§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Sir WALTER RAINE
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
In submitting this Measure for the acceptance of the House, I would remind hon. Members that a similar Measure was presented 12 months ago and met with a certain amount of opposition. The opposition was not offered because there was objection to the principle of the Bill, but because the opponents thought that it might interfere with certain of their rights and privileges. I admit that at the time I thought there was a certain amount of reason in the opposition. Acting on a suggestion made by the Home Secretary, the House accepted the principle of the Bill and gave it a Second Reading, and it was sent to a Select Committee. The Committee took evidence and drew up a Report in which they stated that they met on 14 occasions, examined 20 witnesses, and considered memoranda issued by various bodies and persons. The evidence was put into a Report which was presented to the House. I will read the concluding paragraph of the Report, because it is very important. It says:In view of the fact that the Clauses of the Bill had been amended by the Committee in the light of the evidence submitted, and that the final vote of five to four not to report the Bill to the House, does not, represent the view of the Committee of 11 members as a whole, your Committee hope that an early opportunity will be given to the House next Session of considering a Bill framed on the lines of this Bill as amended.I would like to call attention, in particular, to the last words. The present Bill embodies all the Amendments which were suggested, and, in my opinion, it removes every reasonable objection which there was previously, to the Measure. The attitude of the Royal Institute of British Architects is such that, if there be any further reasonable criticism of the Measure, I, on their behalf, will be glad to give it consideration on Committee stage. I will, in the first place, address myself to a general objection which I have heard raised to the Bill. That is, 756 that everybody desires in his particular trade or profession to be registered, often to the detriment of the outsider. Every case of this kind ought to be considered on its merits, and careful consideration ought to be given to it in order to see that nobody is prejudiced or suffers an injury. At the same time, it is necessary to bear in mind that in a profession like that of an architect, long years have to elapse during which a person has to qualify. I have a brother in Canada who is an architect. When he left school, my father articled him to an architect in the town in which I live. He had to serve five years without any payment; in fact, it was necessary to pay a premium of £100. When he had completed his five years' apprenticeship, he took a situation as an assistant in Belfast at a relatively small salary. Subsequently, he had two years or a little more with Sir Aston Webb in London before he was fully qualified to act as an architect.
It will be seen, therefore, that a person who goes in for this profession is well over 21 years of age before he is able to earn a reasonable living, whereas those engaged in trade commence to earn wages or salary at the age of 16. It is a well-known fact that everybody in any particular profession is not fully qualified, but it is no part of this Bill to interfere with such people. All it does is to protect the public, and if, after the Bill is passed, anyone desires to appoint either an unqualified or a partly qualified architect, he will do so with his eyes open. Under this Bill, the title "Registered architect" will only be able to be used by those who fulfil certain conditions which are contained in the Clauses. I will give an analagous case, in my own district. Up to a few years ago, anybody by putting up a name plate, could announce the fact that he was a ship-broker. But there was such an abuse of it, that several of us in various parts of the Kingdom thought that something must be done for the protection of the shipbroker. We met together, and, as a result, we had a Royal Charter granted. At the outset of that Charter, as the architects propose under this Bill, it was laid down that anybody who could show that he had been practising for a certain time, and had reasonable qualifications, was to be admitted, but thereafter it was necessary for the candidate to 757 undergo three examinations and to have a certain amount of experience before he could become finally qualified. That has worked very well, and we have had no complaints at all. It has had the effect that a shipowner, sending his steamer to any particular port, and appointing a broker who is a member of the Institute, knows that that broker can be relied upon to look after the interests of his steamer, because if he did not, there is a disciplinary Committee set up under the Charter which deals very drastically with anybody who does not carry out the original intentions of the Charter.
The Royal Institute of British Architects has had its Charter since 1834, so that it has had a fairly long career, and it is felt, in order to get what they are requiring, that they must proceed by means of an Act of Parliament. Anyone who has read the evidence given before the Select Committee last year will have been struck by the tremendous amount of work which has been done to raise the standard of architects. The trouble is that, under the existing law, the members of an institution have a right to call themselves by a particular name, or to use particular letters, but the law does not prevent any mushroom society from springing up, and, with or without examination, but on payment of a fee, the members are entitled to add certain letters to their names, so that they may appear to the public to be learned. I will give an illustration from my own knowledge. I am intimately associated with the Chambers of Commerce, and one of our great troubles is that it is possible for any, body of men in my particular town to start a Chamber of Commerce which need not necessarily have for its aim what we consider should be its object. There was a painful case about three years ago, which resulted in proceedings in a London police court, of a Chamber of Commerce that went out, for a picnic; the members had an excess of certain things, and they said that it was a Chamber of Commerce picnic. It was not, however, a bond fide Chamber of Commerce, and the genuine Chambers of Commerce suffered for a time as the result. Under a Bill of this kind, it would not be possible for people to pass under such a name.
There have been until recently two main objectors. The first has been the 758 Institute of Builders, to whom another speaker will refer later, but I am pleased to say that they have withdrawn their opposition in principle, because they see that the Bill is a useful one, and anything they require will be done on the Committee stage. The other objection, which has not been withdrawn, is that of the Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors. From the evidence given last year the public will see that this is just a new society. It had at that time no qualifications for people who wished to become members, and I was reading this week in its magazine that the executive has just passed a certain scheme of study. It will be seen, therefore, that this is a very new society—I think it is two years old—and I am afraid that up to now it has been more noisy than useful. It sets out in one document which I have received that there are 46 architectural associations in the British Empire. That I believe to be correct, but 44 of them are in association with the Royal Institute, which leaves the 45th as the single opponent. It has sent out, a circular, in fact many circulars, and I wish to quote this observation from clause 5 of that circular:The true object of the Bill is not to benefit the public or practitioners, but to strike a blow at independent and progressive architectural associations, the membership of which is growing so rapidly.I said at the outset that this Bill does not interfere with any private person. All it says is that if hereafter anyone desires to be called a registered architect he shall fulfil certain conditions, for the benefit of the public, or rather, I should say, for the protection of the public; and if after this the public employ a semi-qualified or even an unqualified man they will do it with their eyes open. I think I have said sufficient to establish the claim of the Royal Institute to have this Bill passed, but there is one other objection of which I have heard, and that is that a, boy of poor parents may be precluded from becoming qualified as a registered architect. The evidence given before the Select Committee last year entirely disposes of this fear. The secretary of the Royal Institute told me a few days ago what the figures were for 12 months ago, and stated that the figures for this year are in relative proportion to those of last year. In that year, out 759 of 115 candidates who presented themselves for the probationary examination no fewer than 60 had begun their career in the elementary schools, and it is interesting to note that out of that 60 no fewer than 56 started in council elementary schools. Another fact which amazed me in reading through this evidence is the great number of scholarships, and the large grants, which are given in the various centres where these examinations of the Royal Institute of British Architects are held, so that I have no hesitation in saying that, if there be ability, poverty is no bar to anybody becoming an architect. I am informed further that the registration fee will not exceed one guinea per annum, which is in sharp contrast with the higher annual fees charged by institutes of solicitors, doctors, accountants, etc.
Before coming to the Clauses of this Measure, I would like to refer to the two hon. Members who intend to move the rejection of this Bill. The hon. Member for East Islington (Mr. Tasker) was a member of the Select Committee which dealt with this Measure last year. Quite frankly, I could not understand until yesterday, because he could not see his way to tell me, what were the grounds of his opposition, but in reading through a document I find that he is a Vice-President of the Association to which I have referred, and probably he may feel that if this Measure passes his honourable position in that Association may be somewhat interfered with. As to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), we all have a great affection for him. We often find him in opposition to us, but we know that his opposition is sincere. I do not think he has any idea of any reward in taking up an attitude of opposition, but I think this Association ought to do him the honour of making him a Vice-President, as they have done in the case of the hon. Member for East Islington, in order that he may be able to add a string of letters to his name. However that may be, I can say that the Members of this House will continue to call him by his pet name. The rules of this House exclude me from referring to him otherwise than as "the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme". Outside the precincts of 760 this Chamber a Member who is popular is called by his Christian name, and there are some few who are so very popular as to be generally addressed by an abbreviation of the Christian name, my right hon. Friend being one of those who holds this high distinction. Before I come to the Clauses I would like to add that architects in the Colonies enjoy the privileges which the architects of the Mother Country are asking for to-day in this Bill.
It is not necessary to go through all the Clauses of the Bill, but I will call attention to three of them. Clause 5 is an important one, dealing with those who shall be admitted to membership forthwith should this Bill become an Act. The Royal Institute is not going to take that task on itself, but under the Second Schedule applications will come before a committee composed of 12 representatives of the Institute and representatives from various other institutes which are detailed, including the Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors. Clause 6, headedCouncil to prescribe future qualifications for registration,deals with the question of architectural education, which is also referred to in the First Schedule. Here, again, this Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors has a representative. I understand from a document which I read yesterday, that they are not satisfied with the amount of representation which they have, but as I have said, they are a young society, about two years old, and I can only put it down to the presumption of youth that they should desire to manage the affairs of a much older association. Clause 7 is the disciplinary Clause, and the House will see how fairly the Royal Institute have dealt with this question when I tell hon. Members that before anybody can be removed from the Register he has to appear before a committee not composed entirely of representatives of the Institute but on which only three out of the seven will be members of the Institute. There has to be a representative of the Minister of Health, a representative appointed by the President for the time being of the Law Society, one member appointed by the Incorporation of Architects in Scotland and one member appointed by the Ulster Society of Architects. I think I have 761 said sufficient about the Clauses to show how reasonable the Institute is in its desire to meet the wishes of possible opponents, and to see that no hardship is suffered by anyone who may come under the disciplinary Clause. In asking the House to give the Bill a Second Reading to-day, I would again remind them that the principle of it was passed last year, and that the Select Committee heard all the evidence on the subject. I feel that the present Bill removes every disability, or possible disability, which existed under the previous Bill, and I repeat, on behalf of the Royal Institute, that if there be any reasonable criticism I will be very glad indeed to deal with it on the Committee stage.
§ Sir CLEMENT KINLOCH-COOKE
I beg to second the Motion.
This Motion has been moved by the hon. Member for Sunderland (Sir W. Raine) in a speech which, I think, right hon. and hon. Members on all sides will be ready to admit was both forcible and convincing. I do not propose to make a speech of any great length; last year I had a pretty good innings and that my efforts were not altogether in vain was shown by the fact that the Bill was given a Second Reading without a division. As Chairman of the Select Committee to which, on the suggestion of the Home Secretary, the Bill was referred, the House will probably desire and possibly expect a few words from me on the Measure as it is presented to-day. It will be within the recollection of hon. Members present that during the Debate last year certain suggestions were made and that certain objections were taken. Many of those suggestions, if not all, have been embodied in the Bill which is now before the House, and most of those objections have been met. And this has been done without in any way altering the principle of the Bill.
Briefly, the objects of the Bill are the protection of the public by ensuring proper training of persons holding themselves out to be architects; secondly, the protection of the qualified as against the unqualified architect; and, thirdly, to provide an organisation for facilitating and developing architectural education available for all persons. Last year we had the misfortune to have as an opponent the hon. Gentleman the Member for 762 Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander), who seemed to see in the Measure some curtailment of the activities of the co-operative societies. I am glad to say that his fears have been entirely overcome by the insertion of Clause 18, and, instead of an opponent, we now have him as a supporter of the Bill. With regard to the opposition of the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), I have been long enough in the House to know that he is invariably found on the opposite side, whatever the Measure may be, and I have no doubt that when he comes to speak we shall have one of those characteristic speeches which say a good deal but really mean nothing.
The practical Amendments suggested by the hon. Member for the Combined English Universities (Sir A. Hopkinson) have been made, and I should like to take this opportunity of thanking him for the great assistance which he has given to the Bill, not only on the floor of the House, but also in Committee upstairs. There was a fear which found expression in some quarters on the last occasion that the Bill might set up a new close corporation, and so make is difficult for a boy or a girl of the working-class to follow the profession of an architect. I think I can say that that fear no longer exists; it has been entirely dissipated by the evidence and statements made by Mr. Barnes, who represented the Royal Institute of British Architects before the Committee. There was not a Member of the Committee who did not acquiesce in the views which Mr. Barnes expressed. Let me say here and now that there is no desire or intention to make the profession of an architect a close profession. The Bill merely restricts the use of the title "architect," and the use of the term "architectural" to people at present employed in the profession, and to persons who in the future have attained the qualifying standard.
There was some opposition last time on behalf of the Civil Engineers. We went very fully into that matter upstairs, and, so far as official opposition goes, I am informed that it has been entirely withdrawn. I am afraid that we still have an opponent in the hon. Member for East Islington (Mr. Tasker) who seems to think that the Royal Institute of British Architects is not the proper organisation to be entrusted with the carrying out of the 763 machinery of the Bill. For his guidance, as well as for the information of the House, I would like to mention that the Royal Institute of British Architects have been entrusted with the training of architects and the control of architecture by successive Royal Charters granted by William IV, Queen Victoria, Edward VII and H.M. King George V. It stands at the head of a confederation of allied architectural societies, and among its members will be found the great majority of qualified architects practising in all parts of the Empire. Consequently, the House will see that the fears of the hon. Member for East Islington are not well founded. When to this I add that, whether domiciled in this country or overseas, all members have equal rights and are equally entitled to have their say in the government of the profession, and that some 8,000 persons are directly associated with the activities of the Royal Institute of British Architects, I think the House will agree that this organisation has some claim to be regarded not only as a great British institution, but as a great Imperial organisation and one fully qualified to be entrusted with the powers which under this Bill it seeks to obtain.
In the Dominion of Canada, in the Commonwealth of Australia, and in the Dominion of New Zealand a statutory qualification has long been insisted upon. The same is the case in the Transvaal, and I think I am right in saying that it will probably be insisted upon in all parts of South Africa. Similarly, there are proposals for registration under consideration in India and in Palestine. Registration laws are in force in 31 of the States of America, and similar legislation is now being brought forward in the other States, so that in a very short time statutory registration for architects will be compulsory throughout the whole of the United States. In Italy and in Spain legislation of a similar kind exists, while in France, in Germany and in Hungary Government diplomas are compulsory in the case of official architects. This Bill seeks to set up a similar qualification in this country, by providing that any person desiring to practise as an architect shall be required to furnish himself with credentials carrying with them statutory authority, and showing 764 that he has received the necessary preliminary training and passed the necessary examinations.
By this means, not only will the qualified architect be protected from the competition of the unqualified person, but, incidentally, by the process of elimination, the profession itself will be saved from the risk that now assails it of being placed in an undignified position by wrongful acts, whether due to want of knowledge or otherwise, of persons describing themselves as architects, but who, neither by training nor by education, are qualified for the work that they lay themselves out to undertake. Thus, not only will the Bill, if passed, benefit architects themselves, it will act as a safeguard to the general public. Already municipalities are finding it necessary to seek power for controlling the designs of buildings erected in their areas, and powers in this connection have been secured by Liverpool, by Bath, and by Edinburgh. Then, again, we have, as hon. Members know, the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, the formation of which, I think the House will agree with me, shows the urgency of creating and maintaining a body of competent architectural practitioners to whom local authorities and other authorities can turn for advice. Only by this means can we make certain of securing the preservation of our countryside, and prevent the continued repetition of the inartistic and badly constructed buildings that are now being erected in all parts of the country.
I ought, perhaps, to mention that the Bill sets up a Committee comprised of representatives of all the professional organisations likely to be concerned, and, if any question arises as to whether or not a person is qualified to go on the register, it will be settled, not by any professional body, but by this representative Committee. In the same impartial manner the question of removal from the register is to be dealt with, and it will be governed by a Discipline Committee. As regards registration in respect of persons other than those entitled to be registered without examination, the Council of the Institute will from time to time make regulations. The examinations for this purpose will be conducted by the Board of Architectural Education, and that Board will include education authorities 765 interested in the teaching of architecture of all kinds; and, if any official body still remains unrepresented on that Board, I feel sure that an Amendment can be made in Committee which will meet that case. I should say that any person aggrieved by the refusal of the Council to enter his name, or by the decision of the Council to remove it from the register, may appeal to the High Court, whose decision must be final. No regulations whatever will have any force unless and until they have been approved by the Privy Council, and the Privy Council, before giving their approval, must cause these regulations to be published, and give to the interested parties an opportunity of being heard.
I do not wish to sit down without saying just one or two words about the proceedings in Committee. As the House has heard, we sat on 14 days, and we received a great deal of very important evidence. That is exactly what was expected by the Home Secretary when he made his suggestion that the Bill should be referred to this Select Committee; it was set up for the purpose of hearing all sides and going into any technical objections which might be raised. My hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, who introduced the Measure, read out to the House the important sections of that Report, but he did not state exactly who the witnesses were that were called. I think the House ought to have the names and designations of those witnesses, so that they may see how thorough was the work done by the Committee. Among the witnesses were representatives from the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Architectural Association, London, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Municipal and County Engineers, the County Councils Association, the Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors, the Institute of Builders, the Faculty of Architects and Surveyors, the Incorporated Society of Auctioneers and Landed Property Agents, the Association of Consulting Engineers, and the Parliamentary Committee of the Co-operative Congress. I think the House will agree with me that is a very representative body of evidence. The Report itself, embodying the whole of the evidence given by those societies, has been presented to the House. I think I may say that all the suggestions 766 made that were practicable were accepted, and any opposition that was brought forward was very carefully examined; and the Bill which is presented to the House to-day embodies all the Amendments which it was thought necessary to make in order to meet the evidence which was given. I beg, therefore, in seconding the Motion, in view of the very great amount of work that has been expended on the Bill, not only before it was introduced but upstairs, and also since, and the great desire shown to place before Members every possible point for and against, to ask the House to give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ Mr. TASKER
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day six months."
If the House will permit me to make a personal allusion to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland (Sir W. Raine), I hasten to assure him that it was not with the object of putting letters after my name that I was induced to join the Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors. If he should care to indulge in a little research work covering the 35 years during which I have been a principal, he would find that I have never found it necessary to put any letters after my name, although on one occasion one of my friends, in a facetious moment, caused a letter to be addressed to me on which 36 letters were added after my name. A man who has any practice does not want such designations; his business comes by recommendation. The hon. Member for East Cardiff (Sir C. Kinloch-Cooke) says, among other things, that the opposition in the Committee was carefully examined; but one of my chief grounds of complaint has been that, where opposition was challenged, it was suppressed by my hon. Friend, who was Chairman of the Committee.
§ 12 n.
§ Mr. TASKER
It was put in this way in the Committee, that, whenever I wanted to investigate, it was regarded as irrelevant by my hon. Friend. That is one method of side-tracking an investigation, but I want to point out to the House that it leads to a very unfortunate situation for those who are applying for 767 powers, because they would wish investigation to be made if there existed any doubt whether they had carried out efficiently and well the powers that have been granted to them by Imperial Parliament or under their Royal Charters. The object of this Select Committee, as I conceive it, was to afford an opportunity for legitimate discussion and for the proper examination of the subject. No mandatory instructions were given restricting limits of the inquiry. Whatever private views might be held, I regarded the position of that Committee as one where each member occupied a semi-judicial capacity, and one of the things to be observed by a chairman should be to suppress his desire to see the thing either recommended to the House or defeated. There was nothing in the order of reference, as far as I remember, which prohibited us exploring the ground and investigating the Bill very thoroughly, and neglect to do so seemed to be frustrating the authority of Parliament.
When I turn to the Bill, I think its first mistake is that, instead of being called an Architects (Registration) Bill, it should have been described as a Bill for the protection of a title—the title of Registered Architect. There is nothing in it to protect the public against the unqualified and unskilled man, and, if the Second Reading last year was an indication that registration was accepted by the House in principle, I can tell the House there is no architect who does not desire registration of some kind, but, unfortunately, neither the Royal Institute of British Architects nor anyone belonging to the Institute has been able to set up a scheme which has been acceptable, due to the ostrich-like policy of the selected few who have formed the Council of that Institute. This Bill has revived all the old controversies and all the feelings which we thought had died down four years ago. I have here original documents—issued four years ago—in which the Council of the Royal Institute of British Architects say they hope by amalgamation with the Society of Architects to return to the position of 40 years ago, when the Society broke away from the Institute on the registration question, and they set out that it will be necessary for them to alter their 768 by-laws in order that, they may have a referendum. These are the words:To enable important questions of institute policy to be submitted to a referendum of all members in lieu of a general meeting in London only.That is one of the chief grounds of my complaint. I say without hesitation that it appeared to be the duty of the Council to ascertain by referendum to the general body of their members whether the proposals were acceptable or not. I refuse to accept the position that any council have a right to say to their fellows, "You have no voice whatever in the determination of the future of the profession." Why has this been done? Here is a kind of undertaking that they will have a referendum. It has never been done. They point out that they are the only Royal and Chartered body of Architects. No one has denied it. They have these rights and privileges, denied to all others. They, and they alone, can describe themselves as Chartered Architects. They have their Fellows, Associates, Licentiates, Students, and Probationers. Why another title? The kindred profession of civil engineers also have a charter. They, and they alone, can call themselves Chartered Civil Engineers. They are satisfied with it. They have made themselves respected all over the world, and no one would employ any man who was not a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers in any important and great undertaking. Similarly, with Chartered Accountants. For any very important work one would never dream of going to a man who calls himself an accountant. One would go to a chartered accountant. In the same way, if the Royal Institute of British Architects choose to make use of their exclusive right to call themselves Chartered Architects, every important architectural commission would go to a chartered architect.
The object set out here is to make the Institute the sole supreme professional organisation of architects. This led members of the Institute to form themselves into a council of defence. They said, "Here you are going to lower our status by admitting 700 or 1,000 men into our body, and give them equal rights." They objected very strongly. They issued a circular letter, and they said, on 30th April, that they had, in response to that 769 circular letter, received between 900 and 1,000 postcards agreeing that there should be no tampering with their status. All this turmoil has been revived because of this Bill. It is true the Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors is only about two years old. These men who did not want the members of the Society of Architects to come in said there was nothing to prevent a new society being formed; in fact, they said steps were already on foot to do this. Here you have an Institute with no fewer than three Royal Charters, and they cannot compose their differences. With all their rights and privileges, they are coming to the House to say, "Give us another title, namely, that of Registered Architects." Why have the Council of the Institute not consulted their members? What would be the result? When tried 40 years ago, the idea of registration was overwhelmingly defeated, as some predict it would be again to-day if a referendum had been taken. If the majority of architects had desired that they should be registered I would not be in opposition to-day. It does not affect me. I am at, an age now when I am seared by toil and touched by time, and whatever the Royal Institute of British Architects may do or not do will leave me unaffected. Great architects, like great painters, are born, not made.
I want to see the door kept open for genius. Whether a person has passed through Oxford or whether he has passed through a council school, I want the present generation and posterity to enjoy the great gifts which have been given to him. If you look round London, England, and the world, you will see the great edifices that have been designed by men who passed no examination. We have been inundated with letters of protest from architects, begging us to oppose this Bill. I believe that you, Mr. Speaker, have been the recipient of a letter from one of your constituents. I cannot think you will carry out his request because I observe that he asks you to support me and to go into the Division Lobby with me. Of all the evidence that was submitted to the Select Committee nothing was more telling, I think, than that of Professor Beresford Pite, who very freely pointed out that, so far as architecture was concerned, it was largely a matter of taste. He said that our greatest. architects 770 who were on the classical side during the Gothic revival would have been scorned. To-day no one would think of putting up a building like the Law Courts for legal purposes. That was in the period of Gothic architecture. We are now going through another stage. Personally, I think that many of the examples of the housing schemes to-day include some of the most hideous structures that have ever been built, and yet they are done by accredited architects; they are designed by members of the Royal Institute of British Architects. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where?"] Everywhere. The London County Council have spent £24,000,000 on houses, everyone of which has been designed by members of the Royal Institute of British Architects. [An HON. MEMBER: "And very nice some of them are."] That ought to satisfy the hon. Gentleman's craving for information. Probably the greatest architect of the last century in this country was condemned in scathing terms. I am referring to Norman Shaw, whose work was described as rubbish by a professor. Architecture must be largely a matter of taste.
My condemnation of this Bill can be expressed in a very few words. The Bill seeks to give powers not to the architects of this country, but to the Council of the Institute. I submit that that is not right. I submit that the whole of the people of this country ought not to be subjected to the domination of a few men who form a council. It is not in the interests of the general public. It is not in the interests of the profession. The Select, Committee, having investigated this question more or less thoroughly, threw out the Bill last Session, and but for the luck of the Ballot I venture to suggest that this Bill would not have been presented so soon in this Session. The Bill, as I read it, means nothing more nor less than the setting up of a professional protection association for a few men. It does not disqualify an unqualified man. There is not a single word in the Bill which will prevent the unqualified men from practising. The registration authority is a vested interest. In the Second Schedule you have a packed Committee. You have a certain number of men attached to them, but there are 12 members to be appointed by the Royal Institute 771 of British Architects. Let me call the attention of the House to the last three members to be nominated. The Incorporated Society of Auctioneers and Landed Property Agents, the National Association of Auctioneers, House agents, Rating Surveyors and Valuers, and the Land Agents Society. Let members turn to page 102 of the Royal Institute of British Architects Calendar and see what they say about it. In a short description governing the professional conduct and practice of architects, they say:The businesses of auctioneering and house agency are inconsistent with the profession of an architect.If these professions are inconsistent with the profession of an architect, why on earth are they introduced into the second Schedule to this Bill? If you look through this Bill, you will find in the First and Second Schedules that men are to be nominated by certain bodies, but that Royal Institute of British Architects' men are to be appointed. So that, although men may be nominated, they may never he appointed. A close investigation of this Bill reveals that the recognition of other people is totally inadequate, and I am inclined to take the same view as that of the Institution of Civil Engineers, whose President, in reply to the suggestion "You will be represented," said:Well, what is the use of having one representative of the Civil Engineers; we should be swamped? Take us out of the Bill.And they were taken out of the Bill accordingly. Who are the Discipline Committee? In Clause 7, it is by no means clear; but what is perfectly clear is that every man seeking registration, and every man seeking to enter the portals of the Royal Institute of British Architects, is to be at the mercy of the Council of the Royal Institute of British Architects. In Clause 6, the Council are to prescribe the qualifications. It has been said that the Royal Institute of British Architects will be compelled to get the sanction of the Privy Council to these regulations. With great respect to the promoters of the Bill, and with great respect to the Parliamentary draftsman of the Bill, I submit that the Bill says nothing of the kind. If a man is to be admitted by examination, then the Privy Council will 772 have to approve alterations, but if the Royal Institute of British Architects think fit to double, treble or quadruple their fees, the Privy Council have no voice whatever in regard to it. The Royal Institute of British Architects can admit anyone they like by an increased payment of fees for admission to the Institute. That is not in the interests of the public, and it is not in the interests of the architectural profession.
Clause 9, lines 21 to 25, show that the Royal Institute of British Architects may take a man's livelihood away, and, having done so, they need only notify him within one month of his ruin. That is not a thing that should be referred to the Committee to adjust. If the Bill as it now stands is passed by this House and adopted by the Royal Institute of British Architects, it will bring about the undoing and ruin of the Institute. I hope that, if we pass the Bill the Royal Institute of British Architects will never make use of it. May I refer also to the educational ladder? We have had the graphs presented to us showing how the avenue is open to the poor boy from the council school. I have been making investigations into that matter, and I find that, while there are many scholarships, and while it is true in theory that a boy from the council school can advance and become an able and eminent architect, he is going to tread a very rough path unless he can supplement his means by attending architectural classes which do their work in the daytime. I find that the architectural schools where the draftsmanship is done in the daytime are accepted schools, but a school like the Regent Street Polytechnic, whose students have to work to earn their living in the daytime and go to the school at night to learn technique, is not a recognised school. I have documentary evidence to prove, and I have taken the trouble to write to the Royal Institute of British Architects to point, out the facts to them, that in one case at least a young man who had gained a gold medal for his very excellent draftsmanship sent these particular drawings to the Royal Institute of British Architects as an example of his work. They were rejected, not because they were bad, but because they had not been passed by a board of examiners who visit schools. The school had not been approved by the Royal Institute of British Architects. 773 His draftsmanship was therefore ignored. That is the kind of thing that should have been investigated by the Select Committee.
I submit that the Select Committee should have inquired, among other things whether the privileges and rights enjoyed by the Royal Institute of British Architects have been properly exercised. There was a difference of opinion in the Committee. Some of my colleagues thought that the subjects I desired to be ventilated were irrelevant; others shared my opinion. Because I was precluded from giving that information in the Committee, I would ask the indulgence of the House to point out some of the shortcomings of the Royal Institute of British Architects. If an idea prevails that the Royal Institute of British Architects are not performing their functions satisfactorily and the matter does not receive thorough investigation, it places the Institute in a very unfair position. They pointed out in their précis of evidence that they had the right to examine and to grant the diploma to men occupying the very responsible position of district surveyors for London. That is perfectly true, but the result of these examinations has not brought forward the right kind of men. Some of the men passed by the Royal Institute of British Architects have been found unsatisfactory, and the greatest; municipal authority in the world has undertaken to hold examinations of its own. That has been done, and they have passed a candidate and appointed him as one of the district surveyors in London. That is an unfortunate and unsatisfactory position for the Royal Institute of British Architects, and it is not fair to them, because they now say, when it is too late, "We really had no opportunity of conferring with you and asking, 'What is it you want?'" Had they asked us that question, they would have been told, "Your examinations are probably too academic. It is a matter of utter indifference to us what are the proportions of the columns in the second temple of Apollo. That is of no interest for building construction here!" Of course, proportion is a most important thing in architecture, but we live in a material age, and we have to build places in which men can work and live. While we all admire beauty, we know very well that 774 we cannot build Roman triumphal arches as entrances to our factories.
Last year the Council promoted a Bill in this House dealing with ferro-concrete, which is most important in some large buildings. They received no criticism whatever from the Royal Institute of British Architects. The explanation furnished is given in one of the appendices of the Evidence of the Select Committee. We were told that the County Council ought to have a new building Act, but one of the stumbling blocks to their getting such an Act is the Royal Institute of British Architects. We have to consult so many authorities that the last time it took 15 years to get a building Act passed. I want this Bill to be a practical Measure or to see it abandoned. I do not want to see men flooding into the profession. In the large bundle of letters I have are 24 from men offering their services at less wages than is paid to operatives in the building trade. That is a shocking state of affairs, and hon. Members will realise why architects want to close the profession. It is overcrowded at the present time. Why cannot we endeavour to make the men who are to be responsible for the spending of our money and, what is more important, the safety of our lives and limbs thoroughly qualified and properly trained for their work? This Bill does nothing of that kind. All it does is to say that if you pay a certain fee to a certain institution thereafter as long as you continue to pay that fee you may describe yourself as a Registered Architect. This Bill is futile and useless. It does not help the community or the architect's profession. All it does is to put into the hands of the Council of the Royal Institute of British Architects powers which are possessed by no other body in the world, and for these reasons I desire to move the rejection of the Bill.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to second the Amendment. I must admit that I have been already disarmed by the hon. Member for Sunderland (Sir W. Rainey), who has deprived me of an opportunity for acid denunciation, and has at the same time afforded me some consolation in knowing that if this Bill becomes law it will have his name behind it—gentle "Raine." I want to continue my usual hopeless and helpless plea. I ask hon. Members to observe the state of the front 775 Government bench. Friday after Friday we see the same genial but adamant countenance. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary is always there on Friday afternoon. I ask myself why. The Home Secretary is the Minister in charge of crime, and on Friday afternoon we are always making fresh crimes. I have read this Bill; I read it yesterday for the first time, Clause by Clause, and until you get to Clause 11 there is nothing on earth which the Royal Institute of British Architects cannot do without an Act of Parliament at all. They are perfectly entitled to draw up a register, they are perfectly entitled to make all these rules and regulations. They can do all this without an Act of Parliament, and all they conic to Parliament for is found in Clause 11 and I think Clause 13. If anybody uses the title "Registered Architect" without being entitled to use it he can be fined £50 or go to gaol, and, under Clause 13, if anybody makes a false representation in order to get on the register he also will go to prison. If it were not for these two clauses, the whole of this Bill would be unnecessary, the Royal Institute of British Architects could carry on and do exactly what they liked without any Act of Parliament. They come to Parliament simply for these two Clauses. I propose to show three reasons why they should not be given these powers. First, in the interests of the working-class people who go into the profession through the ordinary apprenticeship in an architect's office; secondly, from the point of view of the public; and, thirdly, I am delighted to say, from the point of view of the vested interest which I represent here. It is not often that I have the privilege of representing a vested interest.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Civil engineers. In the first place, hon. Members will say: Why on earth should not every architect in this country register? There is at the present moment practically no difficulty in the way of anyone who is practising in every form of architecture registering under this Bill. The only qualification is the payment of a guinea a year. Why, therefore, should not everybody register?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Yes, but the examination comes later. Everybody who is practising as an architect can register if he likes under this Bill. I am returning later to the question of the future. No cachet is given by registration on this particular point. You will get precisely the same people practising in the future as practise now. They will simply pay one guinea a year to the organisation. but when they have registered they are then incurring certain liabilities. They can be proceeded against by this disciplinary court, and I want the promoters of the Bill to assure me that the chief danger I see in this disciplinary court will be eliminated before the Bill becomes law. We have seen disciplinary courts in connection with the medical profession. Any doctor guilty of unprofessional conduct, any doctor who advertises for instance, can be removed from the register, and I should like to know from those who represent the Royal Institute of British Architects here whether it is intended to keep off the register any architect who advertises? That is not so serious a matter. The really serious question is whether it will be considered unprofessional conduct if an architect who is registered accepts fees lower than the standard fees fixed by the Royal Institute of British Architects. We know that architects' fees have gone up, 4 per cent. before the war, and I think 5 per cent. and 6 per cent. after the war. I think it is about 6 per cent. now, but it is the minimum, and that means an extra fee on the cost of construction which has been rising consistently all the time. Is a pledge to extract this minimum fee on every contract into which a Registered architect enters to be one of the conditions of remaining on the register?
I hear that there is a standard form of contract, upon which agreement has been reached by the Institute of British Architects, the Institute of Builders and the National Federation of Building Trade Employers—a standard form of agreement involving, of course, standard fees for the architectural profession. I want to know whether we can have the terms of that suggested agreement, whether it as been definitely agreed to, and whether a breach of that agreement by any registered architect will involve his expulsion from the register and, finally, as a penalty, the ruin of his practice? Then there is the point of view of the public, 777 if we pass this Measure. If a court of discipline is to act on the lines I have suggested, excluding from the register anyone who accepts less than the minimum fees, we enable this sheltered profession to extract a higher charge from the industries of this country.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that there has not been any compulsory scale of fees fixed by the Institute and there never will be.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am very glad to know that there never has been in the past, and I am pleased to have the hon. Gentleman's assurance for the future. But, after all, he is not the Institute. What we want to know is, what is the standard form of contract to which these different parties have agreed, and will departure from that standard form involve in the eyes of the profession a right of the disciplinary court to exclude from the register anyone who takes less? From the point of view of the public that would be closing the profession and enabling the profession to extract a higher percentage of fees than at the present time, and would prevent any sort of undercutting in any connection with the building profession. I notice that the standard agreement is said to be comprehensive. According to Sir William MacKenzie, K.C., this standard form includes not only building, but all manner of structural work. Let it be noted that the Institute are going outside their own province and trespassing on the province of other professional men.
I have already said that I am speaking for the engineers and that for once I feel I have a vested interest. Everyone knows that the Institute of Civil Engineers requires no such adventitious prop as a Bill like this to establish its position. The man who puts "M.I.C.E." after his name requires no Government charter: 10,000 "M.I.C.E." will know their business. Are we going to have all the structural work, the sewerage, drainage and reclamation work that is essentially engineering work, included in this standard agreement between the architectural profession and the building trade, and have it handed by the agreement to a profession which ought not to be dealing with the matter, and to the injury of the other more educated profession, or 778 rather the profession of more complicated experience? That is one of the Questions that I put to those who are in charge of the Bill. Can we have an assurance that this disciplinary court, which is nominated as to the majority by the architectural profession, is to use its powers to blacklist any registered architect who accepts less than certain fees or does not observe the standard form of contract, and thereby not merely to close the profession, but to make this sheltered profession so rigidly protected that it will be in a position to dictate to the public?
I have said that at the present time everyone can be registered under the Bill and become a registered architect. At the moment it is simple. What it will be in years to come it is far more difficult to say. In future, admissions to the grade of registered architect are to be regulated by examination, and we are told that that examination will by no means debar the child of poor or working-class parents from entering the profession. I wish I could persuade my colleagues on the Labour Benches that a system of examinations such as this will inevitably act as a bar to the child of working-class parents. I have had practical experience. At the age of 18 I had to enter for some stiff examinations in competition with a number of the sons of working men in the dockyards. It was an examination in subjects such as extremely high mathematics, but owing to the fact that I had been very expensively educated by the best crammers and the best schools, I naturally came out far and away above those dockyard apprentices in the examination. But in the subsequent three years, while we were all together, the dockyard apprentices, having then equal opportunities with myself, came out on top, and they are now over at the Admiralty at the head of their profession.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
That is so; they had brains. But even their brains, better brains than mine, were not enough to enable them to beat me at a competitive examination which depended upon the training given to upper-class children and not to working-class children. When we were all on the level 779 brains could carry all before them, but the chances were inevitably against the boy educated in the elementary school when the examination had to be passed. That handicap would certainly apply as strongly to the architectural profession as to any other. Consider some of the lines along which this examination would run. The examiners are bound, in considering the work of the test examination for architecture, to deal with the classical architecture of Greece and Rome. That involves a certain knowledge of Greek and Roman literature and culture. We shall have Italy brought up, and what child of a working man is likely to be familiar with all the great cities of Italy and the architectural features of them? Knowledge of that subject is a matter of special education, such as you can get at public or upper-class schools, where there is special classical teaching of that order.
Moreover, it is inevitable that when the Board of Examiners set tests in order to restrict entries into the profession, they will not merely draft their examinations so as to get the children of the middle class rather than the children of the working class, but it will be almost impossible for the children of the working class to compete in such an examination. I only put this view forward because although it is not in the Bill now, and although everyone can become registered at the present time, the examination is the feature of the future. That examination will go on increasing in severity until only a high class education will enable an entrant to pass that examination and qualify to practise as an architect. For that reason, I think the Bill is not only going to make it more expensive far the public, but it is going to make it more difficult for the sons and daughters of working-class parents to get into the architectural profession. I do not propose to vote against the Bill in the Lobby. I do not think it worth while to do so. We did not vote against it last year and the Committee then had the sense to hold up the Bill for a year and allow the House of Commons an opportunity for further consideration. I have no doubt that the Committee upstairs this year will give the Bill that adequate consideration which may possibly result in a better Bill next year. In any case, the world will not come to an end, nor will our architecture 780 visibly improve, either by the rejection or the passing of this innocent Measure.
§ Brigadier-General WARNER
It has been said that reiteration is the secret of conviction, and, after the Debate which took place in April last and the speech made by the Proposer of the Bill, all the arguments in its support have been, in great measure, covered. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) treated the Bill as a complicated one but to my mind it is a very simple Bill and its objects are simple. They arc the protection of the general public against victimisation by the unqualified, that is the untrained architect and also the protection of the qualified architect, that is the trained architect, against the unqualified. At present anyone who likes to call himself an architect may do so. It does not matter if he cannot draw a straight line or write out a specification. He may not know the difference between a damp course and a stone coping but he can put on his door a plate describing himself as an architect and he can send out letters headed with the word "architect" and he will be trusted by the general public not only on questions of architecture but in the supervision of accounts about which perhaps he knows nothing. This Bill is a simple Bill, because it does not interfere in the least with this impostor's claims to be styled an architect. It only endeavours to safeguard the public, so that in the future when they employ architects they will know whether or not they are employing registered architects who have the qualifications recognised by the leading association of architects in this country, namely, the Royal Institute of British Architects. What we desire to do is to create a statutory title so that it will be known, that every man who uses the term "registered architect" is a trained professional man.
If the public choose to employ other architects it is their own business, but they have only themselves to blame if they suffer. The public by this Bill will have the same safeguards as they now have in regard to the employment of a solicitor, a barrister, a doctor or a dentist. They will be in a position to employ a man who has a certain hallmark. They will know that the hallmark means 781 that he has passed certain examinations. Owing to the work of the Royal Institute of British Architects a magnificent educational scheme for architectural training has been started in this country and there are schools in most of our leading centers—in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The men and women who spend from five to six years going through a thorough course at these schools leave with a good architectural education and are thoroughly qualified, but, at present, they are in no better position than the self styled architect who knows nothing whatever about his job. It may be said that they have the right to use after their names the initials "A.R.I.B.A." but I gather that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme thinks it does not matter what initials are used in this way. I do not agree. I think initials should be a hallmark of capability.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Yes, they ought to be, and of course they are in the case of "M.I.C.E." but not necessarily so in the case of "A.B.I.B.A."
§ Brigadier-General WARNER
I beg to differ from the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. At present, any number of gentlemen may join together, start a limited company and sell diplomas for architecture. They may call themselves by some name such as "Fellows of the Association of British Architects," and the whole point is this, that initials like "F.A.B.A.," if used a great deal on notepaper, are likely to mislead the public. Ladies who generally look after the decoration of a house, if they have to consult architects never inquire into what the initials after a man's name really imply, but if the words "registered architect" were used, it would be an absolute hallmark which anyone could understand. In promoting this Bill the Royal Institute of British Architects has no selfish ends to serve. The Bill does not add one member to that body. It does not require anybody to pass an examination qualifying for membership of the Royal Institute of British Architects. It is a federal body and embraces some 20 associations. In setting up a board of architectural education which shall control the training and examination of registered architects, I hold that it is doing a service not only to architects 782 but to the general public of the country, and I hope the Bill will receive a Second Reading.
§ Mr. SMITH-CARINGTON
It is with some reluctance that I rise to oppose this Bill, because I feel that it is one that is founded on very good intentions. I take the underlying principles of it to be that it is a matter of public value that the status of architecture should be established and maintained at as high a level as possible, and that, in order to secure this, it is necessary that architects should he trained; and it follows, think, almost as a corollary, that it must be necessary to distinguish those who are trained adequately from those who are not. But when I come to look at the Bill itself, it strikes me that it is a very jerry-built structure. It is built on unsound foundations, and it seems to me to disclose a decadent style. I say a decadent style because we had a Bill for this purpose introduced last year, and that Bill, at any rate, had some character about it. It sought quite definitely to set up a sort of tied-house business. It inserted a Clause which gave the power of the purse to those who were registered, and excluded largely that opportunity from those who were not registered. That particular Clause has been deleted, and, therefore, I say with some assurance that this is rather a decadent style of architecture that we have had put before us to-day.
This Measure is brought forward and supported on educational grounds. This House has a very warm corner in its heart for anything educational. In fact, the word has almost a hypnotic effect on some of us, but I think we would he wise to examine this claim instead of merely taking it for granted. It seems to me that the facts are quite against the need for any further educational society. The hon. and gallant Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Brigadier-General Warner), who spoke last, mentioned the splendid schools for architecture that already exist. This Bill proposes to add, not any fresh ones, nor necessarily any higher qualifications than those existing, but my contention is that there is no need for more. Though too high a standard can never be reached—
§ Brigadier-General WARNER
What I said was that they had these schools, that the people who attended them did from 783 five to six years' careful training, and that, when they left those schools, with all these high qualifications, they were only in the same position as anyone who had had no training, so far as being known as an architect was concerned.
§ Mr. SMITH-CARINGTON
I will deal with that point in a moment, but what I was upon was the question of education, which, it strikes me, is already fully provided for when there are courses that take six years to fulfil. The fact is that the market is over-supplied already. It is a small market for architects. There are certain great corporations, building companies, banks, co-operative societies, hotel companies, and so on, which have their own architects or which, if they have not a staff of their own, always go to the same particular firm. There are, of course, just a few, but they are very few, big buildings allotted by competitive design, but when so many of the larger buildings are already definitely assigned to a very few in the profession, it follows that those who have gone through a long training have this prospect before them, that nine times out of ten they can get nothing very much better than a small salaried job in one of these big firms. Genius, of course, will make its way even through those conditions, but for the ordinary practitioner I think the prospects are not very great, and the need for educating and training a larger number of architects is certainly not proved.
I would like to say a few words from the point of view of the lay client, who, after all, is the man who pays the shot and who employs the architect. The lay client does not very often want an architect, but, if he does, he will certainly not get him off a register. He will no more think of choosing his architect from a long list on a register than he would of choosing his medical man from a medical directory. He will rather take such advice from his friends and other sources as he is able to get. The lay client, in point of fact, deals with only two sorts of buildings, the large building and the small. There are no such things as medium buildings to the lay client, because, if he has anything of any size at all, it is very large in his eyes. If it is a small job he goes to the local builder and has it put through. If he has a 784 large job, he will not go to this register, but he will take advice in the usual way.
We live now in a very practical age, and if we consider buildings, either erected or to be erected, we have to think what is their use and purpose and what, above all, is their cost. This is one of the reasons why so often we find unsightly buildings put up by untrained architects. It may be very unwise for the lay client to be penny wise and pound foolish and not go to an architect, but, as a matter of fact, he does very often just put his work into the hands of an ordinary builder. This Bill will do nothing to influence that, because it in no way makes it obligatory or even offers an inducement for the lay client to go to the expense of employing an architect; and, after all, when we talk about unsightly buildings and make criticisms of that kind, we must remember that fully qualified architects have been responsible for some of the most awful monstrosities that we see at the present time. We have not got to go very much beyond Park Lane to see one at the present time. Then again there may be a lay client who can afford to spend a little bit more money and who has a certain artistic sense. He has to have a double dose of courage and enthusiasm if he is going to employ an architect who also has an artistic sense, because it is within the experience of us all that such people as the artistic architect generally get very much away from their estimates, the final cost generally comes out a great deal higher than the original estimate, and the result is very often a building which gives more satisfaction to the people who have nothing to do with it than it gives pleasure to the people who have to live in it or to make use of it.
In point of fact, we did bear last year something said about slums. No one ever has built a slum yet, and if you go and look over all the slums in the country, you will find that nearly all of them have this history: They were quite good buildings at the start. Then the character of the district changed, and, with the change in the character of the district, the character of the people and the occupation and the use made of those buildings changed too, and the final step was that it was the people in those buildings who finally made them into slums. We hear 785 something, too, about the disfigurement of the countryside. Well, I live upon the countryside, and I value very much its beauties. No one feels more than I do the disfigurement that takes place, but, after all, I am afraid, it is one of the results of this practical age in which we live. People want a garage, they want some building or other, they do not employ an architect, and this Bill will not induce them to employ one. They get the local builder to run up a building suitable for their purpose and within their means, and, really, it does seem to me that if we want to improve the architectural beauty of our country, a Bill of this kind is of very little value, but a practical step could be taken in the direction of advice or recommendation to the local authorities. No one can put up permanent building without putting the plans through, and if only these authorities who have the opportunity and the duty of approving their plans, would give a little moral suasion, a little assistance, would direct the minds of the people who are to pay for the building towards the opportunities they have of expunging some of these disfiguring features and improving the general quality—if only we could work along those lines, we might achieve some result.
In this respect I can speak with some little local knowledge, for I have the honour to represent, among other places, the town of Stamford, and I dare say that town is known to a large number of Members of this House, partly for its own merits and partly, or perhaps mainly, because it is about 90 miles up the great North road. In that town they have adopted this policy as a regular policy for a. good many years, and the result is that people when building in Stamford not only conform to the general character of the town, and so preserve what is one of the most beautiful towns in England, but they have also cultivated an architectural outlook and pride in the inhabitants of that town. It seems to me that where a Bill of this kind could do practically nothing for that purpose, a little bit of quiet attention given to the local authorities might do very much.
There is one other matter to which I would briefly refer, and that is the position of the architects themselves under this Bill. I cannot think that an architect who is in establised practice 786 will think that he has got any cachet or added a cubit to his stature by coming on to a register along with other people qualified to be on that register. I speak in no disparagement of anybody, but professional pride will not swell particularly if the gentleman with the full qualifications is to be on the register Along with the estate agent who, in a kind of titular way, is also head of a department in a multiple shop which deals with this class of work. With regard to the Bill itself, it does seem to me that when a profession comes to this House and asks us to pass a Measure for their registration, and so on, we might, at any rate, expect that profession itself to be pretty unanimous about it. There is, however, by no means unanimity amongst the architects themselves, and for this reason and other reasons that have been put before the House, I oppose the Bill.
§ 1.0 p.m.
§ Sir GEORGE HUME
The more study one gives to the Bill before us, the less one appreciates what it really is striving at. I might say, quite shortly, that it seems to he a Bill to obtain a statutory trade label. Now a label is of no value to anybody unless the reputation of the trader is sufficiently great to make it of value. The Royal Institute of British Architects has, no doubt, a very high reputation to-day, but whether that reputation will be such as to drive all other architects out of the market if they fail to have the word "registered" in front of them, I do not know. If it prove to he so, I cannot understand what is the meaning of Clause 19—"Saving for other bodies":The provisions of this Act, other than the provisions of the section of this Act of which the marginal note is 'Use of title,' shall not, unless he is a registered person, apply to any person who is or may at any time hereafter be a professional member of the Institution of Civil Engineers or is a professional member of any of the bodies specified in the Second Schedule to this Act,Civil engineers, who do not wish to have anything to do with the Bill, have been specifically omitted, but as a matter of fact, the only important, Clause is Clause 11, relating to the use of the words "Registered Architect," with the penal provision attached thereto, and the Civil Engineers are not free from that. But, be that as it may, I have been requested 787 by the Institution of Electrical Engineers to say that they, too, want to be omitted from the Bill. I admit that that may be a point which will have to be raised in Committee, but I wish to give notice here and now that there are other institutions which also wish to be omitted from the Bill. It may also be said that that again can be considered in Committee. The fact that the word "registered" has to be put in front of "architect" makes the Bill extremely narrower than last year and extremely less dangerous. Everything, as I say, will depend upon the reputation of the Council which has all these powers vested in its hands as to whether the word "registered" has any real value or not. If it has, real service may be done; if not, then other architects have much of which to complain.
§ Mr. GARDNER
In rising to support the Measure, I wish to say at the outset that we have had an interesting entertainment. My colleague, who was in his usual Friday manner, I feel sure must have been born on a Friday. The hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of the Bill said some very serious things respecting the architects' profession. He made some serious allegation with regard to the Committee upstairs. I wish to say that I dissociate myself from the charge of evidence having been suppressed in the Committee. When that charge was made upstairs, the Committee unanimously rejected it, and though the Chairman of the Committee may not have handled the hon. Member as he might have been handled, at the same time the hon. Gentleman had every opportunity to bring forward what he wished. The Committee is supposed to act in a semi-judicial manner, although I may say the hon. Gentleman did not. He endeavoured to bring the London County Council in, but they were never forthcoming. The intentions of the London County Council were given in his speech last year. The hon. Member for Greenwich (Sir G. Hume) was the Chairman of the Council at the time, but he 788 did nothing in any way to help. The hon. Member for East Islington (Mr. Tasker) made great play with the words "registered architects," and said that they would have no special meaning. If that were true, every Bill passed in respect of a profession would have no value either. In other words, Parliaments of the past have been wasting public time and money in passing Acts to guide the public.
After all, the whole purpose of this Bill is not to add cash to the Royal Institute of British Architects, or to put cash into the pockets of architects; there is nothing in the Bill that is going to put money into the pocket of any architect. It is an unselfish effort on the part of a great body to create an atmosphere, a new arrangement which will benefit future generations, and even this generation in the matter of architects. One hon. Member said that there was no need for registration, but before he had finished his speech he was arguing in favour of increased registration. This Bill will give it, but in a desirable and co-ordinate form and make it possible for a man in the future to get the type of education which is essential to the making of a successful architect. A great deal of play was made about the Civil Engineers and my colleague referred to the fact that the initials after a civil engineer's name made all the difference. That is an unwise argument. Everybody recognises that if they want engineering done they must go to the Civil Engineers' Institution. That is not because they have any special virtue, but because their engineering problems are nearly always large problems, whereas architectural problems are nearly always small. It may be a matter of building a hen roost, and if a man can build a nice hen roost he can convey the idea that he is an architect.
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present—
§ The House was adjourned at Nine Minutes after One of the Clack until Monday next.