years past, and ought to have been seen to long ago. A question might also arise with regard to Lord Leven holding his dinners at an hotel. As he understood, excise duties were not levied on spirituous liquors in Royal Palaces. If, however, Lord Leven had his dinners at an hotel, would he have to pay duty on his liquors, being on licensed premises s, or would he have the same privileges in this respect as in the Palace?


said that as far as he knew the High Commissioner had never made any formal complaint at all. As regarded the inaction of the Board of Works he thought it was a little

hard to blame them, they sent a Surveyor a few months ago to inspect the drains, and they were found not to be as up-to date as they should be; consequently they proposed to spend the sum for this purpose which now appeared in the Estimates.


asked leave to withdraw his Amendment. [Cries of "No, no."]

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 61; Noes, 100. (Division List No. 61.)

Abraham, William (Rhondda) Jones, William (Carn'rvonshire Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Allan, Sir William (Gateshead) Joyce, Michael Roe, Sir Thomas
Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud) Kearley, Hudson E. Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Asher, Alexander Lambert, George Schwann, Charles E.
Bell, Richard Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington) Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)
Brigg, John Leng, Sir John Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Broadhurst, Henry Levy, Maurice Strachey, Sir Edward
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Lloyd-George, David Sullivan, Donal
Burke, E. Haviland Lough, Thomas Taylor, Theo. C. (Radcliffe)
Burns, John M'Kenna, Reginald Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.)
Caldwell, James Mansfield, Horace Rendall Wallace, Robert
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H Mooney, John J. Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Channing, Francis Allston Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.
Crombie, John William Norman, Henry Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)
Delany, William O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Weir, James Galloway
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Doogan, P. C. Rea, Russell Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Ellis, John Edward Reckitt, Harold James
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Redmond, William (Clare) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Eugene Wason and Mr. Black.
Furness, Sir Christopher Reid, James (Greenock)
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil Rigg, Richard
Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Cranborne, Viscount Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Crossley, Sir Savile Heaton, John Henniker
Anson, Sir William Reynell Denny, Colonel Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Dickson, Charles Scott Hobhouse, Rt. Hn H (Som'rs't E
Bain, Colonel James Robert Doughty, George Horner, Frederick William
Baird, John George Alexander Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore Houston, Robert Paterson
Balcarres, Lord Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds Fardell, Sir T. George Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Lawson, John Grant
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r. Fergusson, Rt. Hn Sir J. (Manc'r Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Bignold, Arthur Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham
Bigwood, James FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose Long, Rt. Hn. Waller (Bristol, S
Blundell, Colonel Henry Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Bowles, T. G. (Lynn Regis) Flower, Ernest Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Forster, Henry William Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth
Brymer, William Ernest Foster, Sir Michl. (Lond. Univ Macdona, John Cumming
Campbell, Rt Hn. J. A. (Glasgow Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W. M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinb'rgh W
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Gardner, Ernest M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Garfit, William M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)
Chamberlain, Rt Hon J (Birm Gordon, Hn J. E. (Elgin&Nairn Malcolm, Ian
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn J. A. (Worc Gore, Hon. S.F. Ormsby-(Linc. Meysey-Thompeon, Sir H. M.
Chaplin, Right Hon. Henry Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A.E. Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Mount, William Arthur
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Harris, Frederick Leverton Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North Haslett, Sir James Horner Penn, John
Percy, Earl Sharpe, William Edward T. Williams, Rt Hn J Powell-(Birm
Pierpoint, Robert Sinclair, Louis (Romford) Wilson. A. Stanley (York, E.R.
Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Skewes-Cox, Thomas Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Pretyman, Ernest George Stanley, Lord (Lancs) Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Purvis, Robert Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge Tuke, Sir John Batty
Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson Valentia, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Royds, Clement Molyneux Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.
Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse) Warde, Colonel C. E.
Seely, Charles Hilton, (Lincoln Whitmore, Charles Algernon

Original Question again proposed.

MR. KEARLEY (Devonport)

said that recently attention had been called to acts of vandalism at Hampton Court Palace, the most serious being in connection with valuable pictures and old tapestries, which had been badly injured. It was rather remarkable that the injury to these tapestries was not discovered by the custodian of that particular part of the building where they were kept, but the damage was pointed out by a visitor. He mentioned this fact to show that the supervision was not what it ought to be. He wished to know if those rooms had been closed to the public in consequence of those acts. He had been told that the custodians at Hampton Court were very old men, and if so, he thought it was time they were pensioned off. It would only be an act of grace to do this, and then they might put younger men in their places who would be able to look after these things. The electric trams were now taking a great many more people to Hampton Court than in former years, and it was a great pity that any of those rooms should be closed to the public. Perhaps his hon. friend would give them some assurance that the rooms would be opened again. He thought that proper steps should be taken to see that these treasures were properly protected, and perhaps the hon. Gentleman would tell the Committee what steps he proposed to take to ensure that the national treasures there should be protected. At the same time he did not think that the public should be deprived of the pleasure of visiting those rooms.


asked if some of the works of art had been removed from Hampton Court Palace to other places.

MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)

said reference had been made to the necessity for inquiring into the mutilation of the art treasures at Hampton Court. He ventured to anticipate that the official report would confirm what he himself could state—namely, that the accounts of the damage done had been grossly exaggerated. He was under the impression that some of the newspapers that had written about vandalism had not taken the trouble to inquire into the facts. It was the practice of some newspapers to endeavour to secure accuracy, but the ordinary sensational newspaper did not trouble itself about that at all. He went to Hampton Court and saw the Clerk of Works, of whom he inquired as to the damage which was reported in the newspapers. That official very kindly took him to the damaged Holbein. He expected to see the picture damaged beyond recognition, but on looking at that fine picture of Henry VIII. he found that the damage had been grossly overstated. There had obviously been the movement of a pencil across the face, and he suggested to the official that it had probably been done by an irate and religious fanatic, or by some irritated female who had certain views on matrimony—on which King Henry VIII. was not the most distinguished authority—probably out of resentment. History only gave him six wives, and so she was determined to revenge herself upon his portrait, but beyond the enamel being scratched there was little damage done to that particular picture. In regard to the tapestry he thought the public should not be held responsible for the damage at all, so far as concerned the piece he saw. He believed it was accidentally caused by one of the attendants putting a stool over the rail in front of it. The damage was very trivial and not irreparable, and it did not warrant the public being excluded from these particular rooms. If Henry VIII, or his portrait, was the cause of indignation on the part of religious fanatics or women with pronounced views on the rights of women or matrimony, the proper course was to place the picture where it could not be reached by an umbrella or a pencil. If that were done the public might be safely allowed to go to the rooms which they were now prohibited from entering.

If there was one agreeable feature about the public galleries and musems it was the singular absence of damage done by the public over a large number of years. H e had the honour of sitting on a Committee, of which the hon. Member for Wigan was chairman, that inquired into matters relating to the public galleries and museums, and they were informed that for forty-two years at one London museum, so far as the public was concerned, there had been absolutely no damage done to any object. He thought, therefore, that to exclude the public would not meet the circumstances of the case. The hon. Member for Devonport had suggested that if damage was inflicted the attendants ought to be held responsible for it. He believed that the attendants had been held responsible for it, but it was impossible to guarantee immunity from damage if there was only one attendant for two rooms. Personally, he thought they had quite a sufficient number of attendants in all the galleries and museums. Unless they were to have an attendant for each room it was impossible to prevent occasional acts of damage by fanatics such as he had described. Although some of the attendants at Hampton Court were old, he believed they were competent and painstaking, and did their duties well. One advantage of having elderly men was that they were not drawn away from their duties by housemaids on the walks, or I attractive young ladies promenading the galleries. They had got beyond that stage. He suggested that during the next month or two the authorities I responsible for the preservation of the pictures and other things should employ one or two women detectives. "Cherchez la femme." He believed a woman was at the bottom of this. He hoped the First Commissioner of Works would not shut these rooms any longer to the public. He saw no reason or justification for the removal of paintings or statuary from Hampton Court.


said he was happy to be able to state that the reports as to damage to pictures and tapestry had been largely exaggerated. There was no doubt that some damage had been done, and Lord Windsor took the earliest opportunity of trying to find out who the authors of these dastardly outrages were. The hon. Member for Battersea had suggested that female detectives should be employed to find out who had done these acts. Detectives were placed in Hampton Court Palace, but they were unable to detect who the people were who did them. After that the Office of Works determined to make some little alterations with regard to the warders in the Palace. They established a system of signing on and off among the warders and cleaners so as to fix responsibility. The sale of guide books and other things in the Palace by the warders had been forbidden except at the entrance, and the profit oil such sales, instead of going to one or two of them, was to be applied for the benefit of all. Visitors were not to be allowed to carry umbrellas, parasols, sticks, and other things into the rooms under any pretence whatever. It was perfectly true that three of the rooms had been closed, but only temporarily. It was not intended to close them long. The passages were in the shape of an L, and when there was an enormous crowd in the rooms the warders were unable to see what was taking place in two of the small rooms at the end. Possibly in the course of a short time extra warders might be employed, and those rooms would be opened again to the general public. With regard to the question asked by the hon. Member for King's Lynn as to the removal of pictures he believed there had been a few pictures removed to Kew and Kensington Palaces. He could assure the Committee that the First Commissioner of Works was fully alive to the necessity of taking the greatest care of the national treasures. He hoped that this was the last they would hear of these outrages.


asked for a definite assurance that the rooms would be opened to the public. If there were not sufficient warders it would be the easiest thing possible to appoint the number required to protect the rooms which were now closed.


Of course the hon. Member knows that I am not in the Office of Works. I shall put his views before Lord Windsor.

MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)

said that he wished for some explanation of the increase in Section A of this Vote, which increase amounted to 100 per cent., that was from £3,600 to £7,050. Of course he was aware that there was a foot-note showing that the major part of this increase was due to expenditure on Osborne House and gardens, but, curiously enough, there was another foot-note showing that £2,100 of that Vote was for food and medical comforts. How came it that that amount was included under the head "Salaries, Wages, and Allowances?" This Vote should be strictly confined to the expenditure on Royal Palaces, and the item to which he referred should be put in its proper place and for its proper purpose. This led him to emphasise a remark which he had made last year. Why was page 6 left a blank, and all details of information regarding this Vote, which used to appear on that page, withdrawn? Last year he had raised a protest against the practice, but had got no satisfaction. There was no authority from the House to leave out those items on page 6. If that page were filled up, as it used to be previous to two years ago, it would have been possible for any one to tell in a moment what was the real meaning of this increase of 100 per cent. on Item A of this Vote. Then on Item E, "Maintenance and Repairs," there was an increase of £8,020 or, roughly speaking, 25 per cent. He wished to call attention to the very serious manner in which this Vote was increasing year by year. In 1890 it amounted to £49,000, which had before that period seldom varied from year to year. But in 1902 it had risen to £59,000 and there was in addition a Supplementary Vote of no less than £41,000. That, of course, was due to the death of Her late Majesty and the change of occupation of the Royal Palaces. The Committee could perfectly well understand that Supplementary Vote, but it ought not to have been accompanied by an annual increase in the cost of the maintenance of the Royal Palaces. Last year the Vote was as he had said, £59,000: this year it was £82,190. Surely such a large increase ought to be explained by the Government before the Committee was asked to agree to this Vote.


said that the item, "Osborne House and gardens," which figured in the Estimates for the first time for a sum of no less than £20,100, raised a very important question. The Committee would observe that really no explanation was given of this Vote. They were told that it was for "Alterations and Improvements, new lifts, heating, lighting, and water services; and new furniture," but they were not told what these included. He-believed that this Vote was required for the first time in order to adapt Osborne House partly to the use of the new Navy Establishment placed there, and partly to adapt it for the purpose of a Convalescent Hospital for the Army.


It is not a Royal Palace at all.


As the hon. Gentleman said, it was not a Royal Palace, and this item was not even a Civil Service Estimate. It was partly an Army and partly a Navy Estimate; and it was an abuse of the Estimates to put the item on the Civil Service Estimates. If this item was right in this place then the whole of the expenditure on the Hospital Department of the Army, for instance, or of the Education Department of the Navy should also be there. His contention was that this item was most improperly placed under this Vote for Royal Palaces and he could not conceive by whose authority it had been included in the Civil Service Votes. He should like to know what sort of Treasury consent had been asked and obtained for placing this item on this Vote at all. Was it considered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer or by the Treasury? If the Secretary to the Treasury could not assure him that this expenditure was for the purpose of maintaining Osborne House as a Royal Palace then he thought he ought to move to reduce the Vote by the whole £20,100 in order to obtain some proper explanation of it. He begged to move.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £20,500, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Gibson Bowles.)


said that as regarded the point raised by the hon. Member for Halifax in reference to sub-head A—that increase was due entirely to the Salaries and allowances for Osborne House and Gardens; and the same explanation applied to subhead E. Of course there were other minor charges which came into this Vote owing to the change of occupation; but the main charges in items A and E were for expenditure on Osborne House, the alterations to which, as the Committee knew, were to be effected in order to make it fit for Naval and Military purposes.


said he did not think the explanation of the hon. Gentleman was altogether satisfactory. Under the sub-heading "Osborne House and Gardens—Salaries, Wages and Allowances—£3,500," they found that of that sum £2,100 was for food and medical comforts. That sum was obviously misplaced altogether. This Vote illustrated what the gift of Osborne House and Grounds cost the nation. Certainly if Osborne House was to be on the Estimates at all it should be under some other heading, so that the Committee might know exactly what was the cost of the buildings or the alterations thereon, and how much was to be voted for the food and medical comforts to convalescent patients. It was an entirely novel thing to put such a charge on such a Vote. He supposed that Osborne House was given for the purpose of a sanatorium for officers of the Army, their wives and families. That might be all very right, but at the same time there was no reason why the expense should be borne by the Office of Works.


said that the Committee ought to have some further reply to the point raised by the hon. Member for King's Lynn. At the present moment Osborne House was being used in a dual capacity—first as a Convalescent Home for Officers of the Army and their wives and families, and, secondly, largely as a naval educational college. If these were purposes to which it was to be put, it was very evident that this was not the place in which it should be placed on the Estimates. The Committee ought to have a clear understanding as to what was to be the future character of this Vote. He agreed with the hon. Member for King's Lynn that this Vote should be divided in proper proportions as between the Navy and the Army Vote.

SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)

said he also wished to congratulate his hon. friend the Secretary to the Treasury on his appointment; and he hoped his hon. friend would be able to give the Committee some further information on the question which had been raised. The argument of his hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn appeared to him to be unassailable; certainly there had been no attempt to answer it. The amount referred to was not Civil Service expenditure at all, and should not appear on the Civil Service Estimates. It was expenditure partly for the Navy, and partly for the Army; and it would be impossible for the Committee to have control over Navy and Army expenditure if the various items were found scattered about among the Civil Service Estimates. He v hoped the Committee would be given an assurance that if this amount appeared through inadvertence on this Vote this year, such a financial error would not be committed another year.


asked how could a sum of £2,100 for food and medical comforts be put down under the heading of Royal Palaces. When Osborne House was handed over to the nation it ceased to be a Royal Palace, and therefore the sum he mentioned was obviously out of place. He thought the Treasury would be well advised to withdraw the Estimate, and bring it up in an amended form.


said before his hon. friend replied he wished to ask about two other points. There was an item for £500 for furniture for Osborne House which needed explanation. He was informed that a great deal of furniture had been taken away from Osborne House, and removed to other parts of the country. That might explain why the sum of £500 for furniture was now asked for. He wished further to call attention to the note on page 5, which showed that the £20,100 would only be a small portion of the amount the Committee might be asked to vote in future years. They were told in the note that "the balance of £7,400 cannot, however, be treated as a measure of the annual ordinary expenses, as only a part of a year's charge will fall within the period of this year's Vote." Therefore, the Vote next year might be £30,000 or £40,000 or £50,000. That added to the importance of his contention that this was not the proper place for this amount. The matter was important because it falsified the Army and Navy accounts. As regarded the item for furniture, he understood that although it "was the late Queen's wish that no furniture should be removed from Osborne House4 a large amount of furniture had been removed. He definitely asked his hon. friend if that was true; and, if true, what had become of the furniture.

MR. POWELL-WILLIAMS (Birmingham, S.)

said that the Motion of his hon. friend placed him in a position of considerable difficulty as a member of the Public Accounts Committee. The Public Accounts Committee had always insisted as a matter of the first importance that all expenditure on a particular service should be included in the Estimates for that service, and should

not be included in any other Estimates. It appeared that Osborne House was now devoted to three different objects. In one respect it was a Royal Palace; in another respect it fulfilled certain services for the Army; and in a third certain services for the Navy. It seemed to him that unless it could be shown that the amount in question applied solely to that portion of Osborne House which was still a Royal Palace it had no right to be on the Estimates before the Committee. It was obvious that services for the Army and the Navy should appear on the Army and Navy Estimates; and he thought that his hon. friend would do well to accept the suggestion that the Estimate should be withdrawn for the time being. His hon. friend the Secretary to the Treasury had only been a few days in office and could not be expected to be cognisant of all the details of the Estimates.


said that the sum of £500 was for the repair and replacement of furniture, table requisites, etc. As to why the Vote for Osborne House appeared on the Civil Service Estimates and not on the Army and Navy Estimates, the reason was that the whole management of Osborne House was under the Office of Works. If, however, it were thought desirable, the Vote would not again be included in the Vote for the Royal Palaces.


said he did not regard the explanation as satisfactory.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 70; Noes, 123. (Division List No. 62.)

Abraham, William (Rhondda) Crombie, John William Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.
Allan, Sir William (Gateshead) Delany, William Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.
Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud) Dewar, John A.(Inverness-sh.) Jones, William (Carn'rvonshire
Asher, Alexander Doogan, P. C. Joyce, Michael
Bell, Richard Elibank, Master of Kearley, Hudson, E.
Black, Alexander William Ellis, John Edward Lambert, George
Brigg, John Farquharson, Dr. Robert Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)
Broadhurst, Henry Furness, Sir Christopher Leng, Sir John
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J. Lloyd-George, David
Burns, John Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon Lough, Thomas
Burt, Thomas Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd M'Kenna, Reginald
Caldwell, James Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)
Causton, Richard Knight Hayter, Rt Hon Sir Arthur D. Mansfield, Horace Rendall
Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen Roe, Sir Thomas Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.
Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N. Rose, Charles Day Wason, E. (Clackmannan)
Norman, Henry Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Norton, Capt. Cecil William Schwann, Charles E. Weir, James Galloway
O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.) Whiteley, George (York, W. R.
Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham) Sinclair, John (Forfarshire) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Partington, Oswald Strachey, Sir Edward Yoxall, James Henry
Philipps, John Wynford Sullivan, Donal
Rea, Russell Taylor, Theo. C. (Radcliffe) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—Mr. Gibson Bowles and Mr. J. H. Whitley.
Rigg, Richard Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.)
Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.) Wallace, Robert
Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Manc'r Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.
Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Anson, Sir William Reynell FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose Morrison, James Archibald
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon Mount, William Arthur
Bailey, James (Walworth) Flower, Ernest Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)
Bain, Colonel James Robert Forster, Henry William Pemberton, John S. G.
Baird, John George Alexander Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W. Percy, Earl
Balcarres, Lord Gardner, Ernest Pierpoint, Robert
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A.J. (Manch'r Garfit, William Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nrn Pretyman, Ernest George
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc Purvis, Robert
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj. Grenfell, William Henry Reid, James (Greenock)
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Ridley, Hon. M. W (Stalybridge
Bignold, Arthur Harris, Frederick Leverton Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)
Bigwood, James Haslam, Sir Alfred S. Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Blundell, Colonel Henry Haslett, Sir James Horner Boyds, Clement Molyneux
Boulnois, Edmund Heaton, John Henniker Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Bowles, Lt.-Col. H F (Middlesex Helder, Augustus Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Sharpe, William Edward T.
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A (Glasgow Hobhouse, Rt Hn H (Somrst E Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hope, J.F.(Sheffield, Brightside Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Houston, Robert Paterson Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Hozier, Hon. Jas. Henry Cecil Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred Spear, John Ward
Chamberlain, Rt Hon J (Birm Kimber, Henry Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Chamberlain, Rt Hn J. A (Worc. Laurie, Lieut.-General Stroyan, John
Charrington, Spencer Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Lawson, John Grant Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Coddington, Sir William Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham) Tuke, Sir John Batty
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Valentia, Viscount
Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole Legge, Col Hon. Heneage Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham Warde, Colonel C. E.
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Crossley, Sir Savile Lonsdale, John Brownlee Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)
Davenport, William Bromley Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Denny, Colonel Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Dickson, Charles Scott Macdona, John dimming Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Doughty, George Maconochie, A. W.
Doxford, Sir William Theodore M'Calmont, Colonel James TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Duke, Henry Edward M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)
Fardell, Sir T. George Malcolm, Ian
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Manners, Lord Cecil

Bill read a second time, and committed.

2. £51,400, to complete the sum for Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens.

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

said he wished to renew under more favourable conditions a protest he had already made to the abolition at Kensington of an open space which had long been enjoyed by the people of London. The piece of land to which he referred was a strip which ran down by the side of Kensington Gardens, the trees upon which formed one of the most agreeable avenues in that part of London. When recently going there, however, he found notices up that this ground had been pegged out to various occupants, for building purposes, at the instance of the Board of Works, with the result that another of these enjoy-Able open spaces would be for ever lost.


To which park does the hon. Member allude?


said he referred to a piece of land which formed a portion of Kensington Gardens.


on a point of order, said he believed that this ground did not come under the Office of Works at all, but was under the control of the Office of Woods and Forests.


said his impression was that this ground formed no portion of Kensington Gardens, and it was only on the hon. Member's assurance that it did that he allowed the hon. Member to continue. It was no doubt Crown property, but it was managed by the Office of Woods and Forests.


complained of the disgraceful condition of the Birdcage Walk roadway, and the annoyance caused by repairing being undertaken during the session time.

MR. SKEWES-COX (Surrey, Kingston)

was understood to say he wished to draw attention to the dangerous condition of the Kingston Gate of Richmond Park, and the necessity of its being widened, as, owing to the height of the walls and the narrowness of the gate and the roads in that neighbourhood, the dangers arising from motor cars using that gate were very great. He also asked that paths should be made to the roads in the park.

MR. BELL (Derby)

said he did not know whether the matter to which he desired to refer came within this Vote, but he desired to ask whether the temporary building at the corner of Trafalgar Square was to be the site of a permanent station of the Waterloo and Baker Street Railway.


Trafalgar Square is neither a Royal Park nor pleasure garden.


No, Sir, but it is an open space.


said he had seen Lord Windsor with reference to the widening of Kingston Gate and the paths into Richmond Park, and hoped to be able to give the hon. Member an answer in a few days. As to Birdcage Walk, it was true the road was in a very bad state. The reason it was not done at the usual time of the year was that, in consequence of the autumn sittings of Parliament, the Office of Works did not care to undertake it then. It had got so bad, however, that last Tuesday they determined to commence operations, but it was hoped the work would not take longer than a fortnight or three weeks. Further, it was proposed at some future time to lay down wood paving.

SIR A. HAYTER (Walsall)

asked whether the positions of park keepers, and so forth, in the Royal Parks were confined to pensioners.


did not think the positions were confined to pensioners, but they were given a preference. He would, however, make inquiries on the subject.


pointed out that £12,929 were taken under this Vote for Kew Gardens, and Vote 11, under the Board of Agriculture, included another £18,716 for the same place. Last year Kew Gardens were transferred from the Office of Works to the Board of Agriculture; therefore he could not quite understand why both Departments should be asking for these large sums. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would explain where the line was drawn between the expenditure of the two Departments.


explained that the Vote now before the Committee was for the upkeep of the buildings furniture, and so forth, which still remained under the Office of Works.


asked whether in future the Office of Works was to be the landlord, and the Board of Agriculture the tenant.


said the Office of Works would look after the buildings only.

Vote agreed to.

3. £27,700, to complete the sum for Houses of Parliament Buildings.


drew attention to the position allotted to the statue of the late Mr. Bright. The Committee would remember that the original statue of the statesman was placed in the Central Lobby on a pedestal now occupied by the statue of the late Mr. Gladstone. Had the statue of Mr. Bright been at all satisfactory it would doubtless have remained in its original position, but, as the Committee knew, it was little less than a libel on the right hon. Gentleman, and it was subsequently removed. A new statue had been provided——


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman's point was that some site should be provided.


Some different site.


said that was a matter of discretion resting with the First Commissioner of Works. There was no charge in the Estimate in respect of any piece of ground upon which this statue was placed. Therefore he thought the right hon. Gentleman should raise the point on the salary of the First Commissioner.


said he would do so:


called attention to the ventilating apparatus in the library, which, when the weather was at all cold, made the room extremely draughty. He hoped the matter would be looked into, so that the temperature of the library might be more carefully adjusted.

MR. CUMMING MACDONA (Southwark Rotherhithe)

thought the smoking-room for strangers was unworthy of the House of Commons. By a little extra expenditure the room might be made into a very useful convenience to Members who may wish to entertain their friends visiting them at the House. The strangers' smoking room is much too small for the accommodation of the largely-increased number of visitors attending them. All the extra room needed can be had at a small outlay. The three arches can be cut out into the adjoining passage behind them, the cramped-up bar at the entrance can be removed, and a large, commodious bar inserted at the back of the opposite wall. Curtains and carpets, or kamptulican or cocoa-nut matting, would make the place much more comfortable and convenient. At present the room would be a disgrace to a second-class hotel, and certainly is not a fit one for the House of Commons.


reminded the Committee that some time ago a thorough inquiry was made into the accommodation for Members and strangers in the House of Commons, but, as far as he knew, nothing had been done to carry out the practically unanimous recommendations then made. He asked whether there was any intention of carrying out the proposals of that Committee. An alteration urgently required was the enlargement of the Post Office. It was almost impossible at times for Members to get properly looked after, not because the officials were anything but extremely painstaking and courteous, but because the place was too small. The telegraph office was a perfect disgrace to civilisation. He also asked when the new carpet, which had been passed by the Office of Works, was to be placed in the strangers' smoking room.

MR. MALCOLM (Suffolk, Stowmarket)

said that with reference to the Select Committee on Accommodation in the House of Commons, which had been referred to, he thought they must give the Government its due, and it was a little hard to say that they had done nothing in regard to the carrying out of the recommendations contained in the Report of that Committee. Since the present Financial Secretary to the War Office went round the kitchen department and smashed the windows with his umbrella, windows had been put in that would open. He also thought that the telegraph office had been made a great deal better. With regard to the smoking room, he should like to know what the improvements which had been referred to really were, for he noticed the same old draughts and stuffiness in the atmosphere of the smoking room.

MR. HARWOOD (Bolton)

said he did not think the House had been fairly treated in regard to the increased accommodation which had been promised. They were told that hon. Members were going to get some advantage from the increased accommodation, but he had failed to find it. The Members' reading room was nothing less than a scandal, for it was really nothing more than a passage. In the reading room they were really between the devil and the deep sea, for they must either go to the cold windows or else stand in front of the fire, and the accommodation was simply absurd. They had been told that the House of Commons was the best club in the world, and although he was not acquainted with many clubs he could safely say that the House of Commons was the worst club he knew of. After the promises which had been made he really thought hon. Members would have derived some benefit from the increased accommodation in the House.

MR. BRIGG (Yorkshire, W.R., Keighley)

suggested the adoption of similar arrangements in regard to letters to those in force in the American assembly, where it was possible for any member entering the room to see if there was any letter for him in his own pigeonhole. In this way a great amount of the time of hon. Members could be saved. As far as the smoking room was concerned it certainly was a very great inconvenience. He thought they ought to have a smoking room on the same floor as the dining-room.

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

asked whether the Government intended to appoint the Select Committee on the Ventilation and Sanitary Condition of the House which sat last Session and did not report. As this Committee was carrying on some important investigations in regard to the quality of the air in the House ho should like to know what the result of these investigations was. His hon. friend would remember that when this Vote was under discussion last year complaints were made about the way the House was cleaned, and objection was taken to the divided jurisdiction upon this subject. It appeared that one set of servants were under the Office of Works and another set under the Sergeant-at-Arms; consequently there was occasionally friction and the work was not so well carried out as it might be. He wished to know if his hon. friend proposed to allow all the servants to work under a single authority.

DR. HUTCHINSON (Sussex, Rye)

said that as a new Member he wished to know whether enough lockers to go round were provided for hon. Members. He came to the House as an absolute stranger and he was told that he must put his name down for a locker. He had done so, but it struck him that he would have to wait one or two Sessions before his turn came round. He thought hon. Members should have proper accommodation provided for them.


said that with regard to the lockers he would communicate with the Office of Works, for he thought that every hon. Member should be provided with a locker. With reference to the question raised by the hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire he might say that the First Commissioner of Works intended to appoint the Select Committee on Ventilation at an early date. The hon. Member for Clare rather called into question the action of the Office of Works for not having taken notice of the recommendations of the Committee on Accommodation in the House. He thought that was hardly fair, because in last year's Estimates provision was made for carrying out some of the Committee's recommendations. It was true that in regard to the larger sums to be expended in connection with the smoking room and the dining-room the Office of Works did not feel justified in asking for the £14,000 or £15,000 which would be required to make the necessary alterations. This year there was £1,000 taken for five of the Peers' Committee Rooms, £250 for improving the ventilation of the lavatories and the smoking room and tea room of the House of Commons, £1,050 for altering the smoke shafts, and £300 for works and alterations of a minor character. He was afraid that he could not promise that the larger works necessary to provide increased accommodation in the dining-room and smoking room would be undertaken at the present time. He felt sure that the First Commissioner would look into the matter and carry out the suggestions of the Committee as far as possible. With regard to the reading room, which had been referred to by the hon. Member for Bolton, the same question was brought forward some time ago by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, but he was of opinion that the room had been made more suitable than it was before. At the same time he agreed that the accommodation in the reading room was far from what it ought to be, and he hoped to see the day when some alteration would be made not only in the reading room but also in the smoking room.


asked if the hon. Member would tell them something about the Post Office accommodation?


said he thought some alterations had been made in the Post Office and Telegraph Office, but he would bear the point in mind and bring it before the Department.


said he was sorry to hear that nothing was to be done in regard to the smoking room which was often cramped to suffocation while the House was perhaps nearly empty. There was really nothing like the proper amount of accommodation necessary for the class of hon Members who could not exist without a cigarette or a cigar. The necessity for increased smoking room accommodation was far greater now, more especially in regard to those who wished to smoke and write at the same time. There was nothing like enough tables for this purpose. He estimated that nineteen out of twenty hon. Members of the House desired to smoke when they were away from the fascination of the oratory of the House of Commons itself. Probably there were some Members who thought there should be no smoking at all, but they were an infinitesimal minority in the House. He was exceedingly disappointed to hear his hon. friend say that nothing was to be done for the down-trodden smokers. He hoped that the matter would be reconsidered.

Vote agreed to.

4. £36,120, to complete the sum for Miscellaneous Legal Buildings, Great Britain.

5. £30,150, to complete the sum for Art and Science Buildings, Great Britain.

6. £37,500, to complete the sum for Diplomatic and Consular Buildings.


said he desired to ask a question in regard to the cemeteries of British soldiers in the Ionian Islands. He had again and again called attention to the fact that the Government of Greece proposed to give a lease of one of the British cemeteries to a company who proposed to establish a gaming place there. During the British occupation of the Ionian Islands, some distinguished men lived there, some of whom died and were buried there. It seemed to him to be nothing short of an outrage and a scandal to set up a gaming place over the remains of those distinguished and gallant men. He had never received, up to this time, any explicit assurance that the thing would be prevented. That His Majesty's Government could prevent it was most undoubted, because we had the ground of these cemeteries conceded to us by treaty. He wished to receive some assurance that this would be absolutely prevented; otherwise, he would have to move a reduction of the Vote.


said he understood that in Corfu there was an attempt by some people to set up a casino, and the Foreign Office took steps to protest against this proposed desecration. He hoped that, in the course of a short time, they would come to some satisfactory arrangement.


called attention to what appeared to be an anomaly—namely, that while they charged no rates on diplomatic buildings within our shores, they voted money for rates on the self-same class of buildings for our representatives in foreign countries. On a former occasion a promise was given that this matter should be looked into. It was obviously a matter for a little arrangement, possibly by the Foreign Office. They should decline to pay rates on the Embassy in Paris when no rates were paid on the French Embassy in London.

GENERAL LAURIE (Pembroke and Haverfordwest)

said they were asked to vote£800 for the maintenance of cemeteries, abroad, but no information was given as to the state they were kept in. He should like some information as to whether the cemeteries were kept in proper order.


said the Office of Works got a report once and sometimes twice a year.


Are they examined and found to be satisfactory?


I believe so.


said the hon. Member had not replied to his question. He only wished the matter to be looked into. He would take the opportunity of raising the question on another Vote. It was stated in a recent debate that while we paid rates on our Embassy in Berlin the German Embassy in London was exempted from rates.

Vote agreed to.

7.£339,000, to complete the sum for Revenue Buildings.

MR. CLAUDE HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

said he wished particularly to ascertain whether the Office of Work, was responsible for the sanitary condition of the Post and Telegraph Office buildings, because there had been a good many complaints as to the sanitation of many of them. They did not appear to be under any effective form of inspection such as would be applied to the premises if in private occupation.


said he was almost sure he was correct in saying that the question of the sanitation of these offices came under the Office of Works.


asked if inspectors looked after the sanitation of the buildings.


Yes, I believe so.

Vote agreed to.

8. £222,000, to complete the sum for Public Buildings, Great Britain.


said he wished to raise a protest against an item in this very large Vote. On page 40 they were asked to vote £1,300 for the Land Registry Office for "Alterations consequent on re-arrangement of staff;" he objected to a continual demand being made for increased money for this office, while Parliament was persistently denied any inquiry into the working of the Land Registration Act. It was distinctly understood when the Act was passed that there would be an opportunity—either by Select Committee or otherwise—for an inquiry as to the success of the operation of the Act; and yet the Committee, which had voted no less a sum than£250,000 for a building, were continually asked, year by year, for some other building, or alteration and maintenance of existing buildings, while they had no report whatever which showed whether the operation of the Act had been successful or not.


said that the hon. Member must remember that there was a special Vote for Land Registration, and the question of the policy of the extension or continuance of the Act should be raised on that Vote, and not on this, which was merely for the alteration of the building.


said that although he had been waiting all last year to raise this question the Vote to which the Chairman referred was closured. It had therefore appeared to him that it must be proper to discuss the question on the Vote for the alterations on the building.


said that he did not think so; and for this reason, that the Minister in charge of this Vote had nothing to do with the policy of the Land Registration Act. No doubt if the hon. Member brought pressure to bear in the right quarter he would get the Land Registration Vote brought on at a time when it could be properly discussed.

Vote agreed to.

9. £119,019, to complete the sum for Surveys of the United Kingdom.

10. £14,204, to complete the sum for Harbours under the Board of Trade.

11. £17,980, to complete the sum for Peterhead Harbour.

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