HC Deb 17 May 1909 vol 5 cc23-4

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that a number of boy attendants at the British Museum Reading Room are being employed in doing precisely the same work as the adult staff on boys' pay, and that these boys are often excluded from appointments on the adult staff which are filled by. candidates nominated by the trustees; and whether, seeing that these boys, after serving several years' apprenticeship, have a strong claim for promotion, some more equitable arrangement can be introduced which will not involve their dismissal?


The suggestions in the hon. Member's question are not in accordance with the facts. The boys are not employed on the same work as the adult staff. They cannot be said to serve an apprenticeship, seeing that they are engaged on the clearly understood condition that their service will cease at the age of 20. On the other hand, during the past four years, 17 out of the 20 vacancies for adult attendants have been filled by the appointment of ex-boy attendants. I am informed further that owing to the good clerical training received by boy attendants permanent outside employment is frequently obtained by them after a few years' service in the Museum. I see no reason, therefore, for reconsidering the existing arrangements, which appear to work satisfactorily.