HC Deb 31 March 1903 vol 120 cc677-8
MR. ASHTON (Bedfordshire, Luton)

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum, and the Natural History Museum are open on Sundays throughout the year, while the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Wallace Collection are not open on Sundays during the winter months; and, if so, will he state whether there is any special reason for this difference; and, if not, whether he can arrange for the opening of all these public galleries on all Sundays throughout the year.

(Answered by Mr. Hayes Fisher.) Owing to the frequent deficiency of daylight in winter afternoons, and the fact that, in any case, the time during which pictures could be seen is very short, it is not considered worth while, in the absence of artificial light, to keep the galleries open on Sunday afternoons all the year round. As regards the question of introducing artificial light, I understand that at all events, in the case of the National Gallery and the National Gallery of British Art, the Trustees entertain a strong objection, apart altogether from the question of expense; and I am not prepared to press them or the Trustees of the other Galleries upon the point.