HC Deb 19 March 1931 vol 249 cc2148-9
Mr. JAMES WELSH (Coatbridge)

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if his attention has been drawn to the letter which appeared in the "Times" on 7th March, signed by Members of Parliament and others, asking that the question of the siting of the National Library of Scotland should be examined by a small committee representing both technical and lay opinion, and whether the Government are prepared to adopt this suggestion?

The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Mr. William Adamson)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. In view of the facts that the control of the National Library of Scotland is by Statute vested solely in A board of trustees representative of Scotland; that the question of sites has been carefully examined by these trustees; and that they have reached a definite conclusion in favour of the site on George IV Bridge, the Government is not prepared to take a step which would in effect amount to superseding the trustees in a matter which is clearly within their statutory duties and powers. The answer to the last part of the question is, therefore, in the negative.


Is my right hon. Friend not aware that a considerable amount of indignation has arisen through the way this matter has been handled, and that opinion is very much against the site?


Even though the right hon. Gentleman has decided not to refer the matter to a committee, as suggested, is it not possible for him to use his good offices in the friendliest possible way with the trustees to see whether it would not be possible for them once more to examine the case in view of the large amount of opinion which desires that this re-examination shall be carried out?


I am fully aware that there has been a considerable amount of agitation going on regarding the site chosen by the trustees. But my hon. Friend is also aware that we have scarcely ever had a site chosen in Edinburgh for any public building regarding which there has not been a similar amount of agitation. With regard to the point put by the hon. and gallant Gentleman, it would be quite easy for me to suggest reconsideration, but to do so would be simply to keep up an agitation which has its support on both sides and is delaying the building of an institution which, in my opinion, has already been too long delayed.