HC Deb 01 November 1906 vol 163 cc1328-9
DR. COOPER (Southwark, Bermondsey)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been directed to a statement made by one of the women recently committed to Hollaway Prison in default that she was annoyed at night by rats running about her cell; whether he is in a position to state whether any sanitary authority has made an inspection into the sanitary condition and drainage of the prison; if not, will he say who is responsible for the sanitary condition of the building; whether the bye-laws and regulations made under The Public Health Act (London), 1891, are carried out; and when the last inspection into the sanitary condition of the prison was made.


Inquiries have been made as to the alleged presence of rats in this prisoner's cell. The cell and the shaft whence the rats were alleged to issue, were at once examined by the engineer, and no sign of their presence could be detected. I am making further inquiries. The Courts have decided that the Public Health Acts do not apply to prisons as being the property of the Crown. The responsibility for the sanitary condition of the prison rests with the Commissioners of Prisons; and a regular and careful sanitary inspection of prisons is strictly carried out by the staff of the Commissioners. The last sanitary inspection of Holloway took place on the 14th September last.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that two ladies of unimpeachable veracity—Mrs. Pethick Lawrence and Mrs. Montefiore—both stated that they were annoyed at night by the presence of rats in their cells?


I have already said that I am making further inquiries.

MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N.)

Will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the advisability of purchasing an active cat?

MR. J. H. ROBERTSON (Northumberland, Tyneside)

Was not the statement actually made that the rats were in the infirmary, and not in the cells?


I will make inquiry.