§ MR. PAUL (Northampton)
To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the attention of the Treasury has been drawn to the announcement that the reading room of the British Museum will be closed from the middle of April till the end of October; whether he is aware that this step will inflict loss and inconvenience upon a very large number of poor students; and whether the authorities of the museum can make temporary provision for them in the King's Library or elsewhere.
§ (Answered by Mr. Runciman.) I understand that since the reading room was opened to the public in 1867 it has undergone no kind of general repair or restoration. Arrangements for closing it for repairs have accordingly been made by the Trustees, who inform me that they are making temporary provision in the rooms of the library for accommodating readers engaged in special work. About 200 seats will be provided; and it is believed that with this accommodation the more pressing needs of students can be met. Every effort, will be made by the authorities to satisfy all genuine applications. Moreover, the Guildhall Library, which is one of the most extensive libraries in the Kindgom, is open to the public and will no doubt be largely used; and there are now free libraries in many parts of London where ordinary books of reference can be consulted.