HC Deb 19 July 1909 vol 8 cc30-1

asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware that Sir Robert Geffery's Almshouses in Shoreditch are threatened with destruction at the hands of the Ironmongers' Company, and that the garden of these almshouses, extending to about an acre, is the only open space of appreciable size (except one or two churchyards) in the borough of Shoreditch; whether he is aware that the Charity Commissioners, after holding a public inquiry, decided that no case had been made out for the destruction of the almshouses, and that, a second inquiry having been ordered by the Chancery Division of the High Court in a suit commenced 200 years ago, an application by ratepayers of Shoreditch to attend the inquiry was recently opposed by his representative and refused by the court; and whether, under these circumstances, he will take steps to ensure that a public inquiry shall be held into the case of the almshouses?

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir William Robson)

I am aware of the proceedings with regard to this charity, and have myself appeared in court in support of the decision of the Charity Commissioners, which was adverse to the removal of the almshouses. The Court of Chancery, however, directed an inquiry into the matter in Chambers, and I am informed that it is contrary to the practice for the public to take part in such an inquiry. My representative was willing to let the application on behalf of the public stand over in order to take my directions, but this was declined by those who appeared for the public. They insisted on the judge dealing with the application forthwith, and he did so, deciding in accordance with the practice.