HC Deb 27 July 1925 vol 187 cc20-2
30. Rear-Admiral BEAMISH

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, whether he is aware that the space allotted in the Imperial War Museum is inadequate for the display of naval exhibits, and that many interesting naval trophies are now stored in the open air and gradually going to ruin; and whether he can see his way to making early arrangements to remedy this state of affairs?


The First Commissioner is aware of the inadequacy of the existing exhibition space. A number of naval exhibits, although in the open, are covered with tarpaulin and are kept cleaned and well greased by the museum attendants. As regards the last part of the question, it will not be possible to arrive at any final decision as regards the provision of additional accommodation until there has been an opportunity to consult the new governing body of the Imperial Institute.

Rear-Admiral BEAMISH

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that in the last eight months no fewer than 150.000 people have been admitted to that museum, and that grave disappointment is invariably expressed at the condition of affairs in regard to the naval exhibits?


The First Commissioner of Works is quite aware of that fact and we are only too anxious to find proper accommodation. We hope to get that accommodation as soon as possible.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that about one-third of the collection cannot possibly be exhibited in the present circumstances; that most important exhibits are stored in the most unfortunate places, between barrels of oil and other inflammable subjects on the one side and heaps of empty boxes on the other side of the storage; that they may at any moment catch fire and that a fire has taken place in the immediate vicinity—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech!"]—and that, unless something is done at a very early date, this important collection is in danger of destruction?


It is impossible for me to answer all these questions to the First Commissioner.


The hon. Member was really giving information.