§ 27. Mr. KING
had on the Paper the following question: To ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that the girls' and infants' school of Christ Church, Albany Street, St. Pancras, is built on Crown land granted in 1837, with an express provision of reverter if the premises are used for any other purpose than a school for the education of poor children in the principles of the Church of England, or in the event of the discontinuance or the abuse of the trusts or breach of covenant; whether he has seen a Report of the Board of Education that the general defects of the premises do not admit of remedy and that expenditure on them would not be justified; that the rooms are dark and disturbed by traffic in the street; that the small entrance lobby and access to it are impeded by the offices and coal store, and provide insufficient cloak-room accommodation; that the girls' school is approached by a single wooden stairway with numerous turns, contrary to all rules for safety against fire and panic; and that there is no playground; and whether he will use his power under the reverter clause in the lease to prevent the abuse of the trusts involved in compelling the public to use and maintain such premises as suitable for educational purposes in defiance of the requirements of Section 7 (1) (d) of the Education Act, 1902?
§ As so many Ministers are absent, may I ask if there is anyone on the Treasury Bench to give an explanation—is it duo to any development of the crisis? [HON. MEMBERS: "It is hardly three o'clock yet!" "Better resign!" "Responsible and sober-minded!" and "Move the Adjournment!"]439
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Runciman)
(who entered the House later): I am informed that the site of the girls' school—which no doubt included the infants' school—was the subject of a Grant, dated 17th June, 183V, by the Lords of His Majesty's Treasury to the Rt. Hon. T. Erskine and others in trust for the purpose of erecting thereon a national school. The Grant embodies various covenants by the grantees as to repairs, user, etc., and contains a proviso "that if at any time hereafter the school buildings and premises or any part thereof shall be applied to or used for any other purpose whatsoever than as a school for the education and instruction of poor children in the principles of the United Church of England and Ireland," or if the grantees do not observe the covenants, etc., then the King or the Commissioners of Woods may re-enter. I do not understand how the public can be compelled to maintain the premises, if not suitable, for a school, but so long as they are used for the purposes for which they were granted the Commissioners of Woods have no power to intervene.
§ 28. Mr. KING
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he has information showing that the boys' school of Christ Church, Albany Street, St. Pancras, is built on Crown land granted in 1858 with an express provision for reverter if any act be done which shall be a nuisance, annoyance, or disturbance to adjoining owners; whether he has seen a Report of the Board of Education on this school that there is no playground and that the boys spend their recreation interval in the street; that the shortage of playground is one of the less prominent defects of the premises, and that these defects do not admit of remedy; and whether he will use his power under the reverter clause in the lease to relieve the housing requirements of London?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I am informed that the site of the boys' school was the subject of a Grant, dated the 26th October, 1858, by the Lords of His Majesty's Treasury to the perpetual curate and churchwardens of the district of Christ Church, St. Pancras, who were the holders of a lease of the site with the buildings then standing thereon. The Grant contains a declaration that if a schoolhouse should not be erected as therein specified, "or if at any time hereafter the premises hereby conveyed or the buildings to be erected 440 thereon shall be used or appropriated for any other purpose than a school for the education of the poor children in the said district of Christ Church and the residence of the master or mistress or teacher or teachers of the said school, or if any act or thing shall at any time be done or permitted upon the said premises which shall be or may become a nuisance, annoyance, or disturbance to the owners, lessees, or occupiers of any of the adjoining or contiguous premises, the Grant hereby made shall from and immediately after such user or appropriation, or the commission of any such act or thing as aforesaid, cease and be void." I am not aware that any circumstances have arisen which would justify the Commissioners of Woods in terminating the Grant.