Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £27,090, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1930, for Expenditure in respect of Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens.
§ The FIRST COMMISSIONER of WORKS (Mr. Lansbury)
This Estimate, I think, will receive the unanimous support of the Committee. It is divided into two parts, and, with the permission of the Committee, I will deal with the last part first; that is the unemployment relief works. A definite sum has been set aside for the purpose mainly of providing useful work in the parks by anticipating improvements and additions which the authorities desire to see carried out. The work done by unemployed men in the parks consists of making new roads, repairing existing roads, clearing up and removing trees which may have been blown down; and also in felling trees which are to come down. It has always been a difficult matter to decide whether a tree shall be removed or allowed to remain. The superintendents of the parks are all skilled men, with a great deal of experience in regard to the upkeep of the parks and the felling of the trees. In my predecessor's time, hundreds of trees were removed during given years, because it was necessary for the safety of the public.
As has been pointed out previously, you cannot treat a public park, through which hundreds of thousands of people pass in the course of the year, in the same way as you treat the countryside, and say that people who use the parks must take the same risks as they would take if they walked along a country lane. I am sure that anyone who has seen the 1892 Broad Walk in Regent's Park on a Bank Holiday would think that the authorities in charge of the park were guilty of great neglect if they did not examine the trees regularly and err on the side of taking down one too many instead of leaving up one too many to be a source of danger to the population. I want to say emphatically that neither myself nor anyone else in the Office of Works interferes with the discretion of the men, of the superintendent of the parks, whose duty it is to see that the trees are dealt with properly. Apart from that, the unemployment relief works will generally commend themselves to the Committee.
With regard to the figure of £1,360, for increased lighting of the interior of Hyde Park, that is for the purpose of putting up 16 extra lamps in various parts of the park where the police authorities and ourselves consider that they are necessary. There, again, there will be general agreement. We are also doing our best to improve the lighting between Hyde Park Corner and the Marble Arch, for the simple reason that on that road there has been a considerable number of rather bad accidents, causing death or injury to individuals and property. The £7,550 is made up of £2,460 which we are voting to-day, and a sum which will be seen at the bottom of the page, appropriations-in-aid, £5,090. The £5,090 is part of a bigger sum that has been subscribed by individuals to make provision for various amenities in the parks.
It may be convenient if I just say what new provision we are making in regard to amusements, shelters and so on for children and young people. In Greenwich Park there is to be a shelter; also in Kensington Gardens, Richmond Park, Bushey Park, Primrose Hill and Regent's Park. With the object of these shelters everyone will agree. When children are out playing, as tens of thousands of them are during the summer, if rain comes on we want to give at least as many as possible some opportunity of getting out of the rain, especially in Bushey Park and at Petersham, where large numbers of children are taken on excursions for the day. I suppose that everyone will agree that there cannot be anything worse for a child than to get its clothes thoroughly wet and to have to remain in them all day. I hope that there may be some pro- 1893 vision by which the child's clothes may be dried if they are very wet, but in any case there is no provision at present in any of these parks for the purpose named. At Bushey Park it was and is the custom for the Fresh Air Fund to put up a big tent for its own children, but there are very large numbers of children who go there apart from that Fund or any fund at all except the funds of Sunday Schools or other organisations of that kind.
In regard to paddle-boat ponds, about which there has been a great deal of discussion, I would like to say this: My predecessor, to aid the unemployed last year, had one of these ponds constructed in Bushey Park, and it has been a source of very great joy to the children who visit that park. I recommend any hon. Member who has any doubt about these ponds to go to a county council park, or to Bushey Park during the summer and see the amount of enjoyment that the children get out of the ponds. Bushey Park pond was open only after we took office, though it was constructed under my predecessor. The opening was either at the end of June or the beginning of July, and between that date and the end of September over 40,000 children had used the paddle-boats. That shows, I think, that my predecessor took the necessary steps for filling a long-felt want.
Would the right hon. Gentleman tell the Committee whether the shelters referred to are open to all children, irrespective of whether they are taking part in organised games or not, and, secondly, whether any provision is made for seeing that they are retained exclusively for children and not for adults?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
We shall do our very best to see that they are at the disposal of every child who needs to go into them. I cannot say that an adult will not occasionally get in, but we shall do our best to turn him out if he does get in. The places are for children and for children only, and for all children.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
You shut the parks up at night, and I am sorry you do so. If a man goes to sleep in a shelter at night, what is the odds? There are a lot of other buildings besides these 1894 shelters where a man can go to sleep even now. My hon. Friend seems to forget that along the Serpentine there is a boathouse or two, where people can get in and take a sleep if they want to, and no one proposes to pull down the boathouses because of that. Then there are the sandpits in Kensington Gardens, Richmond Park and Bushey Park. It is a great joy and amusement to me to go to the Victoria Gardens and watch the children playing in the sandpit there, which was provided by a late Member of this House, one of the Spicers. Anyone who has seen children from the slum areas enjoying themselves in the sandpits will agree that the provision of these playgrounds has been a very good thing indeed. Then they are going to have swings and roundabouts and tennis court" in Greenwich Park.
Now I come to Hyde Park and the Serpentine, in which all of us are interested. At present no woman is allowed to bathe in the Serpentine. Last-year two women at least were fined pretty heavily for bathing there. Under our regulations, bathing is forbidden. Women are taken before the magistrate only after they have refused to promise not to do it again. The day has gone by when we can say that women shall not bathe in the Serpentine, seeing that they are allowed to sit in this House and to take baths in this House and to enjoy all the amenities here. The difficulty with regard to bathing in the Serpentine lies in the fact that if you allow women to bathe there, you must make some provision for dressing and undressing. The present arrangement for children, which I would like the Committee to keep in mind, is that every summer time we put up a very hideous hoarding. I am very much surprised that those who believe in preserving the artistic amenities of the park have not called attention to this ugly hoarding long ago. It is visible from the bridge and is a hideous blot beside the water. We allow little girls to bathe, and all the provision that we make is to stick up this hoarding. There is nowhere for the child to sit or to put its clothes and no provision whatever but just to undress and go into the water.
It may sound very silly and simple to say that a child's clothes may get soaked through by a shower coming on suddenly. The poor little thing has then to dress in 1895 those wet clothes and to get home the best way it can. I think that, having given children facilities for bathing, some provision of this sort should have been made long ago. Therefore, we propose, through the generosity of the people who have given us the money, to erect a building— the drawing of which is in the Library—alongside the Serpentine, and we shall allow children the use of that free, and if, during the summer time, they become too big a crowd, we have got enough money to be able to buy two new tents, one for boys on the one side, and one for girls on the other, so that the pavilion may be used for the men and women. We shall charge men and women for the use of the pavilion, but for children, of course, it will be free. There is a strong argument put up that we ought not to have any building there at all. It is a choice of having a building and not having mixed bathing, and I do not think at this time of day we can say that we will keep up the prohibition. I am as keen to preserve the beauty of any part of London, to say nothing of the parks, as any Member of this House, but I do say that the children and the women have a right to this provision being made for them, and I hope that hon. and right hon. Members will see the reasonableness of it. The next proposition in regard to Hyde Park has to do with what is now being called the sports ground, opposite Knightsbridge Barracks.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves the question of bathing, I understand that a charge is going to be made for the use of the pavilion by adults. I take it that that will not interfere with the free bathing up to eight o'clock in the morning? That will still go on?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I think that if women are to bathe early in the morning, they cannot be allowed to undress on the path, and, if they have provision made for the care of their clothes, they must pay a trifling sum. The same applies to the men. I think we had better face up to it now that no one has a monopoly of the Serpentine. It is perfectly true that certain people have bathed there from time immemorial, as they say, which means, I suppose, from the time of their birth. That does not give 1896 them any right to say that they can exclude women. I am perfectly prepared, and the Department is prepared, to discuss with the people who at present bathe there whether it is possible to make any arrangement by which I can satisfy Mrs. Grundy and them at the same time. I am a person who holds the most broad views about all these things. If it were not for other people, I should not be as dogmatic as I am about it at this moment, but I am quite sure that I should not be allowed to give permission to men and women, even before eight o'clock in the morning, to undress on the tow-path and bathe just as they please.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
I am sure my right hon. Friend does not wish to have any misunderstanding about this. What he has just said is that, whereas at present men and women, poor people, can bathe freely in the early morning without payment, in future they will have to pay?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Yes, because women and girls are to be allowed the same privilege as men, and it is undesirable that women and girls should undress on the tow-path without provision being made for them. I should have thought that the hon. and gallant Member would agree about that, although he has just returned from the East.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
That is being discussed, and will be laid on the Table of this House. I cannot do these things secretly. I think about 2d.—something very tiny—perhaps less than that. We shall not charge for boys or girls under 14. But on this question of the Serpentine Swimming Club, they must not imagine that, because they have had the user of the Serpentine for a long time, that gives them a prescriptive right to say that women shall not bathe in the Serpentine in the mornings. That must be understood.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
It means that the poor man who cannot afford to pay will now have to pay?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman can leave the poor man to me. With regard to the Knightsbridge ground, about which there is a little controversy, it is a long stretch of 1897 land that has lain vacant for a very long time, except at one end where there are three football pitches which have been used for many years by the soldiers in Knightsbridge barracks. I would like to say that I did not go round the parks either looking for trouble or looking for anything else. The main reason why this piece of ground is being brought into use is that within about a fortnight of my taking office I was waited upon by a deputation from the Sunlight League in reference to the Serpentine, and afterwards by a deputation from the London Playing Fields Association, who brought with them a plan for laying out this piece of land.
I promised to give it some consideration, and while I was considering it the National Playing Fields Association sent their secretary to the House here, and he brought with him a cheque for £5,000, offering this cheque as payment for laying out the Knightsbridge ground for a racing track, football pitches, tennis courts, bowling greens and putting greens. I accepted the money, like all people when money is offered them, and went into the scheme. I found, after consultation with the Office, that a running track there would be rather impracticable, but that we could have three football pitches, and that we could put a bowling green and a putting green there. Then the question arose whether we should put a small pavilion in the left corner of the west end of the field, in order that people might change their clothes for football and other games, and that is what we are doing. There is to be no cinder track there, and the only thing in the shape of buildings is quite a small building to accommodate the football players for changing their clothes, and for the bowlers to keep their bowls and things of that kind.
With regard to Regent's Park, other than the things I have mentioned, we are to put up, later on, a fairly big pavilion, the money for which is being given us to replace one which was destroyed before the War. There is nothing new about that. That pavilion would have gone up when money, apparently, was more plentiful than it is now, but for the fact that the War broke out. I believe that provision for it was in the Estimates for 1914. Knowing the stringency in the national finances just now, I was very glad, indeed, when 1898 the money, £6,500, was offered for the building of this pavilion, where refreshments will be sold and where there will be plenty of room for footballers, cricketers, tennis players and those who run on the cinder track, which is a short distance away. Before saying a word about the cinder track, I may say this about the football. I have not added one inch to the football ground in Regent's Park. I have neither taken away from it, nor added to it. I have not added anything to the playing area itself, except that in one part there may be two or three tennis courts later on. The paddle-boat pond is an addition, but there are no other sports in the ordinary sense, the sand pits being in connection with the children's gymnasium at present in the Park.
As to the putting up of goal posts, I was attending a meeting to distribute prizes at Marylebone, and during the ceremony I was asked by the headmaster whether it would not be possible in Regent's Park to supply the goal posts, because it was such a labour to the children to drag them across, and also whether we could have them fixed up. We found that we had enough money in the subscription which we had received to provide these and put them up, and we have done so. I understand that people object very much to these posts remaining up in the daytime. I can only say that we felt that we had not the money to provide for their removal each day, but, after discussing the matter this morning, I hope that between now and next year we may be able to devise some means for moving them. Although it may be that I am a Philistine in this matter, I walked across three or four times, and I really do not think that they spoil the view across that wide piece of ground. I would ask the Committee, and especially those who are interested in boys, to remember that the London schools and London clubs did need these places very badly indeed. The population round there is very overcrowded, and this provision of the goal posts is of very great benefit indeed to the children there.
The other matter in connection with Regent's Park is the running track. There, again, I did not go there searching out what I could propose to do for the purpose of offending other people. I have had communications from the Civil Ser- 1899 vice Sports Association and from the Playing Fields Association begging that somewhere in that part of London I should try to find them room for a cinder-track, and we have found a place quite removed from the other parts of the park, where no one can say that it injures anything or removes anything of any worth to anyone, and it is now being laid down. There will be one tree removed very soon, but it will be replanted elsewhere. Then one is coming down, because it must come down. But the tree about which there has been some controversy in the Press was taken down for no purpose whatever to do with the running track which we are making. It is not on the running track, and not within the running track, but quite outside and away from it. It was removed solely because those in authority thought that it was dangerous. Lord Crawford thinks it ought not to have been removed. We are sorry to disagree with Lord Crawford, but we must trust the people whose business it is to carry out this work. Under Lord Crawford's administration hundreds of trees were removed. I daresay he examined all of them before their removal. I am not able to do that, because I have not the time, and if I had the time I would not like to put my opinion against the opinion of the Superintendent of Parks on a matter of this kind.
I think that is all I need say at this juncture except a few words in regard to the money which has been contributed. That money came to me, in a very extraordinary way, through the Press. I have said my say about the "Daily Mail," but the "Daily Express," the "Daily News," the "Daily Herald" and even the "Times" at the beginning, all conspired to help me to get this money and I am very grateful to them for so conspiring. I am very much obliged to the people who have put up the money. I believe we shall spend it in a way which will be satisfactory to them. I think this Committee ought to be grateful also to the people who have contributed £6,000 for these purposes, and I am sure that when Spring and Summer come, and we are able to see the parks in all their beauty, with these added enjoyments for the children, every Member here will continue to feel proud of them.
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £10.
The right hon. Gentleman will immediately secure the full sympathy and agreement of the Committee when he says that we ought to be grateful to those who have contributed money for the provision of facilities for games in the Royal Parks, or, indeed, in any part of the Metropolis and his expression of thanks will be readily supported on all sides. The right hon. Gentleman finished his speech on this note—that we shall see the result of all this work when Spring comes, and when the parks are green and beautiful again. What a great many of us fear is that the operations which the right hon. Gentleman is carrying out may have the effect of preventing us from seeing the natural beauties in these parks which in past years have been so manifest to the citizens of London. The right hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I think it desirable to ask a few questions about the operations which are going on at present. I wish, in the first place, to say that there is not the slightest opposition to the provision of places for games. I think that in all parts of the Committee we are all extremely anxious that the extension of playing fields should be carried out as fast as possible and to the greatest extent possible in suitable places, but the point with which we are concerned is, that it should not be done in a manner which interferes with the general use of the parks by the citizens of London. Our fear is that the provision of games may be carried out in such a way as to deprive the parks of their beauty and their usefulness for the citizens in -general. May I give the right hon. Gentleman an illustration of the difficulty which we feel in connection with this matter. He said a moment ago that there was a. part of Hyde Park in the neighbourhood of Knightsbridge which was now vacant." It is just that expression "now vacant" which makes one a little afraid.
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
That rather accentuates my objection to the term used. Apparently, in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman, the occupation of the ground depends on the number of football pitches there, but, in my view, and in the view of a large number of people in London, that ground has been occupied 1901 for years past by the mere fact that the ordinary citizen has been able to freely walk across it and to make use of it. In fact, that is one of the most useful parts of Hyde Park to the people who live about that neighbourhood. In reply to a question which I put to the right hon. Gentleman the other day I understood him to say that no exclusive right of user for games was being given in respect of any part of the park.
§ Mr. LANSBURY indicated dissent.
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
I think if the right hon. Gentleman looks it up he will find that it was a written reply and that it conveyed that impression. I am not quite sure that he was absolutely clear and definite on the point, and I would like him to say now quite definitely if there is to be any exclusive right of user in any circumstances for any part of the park for games, or if there are any exceptions to the answer he gave me.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I do not know what the hon. Member means. If you have a game of football you must use the ground.
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
I think the right hon. Gentleman fully realises what I mean. I do not refer to the user of the ground while a game is actually in progress. Surely, it is quite evident that I refer to the giving over of any section of ground in the park to any club or institution or group of clubs or institutions, or the giving them the exclusive right to any part of the park as a place on which to play games. We are entitled to that information and if the right hon. Gentleman refers to his previous answer he will see that it gives the impression which I have indicated, but that it is not absolutely clear. That is why I ask him now for a definite answer on this point as to the exclusive right of user.
The right hon. Gentleman also mentioned that at the western end of this very valuable strip of land in Hyde Park, opposite Knightsbridge Barracks, on which he is now going to erect more goalposts, he was going to put up a small pavilion in which people who came there to play football could change their clothes. That is the kind of thing which makes one wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman has gone into these matters as fully as his speech would indicate. If he is going to provide dressing accom- 1902 modation sufficient for five or six teams playing games there, he will have to provide accommodation for at least 100 players; and I do not see how a small building such as the right hon. Gentleman suggested is to be of any use at all for such a purpose. I am not now going into the question of whether it is desirable to have it at all or not, but if it is to be of any use, it must be a very much larger building that the right hon. Gentleman has indicated. Personally, I object to such an erection altogether. As regards bathing facilities, the right hon. Gentleman, in referring to new arrangements for providing accommodation for the clothes of persons bathing in the Serpentine, mentioned a proposal for making a small charge. I think it is a pity if this has to be done. There has been a certain amount of continuity in connection with bathing in the Serpentine over a large number of years. I do not know how far back it goes, but there has been free bathing there for a long time, and many people regard the idea of instituting a charge for it as something to be regretted. Even 2d. a day soon mounts up. There is also this point. If a place for the clothes of bathers is to be provided, and if a charge is to be made, I take it it will be necessary to have attendants who will be responsible if anything is stolen. There must be some person in charge of such a place, and there must be some means of redress if any articles are stolen. These are points which the right hon. Gentleman might well consider.
In the end, I think it all comes to this. Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that the public are a little afraid of what he is doing I We do not wish to see the London parks turned into places purely for games. Nor do we want to see them made into imitations of Coney Island. It is very desirable that there should be places for games, but after all the number of such places, the number of playing fields, in the neighbourhood of London has increased enormously—and quite. rightly so—in recent years, and while everybody is most anxious that the children and others should have opportunities of playing games, there is some danger that the peace and quiet, the restfulness, the long vistas for the eye which we have enjoyed in the London parks may be interfered with by these schemes. Our 1903 parks are almost unique in this respect. Hardly anywhere else in the world in such close proximity to a great centre of population are there such parks, and we ought not to interfere with them in our desire to provide facilities for recreation. That view is held by very many members of the public. But apparently even the animals object to some of the right hon. Gentleman's operations. In the "Times" the other day, in a reference to the escape of two monkeys at Regent's Park, it was said:The keepers are almost certain that the monkeys have now left Regent's Park, where games and improvement schemes are in progress, for the greater peace of the large gardens in the neighbourhood.I ask the right hon. Gentleman not to create a position in which even the animals are forced to leave the parks for the greater peace of private gardens. The parks have been the private gardens of so many of us for so many years, that we most earnestly ask the right hon. Gentleman to assure himself that he carries public opinion fully with him in any further changes which he proposes to make. I feel so strongly on this matter and I think it so desirable that we should clearly express our regret at some of the measures which are being taken that I beg to move this reduction.
§ Mr. CARTER
I desire to express my views and to give my experience in these matters because I have been in close touch with the Royal Parks, the public parks, and the public playing fields of London for nearly 40 years. For 20 years I was organising and playing games in Regent's Park and on the public playing fields and for the last 15 years I have taken a keen interest in the, young life of London. I represent a constituency which is on the borders of Regent's Park and Primrose Hill and I hope that what I have to say may carry some weight with the Committee. I have been making inquiries into the questions which have been raised regarding Regent's Park—about the football playing fields, the paddling ponds, the cinder track, and so on, I may say that a large amount of my propaganda for the Election was done in Regent's Park, and since I have been elected to this House, I attend in the Park at least one a month to lay my views on the work of the Government before the people.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must ask the hon. Member to deal with the Estimate, and not to give a review of his own experiences, in relation to political topics, in Regent's Park.
§ Mr. CARTER
Reference has been made to the football pitches. There has not been a football pitch added to the number in the last 10 years, and neither has there been a cricket pitch added. Questions have been placed before the people in regard to the paddling pool and the cinder track, and a large number of the people in my constituency and the over-crowded children in that district have unanimously agreed that it is in the interests of the people and of the children that these facilities should have been extended. The cinder track, to my mind, is not an eyesore, but I should like to see a much larger cinder track than there is now. I do not know exactly what its length is, but it is not going to be sufficient to meet the requirements of the people in this district.
There are one or two points that I would like to put to the right hon. Gentleman with regard to Primrose Hill, which is one of the Royal Parks. I am glad to see that the railings are being removed, and that there is an increase in the children's playing fields, but I think there ought to be more seats on Primrose Hill, and I would like the right hon. Gentleman to take into consideration the fact that some of the seats there are without backs. They are not very comfortable for old folk, or even for young people, and I think he ought to remove those seats and—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think that comes under this Estimate. On these Supplementary Estimates we are confined to the questions covered by the Estimates, and must not deal with extraneous matters. From seats, we might go to some other things of a very extensive character. We must keep to the Supplementary Estimate.
§ Mr. CARTER
The right hon. Gentleman has been covering a large number of things in connection with the Royal Parks.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Yes; he has been telling us what he has been doing. The hon. Member may criticise what he has been doing, and what this money has been or will be used for.
§ Mr. CARTER
I do not want to criticise what the right hon. Gentleman has been doing; I want to praise him for what he has done. I want to congratulate him, and I should like him to go on and do more, and that is why I am trying to suggest one or two things that he might do. He was telling us that a certain amount of money had been spent in lighting, and I suggest that he should extend the lighting in these different parks, and especially in Primrose Hill. There is some lighting there, but I suggest that he should extend it, that he should go on spending the money that he has, and, if he has any reserves of money, that he should increase the lighting and the cinder tracks, and the paddling ponds, and a number of other things that are in the interests of the people living in that particular district.
There are a number of complaints from people who are living in the big houses round the Park, but I am not here to advocate their views. I am here on behalf of the large mass of people living in slums behind those houses, and I believe that the Park, in being used as playing fields and swimming ponds and boating islands, is being used in the best interests of my constituents. Therefore, I support the right hon. Gentleman in all that he has done, and wish him to continue in the good work that he has commenced.
I should like to let the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works know that I fully appreciate what he is doing, and I congratulate him upon his good intentions, but I would ask him to take the best advice as to where those good intentions are likely to lead. We are very proud of our parks. Overseas visitors admire them and envy us for our parks, and we want to conserve the rightness of that admiration. There are one or two points about the attitude of the First Commissioner of Works which I think the country and Parliament should realise. My conception of the parks, and especially of Regent's Park, in which I am particularly interested, is that they are for children to play in, for old people to rest in, for the tired business man and the harassed housewife to use after the troubles of the day, to find recreation and encouragement, and for the young people to do their courting in. Courting has to be done, and for the future of 1906 the race it is better for it to be done in beautiful surroundings than in slums.
Those conditions and purposes have been admirably fulfilled by the parks in the past. Children have been brought into a happy association with bird life, with woodland life, with flowers, with unforced conditions and happy circumstances; old people have sat about behind the shrubberies, with their tired eyes resting on the beautiful vistas which only Regent's Park possesses; and we have got the young people carrying out their courting under happy conditions. It is not in everyone's home that there is room or that there are facilities for bringing young people together, but the parks admirably provide those facilities, and under conditions which can only be for the moral betterment of the young people themselves.
My point is that the right hon. Gentleman, with all his good intentions, is not going the right way about keeping the existing conditions in the parks maintained. The right hon. Gentleman has allowed football to be played during weather when football should not be played, with the consequence that we have vast tracts, which should be for the enjoyment of the children of the slums, destroyed and turned into a morass and a quagmire where young children, and even dogs, cannot play. I am happy to know that the right hon. Gentleman is going to collect enough money to have the goal posts removed during the day, for there is no doubt that to the ordinary man in the street, who values beauty, the lovely vista from the pond is maltreated by these abominable goal posts, which are good as goal posts, but which are not good as beauty spots. I think the right hon. Gentleman has not got an artistic eye.
The paddling pools have been referred to. There is one in course of construction, and there is one already constructed, and I should like to ask if the right hon. Gentleman has taken medical advice to see whether those pools are sanitary and good for the children. To my mind, the one that is already there is so dirty that it gives the impression of being full of germs and likely to produce ill-health rather than good health among the children who use it. Then there is the question of their position. The right hon. Gentleman is putting one just in 1907 front of Hanover Terrace, quite close to the road, and in the public view, whereas it might have been put on the far side of the pond, without being detrimental in any way to the amenities of the people enjoying that part of the park. Furthermore, are the poor children going to have to pay for the upkeep of these paddle ponds? Are they going to have to pay for using them? These ponds will have to be kept up by some fund. Is the right hon. Gentleman going to keep them up by public funds, or by making a charge for the children using them? If he does the latter, then he will fail in the whole object that he is setting out to accomplish, because the poorer children will not be able to pay, and it is the better class children, those who can pay for the ponds, who will use them.
As to the shrubberies, the unfortunate thing about the right hon. Gentleman is that he has not chosen the right time to decide on these alterations. He comes up there in the middle of the winter, when nature is dead, when there is nothing of beauty, except the pond, and he says, "Damp, unpleasant, unhealthy-looking places, away with them," and in the middle of the night they are taken away. That surely is not a wise attitude to take. Why not come when nature is alive, and giving forth of her beauty, and then look at the shrubbery and see the gayness of the flowers and shrubs, and the pleasure and protection they afford to the old people who sit behind them? I understand that one of the answers to a query that was made by a friend of mine was that the old people were protected by the large houses in Hanover Terrace and Abbey Lodge, but the right hon. Gentleman might as well have said they were protected by the Alps for all the protection they get from those houses.
These shrubberies were designed, I believe, under Nash, by Mr. Morgan, who was one of the greatest designers of his time, in 1838 I think, principally for the purpose of giving pleasure to the eye and protection for the seats that were placed there for old people to sit on. The right hon. Gentleman having got a totally wrong impression by a badly timed visit to the Park, thinks they are damp and unhealthy, and, with a Mussolini-like autocracy, he orders their 1908 removal. By whose authority and advice has he done it? By whose request has he done it? It has certainly not been done at the request of the residents there, or even of the residents of the district, because I am one of them, nor has he done it by the authority or the will of the people. Parliament represents the people, and Parliament has not been asked about these things. I submit, that, no matter how kind these generous friends of his may be to have given him this money, he should first of all have got the authority of this House before spending a penny of it.
Then we have those delightful islands in the park where the swans have their nests, where the birds have collected, islands which have been a delightful and happy breeding ground for the bird life of the park. They were planted with cow parsley, which is supposed to be particularly good for the birds' breeding ground, but the cow parsley has gone, taken away by the dictator of the parks, and what is going to happen to the bird life of one of the most delightful spots in our parks, especially Regent's Park? The children and people come from all parts of London to delight in the birds of Regent's Park. Now they are to be driven away. We who reside in Regent's Park, and contribute to the rentals from which the Park is kept up, want to be assured that the money is spent, not for our benefit altogether, but for the benefit of the whole district. As far as I can gather, the rent roll enjoyed by the Crown for the Regent's Park Estate is £100,000 a year. How much of that money goes back to the upkeep of the Park?.
§ The CHAIRMAN
We are now dealing with a Supplementary Estimate for a given sum. The £100,000 will come up in its proper place at another time.
My remarks under this Estimate are exhausted, therefore, but I warn my right hon. Friend that I have many more remarks which will come up under the other Estimates. i would ask him, with the friendliest feeling in the world, to consider these matters, and to consult people who are best calculated to give him advice at the right time, and not to barge into these wild schemes of destruction or construction before he has fully satisfied himself that they are for the best purpose and 1909 will help the people whom he has in mind. I leave it in his hands, confident that he will do something to stop what he is doing at the moment until the House has given him authority, and his advisers have given him advice.
§ Mr. WEST
I would like to ask my right hon. Friend whether he has made any provision for the band-stand in Kensington Gardens, which has been asked for for many years past? I welcome very heartily the extra provision that has been made for extra playing fields in Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, especially in view of the fact that that area is the only open space which the children of North Kensington can use. A population of 160,000 has no open space, apart from the average sized back yard, except Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. We are spending £2,000 a year on the upkeep of Rotten Row—
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is quite in order for the hon. Gentleman to ask the First Commissioner to extend the playing fields, but he must not deal with matters which are not covered by the Estimate.
§ Mr. PYBUS
I would like to say a few words in appreciation of the work which the First Commissioner of Works is doing. He will go down to history as one who has humanised the office of First Commissioner of Works. He is in the Government in a dual capacity, and, even after his great work for unemployment is forgotten, his work in the parks will be remembered. I have had a great deal to do in my life with playing fields and properly organised games for boys, and I know the effect which these games have on the moral of boys. We may even disfigure a park and do something which offends those who live on the outskirts of it, but in the long run the balance-sheet will show that any space properly allotted for organised games is well used. An hon. Member wanted to know if a football field would be reserved; it must be reserved, or you could not have organised games. It is easy to be jocular on the subject of the parks, and to be heavy 1910 footed in one's jokes about the subject, but every right-thinking person in the Committee will support the First Commissioner of Works in his desire to make the parks more available for active physical exercise for boys.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I came here to bless my right hon. Friend, and not to condemn his efforts, except in one small item. In view of this Vote, I took the trouble yesterday to view the latest developments in the parks, and I could see no cause at all for the agitation which has been fomented by some hon. Gentlemen opposite and by those who write to the newspapers, especially the "Times." Under the late Government, a piece of Kensington Gardens was cut right off, and 20 beautiful trees were destroyed, in order to widen Kensington Road approach. I want my right hon. Friend to give us an assurance that he will resist any further encroachments of that kind. The taking of an area of a park for street improvements was a diabolical outrage, and there was little protest against it from hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side. The First Commissioner has, of course, been attacked for a purpose. He has been an extraordinarily successful First Commissioner of Works; for the first time, the public have heard that a First Commissioner of Works exists, and they have learned that he is doing something to improve the amenities of the parks and the health of the people, and to give badly needed employment. My right hon. Friend has become so popular, that I believe that the agitation was started because it was felt that he was putting up the prestige of the Labour Government too much.
I want him to think again about his bathing proposals, particularly in regard to the charges for the use of the pavilion. The pavilion has been attacked without foundation, for nobody can look round the Serpentine without realising that the three or four boat-houses are not very beautiful. These sheds have been used for as long as I can remember the Park, which I regret to say is a matter of 40 years. I want my right hon. Friend to understand that I am in no way objecting to the erection of the pavilion. It will be in a secluded part, and will not adversely affect the outlook. He is, however, making a mistake about the early morning bathers and the proposed 1911 charge. My right hon. Friend says that he will look after the poor people who cannot afford to pay fees; I am sure that he will, but how is he going to do it? It is possible that by making a charge, he will take away a privilege that at present exists. I agree that you cannot say that the Serpentine bathing shall be reserved for men only, and if you are going to give bathing facilities beyond the hours at present allowed, you must allow women to bathe also. That being the case, there should be some place for changing. By making a charge, the right hon. Gentleman will take away the rights of those who are now allowed to bathe free up to eight o'clock. That is a valued privilege, and it is not for a Member of the Socialist Cabinet to take away that right.
I am sorry to have to put this matter emphatically, but I am bound to do so. If women and girls are to be allowed to bathe before eight o'clock, and if they must undress in a shed, let them, and impose a charge. But let them also have an opportunity of bathing before eight o'clock in the morning without paying. There is nothing at present to prevent a woman walking down that bridge, or across the path where the bathers go and seeing the men undress, but there have been no complaints of any such nuisance, and I see no reason why in future, as at present, men should not be allowed to bathe there without paying a fee. My right hon. Friend talked about Mrs. Grundy and so on, and I would remind him that round our coasts on our bathing beaches people bathe without any sort of shelter, perfectly decently. It is what is known as mackintosh bathing. They go down to the shore in mackintoshes, underneath which they have their bathing dresses; they take off their mackintoshes and go into the water, and when they come out they put it on again and go home. There is no possible cause for complaint, and why should not that be done before eight o'clock in Hyde Park? Why is it necessary to make a charge for the use of this pavilion, and make people go into the pavilion, which may be uncomfortable and stuffy, whereas before eight o'clock they could bathe under decent conditions, as they have done for years.
1912 In connection with the criticisms of the bathing proposal, I did not hear any complaints from the party opposite when the last Government put up that ridiculous mound behind the railings, to prevent riders in the Row seeing the bathing. It was a ridiculous thing to do. While the right hon. Gentleman is looking into the question of the amenities of the parks, will he consider extending a limited number of permits a day to people to fish in the Serpentine? There are big fish in the water, and fishing would be much appreciated. He could limit the numbers, and I do not see why it should not be done as it is in Richmond Park. I do not want my right hon. Friend to think that I am criticising him in any way, except on that one narrow point. I hope that he will go on with his good work, and multiply Lansbury's Lovely Lidos in all our Royal parks where the enjoyment of the people can be added to without interfering with the rights of the general public. I hope that, above all, he will resist any encroachment on our great heritage of London parks for street improvements or widenings.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Major Sir ARCHIBALD SINCLAIR
It is obvious that the general sense of the Committee is that the First Commissioner of Works has done well, and we all wish him to go on in the development of the parks on the lines on which he is now proceeding. It is not a new idea of his, however, although he is carrying it out. The London County Council have for years past been impressing upon successive First Commissioners of Works that the parks of London should be made to pull their weight in providing recreational facilities for the children of London. In the Hyde Park group of parks are 677 acres of land, and only that little strip which is opposite Knightsbridge Barracks is made available for organised team games. Ono acre in 60—that is what all this pother is about—is now being made available for the children to play organised team games. I heard some hon. Members say, "Why should they not be left happily to play unorganised games, running about and throwing balls at each other?" What would those hon. Members think if they went to the schools where their sons are being educated and found that cricket and football had been abandoned and the 1913 boys were running about the playing fields chasing balls? The thing is perfectly ridiculous. The highest value in recreation is obtained from organised games, and can be obtained in. no other way. As to Regent's Park, the amount of ground available for organised games there is trivial, and I suggest to the First Commissioner of Works that he should see if he cannot imitate the London County Council in the use they have made of Parliament Hill, where, without interfering with the trees in any way, they have managed to make several fields available for organised games, which are a great delight to the onlookers who go to use Parliament Hill as a park.
The fact that organised games are being played in a park, far from spoiling the park for the purposes of ordinary people who want to wander about in it, adds to the attraction of the park. It is of no use for hon. Members to come here expressing every sort of sympathy, in the abstract, with the idea of providing playing fields, but objecting to schemes in the concrete whenever they see the idea being carried out. I have no doubt the First Commissioner of Works will be able to tell us, in reply to an hon. Member from the Conservative Benches, what exactly is the size of the pavilion. I do not see why such an enormous one should be required for five or six teams to hang up their hats and coats. No doubt he will be able to say, also, who will be in charge, and whose responsibility it will be if anything is stolen; but, really, those points are almost too trivial to occupy the time of the Committee and might Very well be left to the discretion of the right hon. Gentleman.
The real point which was made from the Conservative Benches was the suggestion that we do not want the parks turned altogether into playing fields because there has been a great increase in playing fields recently. The fact is, far too little use is being made of parks as playing fields, and the shortage of playing fields in London is tragic. The London County Council are able to supply only one in three of the clubs which come to them for accommodation in the London parks and commons. The estimated shortage of playing fields in the Greater London area is, they say, 25,000 acres. I hope, therefore, we shall 1914 hear no more about the present supply of playing fields being ample. The report of the Regional Planning Committee for the Greater London area says that the shortage of playing fields and open spaces in the Metropolitan Police district amounts to 40,000 acres. In the face of such figures, I hope the First Commissioner will not be cheeked by this agitation in the newspapers, but will go on providing more fields for the children of London, who are starving for them at the present time. As to the paddling pool in Regent's Park, that will be a life insurance for the children, many of whom are drowned in the Regent's Canal because they have no other place in which to paddle. No wonder the hon. Member who sits for the district in which Regent's Park is situated tells us that the children and their parents are proud of the First Commissioner of Works for what he has done, and want him to continue. The opposition to these projects has collapsed, and I feel sure that after this Debate the First Commissioner will feel that the only anxiety in this House is that he should not be deterred by what has been said in criticism of his schemes, but go on providing more playing fields and more recreation facilities for the children of London.
§ Rear-Admiral BEAMISH
I have one or two questions to put, but I wish to preface my remarks by saying that I entirely concur with the principle of providing as many playing fields as is possible, if they are adequately looked after and adequately controlled. I am fortified in saying this because I had the great pleasure some years ago of being captain of a football team which was not able to play anywhere except in a Royal Park. One of the difficulties we had to contend with was the fact that the playing ground was not controlled, and that other people who were using the park used to encroach upon the ground, partly by reason of interest in the game and partly I think, because they had the idea that they had as much right there as anybody else, and the effect of that was very often to spoil the game. I would ask the First Commissioner to do his utmost to ensure adequate inspection and control of the actual grounds, to prevent encroachment by members of the public while a game 1915 is in progress. As I have said, I think the principle is an admirable one, and that the First Commissioner is to be congratulated on the steps he has taken.
§ Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £27,080, be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 162; Noes, 214.1917
|Division No. 173.]||AYES.||[5.7 p.m.|
|Albery, Irving James||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Gower, Sir Robert||Purbrick, R.|
|Allen, W. E. D. (Belfast, W.)||Grace, John||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Remer, John R.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Ross, Major Ronald D.|
|Balniel, Lord||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Hammersley, S. S.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Salmon, Major I.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Hartington, Marquess of||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Haslam, Henry C.||Sandeman. Sir N. Stewart|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Savery, S. S.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfast)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Buchan, John||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hurd, Percy A.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Butler, R. A.||Iveagh, Countess of||Somerset, Thomas|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Colman, N. C. D||Long, Major Eric||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Colville, Major D. J.||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Tinne, J. A.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Macquisten, F. A.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Mac Robert, Rt. Hon. Alexander M.||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Train, J.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Marjorlbanks, E. C.||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Meller, R. J.||Ward. Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Duckworth, G. A. V.||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Muirhead, A. J.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Fermoy, Lord||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Fielden. E. B.||O'Neill, Sir H.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Peake, Capt. Osbert||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Penny, Sir George|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Major Davies and Captain Cazalet.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Bowen, J. W.||Charleton, H. C.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Broad, Francis Alfred||Chater, Daniel|
|Ammon, Charles George||Brockway, A. Fenner||Church, Major A. G.|
|Angeli, Norman.||Bromley, J.||Cluse, W. S.|
|Arnott, John||Brothers, M.||Cocks, Frederick Seymour.|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)||Compton, Joseph|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Buchanan, G.||Daggar, George|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Burgess, F. G.||Dallas, George|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Dalton, Hugh|
|Batey, Joseph||Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Day, Harry|
|Beckett. John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Bellamy, Albert||Caine, Derwent Hall.||Dukes, C.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Cameron, A. G.||Duncan, Charles|
|Bennett, Captain E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Cape, Thomas||Ede, James Chuter|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Logan, David Gilbert||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Longbottom, A. W.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Egan, W. H.||Lowth, Thomas||Sanders, W. S.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Lunn, William||Sandham, E.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernett (Weish Univer.)||Mac Donald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Foot, Isaac||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Scott, James|
|Froeman, Peter||McElwee, A.||Scurr, John|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||McEntee, V. L.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||MacLaren, Andrew||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Shield, George William|
|Gill, T. H.||Malone, c. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Glassey, A. E.||March, S.||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Gossling, A. G.||Marcus, M.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Gould, F.||Markham, S. F.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Marley, J.||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Gray, Milner||Marshall, Fred||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne)||Mathers, George||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Matters, L. W.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Maxton, James||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Messer, Fred||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Middleton, G.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||Mills, J. E.||Snell, Harry|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Montague, Frederick||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Harris, Percy A.||Morley, Ralph||Strauss, G. R.|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)||Sutton, J. E.|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Haycock, A. W.||Mort, D. L.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Moses, J. J. H.||Tillett, Ben|
|Henderson, Arthur, junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Muggeridge, H. T.||Toole, Joseph|
|Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Nathan, Major H. L.||Townend, A. E.|
|Hoffman, P. C.||Naylor, T. E.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Hollins, A.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Turner, B.|
|Hopkin, Daniel||Noel Baker, P. J.||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Horrabin, J. F.||Oldfield, J. R.||Viant, S. P.|
|Hutchison, Maj. Gen. Sir R.||Owen, H. F. (Hereford)||Walker, J.|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Palmer, E. T.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Perry, S. F.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Potts, John S.||West. F. R.|
|Kennedy, Thomas||Price, M. P.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Pybus, Percy John||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Kiniey, J.||Ramsay, T. S. Wilson||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Kirkwood, D.||Rathbone, Eleanor||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)||Raynes, W. R.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Lang, Gordon||Richards, R.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wise, E. F.|
|Lathan, G.||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Law, A. (Rosendale)||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wright, W. (Rutherglen)|
|Lawrence, Susan||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Romeril, H. G.|
|Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Rothschild, J. de||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Hayes.|
|Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Rowson, Guy|
|Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
§ Original Question again proposed.
I listened very carefully to what the First Commissioner of Works said this afternoon and to the speeches made from all sides of the House in regard to this Estimate. It seems to me that far more important issues are at stake than have been disclosed in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman and some of those who have taken part in this Debate. The hon. and gallant Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair), with some indignation, suggested that those members of the Conservative party who were taking up this question were opposed to proper recreation facilities obtaining in the Royal 1918 Parks. May I point out that that is not the question at issue. The whole point in regard to this Estimate is whether or not those recreation facilities are being provided in the proper place, whether the best use is being made of the most valuable asset which this city has in a greater degree than any other foreign capital, and whether, before taking the action he has done in regard to these matters, the right hon. Gentleman should have consulted the House of Commons.
§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
I simply referred to an hon. Member above the Gangway, and I did not wish to make this a party question at all. I indicated the hon. Member by pointing to him above the 1919 Gangway where he was sitting, and I did not wish in any way to threaten or menace the Noble Lord's party or to suggest that this was a party question.
I am sure the hon. and gallant Member for Caithness would be the last person to make a party question of a matter like this. The hon. and gallant Member has been too long a Member of the House not to know that there are few more odious accusations against either an individual or a party than to suggest that they wish to deprive children of proper playing facilities. I leave that point for the moment, and I will turn to the First Commissioner of Works and his action in regard to these matters. The right hon. Gentleman and I are old opponents in this House, and, when I had the honour of representing the India Office, he was one of my principal questioners, and, in spite of many controversies, we never lost our temper with each other. That being so, I was a little distressed—if I may be allowed to make a personal observation—at the extreme restiveness which the right hon. Gentleman has shown when I have intervened during the present Session to get information from him in regard to what was being done in the parks. Now that these Estimates have come before the Committee, I think this is a most appropriate occasion for me to put some rather important questions to the right hon. Gentleman on his action in regard to the parks.
In my opinion, we have to look at this question of new works, alterations and additions in the parks from the point of view of whether they involve important alterations or whether they are merely unimportant. I will give a category of what I regard as important changes, and it will not be an exhaustive one. I consider a change which gives to the public access or takes away the right of access to any large area of our Royal parks is an important change. I also consider that the taking of any considerable area from the unrestricted use of the park and the amenities of the park by the public, and allotting that area in future for organised games is a change of importance. I think both sides of the Committee are agreed upon that point. The 1920 erection of permanent buildings of brick, mortar or concrete in the Royal parks is also a change of importance. In the past, when alterations, additions and changes of that kind have been made they have never been undertaken, as far as I am aware, without first obtaining the authority of Parliament in some form or another. That course has always been taken in the past before any permanent buildings of bricks, mortar or concrete have been erected in the Royal parks. Before we pass this Estimate I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman to state definitely that there will be no permanent buildings of the kind I have described erected in the Royal parks other than those to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred. [Interruption.] The hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) had better wait until he is sitting on the Treasury Bench.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) is addressing the First Commissioner of Works or the Committee as a whole; and is it not a fact, Mr. Young, that all Members of the Committee are responsible for voting Supplementary Estimates?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) is addressing the Chair. In reply to the question put to me by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut. - Commander Kenworthy), every Member of the Committee is more or less responsible for these Estimates.
I was addressing my remarks to the Minister who is responsible for their introduction, and he will have an opportunity of replying to my observations. The First Commissioner of Works is responsible for these Estimates. On one occasion the right hon. Gentleman seemed to suggest that there is some resemblance between what he himself has done and what previous. First Commissioners of Works have done in regard to the erection of permanent buildings in the Royal parks, but I suggest that that is not so, and no such buildings have ever been erected before without first obtaining the consent of Parliament. Another question of importance in regard to the Royal parks is that no trees ought to be removed, save those which are a danger 1921 or are decayed, without the opinion of the House being obtained, and I will deal with that question more in detail later on.
Another question which comes within the category of important changes in the Royal parks is the making of new roads for vehicles or foot passengers to parts of the park which have hitherto been secluded. I contend that none of those changes ought to be made without Parliament being fully taken into the confidence of the First Commissioner of Works. What is the position of the Royal parks in regard to these works? Most of them were Royal gifts or loans to the public by His Majesty's predecessors, and it was never intended by their Royal benefactors that a Government Department should make changes in the Royal parks without the authority of Parliament. If the Office of Works considers itself to be the superior of Parliament, the sooner it learns that it is the servant of Parliament the better. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will admit that, especially in this matter of the Royal parks, there is a very special responsibility upon Parliament.
Coming now to the actual facilities that have been provided, I should like to go in rather more detail into what the right hon. Gentleman said. I find that in a question which he answered some time ago—in the first part of this Session—he stated that in Regent's Park there were 20 cricket pitches, 15 football grounds, and 10 hard tennis courts. [Interruption.] I fully agree with the right hon. Gentleman's policy in the matter of the provision of recreational facilities where it can be done without affecting the general question of the use of the park. I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that these facilities in Regent's Park have not been added to in any way while he has been in office, and that there have only been provided certain facilities for schools in the neighbourhood in the way of permitting them to keep goal-posts which they used to have. That is a comparatively small point, and I think that the right hon. Gentleman is probably quite right in considering that it does not greatly affect the amenities of the park. There again, however, I would beg him, if any further change is to be made, to take the House into his confidence. I am not as familiar with the situation, necessarily, as the right hon. Gentleman is, and it may well be that 1922 it is possible to provide more cricket pitches and football grounds in Regent's Park, but, whether that be so or not, it is in my opinion the clear duty of the right hon. Gentleman to consult the House of Commons before he makes any such change.
As regards the shelters which the right hon. Gentleman has put up, they seem to me, from what he has told us this afternoon, to be a reasonable provision for the comfort and health of these children, but here again we should like to be informed before this work is carried out, because, if a shelter is going to be put here, and another there, in what is really beautiful scenery in the Royal Parks, you may very easily, unless you are very careful, spoil the whole appearance of the Park. As regards the paddling pools, I know that, in those parts of London in which they have been provided, great advantage has been taken of them by the children in the neighbourhood, and they have afforded a great deal of innocent pleasure. That also applies to the sand pits. With regard to the Knightsbridge ground, I should like to know whether the soldiers who have hitherto used it have now been deprived of those facilities, and I think I shall be in order in asking under what system these new grounds which have been provided are allotted to the various organisations which use them. I think that that is an important question, because I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that the demand for them is very great.
As I have already said, I am not opposed to the provision of playgrounds, but quite the reverse. Indeed, I myself have had the pleasure of presenting a playground. I would like, however, to point out that, for every 10 persons who use the parks for games, at least 100 persons, who, I should say, are mostly wage-earners and salary-earners, use the parks for walking, and, if you like, courting—which, as an hon. Friend of mine has pointed out, they are perfectly entitled to do—taking out their children or their dogs, or, in summer, sitting and reading. [An HON. MEMBER: "And riding in the Row!"] That is a somewhat irrelevant remark. I never heard of any small wage-earner or salary-earner riding in the Row. I am speaking of the vast mass of the people who use the parks.
That entirely depends on circumstances. It is no use anyone thinking that this is an easy matter to deal with; it is not. It entirely depends on the circumstances whether or not the area allotted to games is excessive, and whether or not the great mass of the public, who must be more numerous than those who use the parks for games, are provided with the facilities which they should have in these beautiful parks. That is the whole point, and that is why we on this side are very anxious that there should be a clear policy. The right hon. Gentleman and his supporters may object to our raising this matter, but it must be remembered—I daresay it is not the right hon. Gentleman's fault, but the fault of the Press who have supported him in the matter—that during the last two months he has got rather the name of being a sort of universal uncle—perhaps that title has been adopted out of jealousy for the Foreign Secretary—who, out of his benevolence, provides all sorts of things for all sorts of people with which they have never been provided before. We on this side of the Committee, while we entirely approve of the principle, want to be assured that the right hon. Gentleman, in doing that, is not affecting the amenities of the parks. I see nothing to object to in what he has told us this afternoon, and I hone it may be possible to provide more facilities if it can be done without prejudice to the other users of the parks.
There is another matter to which I should like to refer in this connection. I suppose it would come under the heading of New Works. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he considers that he had the full authority of the House of Commons to erect the building which houses the carillon in Hyde Park? Is it to be a permanent building? It may be a good thing, or it may be a bad thing, but it seems to me to be essentially a matter on which Parliament ought to be consulted. If not, what is to prevent the putting up of any other sort of building—
Very well: I suppose it will be possible to raise the matter on some other occasion—perhaps when the question of the right hon. Gentleman's salary comes before the Committee. Do I understand that the whole work of clearing the ground and so on was carried out through the benevolence of the Noble Lord who gave this carillon, and that there was no cost to the State at all?
I am very pleased to hear that. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say definitely that it cost nothing.
§ The CHAIRMAN
There is nothing in this Vote dealing with that matter, so that we must leave it until another occasion.
There is another matter which I think" does come under this Vote. I should like to ask whether it is true, as stated in the Press, that power has been taken to spend money for the erection of a statue to Mr. Bernhard Baron?. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will mention that matter when he replies. A matter which does undoubtedly come under this Vote is that of the trees which I understand the right hon. Gentleman has removed, under Sub-head G (Unemployment Relief). This is a matter of immense importance to the beauty and amenities of the parks. Many of these old trees are 200 or 300 years old. I know of no public park in any town in Europe which has trees comparable with those in the London parks. Certainly there are none in the New York Central Park to compare in beauty with the old elm trees of the London parks. The right hon. Gentleman gave what I think we must 1925 all regard as a satisfactory assurance, if he was accurate, as we have every reason to suppose he was, that no single tree has been removed unless it was either decaying or, in the opinion of the parks superintendent, dangerous to the safety of the public.
The right hon. Gentleman quite rightly said that you must have regard, in dealing with trees in public parks, to considerations rather different from those which arise in the case of trees in private parks or anywhere in the countryside, because the amount of injury that would be done by a falling tree, say on a Bank holiday, would be very much greater in the London parks than it would be anywhere else. But it is curious and significant and interesting that not only a former First Commissioner of Works, but several other people, have stated publicly that one of the trees which have been removed was a perfectly sound tree—as could be seen from the trunk—just adjacent to one of the new sports grounds which have been created. The obvious deduction to be drawn from that was that there was some connection between the removal of the tree and the fact that the right hon. Gentleman wanted to make a sports ground. Although it may be said that the removal of a single tree is not a matter of great importance, it is so in the case of the London parks, because, quite apart from the fact that elm trees take 200 or 300 years to come to maturity, anyone who knows anything about forestry knows that it is very difficult to get young elm trees to grow in the London parks to-day, because the amount of soot and dirt in the air is much greater than it was when the present elm trees were planted. Therefore, it is really very important that these old trees should not be removed.
There are two ways of dealing with a tree that is not actually decayed in the trunk, and is therefore not dangerous. If, for example, the boughs contain what is technically known as a lot of dead wood, the tree can be preserved for 50 or 100 years by pollarding, and that has been done in the case of one of the most famous trees in Hyde Park, near the police station. It dates, I believe, from the time of Queen Elizabeth, and is generally considered to be one of the finest elm butts in all the parks. The lateral boughs were removed, and the tree 1926 is perfectly healthy and safe to-day. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is taking the very best opinion on this subject, because it is a matter for experts. He told us that the Parks Superintendent was the authority, but the Parks Superintendent does not necessarily possess that technical knowledge in connection with trees that is required in this case. The authorities on this subject, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, are the established officers of the Forestry Commission. They are experts in these matters, and, if there is any question, in connection with the money which we are now voting, of removing many, or even any, more trees in the parks that are of the character which I have described—that is to say, these magnificient elms which are 200 or 300 years old—I would beg the right hon. Gentleman to obtain the very best expert advice that he can, that is to say, the advice of the Forestry Commission, or of his own people at Kew Gardens.
One of my hon. Friends on this side referred to the question of the removal of undergrowth on certain islands in Regent's Park, and I want to refer to the same point. Some years ago, with the general assent of every one who cares both for the amenities of the parks and for bird life, a number of bird sanctuaries were created in the London parks. On the whole, the results were satisfactory, that is to say, species of birds that had been comparatively rare visitors to London before the sanctuaries were created began to come in increasing numbers; and there is no doubt that the places where these birds find their greatest sanctuary, as well as their greatest seclusion, are the islands in the different parks. I am informed by some of the right hon. Gentleman's own park-keepers, many of whom take a very great interest in this matter, that the depredations of cats are so great on the mainland, so to speak, that the birds do not get much of a chance, but on the islands they are secure, and I think that most of us, and especially the London County Council school teachers who teach natural history, want to see as many rare birds as possible come to the London parks.
I do hope that the right hon. Gentleman has really taken expert advice before removing all this undergrowth on the islands in Regent's Park, in the Serpentine, and in the lake in St. James's Park. Birds will reside in a place where 1927 there is something in the nature of thicket, even in London. They will not remain in a place where everything has been cleared away and planting goes on once or twice a year. It is deplorable to see what has been going on recently in St. James's Park. An island has been almost entirely cleared of the undergrowth, which the birds very much favour, with the result that birds which would possibly have otherwise come there will no longer come. Will the right hon. Gentleman explain why that has been necessay, and why he wants to interfere with this island at all? Birds, unlike Government Departments, dislike tidiness. Possibly he is trying to instruct them in more tidy habits and wants them to roost somewhere where he and his Department have settled that they shall roost. If that is his wish, it will not be fulfilled as the effect of what he has done, and great mischief has already been done in that way.
I believe that a great many of these new works of the character I have just described, such as the removal of undergrowth, have not been carried out because they have any inherent virtue of their own, not because they will improve the property and not because they are going to help the birds, but in order to provide work for the unemployed. I have a very shrewd suspicion that that is so, and I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman what steps are taken in St. James's Park, for example, to supervise the work that is done by these unemployed? There are quite a number of unemployed men working in that park, and I have never seen men work so slowly or so badly. There seems to be no proper supervision. Not one of them would be kept for a day by any private gardener or commercial man. I watched them working on the island. In all, there were eight men, and they were never all working at the same time. Seven would begin fumbling about with their spades, without digging, and the eighth man would light a cigarette or lean against a tree. They were near where the Naval Conference is sitting, and it is the worst possible advertisement for British labour. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will go into it. I am sure he would be the last to support this slackness. If the men are physically unfit, they ought not to be put there to work 1928 at all, but should go somewhere where they can learn to do the gardening work that is required. No doubt others have noticed the same thing. It is fantastic to see it. I should very much like to know if any attempt has been made to find out how much it costs to remove the shrubs and to take up turf and put it down again elsewhere.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give us an assurance on these matters. So far from wanting to see children deprived of recreational facilities in the parks, we want to see them used to the fullest extent, hut not under a sort of arbitrary system adopted by the Minister without any consultation with the House. The parks are amongst the most valuable gifts ever made by the Crown to the country. No Government Department, however admirable its Minister and however excellent his official advisers, should have a free hand in such a matter. It should be his charge to come to the House for authority. It is more important that he should get proper authority for carrying out these changes than for anything he does in connection with the buildings for which he is responsible, except those of great historic value. I beg of him to take the Committee into his confidence and not to be quite so restive when we ask him what we consider to be quite fair and proper questions.
§ Sir KENYON VAUGHAN-MORGAN
I wish to say a few words which, I trust, may reassure my right hon. Friend. I will deal with the question of the proposed laying out of some space in Hyde Park for the purpose of providing an opportunity for organised games to be taken part in by young people. It was my privilege to take some share in the negotiations that led up to the very munificent gift, for the purpose referred to, of Sir Howard Frank in my capacity as chairman of the London Playing Fields Association. After consulting my colleagues, I was delegated to place before the First Commissioner two alternative plans for laying out the old 1851 Exhibition ground opposite Knightsbridge barracks. One provided for the preservation of the paths at present existing, and also anything in the way of trees or natural features that at present exist. The second alternative, which was a better one from our point of view, was conditional on it being possible to dis- 1929 pose of the paths either through their being judged unnecessary or by the need for them being met in some other way. The purpose of this lay-out was not to interfere with any privilege already enjoyed by the public, but to put on an organised basis the rather unorganised methods at present prevailing of providing for recreation for young people. It also provided for the preservation of the rights and privileges of the troops quartered at Knightsbridge barracks, and it was expressly provided that they should be in no way interfered with. Some critics of these proposals may not be aware of the extent to which organised games already take place on that space. I think three football grounds are habitually used during the season by the soldiers. I should be the last to propose to interfere with that, and our plans were arranged to make no interference whatever. Equally, there is really no necessity to interfere with the beauties or amenities of the site. I have often watched small boys playing there, and it always appeared to me that there was a great opportunity of making much better arrangements for their convenience. I should be the last to defend anything which would destroy the beauty of the parks. I have always regarded that space as not particularly beautiful, and evidently it has not been quite so sacrosanct for all time as public opinion may imagine, because it was there that the 1851 Exhibition was located.
§ Sir K. VAUGHAN-MORGAN
That would be a very interesting question to debate, and I should like to take part in a discussion on the subject, but I think it would be ruled out of order. In any event, I should possibly find myself in agreement with my hon. and gallant Friend when we came to pass judgment on the æsthetic opinions which we would now form in regard to it. But it is quite possible, with every regard both to the rights of other citizens and to the amenities of Hyde Park and to the opportunities offered by the site, to provide exactly what is required for the benefit of everyone concerned. We have all seen from time to time young men running along the roads in Hyde Park and elsewhere, anxious to train themselves for 1930 athletic events. It always seemed to mo a matter of regret that neither in Hyde Park nor in Regent's Park has any provision been made for a running track. Although the space at Knightsbridge is not regarded as suitable for that purpose, it should be quite possible to provide something, possibly in Regent's Park, without interfering with the beauties or amenities of the park or the enjoyment of other people. One wants to have the utmost possible regard to the susceptibilities and the real wishes of other people. Some hon. Members may not be aware that even the proposal to grant regular playing facilities for children on the old exhibition ground site does not present quite the novelty that might be supposed. Part of Kensington Gardens, near the Magazine, is regularly used by the scholars of certain County Council schools. What I am submitting is only a slight extension of that privilege. It is quite possible to provide games without interfering with the beauties of the park or the rights of anyone whatever. Out of all the great space available in the parks, only one acre in 60 is devoted to games. That allowance being so small, I think we could manage to provide what those who support this proposal desire, and also prevent any damage to the beauties and amenities of the park.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Sir HUGH O'NEILL
My hon. Friend has put before the Committee the views of the National Playing Fields' Association of which he is a very distinguished member. Of course, he has to a certain extent discussed the matter from that point of view and with a predilection in that direction. I should like, however, to ask one or two definite questions with regard to the explanation of the Vote that we have had from the First Commissioner of Works. I wonder if he could tell us how many unemployed persons are engaged in the parks. He said he was erecting a shelter for children in Kensington Gardens. Is that the cone-shaped summer house at the West end of the Serpentine? I saw it in process of erection the other day, and wondered what it was. I take it that that is the shelter for children, and that it is the one to which he referred. Where are the children's sand pits in Kensington Gardens to be put? The right hon. Gentleman did not tell us that in detail. I do not know whether they 1931 have yet been commenced, and one wonders where they are to be put.
The new bathing facilities in the Serpentine have given rise to a good deal of discussion in the papers and to a certain amount of difference of opinion and controversy. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Central Hull (Lieut. - Commander Kenworthy) raised one point which, I think, requires consideration, and for which there is a great deal to be said. It appears that until now men have been allowed to bathe in the Serpentine until eight o'clock in the morning without any payment. I gather that after the erection of this new bathing pavilion, anybody who desires to bathe in the Serpentine, whether before eight o'clock in the morning or after that time, will have to use this new pavilion and will have to pay. I think that there is something to be said for the argument of the hon. and gallant Member opposite that the rights of those people who hitherto have been able to bathe in the Serpentine before eight o'clock without payment should not be done away with, and that in the future they should be enabled, if they so desired, to bathe in the Serpentine without payment. Apart from that I cannot see any insuperable objection to organising the bathing in the Serpentine. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the hoarding which used to be put up near the bridge was most unsightly, and, provided that the plans of the new erection harmonise with the surroundings in that part of Hyde Park, I do not see any objection to having it put there.
There is another new erection in Hyde Park in regard to which the right hon. Gentleman did not say anything. I should like to ask him a question about it. I refer to the carillon of bells in Hyde Park.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I believe that this matter is out of order, but if you, Mr. Young, will allow me, it may appease the hon. Member's fears if I say that there is no intention of erecting a permanent carillon on that site.
§ Sir H. O'NEILL
I appreciate the point that it is technically out of order, but I thought that there was money in this Vote in respect of the putting up of the present building. However, I am 1932 glad to hear the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman. We have beard a great deal about the sports ground opposite Knightsbridge Barracks. My hon. Friend the Member for East Fulham (Sir K. Vaughan-Morgan) devoted a great part of his speech to dealing with that matter. It seems to me that there can be no objection to using part of the park for organised games, but I rather gathered from the right hon. Gentleman that all that was to be done there was the erection of a pavilion at the end near the Albert Memorial, and, I think, the construction of a bowling green. Does it mean that nothing more is to be done? There are a number of football grounds with goal-posts there at present. I was there on Saturday and saw a large number of games of football in progress. A running track is apparently no longer contemplated. Therefore, is that bit of land opposite Knightsbridge Barracks, apart from the erection of a pavilion and the provision of a bowling green, to remain as it is to-day? I cannot see any objection to the playing of football. There is one point which requires to be remembered with regard to the playing of football and other games in the parks. Games of football and other recreations go on constantly in the winter, and they lead to the gathering of large numbers of persons, the effect of which is to do great harm to the grass; in fact, the grass very largely disappears. At the present-moment, round where the carillon is situated, the whole of the grass has completely gone. I think I am right in saying—the right hon. Gentleman may be more of an agriculturist than I, and, therefore, he may correct me if I am wrong—that, provided grass is protected at the time of the year when it starts to grow again, no permanent damage can be done by the numbers of people who collect upon it, whether they are playing at or watching football, or hearing the bells. I would, therefore, urge upon the right hon. Gentleman the necessity for seeing that when spring-time comes and the young grass is growing, railings are put up or some other steps taken to prevent the permanent obliteration of the grass in those portions of our parks.
Another point to which I wish to make reference relates to Regent's Park. I believe that there has been a cinder track or racing track of some kind constructed 1933 there. The right hon. Gentleman said that it was put in a part of the park where it did not matter. I have been in Regent's Park recently and I did not see it, so I think that it must be hidden away in a part of the park where one does not ordinarily go. I have walked on the paths in Regent's Park near the lake and where the football is played, and, wherever the running track is, I do not think that it can be a very violent interference with the other amenities of the park.
The right hon. Gentleman indicated that a further children's sand-pit or playground of some kind was to be made in Kensington Gardens. In my view, provided the matter ends there, there will be no objection. The playground which at present exists in Kensington Gardens for the children is greatly appreciated, and I have noticed recently that it is very constantly used. But Kensington Gardens are of all the parks in London, in spring and summer, undoubtedly the most beautiful. It has undoubtedly the finest trees. It is there to which you can go in the summer-time and enjoy real rest and quiet under the very lovely trees which are to be found there. For instance, if you take the area from the fountains at the end of the Serpentine and walk towards the Albert Memorial, or in the direction of St. Mary Abbot's Church, you are really passing through a bit of park with very lovely timbering, and I hope that whatever the right hon. Gentleman is going to do with regard to this new sand-pit or playing ground in Kensington Gardens, he will most earnestly remember not to spoil those very lovely trees. I am sorry to say that when we had a bad storm in London a few months ago numbers of the trees in Kensington Gardens were blown down. The trees will come down quickly enough through age and in the course of nature. I hope that none of these new arrangements which the right hon. Gentleman is making in the parks will ever be allowed to interfere with the restful and delightful nature of Kensington Gardens, which is required, now more than ever before owing to the immense noise of traffic in London and the constant smell of petrol. In these parks are green oases where those who wish for rest and quiet and repose can enjoy themselves.
§ Colonel HOWARD-BURY
I think that the large number of hon. Members who went into the Lobby in favour of the Amendment to reduce the Vote of the right hon. Gentleman show how strong is the feeling in this Committee against the tendency of the right hon. Gentleman towards doing anything in any way to interfere with the freedom of our parks. It is the suddenness of the innovations which have been sprung upon us that has caused us to be rather chary of accepting them at the start. The present tendency of the management might well justify a considerable feeling of uneasiness in the minds of all of us. After all, the cardinal idea of a public park in a great city is to bring as much of the country as we can into the midst of the city. What we enjoy so much in the country is the greenness, the solitude, the quiet and the birds. The tendency of the right hon. Gentleman is to convert the parks with their delightful sense of freedom and solitude into places where we are to have crowds and organised games. In many cases, where you attract crowds, you at once do away with that beautiful greenness of sward which foreigners and all of us admire. If the right hon. Gentleman will go round the carillon to-day and look at what was before a beautiful green expanse, he will see that it is now all blackened earth with scarcely a blade of grass growing there. After a shower of rain it is converted into a sea of mud.
The former policy with regard to parks has always been to keep the crowd right on the edge. You have the Sunday orators near the Marble Arch, near the edge. The band plays near the edge. The roads go round the park as far as possible in order to keep the noise of traffic and the smell of petrol away from the centre of the park. Therefore, I regret the tendency of the right hon. Gentleman to make it into a sort of great playing-ground instead of allowing it to remain a place of leisure for the people. I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the other day about dogs. He has put up new notices with regard to dogs being on the lead in various parks, and the answer which he gave to me was to the effect that he wanted to preserve the flowers. The right hon. Gentleman is right. Should we not put the right hon. Gentleman on the lead in order to prevent our shrubberies from being destroyed, our islands de-forested and the trees from being cut 1935 down. A hundred thousand dogs would not have done as much damage to the parks as the right hon. Gentleman has done in Regent's Park in nine months. On the islands, which were formerly the refuge for birds, there used to be growing wild parsley which formed a considerable cover for the nesting of birds. He has moved all this with that sense of orderliness and tidiness which every Government Department must possess. Wild birds were being protected there, and it was of great interest to all of us to watch the wild birds making their nests and come to these sanctuaries in the park.
Someone says that the right hon. Gentleman has been acting on the plan of a genial autocracy, combined with capitalism. That may well be said in regard to his actions in the parks. The hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut. - Commander Kenworthy) raised the question of bathing in the Serpentine. Hitherto, bathing in the Serpentine has been an informal and al fresco arrangement, by which people have gone down in the early morning for a swim, and then gone away. That is to be altered. No longer is there to be that freedom. I fully agree with the contention that those who go before eight o'clock in the morning ought to be exactly under the same conditions as in the past, but I cannot see why those who go down should be subject to some of the suggested restrictions. I suppose that they will have to wear suitable costumes, and that there will be inspectors to see whether the costume is an inch too short or not. In addition, there will be charges. There is to be a pavilion, which will be 115 to 120 feet long and 90 feet wide, and, in addition, there are to be two great marquees, so that on the whole of that side of the Serpentine the amenities are going to be spoilt.
For the past two centuries Hyde Park has never altered its character as a resort where citizens go for quiet. The right hon. Gentleman is starting to alter its character. He is seeking to benefit the few at the expense of the great number. What about the many middle-aged people who go to the parks'? They do not want to play games. If the park is to be devoted to a great extent to the playing of games, surely the places for the playing of the games should be provided away 1936 from the centre of the park and, as far as possible, on the edges of the park. An infinitesimal number of people play games in the parks, while there are vast numbers of people who want to enjoy the parks without playing games. How many invalids and aged people go to the parks every day to enjoy the fresh air?
With regard to the trees, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be very chary before he cuts down a tree that takes a century or more to get to the fullness of its beauty. If a tree happens to be dangerous, a limb might be amputated and the tree itself spared. I always regret when I have to cut down a tree, and it is only done where it is damaging another tree or it has become so dangerous as to overhang the road and to endanger people. In cases where trees have been cut down in the parks, these considerations have not been shown. Trees might have been saved by taking a bough off.
Reverting to the question of bathing in Hyde Park, evidently it is to be made a popular resort. If we are to have hundreds of bathers there every day, I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is going to make any provision for changing the water. At the present time the water does not look too clean, and if hundreds of bathers are to go there every day the water will be very much fouled. I would not; care to have a swim in Hyde Park under those conditions. The park is of far more use to the rising generation as a park than as a playground. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will realise that there is a strong body of opinion that we should keep our parks as parks and not turn them into playgrounds to attract great masses to watch games, and to spoil the quiet amenities of the park;. We enjoy in the parks to-day the wide views. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that he is going to take down the goal posts. I am very grateful for that assurance, because goal posts in a summer landscape seem very much out of place. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider that there is a strong body of opinion that does not want these parks to be changed from what they are to-day. Whatever he does, we would urge that this House should have a say before he makes any alteration in regard to the general conduct of the parks.
§ Mr. GODFREY LOCKER-LAMPSON
I understand that the right hon. Gentleman wants to reply almost immediately to the various questions that have been raised. I should like to put one suggestion to him. For over a year I had the honour of representing the Office of Works in the House, as the First Commissioner was a Peer in the other House. I had to answer questions daily, and I made it my constant practice to visit the various parks. No one doubts the genuine desire of the right hon. Gentleman to do his best for all sections of the population as far as the parks are concerned, but one may fall possibly into a trap when one tries to cater for different sections of the population. The parks are for the community as a whole and directly you begin to cater for one particular class, one particular age, or one particular interest, to that extent you do damage to the interests of the general public. When I had the honour of answering for the Office of Works, questions arose about the stonework of the Houses of Parliament. It was a question in which everyone was interested, and many questions were put. I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that it might be a good plan to take the House into his confidence by selecting a small committee whom he could inform of his intentions in regard to the parks, that small committee might also act in a sort of advisory capacity, whom he might consult. In order to help the First Commissioner, and with his consent, I had a small committee of members—
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I had a small committee, drawn from all parties. On that committee, the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut. - Commander Kenworthy) sat. We occasionally met and went all over the Houses of Parliament to inspect the stonework, and I think the committee served a very good purpose and was able to inform the Minister of the general wishes of the House on the matter. I am not wasting the time of the Committee, I hope, when I suggest that a similar committee, composed of Members from different parties, should be invited by the right hon. Gentleman to 1938 get in touch with him in regard to the parks, which are very near all our hearts, that he should consult them and inform them what he is going to do, and that he should meet them periodically and find out what they think are the wishes of the House. That would probably help the right hon. Gentleman in his work, and I think that it would be for the general satisfaction of the House.
§ Mr. A. M. SAMUEL
I do not propose to make any hostile or captious criticism, but I want to make one or two suggestions. I have lived in the region of Hyde Park and Regent's Park, and I use Hyde Park in the mornings for fresh air. The Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) has already said that we are all in favour of fresh air and health for the children, but we do not think that it is quite the proper thing that either a society or an individual, however well-meaning, should be able to say to the right hon. Gentleman: "Here is a cheque for £5,000," and later that he should find a plan fired at his head. That opens up a dangerous position. Rich, honest, sentimental fanatics, whether they be men or societies, if they are willing to pay to have their ideas carried out may be able in this way to get things done which the community may regret. I therefore warn the right hon. Gentleman that, much as we wish to support him in providing amenities for the poor, he must be careful lest he falls into the trap of accepting money from private people and then having a plan fired at his head which may lead us, imperceptibly, into the doing of undesirable things.
The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of the lighting of Hyde Park. I understand that he is going to devote a certain amount of money for that purpose. I go home by taxi at night, and on many occasions the taxi-driver has refused to take me through the East Road of Hyde Park after six or seven o'clock because the lighting is insufficient and dangerous. I have raised the point on several occasions. I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that in his lighting re-arrangements he should not take the standards that are there now and convert them. It is a mistake, for instance, to take street standards which were provided originally for gas and use them for electric lighting. If the right hon. Gentleman uses the present standards the diffusion of light 1939 that will come from these tall standards will probably make shadows which will do more harm than the light will do good, because of the dangers they will create. I suggest that he should pull down these standards and take very careful counsel from those who understand lighting—I do not profess to know anything about the technical side of lighting—as to the height of the standards, before he commits himself to any expenditure. If he is going to light parts of the park where there are tea gardens, he might see that the tea gardens are run on much more satisfactory lines, because they are now squalid and shabby.
Along the Serpentine it is the habit of people to park their cars at certain hours before mid-day, and the result is that the park is blocked by cars of well-to-do people and children and other people cannot use the road by the side of the Serpentine and the road from the Serpentine Bridge to Exhibition Road. Under the item, "New Works, Alterations and Additions," for which we are voting £8,900, I suggest that we should provide some place for the parking of cars, so that they do not block the road and interfere with the pleasure of people.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
That is an item to provide money for recreation facilities, not to provide parking grounds for cars.
§ Mr. SAMUEL
It might come under Item GG—Unemployment Relief Work. With regard to Regent's Park, I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is doing something to the pond and something with regard to a football ground. When I was Financial Secretary to the Treasury a question came before me about the leases of the Botanical Gardens and St. John's Lodge. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman use some of the grant from the Unemployment Grants Committee to bring forward work which must be done to improve the Botanical Gardens? Cannot something be done to forestall the work which must be done later on at St. John's Lodge? Then the danger to pedestrians who use Clarence Gate in Regent's Park is very great, and I think steps should be taken either to get a park-keeper or a policeman stationed there, or in some way to rearrange the position. As the gate now stands, you will sooner or later have loss of life.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I hope it will not be considered unfair if I reply now to the small criticisms which have been made on this Vote. While it is in my mind, let me say that I have never resented questions being put to me, but I do rather resent the assumption which sometimes underlies the question. In regard to the lighting of Hyde Park, we are consulting with the Traffic Advisory Committee as to the best method of dealing with that rather dangerous road, and I hope we shall arrive at a satisfactory solution. The money now being voted is for the new lighting in she park where the police consider it is very necessary. With regard to the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wood Green (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson) for the appointment of a committee, I am always ready to meet hon. Members and discuss matters connected with my Department, whether parks or anything else, but I cannot agree to set up a special committee to advise me on something which I think I am quite as capable of doing as any of my predecessors. When I am asked to take the advice of an Advisory Committee in regard to any matter I want to bring forward, the assumption is that I require more guidance than Lord Peel or any other First Commissioner of Works.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
All my point was that I thought it would probably help the right hon. Gentleman if he had an informal committee, not an advisory committee, composed of hon. Members from different parts of the House who would keep in touch with him. He would be able to communicate with them and take them into consultation. There is a precedent for this already is the Office of Works.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The right hon. Gentleman is one who delights me with his charm of manner, and I should like to fall in with his suggestion. But neither Lord Peel, whom I know very-well indeed in connection with other public bodies, nor Lord Londonderry would ever consent to setting up a committee to advise him about the work of the department. The advisory committee which the right hon. Member for Wood Green mentioned was set up for the specific object of dealing with the sort of stone which it was proposed to 1941 put into this building, a very technical and controversial matter, upon which it was quite necessary to appoint such an informal committee. While I am very willing to meet hon. Members and discuss with them any proposals, I cannot accept the suggestion. Indeed, I rather resent the assumption that I have been doing things in the dark without Parliament knowing anything about them. I gave a long list of all that we proposed to do months ago. I sent the information out in answer to a question, and for months I heard nothing from anybody except praise in the newspapers and praise from individual Members. Then, all of a sudden, the "Times" newspaper came out with a leading article, and since then there has been what the hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford (Colonel Howard-Bury) described as great agitation in the country. It is a little exaggeration on the part of the hon. and gallant Member. I know as much about public opinion outside in regard to these matters as the hon. and gallant Member.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I want to assure the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Wardlaw-Milne) that I certainly know more about it than he does. He has made some statements which were utterly beside the mark.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) has said that I have put in hand works of a permanent character without first coming to this House and getting its authority, and that I was enabled to do it because certain people had provided me with the money necessary to carry out the works. I have already answered that point, and I must tell the Noble Lord and the Committee again that I gave a list of all these works months ago, with the solitary exception of the cinder track in Regent's Park, which was only decided upon a short time ago. This afternoon the Noble Lord has said that there was nothing very much that he could object to in anything that we were going to do. That is a proof that what we were going to do met with the approval of the bulk of hon. Members. 1942 If there had been any objection, it would have shown itself last year.
I would like to answer that point, because the right hon. Gentleman has misunderstood me. All I sought was an assurance that he would not carry out works which involved an important permanent change in the parks without first coming to the House, and the right hon. Gentleman would not give that assurance.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I was coming to that point if the Noble Lord had waited. He charges me with making a precedent, May I point out that Sir John Baird, when he was First Commissioner of Works, sanctioned the erection of a bird sanctuary, which is a permanent building, on the site in Hyde Park. It was paid for by public subscription. It never came before this House, and I claim the same right to do what other First Commissioners of Works have done. I also said, and no man would dream of doing otherwise, that if it was the question of a big proposition, such as the setting up of a carillon in the park, I should certainly take care that the House of Commons was made acquainted with the proposal and give hon. Members an opportunity of expressing their opinion on the project. That is all that the Noble Lord, or anybody else, has a right to ask me to do. My predecessors gave the London County Council the right to put up permanent buildings in the parks. There they are. They never came before this House. No one questioned it, because we were all agreeable that the London County Council should erect these buildings for the benefit of delicate children. I hope the noble Lord understands my point of view, a" I think I understand his.
The question of the felling of trees has been the subject of much controversy this evening. I am risked whose opinion I take. I take the opinion of the people who advised my predecessors. I have not appointed any new people. I have taken the advice of the men upon whom Lord Peel, Lord Londonderry and Lord Crawford relied. Lord Crawford took perhaps a more individual stand on the question of trees because he was keenly interested in the subject, but even under his administration nearly 400 trees were felled in the parks. That was because it was necessary. Why should it be assumed that I have ordered trees to be taken 1943 down when it is unnecessary? I have not interfered. I have taken the advice of the experts who are paid by this House, who, in my judgment, are doing their duties in a very efficient manner. The Noble Lord also wanted to know how grounds are allotted. They are allotted by ballot; the only fair way. Then the question was asked: Do we allow the Army the same facilities as before "Certainly, and I hope the men in Knightsbridge Barracks will make good use of the bowling green and the putting greens, too.
Then with regard to the memorial which has been erected. Sir Louis Baron has given the money for the erection of the pavilion in Regent's Park to the memory of his father; and it is a good memorial, too. There is no charge for the paddling pond, and the children can go in and out when they please. A charge will be made for the use of paddle-boats on the paddle-boat ponds which we are making in Regent's Park and Greenwich Park. An hon. Member opposite asked a question about the islands. Really, hon. Members opposite should have a memory about these matters. Last year under my predecessor one of the islands was cleared, and the people who are making such a hullabaloo now never said the same thing last year. They never said that the place was being spoiled and ruined. Lord Londonderry, who was responsible, acted on the advice of experts in the employ of the Office of Works, and it is clear that everybody now thinks it was a great improvement. We are doing another one this year. We could not do the two at one time because we have not enough money—
§ Mr. LANSBURY
; We are clearing away all the worn-out shrub and growth and enabling things to grow again.
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has taken the opinion of any person who knows anything about these matters as to whether the work which is being carried out will not deprive birds of nesting places? I am assured that this is so, and the right hon. Gentleman knows that there are some birds which will not nest except in tangled undergrowth. His 1944 Department, by clearing this away, will stop the increase of rare birds in the park.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Really the Noble Lord should not interrupt, for he only puts his foot in too far. Last year my predecessor, Lord Londonderry, did exactly what I am doing this year. He took the advice of a committee for the preservation of bird life, who thought that this work should be done. Why should the Noble Lord assume that I have not taken the best advice? Why should right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite get up and—
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I do not want the Noble Lord to withdraw. If in his judgment I am not fit to occupy this position, that is to me a matter of total indifference. I am here, not by his good will but because people put me here, and while I am here I am going to carry out the duties of the office to the best of my ability. He has no right to assume, as he has assumed this afternoon, that we are incapable of doing what Lord Londonderry and other people have done. It so happens—this is where the Noble Lord has lost his head in the matter—that this is continuity of policy, and that even if I were as incompetent as he imagines that I am, I am only following in the footsteps of his Noble Friend. The Noble Lord mentioned—perhaps he knows what it is—cow parsnip. Here is what the expert writes to me:The cow parsnip produces some food for birds"—I understood from the Noble Lord that it provided material for nesting,by seeding, but it does so at a time too late for the nesting season. The foliage is not attractive to birds. This plant spreads very rapidly and has become far too plentiful in some of the sanctuaries of the parks, especially Regent's Park.I ask the Noble Lord to listen to this; I want to educate him a little:It is being replaced by shrubs, recommended by the committee of experts, providing food for the bird" and cover for their nests.I think that after all we shall not hear any more about the birds. As to the rare birds in the parks, we are as proud of them as the Noble Lord, and I am glad 1945 to tell him that I think we are to have some more given to us. I trust that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite will not then rise in their wrath and say: "Why should the First Commissioner accept these without first asking us?" I am one of those people who take anything that comes along. Let me now pass to something more serious. I was asked as to the amount of work provided for the workmen I have mentioned. Really the Noble Lord was going a little too far when he talked of those workmen as he did. There are between 400 and 500 of them employed. It is perfectly true that many of the men arrive nearly penniless. They have been out of work for months, and it is as difficult for them to do a big day's work as it is difficult for me to expect them to do as well as strong, healthy men. I saw a report the other day that they are doing better this year than they did last year or in previous years. The Noble Lord need have no fear on the question of supervision. They are thoroughly well supervised.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
All the men who supervise are permanent men. One hon. Member referred to the water of the Serpentine. It is moving water; it does not stand still. Really hon. Gentlemen should inform themselves. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is very dirty!"] It runs away; it is on the move. I think I have answered most of the serious questions put to me. I want to thank the Committee for the way in which they have received the Estimates. No one has really objected to them. The only thing hon. Members object to is myself. I am sorry that it is myself and that hon. Members have to see me here, but they cannot damn good work merely because I am the vehicle through which it is being done
§ Viscount WOLMER
I rise for two purposes. First I wish to thank the right hon. Gentleman for the full statement that he has made. But I wish also to say that I think he is extraordinarily sensitive, as a Minister, to criticisms which are made against him from the Opposition side. The right hon. Gentleman has been in Opposition himself for many years, and I am speaking within the recollection of many when I say that 1946 he did not mince his words in the least when he was in Opposition. When he had criticisms to make he made them forcibly, without any hesitation and with very little modesty. Now that he is a Minister he seems to resent the opposition when we ask for the reasons why he has done this, that or the other. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that we shall continue to ask him such questions. Whatever he may be, we are too democratic to forego the duty of an Opposition. The right hon. Gentlemen who are now in office may have so little opinion of the House of Commons that they desire untrammelled freedom of motion and authority in their own Departments, but I can assure them that we shall insist on scrutinising every single thing that they do. One question the right hon. Gentleman did not answer, and I should be very grateful if he would give us information upon that one point. It is in regard to the 400 or 600 men for whom he has been able to find employment. Can he say how long he hopes to be able to keep these men in employment?
§ Viscount WOLMER
That is to the end of the financial year. Has the right hon. Gentleman any plans in mind to give them more permanent employment?
§ Viscount WOLMER
I shall not go further into the matter than to say that I am sure all parties would think it a great pity if the right hon. Gentleman is merely spending the money to give temporary employment to these unfortunate men. As he has been able to give them employment during the winter, I hope that he will do what in him lies to give them employment throughout the summer as well. In conclusion let me say that I live near Regent's Park, and that I have seen a good deal, though not all, of the work of the right hon. Gentleman there, and that I think that a lot of it is going to be a very great improvement. I personally do not desire to criticise the work that is going on in that particular part. What the pavilion will be like, we do not know yet, but as regards the rose garden and the pond and even the paddle-boat pond, though some people do not like it, I, as a father of a large family, see a point behind it.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 232; Noes, 141.1949
|Division No. 174.]||AYES.||[6.58 p.m.|
|Adamson, Ht. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Haycock, A. W.||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Hayes, John Henry||Owen, H. F. (Herelord)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Palmer, E. T.|
|Angeil, Norman.||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Perry, S. F.|
|Arnott, John||Hoffman, P. C.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Hollins, A.||Potts, John S.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hopkin, Daniel||Price, M. P.|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie||Pybus, Percy John|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Horrabin, J. F.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Bellamy, Albert||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Raynes, W. R.|
|Bennett, Captain E. N.(Cardiff, Central)||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Richards, R.|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Richardson. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Bowen, J. W.||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Ritson, J.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Kedward, R. M (Kent, Ashford)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Kelly, W. T.||Romeril, H. G.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Kennedy, Thomas||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Bromley, J.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Rothschild, J. de|
|Brooke, W.||Kinley, J.||Rowson, Guy|
|Brothers, M.||Kirkwood, D.||Russell Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molten)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Buchanan, G.||Lang, Gordon||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Burgess, F. G.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Lathan, G.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Calne, Derwent Hall.||Law, A. (Rossendale)||Sandham, E.|
|Cameron, A. G.||Lawrence, Susan||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Cape, Thomas||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Scott, James|
|Carter. W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Lawson, John James||Scurr, John|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Chater, Daniel||Leach, W.||Shield, George William|
|Church, Major A. G.||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Clarke, J. S.||Lees, J.||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lewis. T. (Southampton)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour.||Logan, David Gilbert||Simmons, C. J.|
|Compton, Joseph||Longbottom, A. W.||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Daggar, George||Longden, F.||Sinkinson, George|
|Dallas, George||Lowth, Thomas||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lunn, William||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Day, Harry||McElwee, A.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||McEntee, V. L.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Dukes, C.||McKinlay. A.||Snell, Harry|
|Duncan, Charles||MacLaren, Andrew||Stephen, Campbell|
|Ede, James Chuter||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Mansfield, W.||Strauss, G. R.|
|Egan, W. H.||March, S.||Sullivan, J.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Marcus, M.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Markham, S. F.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Foot, Isaac||Marley. J.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Forgan, Dr. Robert||Marshall, Fred||Toole. Joseph|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham. Upton)||Mathers, George||Townend, A. E.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Matters. L. W.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Maxton, James||Turner, B.|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lanes. Mossley)||Messer, Fred||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Gill, T. H.||Middleton, G.||Viant, S. P.|
|Glassey, A. E.||Mills. J. E.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Gossling, A. G.||Montague, Frederick||Walker, J.|
|Gould, F.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Morley, Ralph||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Gray, Milner||Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Watkins, F. C.|
|Greenwood. Rt. Hon. A. (Colne).||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morrison. Herbert (Hackney, South)||Welsh, James (Paisley)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Mort, D. L.||West, F. R.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Moses, J. J. H.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Muff, G.||Whiteley, Wllfrid (Blrm., Ladywood)|
|Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Muggeridge, H. T.||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Naylor, T. E.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Hardle, George D.||Noel Baker, P. J.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)||Wood. Major McKenzie (Banff)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)||Wright, W. (Rutherglen)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Allen Parkinson.|
|Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Wise, E. F.|
|Albery, Irving James||Fermoy, Lord||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Fielden, E. B.||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Fison, F. G. Clavering||Remer, John R.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)||Ford, Sir P. J.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Ganzoni, Sir John||Ross, Major Ronald D.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Balniel, Lord||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Gower, Sir Robert||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Savery, S. S.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Bowater, Col, Sir T. Vansittart||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfst)|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Hannon. Patrick Joseph Henry||Skeiton, A. N.|
|Bracken, B.||Hartington, Marquess of||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Hills. Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Somerset, Thomas|
|Brown, brig.-Gen. K. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Buchan, John||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hudson. Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Butler. R. A.||Hurd, Percy A.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Iveagh, Countess of||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Cayzer. Sir C. (Chester, City)||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||King, Commodore Rt. Hon. Henry D.||Todd, Capt. A. J.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Train, J.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Lleweilln, Major J. J.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Ward. Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Lymington, Viscount||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Mac Robert. Rt. Hon. Alexander M.||Warnender, Sir Victor|
|Croft Brigadier-General Sir H.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Mond, Hon. Henry||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Davies. Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Muirhead, A. J.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrst'ld)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L||O'Neill, Sir H.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Penny, Sir George|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Captain Margesson and Major the Marquess of Titchfield.|
Question put, and agreed to.