HC Deb 01 March 1917 vol 90 cc2144-6

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can state, approximately, the number of tons of mer- chandise conveyed by rail and otherwise to and from the British Industries Fair now being held by the Department, the number of persons engaged as attendants by the Department, and the exhibitors at the exhibition?


Out of 440 exhibitors, 208 received their samples by rail. The total weight of these samples may be estimated at approximately 40 tons. The remaining exhibitors sent their samples by carrier or in their own vans, or, in many instances, brought them in cabs. Some 600 persons are employed looking after the stands at the Fair, but practically all of these are either the principals of the exhibiting firms or members of their permanent staffs. As regards the number of persons employed by the Board of Trade at the Fair, eleven officers, three women typists, and three messengers are drawn from the staff of the Department of Commercial Intelligence. In addition to these there are two interpreters and a further temporary staff of eighteen persons, including commissionaires, women typists, etc. The cleaners employed in connection with the Fair belong to the ordinary staff of the Victoria and Albert Museum and of the Imperial Institute.


asked why, notwithstanding his decision to reduce the amount of railway travelling by the increase of fares, the exhibition branch of his Department have issued 100,000 invitations to people to come to the exhibition of toys and crockery now being held under his direction at the Victoria and Albert Museum?


The British Industries Fair, to which my hon. Friend presumably refers, is being held partly in the Victoria and Albert Museum and partly in the building of the Imperial Institute, and comprises stationery and printing and fancy goods, as well as glass, china, and earthenware and toys. The invitations to attend the Fair were issued to trade buyers, who are able at the Fair to inspect the goods of some 440 manufacturers. The manufacturers in question are by these means enabled greatly to reduce the amount of travelling which their representatives would ordinarily have to undertake in order to reach trade buyers in different parts of the United Kingdom, and I see good reason to think that the Fair in this way tends to reduce rather than to increase the total amount of travelling in the year. I would add that I attach the greatest importance to the maintenance of the continuity of these fairs, which have proved of especial value to British trade. My hon. Friend is perhaps not aware that similar fairs are to be held shortly at Lyons and Paris under the auspices of the French Government, and that the German authorities have maintained the fairs at Leipzig throughout the War.