§ This part of this Act shall not apply to any structure which appears to the Commissioners of Works to be occupied as a dwelling-house (otherwise than by a person employed as the caretaker thereof or his family).
§ Mr. KING
I beg to move to leave out the Clause. The Clause raises a very important point, which I would like the Committee to realise. This Bill does not touch dwelling-houses. I have given notice of two Amendments, which raise the question of dwelling-houses. I consider that a dwelling-house maybe an extremely important ancient monument, and that it should be protected. What is more interesting and instructive than to see the sort of house in which our ancestors lived? I do not intend, on this occasion, to press these Amendments, but I want the Committee to realise that some day or other, either we, or those who come after us, will be wise enough to protect the ancient monuments which remain in dwelling houses. I know the difficulties that may be raised when we are touching private property, or property which is still used and inhabited, and which is the property possibly of important and influential persons, but I hope that the hon. Member in charge of this Bill will give us some indications of the views of the Government on this matter. I should like him to say that, though it may not be possible to include dwelling houses now, 2452 yet the Government have their eye on them, and if they do that I will not press the Amendment. Otherwise I beg to move it.
I am very much obliged to my hon. Friend for what he said about this Amendment, and I presume his remarks apply to his subsequent Amendment to Clause 12.
It is true that it might be very desirable to exercise the powers given to the First Commissioner, to preserve ancient monuments in connection with the monuments that are on private dwelling houses, but one must proceed by a stage at a time, and it would be unwise to make this Bill stronger at this moment, because, I am afraid if we did so we should not get the general agreement which now exists.
§ Mr. HOGGE
Take the example, which has occurred within the last fortnight, with regard to the famous Scottish painter, Raeburn's, house. There was a very well known mantelpiece in. one of the rooms of that house, which was sold to a dealer for a few pounds. It is now being recovered, by public subscription, for a sum exceeding £500, to be replaced in that particular house. It does seem a pity that, in historical houses of this sort, these kind of things should take place. I should very much like to see some power exercised to prevent such things.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I rise to a point of Order, Mr. Maclean, with regard to the title of the Clause. In the marginal title it says, "Saving for buildings, used for ecclesiastical purposes or as dwelling-house." But in the Clause itself there is no mention of "ecclesiastical purposes." I mention the matter because I have drawn your attention in a number of cases now to the fact that when going through the Clauses they are called by their titles instead of their numbers.
§ The DEPUTY - CHAIRMAN (Mr. Maclean)
That is not a point of Order, because marginal notes form no part of the Bill.
§ Mr. BOOTH
Then I will not discuss it at all. My impression as regards this 2453 Clause as it now stands is that it has been altered. It was not drafted in this form, the marginal note indicates that. I understand that this Clause originally dealt with buildings used for ecclesiastical purposes, and that that has now been dropped out of the Clause. It is to call attention to that and not for any other reason that I have raised the matter.
§ Mr. C. E. PRICE
As a member of the Ancient Monuments Committee which had to report to the House, I may say that the point raised by the hon. Member for East Edinburgh was discussed very carefully by the Committee. In point of fact this Bill is not anything like so advanced as the Report made to the Commissioners. But we could not get any other Bill through this Session, therefore we thought it infinitely better to accept the Bill, defective though it is. There are many very valuable things left out, which, if the House knew of, this Bill would not get through this year. There was absolutely no difference of opinion on the Committee. I found myself most in agreement with men with whom I most often differ in politics. The Bill as it stands is really a compromise arrived at in order that we may without delay get something done.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member for Pontefract may take it that the marginal note to Clause 8 will be put right.