§ Read a Second time, and committed.
§ 7.31 p.m.
§ Sir WILLIAM DAVISON
I beg to move,That it be an Instruction to the Committee to which the Bill is referred that they amend Part I of the Schedule thereto by striking out in the second column, paragraph (c), of Item 7, the words 'or the demolition thereof and the erection of a new bridge.'If hon. Members will turn to the Schedule to the Bill, on page 6, they will find under Item 7 of paragraph (c) that power is taken forthe reconditioning of Waterloo Bridge or the demolition thereof, and the erection of a new bridge.
The Motion, it carried, would mean that the decision already arrived at by this House two years ago, when the same question was discussed at length, shall stand and that, so far as Parliament is concerned, Waterloo Bridge shall be reconditioned to take four lines of traffic, and shall not be demolished with a view to the erection of a new bridge in its place. I feel that some apology is due to the House of Commons and to Parliament that Parliament should again be troubled with discussing a matter which they considered so fully and dealt with so decisively on the 1st June, 1932, almost exactly two years ago. I think there can be no doubt whatever that had the same London County Council as promoted the Bill two years ago been still in office they would never have dreamed of asking Parliament to reconsider the decision
which was reached at that time. Indeed, we know that this is the case, as when the new London County Council, under the leadership of Mr. Herbert Morrison, proposed that application should again be made to Parliament to provide 60 per cent. of the cost of pulling down the old bridge and building a new bridge, Sir Percy Simmons, on behalf of the party who were in a majority on the old Council, moved an Amendment to this effect—I take it from the "Times" of the 28th March:
Having regard to the fact that the Waterloo Bridge controversy had extended over 10 years, the Council, in order to secure finality, was not prepared to reopen the question, as the late Council had decided to end the controversy by accepting the offer of the Government of a grant of 60 per cent. towards the cost of reconditioning the old bridge.
If the late Council would not have applied to Parliament to reconsider this matter —and there is little doubt that, even if they had applied, Parliament would have refused to reconsider it—I am at a loss to understand why the present predominantly Conservative House should change the opinion which was expressed two years ago simply at the instance of a small Socialist majority on the London County Council, the more so as the decision again to appeal to Parliament was only carried by the small majority of 24 votes, 77 members voting for and 63 against. A great many of us in this House know and respect Mr. Herbert Morrison as a most able political organiser, and these being the facts, Mr. Morrison is now suggesting that Parliament two years ago decided that Waterloo Bridge should be reconditioned rather than pulled down without having had the case of the Port of London Authority and the river users generally before their mind. I submit that this is a travesty of the facts of the case. May I remind the House, first of all, that in the Memorandum which was sent round 2 years ago to every Member of the House by the promoters of the Bill, on page 4, the case of the river users was fully emphasised? I will quote two sentences:
From the point of view of the navigation of the river, the provision of a bridge with fewer than the present eight river arches is of the utmost importance, as the action of the tidal current upon the course of a vessel makes the navigation of the archways of the existing bridge very difficult.
Further down it emphasises the great advantage of the new bridge for the river traffic beneath it, and points to the increasing use of the river as a traffic way by colliers and other craft. This, it urges, is a most important factor for the House of Commons to consider. Secondly, at the time when this Bill was under consideration by the House of Commons two years ago, I need scarcely remind the House that the case of the river users generally was discussed at length in the public Press of the country; and thirdly, and most important of all, I would ask the House to remember that the report of the Royal Commission on Cross-River Traffic was again and again referred to in the Debate two years ago, and the conclusions arrived at by them were urged by myself and others who spoke as the proper conclusions for the House to accept, and were finally adopted by the House. In view of the strong reliance placed by Mr. Herbert Morrison on this aspect of the case, and also in view of certain paragraphs in the White Paper which has been circulated to Members, I hope I may be forgiven if I read a few paragraphs from the evidence given by Lord Ritchie, who was then, and is still, chairman of the Port of London Authority, and who addressed a meeting of Members a few weeks ago in the Grand Committee Room in Westminster Hall. The chairman of the Royal Commission said:
Lord Ritichie, you are chairman of the Port of London Authority, and you are giving evidence on their behalf. … As to the nature of the traffic (on the river), it consists, apart from certain large vessels, very largely of tugs towing six barges. … There is a tail of 480 feet long. It is that system of navigation, I suppose, which constitutes one of the chief difficulties in getting through the bridges?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Are you satisfied that this is the best and most economical system of using the river—barges towed by tugs?
I think that the fact that this is how the traffic is managed is good evidence that it is the best way of it being conducted."
I want the House to notice particularly the next question and answer;
§ "The CHAIRMAN
They also point out that it makes exceptional difficulties in navigating the bridges, and the bridges, of course, cannot be done away with. One has to try to reconcile the two interests, of the cross-river users and the up and down river users?
I do not think the Port of London Authority take up the attitude that they object to bridges. I do not want you to think, for instance, that I have come here as an advocate of the destruction of Waterloo Bridge. It is an impediment to the traffic on the river, but it is not so serious an impediment as to warrant the destruction of what I think, and I think most people think, is one of the most beautiful things we have get in this country, so I do not want you to think I have come here as an advocate of that. What I have really come here for is to impress upon you the necessity there is in our opinion for our having a voice in whatever is done in the way of building new bridges across the river.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I cannot conceive that we would make any recommendations ignoring the Port of London Authority, which is responsible for the user of the river. I think we should not do anything of the kind; but before we leave that point, that you yourself made, with regard to Waterloo Bridge, I take it that you regard it (I am assuming now that it is in its original condition, I mean not in its present partially blocked condition) as increasing the difficulties of navigation, yet you have not regarded and do not regard it as so serious an obstacle to navigation that you wish to see it removed?
That is so, but that brings me to say this, if I may; amongst the other proposals or suggestions that have been made was one that the bridge should be widened. … It is easy to imagine how the difficulties of navigating the bridge would be accentuated if it was increased in width.
Yes, in tunnel width. So that if any suggestion of that kind were made, of course we (the Port of London Authority) would have a good deal to say.
§ The CHAIRMAN
But granting that at all times considerable skill has been required to navigate this particular bridge, it has been successfully accomplished, has it not?
§ The CHAIRMAN
And according to a return which we have received covering the period from April, 1921, to March, 1924— that is, up to the time when the new staging was erected in connection with the bridge—there were no accidents of any sort or description, either to vessels or to cargo or to crews of the ships?
§ The CHAIRMAN
And it is only since the bridge has been largely blocked by the repair works that there have been some minor casualties, not to life, but a few casualties in connection with vessels passing through?
§ The CHAIRMAN
But until the bridge was partially blocked there were apparently no accidents of any kind?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Showing that although extra skill is required, it is within the accomplishment of the river navigators?
§ The CHAIRMAN
And therefore does not have to be taken into very grave account."
I have detained the House by reading what I think are very apposite quotations from the evidence given before the Royal Commission on Cross-River Traffic by the chairman of the Port of London Authority, and I ask the House to consider if anything bas occurred in the last two years which has materially altered the position. Lord Ritchie is still the chairman. He tells us he did not come as an advocate of the destruction of the bridge, and that he did not regard it as so serious an impediment to navigation that he would wish the bridge demolished. That is exactly the case that my hon. Friends and I put to the House to-day. The chairman of the Royal Commission said it was the duty of the Commission to try to reconcile the two interests, of the cross-river users and the up and down river users, and I submit that it is the same duty that lies upon Parliament to-night. The Port of London Authority have always taken the line that they would rather have no bridges at all, that if there must be bridges, they would like suspension bridges, but the bridge that they would dislike most is a tunnel bridge, and that is exactly what Mr. Herbert Morrison and the London County Council are proposing to-day.
I raised this matter when Lord Ritchie and his friends were in the Committee Room a few weeks ago, and I asked the River Superintendent of the Port of London whether he agreed that, if the length of the tunnel of the bridge were increased navigation would be more difficult, and he naturally said it would, though he qualified it by saying that the wider the tunnel the less the difficulty would be. [HON. MEMBERS: "Obviously!"] Yes; obviously. The wider the archway the less the obstruction would be, and he said that if you increased the tunnel length it added to the difficulties of navigation, though that would be mitigated if 265 the tunnel were widened. I agree that that is obvious. The only other point in Lord Ritchie's evidence to which I would draw the attention of the House is that until the bridge was partially blocked by the temporary bridge there was no accident of any sort either to vessels, cargo or to crews. That is a very important point. I trust that I have said enough to dispose of the contention that the case of the river users had not been fully discussed both by the Royal Commission and by the public before Parliament arrived at its decision by a large majority two years ago. The Royal Commission unanimously decided that Waterloo Bridge should be reconditioned for four lines of traffic. Their decision, which Parliament accepted, was as follows: It is proposed to corbel out the footways of the bridge so that it will take four lines of traffic instead of the present three, and by so doing it will practically double the capacity of the bridge. Four lines of bridge traffic is equivalent to six, and, many people will tell you, to eight lines of ordinary street traffic. The reason is that it is a continuous flow; there are no shops to stop the vehicles; no gas or water pipes going into premises to be repaired; and, except for the occasional repairing of the surface of the bridge, there is practically a continuous flow of traffic. At such occasional times as the road surface has to be repaired it can be done at night when the traffic is light.
Another point was that four lines of traffic, and especially four lines of bridge traffic, going into the Strand was quite as much as the Strand could take, and that, if there are six lines of bridge traffic, as is now proposed, into the Strand, it will moan confusion worse confounded. It must be remembered that when a six-line bridge was first contemplated the county council had in mind that two of the lines would be trams, but that has since been abandoned. Then it was suggested that the traffic should be taken through a subway under the Strand, but that has been found impracticable. I am told that, owing to the merry-go-round that has been created recently at Wellington Street, the traffic difficulty has been solved, but there are many Members of the House, including myself, who have waited five or six minutes in an omnibus in order to cross Wellington Street to get towards 266 Trafalgar Square. If there has been an improvement, there is still great room for further improvement, and goodness knows what would happen if we had six lines of traffic going into the Strand from Waterloo Bridge.
With regard to the question of river navigation, even if Lord Ritchie's evidence that practically no accident occurred prior to the repairs to the bridge had been less conclusive than it was, I submit that the system of having six barges in tow on a tug (the main cause of the difficulty in navigating the bridge), is archaic and should no longer be permitted. I have made inquiries, and I am told that on no other great European river highway is that done. I doubt if it is done in America, but I have no particular knowledge. I ask the House to consider what would have been said if in the Transport Bill which my hon. Friend the Minister of Transport is piloting so skilfully through the House, provision had been made for permitting six lorries to be attached to a tractor along the Great West Road or other highway. Why should a similar system be permitted on the Thames? If you destroy all the bridges over the river, barges can take up the whole river, but as long as there are bridges the towing of so many barges is a curious form of traffic at this time of day when all other rivers of the kind are navigated with barges with an auxiliary motor.
It must be remembered that whatever you do to Waterloo Bridge you have to go through Westminster Bridge, every arch of which, except the centre arch, is smaller than the arches of Waterloo Bridge. Moreover, the clearance of Westminster Bridge is six feet less than that of Waterloo Bridge. I submit, therefore, that the talk of providing for oceangoing steamers coming up through the new bridge at Waterloo, whether suspension or otherwise, is futile, because they would have to pass through Westminster Bridge. May I also remind the House of a matter to which attention was drawn in a letter to the "Times" the other day viz. the fact that no regulation for the use of the two arches of Waterloo Bridge has been made by the Port of London Authority whereby the left-hand arch shall be used by up-river and the right-hand arch by down-river traffic. It is plain that, un-guided, the traffic might sometimes meet 267 in the middle of one of the arches if our navigators were not the extraordinarily skilful men that they are.
I will refer next to the comparative cost of the proposals. The estimate of the County Council for reconditioning the bridge is £685,000. That, however, is an outside figure, and I am advised by Sir Harley Dalrymple Hay, who is the engineer to the underground railways and designed the four tubes underneath the Thames, that it is an over-estimate. On the other hand, the London County Council estimate for the erection of a new bridge is £1,296,000. This estimate, I am advised, was for a steel bridge, and not a granite-faced bridge of the type proposed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, which would unquestionably cost more. Further, it is now proposed to have the arches 180 feet wide instead of the proposal that was made before of 150 feet arches in a steel bridge. I am told that the total cost of the new bridge, the pulling down of the temporary bridge, and the erection of a new temporary bridge would be at least £2,200,000. If, on the other hand, the bridge were reconditioned, there would be a saving of £1,500,000. The Royal Commission, the County Council, and I believe every one else are of opinion that the real key position for a bridge is at Charing Cross.
The London County Council in the statement issued yesterday dismiss the scheme as not a matter of practical politics as it would cost over £15,000,000. They failed to point out, however, what was in the estimates which they them-selves submitted in 1930 to a Parliamentary Committee, that of that amount no less than between £11,000,000 and £12,000,000 was required for pulling down Charing Cross Station and re-erecting it, pulling down the railway bridge, pulling down Coutts Bank and erecting a new bank, and a large scheme of betterment on the other side of the river. There was a sum of only £1,140,000 for the bridge itself. I am advised by the highest engineering authority that that sum is ample for the bridge, and that if you add to that sum a further amount of £1,500,000, or say £3,000,000 in all, you can have a first class traffic bridge with proper approaches, making a most valuable traffic improvement, and leaving Charing Cross Railway Bridge and 268 station and the other improvements until such time as the money, both municipal and national, is available.
I want the House to compare the respective dangers, difficulties, and dislocation of traffic in the two schemes. In order to carry out the county council scheme the present bridge would have to be pulled down. Waterloo Bridge is per-haps the most massive bridge in the world, for it contains 100,000 tons of granite and other material. Every pier of the bridge has 10,000 tons of granite. That will all have to be pulled down bit by bit and put into lighters, which will have to take it away. In order to get the piers down you will have to put down coffer-dams, which will be at least 65 feet in width and of considerable length. The House will readily understand the obstruction to traffic that that will cause. Gantries will have to be put up, stages provided, and hon. Members will appreciate the immense nature of the work. Then, when the bridge is removed, the temporary bridge will have to be removed, because the temporary bridge piers are in line with the piers of the present bridge. That will stop all traffic across the river at this point. If you look at a plan showing the new five-arch bridge you will find that the piers of the temporary bridge come into the open spans of the new bridge, and I am authorised by Mr. Muirhead of William Muirhead and Partners, who built Vauxhall Bridge, to say that it is an impossibility for the temporary bridge to be allowed to remain if the present stone bridge is removed. This work will take at least seven years, and very likely nine years. During a great deal of that time the traffic will be stopped altogether, and for the whole of the time it will be only two lines.
On the other hand, if you recondition the bridge, it will take at most three and a-half years, but the time for underpinning the piers will be only two years. During the whole of this time the bridge can be used for traffic except for three months, because the London County Council say that the present bridge must be lightened of certain of its roofing, but when the bridge is closed the temporary bridge will still remain open. Therefore for three and a-half years you would have four lines of 269 traffic in continual operation, and only for three months would the bridge be closed.
I am obliged to the House for listening to me so patiently. I had to give figures, which are sometimes boring, but I think they were apropos. Mr. Morrison, in addressing the London County Council on the 27th March, stated that the real trouble was that some people looked upon Waterloo Bridge as a monument. Waterloo Bridge is a monument, and, as Lord Ritchie stated before the Royal Commission, it is one of the most beautiful monuments in Great Britain. I pointed out to the House two years ago that Canova, the great Italian sculptor, said that it was the noblest building in the world, well worth coming all the way from Rome to London to see. But it is not only a monument it is also a war memorial, the same as the Cenotaph is to us. It was opened on the 18th June, 1817, by the Prince Regent, accompanied by the Duke of Wellington and delegations from all the British Regiments still in France, who came over for the ceremony. It was formally named The Waterloo Bridge by Act of Parliament passed in 1816, 56 Geo. III, which recited in its Preamble thatThe bridge was a work of great stability and magnificence, and as such adapted to transmit to posterity the remembrance of great and glorious achievements, and that a name should be given to the bridge which should be a lasting record of the brilliant and decisive victory achieved by His Majesty's Forces in conjunction with those of his Allies on the 18th June, 1815.Wherefore it was enacted,That from and after the passing of this Act the said bridge shall be called and denominated The Waterloo Bridge.For the reasons that I have given, historical, aesthetic, and practical, on grounds both of cost and of convenience, I ask the House to adhere to the decision at which they arrived, after full discussion, two years ago, and to refuse to grant public money for the pulling down of this historic national monument.
§ 8.4 p.m.
§ Sir JOHN WITHERS
I beg to second the Motion.
I do so with strong hesitation and reluctance, because I have the very greatest respect for the London County Council. They do their work magnificently and are a very wonderful body. Therefore, I have great difficulty in opposing their wishes. I certainly deprecate anything in the way 270 of allusion to any political aspect in the composition of that body at the present time. That has no effect whatever upon me. However, I am afraid that they are making a mistake. I considered the matter in very great detail in 1932 and I came to a conclusion at that time to which I adhere to-day. I do not think that anything very serious has happened since to cause one to change that opinion.
I should like to speak from experience. I have had my office in Arundel Street, Strand, close by Waterloo Bridge, for over 40 years. I pass by the end of Wellington Street every day of my life, sometimes twice, and I have passed over the bridge very many times. My opinion is that that is entirely a wrong place for the bridge. There is no really great approach from the north. If you shift a lot of new traffic from the south into the Strand at that point, which is now congested, heaven's knows what it will be afterwards. There is certainly a roundabout by the Gaiety Theatre, on the right, but it is too much to the east. In certain portions of the day there is great congestion of traffic there. If you put there a large amount of northern bound traffic from the south there would be very great trouble. A new bridge undoubtedly should be at Charing Cross, and when prosperous times come I hope that it will be there.
The hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) has put his point very clearly. I wish to emphasise the point he made that if we get by corbelling out on the side of the bridge four actual tracks for moving traffic, that will be sufficient. If the police do their duty to see that there is no loitering, I think that four lines of moving traffic will be adequate. I am greatly impressed by the fact that the re-conditioning of the bridge would cost about half what a new bridge will cost, and would interfere less with the river traffic. A new bridge would cost double and would block the river traffic for a much longer period. Lastly, there is the aesthetic point, in which I am particularly interested. It is a wonderful old bridge, a monument of London, and I should not like to see it go. I hope that I have not kept the House too long.
§ 8.9 p.m.
§ Mr. JOHN WILMOT
In asking the House to oppose the Motion for the Instruction, I should like to draw attention 271 to a number of statements which were made very ably by the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison). Those statements coincide with statements which have been very widely published in the Press, by circular to Members of Parliament, and by all manner of propaganda means, with a view to influencing the House on this matter. If I may say so with respect, the Mover of the Motion has done a disservice to his cause by introducing into what is essentially a matter of the good Government of London, and not a matter of party politics, considerations of a party political character. That it is not a party question is evidenced by the fact that the old council, like the new council, were unanimously of opinion that on its merits the building of a new bridge is the best method of dealing with this difficult and long-delayed question. It is inaccurate to say that on the London County Council there is a party division on the question of rebuilding and reconditioning. There is nothing of the kind. Both councils, old and new, are unanimous in their belief that, on the merits of the question, tactics aside, to rebuild the bridge is the best course. It is very unfortunate to convey the impression, which perhaps the hon. Member might not have intended to convey, that this is a matter of party politics on the London County Council. It is not, and I feel sure that it will not be a matter of party politics in this House.
The hon. Member for South Kensington has, I hope unwittingly, gravely misrepresented the situation and misled the House with nearly all the figures which he quoted. He said that they were apropos, but they were certainly not accurate. In view of the fact that those figures have been used in every attempt to create opinion on this matter, I think it is vitally necessary that the real facts about these curious figures should be known. A very important part of the propaganda against a new Waterloo Bridge has taken the form of casting doubts upon the competence of the council's engineer and their engineering advisors. It is suggested in this propaganda, in letters to the newspapers, and again to-night by the hon. Member for South Kensington that the estimates which the council have given as to the 272 relative cost of rebuilding and reconditioning bear no relation to the real facts. Eminent authority has been quoted to inflate the figures to enormous proportions.
§ Mr. WILMOT
The hon. Member shakes his head, but, if I heard him aright, he inflated a figure of £750,000 into £2,250,000, no small increase, and in doing that he threw direct doubt upon the competency of the estimates of the Council's engineers and advisers. It has been stated that the cost of building the bridge in accordance with the design of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott would be £2,200,000. The Council are not committed to that design or any other, but that design has been used as the basis for estimate and on the basis of that design the estimates of the Council's engineers and advisers is not £2,200,000 but £1,295,000. Therefore, the hon. Member made a trifling inaccuracy of nearly £1,000,000.
It is further suggested by opponents, and I think it is most important that the real facts should be known, that the time during which there would be, admittedly, interference with the navigation on the river and the cross-river road traffic, would for building the new bridge be greatly in excess of the time which would be taken in reconditioning the present bridge. The hon. Member's estimates seem to grow by what they feed on. In the first exaggerated estimate that I saw the time occupied for building a new bridge will be seven years, but the hon. Member has now thrown in another couple of years and the time has now become nine years.
§ Mr. WILMOT
On the other side he said the time for reconditioning the bridge would be two or three years. Fortunately, I am in a position this evening to give the House, with the authority of the London County Council, some important facts which bear upon those quite inaccurate statements. The House will remember that in pursuance of a decision arrived at previously the County Council invited tenders for reconditioning the bridge. Owing to the great amount of detail which has had to be examined it is only possible for me to place before 273 the House certain general particulars with regard to those tenders, but sufficient definite information is available— not on estimates, but on actual tenders to which the contractors will be bound —to show that the hon. Member's figures and estimates are very wide of the actual facts.
The original estimate for reconditioning was £685,000. That figure included some £65,000 for overhead charges and engineering expenses. If that £65,000 be deducted, in order to get the actual cost of reconditioning and to obtain a comparable figure with the tenders, the figure is £620,000. The council received 29 tenders from 17 firms. They invited the tenderers to submit tenders for alternative schemes. The lowest five of the tenders which comply with the council's formulated scheme range from. £574,000 to £615,000. The lowest tender, therefore, is within 7½ per cent. of the council's own estimate. Having regard to the range of the tenders I think the hon. Member will agree that the council's estimate was startlingly accurate; it came almost exactly to the actual figure of the tender. The advertisement for these tenders was an open one. In the light of this surprisingly accurate estimating the House, in considering the estimates of the council's engineers and their advisers, is entitled to regard them as competent estimators, and can set aside these, if I may say so, unjust statements that we ought to ignore entirely the estimates made by the London County Council.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
I did not quarrel with the £685,000. I said, on the contrary, that my advisers thought it was too high, and I understand now that it is too high.
§ Mr. WILMOT
I am afraid the hon. Member has not quite followed my point. My point is that if the council's engineers and advisers can forecast with such remarkable accuracy the cost of reconditioning the bridge, what reason have we to throw doubt upon their estimate for rebuilding, and what right bas the hon. Member to inflate their figure for rebuilding the bridge by nearly a million pounds? This inaccuracy in such a grave matter, because this has to be considered as an urgent business proposition, is even worse when we come to the question of time. Time is very strictly of the essence of this contract. The time which it will 274 take to recondition the bridge has been estimated by the council as accurately as the cost. The council estimate that the time will be about five years, and the 29 tenders vary as to time from four to six and a-half years, the average being five years and four months. So that when the hon. Member speaks of reconditioning this bridge in two years——
§ Sir W. DAVISON
No, three and a-half years for reconditioning the bridge, but the rebuilding of the two defective fliers and arches will take only two years, and the whole bridge will be open for traffic the whole time except for three months.
§ Mr. WILMOT
The hon. Member will, no doubt, be interested to know that the tenderers require an average of five years and four months, so that he has not only been grossly inaccurate about the cost but is two years wrong as to time. Here, again, the council's engineers and advisers have been absolutely accurate. The hon. Member spoke also of the added obstruction to navigation which would be involved in rebuilding. No doubt he will be very interested to learn that none of the tenderers could undertake to fulfil the minimum requirements of the Port of London Authority. The Port of London Authority laid down certain minimum requirements of navigation. I need not trouble the House with a technical description of those requirements, but none of the tenderers was able to satisfy them.
§ Mr. WILMOT
I am quoting from information which has been supplied to me on the authority of the London County Council, and I suggest that the House must be in possession of this information if it is to come to an informed decision. None of the tenderers would be able, while reconditioning the bridge, to maintain the minimum navigational facilities; but the council's engineers, whose competence and accuracy have been established, I submit, say that they can maintain all that the Port of London Authority asks for while building a new 275 bridge, and that they can build the new bridge within five years. Actually, therefore, the time involved will be less and the obstruction caused will be less.
The hon. Member went on to speak of the advantages of the Charing Cross Bridge scheme. I agree that it is impossible to consider this matter without also considering alternative traffic routes over the Thames, The House will agree that the hon. Member for South Kensington was wrong when he tried to isolate the cost of building Charing Cross Bridge from the cost of building the approaches to the bridge. A very large proportion of the cost of the Charing Cross Bridge scheme was the cost of the improvements both on the north and the south sides. It would be folly to contemplate a new bridge without at the same time making it usable, and it is the preparation of the approaches to the bridge in the south and the removal of obstructions to traffic on the north which involve the very heavy cost of the scheme.
When the commission considered this matter and recommended that the present Waterloo Bridge should be reconditioned to take four lines of traffic, they coupled with the recommendation the further recommendation that a new road bridge should be built at Charing Cross; it was, in fact, part of the same recommendation, They said, "We want 10 lines of traffic over the Thames within that sector," and they said: "We will provide for six at Charing Cross and four by repairing Waterloo Bridge." The recommendation was that the two developments should go on simultaneously, and, if there is to be no bridge for some years at Charing Cross, it becomes vitally necessary, in the interests of cross-river traffic, that six lines of traffic shall be provided at Waterloo.
In considering the Charing Cross Bridge scheme it is extremely important to remember what it involves. As the hon. Member has said, it involves spending some £15,000,000 of public money on the bridge and its approaches. Financial considerations are less stringent than they were when Parliament turned down the Charing Cross Bridge scheme, and I think I am right in my recollection when I say that the hon. Member for South Kensington, who is now 276 extolling the Charing Cross Bridge scheme, was one of those whose votes helped to defeat the only concrete scheme for a bridge at Charing Cross that has ever been put forward.
§ Mr. WILMOT
The Charing Cross Bridge scheme together with the reconditioning of Waterloo Bridge, that would provide 10 lines of traffic, involves expenditure of over £16,000,000. The suggestion of the London County Council is that six lines of traffic be provided at Waterloo Bridge, and the total cost of that will be £1,295,000. That, they suggest will provide for the traffic requirements in that sector of the river for the time being, and will meet the requirements as far as we can see ahead. While the Charing Cross Bridge scheme is not ruled out, it is felt by the council that money is wanted for urgent public needs, and that with the provision of six lines of traffic at Waterloo Bridge are more urgent, in point of time and in public consideration, than the Charing Cross scheme. The council feel, and I feel, that the House will support them in their proposal that, so long as adequate traffic facilities are provided, no money should be diverted from slum clearance and rehousing proposals. It is with the very great difficulty in mind of finding the necessary money for such purpose's which will be required, over and above the heavy expenditure of Charing Cross, that the council now make this suggestion.
I saw the suggestion again in the "Times" of this morning that the rebuilding of Waterloo Bridge would destroy for ever the hope of clearing up that patch of squalor on the south bank. I fail to see how anybody can logically accept that statement. Why should it be that a new bridge at Charing Cross will automatically town-plan the south bank of the Thames while a new Waterloo Bridge will automatically destroy all hope of that town-planning? The present chaotic condition of the south bank is, in my view and in the view of the overwhelming majority of all parties on the London County Council a disgrace and a blot on London. The south bank between Westminster Bridge and Black-friars Bridge is the geographical heart 277 of London. Properly planned and developed, it could be a pride and a joy to the city.
§ Mr. WILMOT
I am glad to hear the hon. Member say that. That is exactly what the London County Council want to do. If the hon. Gentleman will read the proceedings of the council, and I am afraid he does not, judging from a quotation which he made earlier in his speech——
§ Mr. WILMOT
That was only half of it, and that was the unfortunate thing about it. If the hon. Gentleman had read the whole quotation he would have seen that members of the council unanimously affirmed their belief in that same resolution that a new bridge at Waterloo was the best thing. He did not quote that. If he had followed the proceedings of the London County Council, he would have seen that they had in mind to set about the job of replanning and redeveloping the south bank of the Thames. That is one of the necessary collateral developments, with this long-drawn out controversy of Waterloo Bridge, which should be settled once and for all.
I hope that the House will pay no attention to purely irresponsible statements that, if permission be given to the council to rebuild Waterloo Bridge, that automatically destroys the hope of town-planning on the south side. The hon. Member for South Kensington spoke about the difficulties which would be created by six lines of traffic being emptied into the Strand. Nobody proposes that six lines of traffic should be emptied into the Strand, because three lines will come out of the Strand and three lines will go into the Strand. Three will go south and three will go north; so the hon. Member here again bas inflated his problem by 100 per cent. The position is one upon which I am not competent to pass judgment. I see that the hon. Member for Central Wands-worth (Sir H. Jackson), who for many years has rendered distinguished service as Chairman of the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee, made an authoritative pronouncement on 278 this question when the House was considering the matter two years ago, and, if I am not wearying the House with what I think is of vital importance, I will quote a few words of what is considered an expert opinion arising out of a very ripe experience. He said:We are convinced that, if there were a bridge with six lines of traffic there"—that is, at Waterloo Bridge—the present fluidity of traffic is such that not only would congestion not happen but that the traffic would be admirably dealt with. The police report on congestion in the neighbourhood of the Strand since this experiment"—of the roundabout—was tried is that it has resulted in a steady improvement in the flow of traffic … We are confident that by that method we have the answer to our friends who ask how we can deal with the six lines of traffic over Waterloo Bridge."—[OFFICIAI. REPORT, 1st June, 1932; col. 1277, Vol. 266.]That is the opinion, if I may say so, of the Member of this House who has the greatest possible authority on questions of London traffic, and I see no reason why the House should cease to have regard for it.
There is another very important side to this question, which was touched upon by the hon. Member. It is possibly the paramount consideration, for London stands upon the Thames because it is the Thames— because it is a navigable river; and, while other considerations have to be given their due weight, I think that probably the vital thing in dealing with the Thames is to maintain its navigation. I have shown that in the estimates received for this work, although the tenderers knew that they were required to preserve certain minimum navigational facilities, they were quite unable to do so. This question of navigation is a very technical one, and I should hope that the hon. Member for South Kensington will agree that, in quoting, as he did, the evidence of Lord Ritchie before the Royal Commission, he was doing him a great injustice——
§ Mr. WILMOT
Lord Ritchie is the chairman of the Port of London Authority, and Lord Ritchie claimed, the hon. Member said, to have the voice of the Port of London Authority heard when alterations of London's bridges were in contemplation. The voice of the Port of 279 London Authority has been heard on this very matter which we are discussing today, in a considered statement——
§ Mr. WILMOT
Because the hon. Member does not agree with it, I hope he is not going to try to stifle it. The Port of London Authority have issued an authoritative pronouncement on this problem which we are considering to-day, but, as this is a highly technical question, I will leave it to another Member of the House, the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Clarke), who speaks with unquestioned authority as one who has personal knowledge of the problems concerned, to deal with the navigational aspect of the matter. In the few minutes that remain, might I refer to the various appeals which have been made for the preservation of the architecture of this fine old bridge, Rennie's masterpiece? I yield to no one in my love of and devotion to the beauty of London, and especially the beauty of old London, but I think we are bound to have regard to the necessities of a modem city. We are bound to have regard to questions of comfort and convenience and to the possibility of (modern trade and modern commerce. But, if I may say so to the hon. Member with all respect, we are not faced with the alternative of destroying a beautiful piece of architecture or of preserving it. The chance of preserving it has already gone; it has itself fallen down. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] It has fallen down. No one who looks at it to-day can do so without a feeling of sorrow and, indeed, of some shame. For more than 10 years that bridge has been in splints, with a bad and sorrowful crack in two of its beautiful arches, and I was thinking today, as I passed a school, that no child in that school has ever seen Waterloo Bridge in any other condition. The alternative before us is not preservation or destruction; the alternative before us is whether we will bow to the inevitable, realise that the bridge has served its purpose, and let it go, or whether we will so deal with it as to render it a mere shadow and distortion of its previous beauty.
I would like, if I may, to quote one other eminent opinion. I suppose that the hon. Member will not question the 280 competence of Sir Edwin Lutyens. This problem of how to preserve the beauty of the bridge and yet render it capable of dealing with modern conditions was submitted to that eminent artist and architect. He said that he had explored every avenue of approach to this problem, with due regard to the data and the drawings of the engineers, and he had, he feared, been unable to arrive at any satisfactory design whereby the bridge could be widened by corbelling it out. He said:To overhang the footways would altogether destroy the architectural character of Rennie's bridge, which relies entirely upon the spontaneous and direct motive of arch and pillared buttress. The narrowness of the bridge emphasises its robust character, and to link the buttresses with any horizontal line that would throw into shadow the crown of the arches would completely mutilate the character of the original design, and would create, in fact, not only a new bridge, but an ugly one.That is the opinion of, perhaps, the greatest architect of modern times; and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, whose name was most improperly attached to propaganda of the character which I have described, has himself said that he is entirely opposed on aesthetic grounds to this treatment of Rennie's bridge. I am afraid I have detained the House too long, but in conclusion might I repeat that we have not the alternative of preserving unimpaired this admitted architectural masterpiece or of building a new bridge; the alternative before us is so to mutilate the character of Rennie's bridge as to desecrate the memory of that great artist and at the same time fail to provide either the cross-river traffic facilities or the under-bridge navigation facilities which those most competent to express an opinion demand.
The hon. Member very eloquently called upon history to support his case, but I am afraid he does not realise the extent to which the verdict of history is sharply against him. I came across to-day, among a small collection of books which I have on London's history, this very interesting volume issued by the Corporation of London, as the bridges authority for the City, on the completion of the Tower Bridge some 40 years ago. It contains the history of all London's bridges, and, on looking through it again, especially 281 as to the history of London Bridge, I was amazed to find that there was an hon. Member—not for South Kensington, but for somewhere else—who took precisely the same attitude towards the demolition of Old London Bridge. In taking that attitude, he was standing on much more ancient and hallowed ground than we are to-day, for Old Peter Colechurch's bridge had stood there since 1174, nearly 700 years. The same debates went on in this House, and the same debates went on on the bridges authority of that day. Money was poured out to recondition, to widen, to corbell, to underpin, and in the end they had to build a new bridge. History has precisely repeated itself in the case of Waterloo Bridge, and, curiously enough, when the new London Bridge came to be built, the London Bridge which stands to-day it was built by Rennie and his father, the same Rennie who built Waterloo Bridge, which has nobly served us but has failed to withstand the very special stresses caused by the set of the tide at the apex of the great bend of London's river. I hope the House will face this problem as an urgent business problem of good London government and will pass the Bill without the Instruction in order that the authority which Parliament itself has appointed as the bridges authority for London may be able unencumbered to get on with its work.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. CLARKE
Before stating the case for the navigational interests so closely linked with the problem of Waterloo Bridge, I should like to tell the House how much I appreciate the work done by the London Committee and all those bodies concerned with the amenities of London. In doing this I know that I am voicing the feelings of all those organisations for which I speak. Surely no Englishman can fail to be thrilled by the romance and the historic memories which cling around our ancient monuments. Surely no Englishman would ruthlessly destroy any one of them. But I am certain that everyone here will agree that our country has greater historical and romantic interests than those connected with ancient monuments. Surely we hold more dearly the historic recollections and romantic traditions of our great industries and the lives of our countrymen who are carrying on those industries. If 282 it was a question of saving one or the other, we should perforce save the livelihood of our people first. Suppose a beautiful country mansion were on fire, however wonderful and romantic its history, one's first thought would be for the people inside, and then we should preserve as much of the building as possible. I contend that this describes symbolically the problem that we have before us. Waterloo Bridge has certain aesthetic values for all of us but, as it stands to-day, it menaces the industrial development and the livelihood of thousands of our people. It is my privilege, as a practical freeman of the River Thames, to emphasise the views of the Port of London Authority, the Association of Master Lightermen, the Thames River Users Association, the British Chambers of Commerce and, last but not least, the men who work the river, men who by their skill and courage for many centuries have gained for themselves a privilege possessed by the men of no other river in the world
With all the expert experience and knowledge that they have behind them, all these bodies are united in their opinion that the opportunity should be taken to demolish the existing bridge and re-erect in its place a bridge with greater facilities for navigational progress. Although they feel a suspension bridge to be the ideal to be aimed at they recognise that other considerations may make this impracticable. They are of the very definite opinion, however, that the minimum requirements of present day river traffic demand a bridge at the bend of the river here of not more than five arches. They are also unanimously of the opinion that Waterloo Bridge is the greatest obstacle to river navigation to-day. There are many difficulties. The arches are too small—there are eight in all—the bridge is at the apex of a bend and the navigator has no clear vision through the arches. In steering a vessel up through the bridge it is necessary to lake into consideration the cross set of the tide and to steer more or less for a buttress of the bridge, allowing for the tide to carry you through. This is a very precarious bit of navigation and in certain conditions it is almost impossible. If one studies the photographs that were circulated at the recent meeting, one will see the scores in the archways where vessels have bumped through.
283 There are greater difficulties at the top of spring tide, when a great amount of land water is often coming down from the Tipper reaches and when there is a very rapid flow. There are other difficulties at the lowest neaps, when the water is at times very restricted under the arches and with certain squalls and other freaks of the elements larger vessels find the navigation extremely difficult. It is, perhaps, not known to all that there are only three hours on the top of each tide when it is possible for the larger vessels to navigate the bridge, and only five hours in the case of smaller vessels. The dangers of collision in consequence are very considerable and, with the constant increase of traffic and the great number of petrol barges passing up, a collision would be a very serious thing.
It is necessary to have some conception of the magnitude of the Port of London in sizing up the situation with regard to navigation through Waterloo Bridge. There is a great danger in the future of this becoming a bottle-neck in the navigation of the river. The Port of London extends over 75 miles. There are 700 acres of enclosed dock water and 55,000,000 tons coming into the port with cargoes valuing over £700,000,000. The Thames is still the great highway of London and its extension is going on rapidly in the direction of the upper reaches. It is an actual fact that no fewer than 400 to 500 vessels pass underneath the bridge every tide, and no less than 55,000 tons of material are carried through it every day of the week. That material is absolutely essential to the communal life of London. It represents food supplies, raw materials for factories, huge quantities of coal for the Water Board's pumping stations, the big power stations and gas undertakings. There are also the general goods going to the various railheads and the huge tonnage of refuse which serves the sanitary service for London. This is an ever-increasing traffic, and it is obvious that sooner or later it will reach a point when, if the bridge is not pulled down and a fresh bridge put in its place, traffic will have to be restricted and, when restriction of traffic comes, it will not be possible to get those materials to the various factories and other places except by road, which will increase the road problem very considerably.
284 The river workers will also suffer unless something is done to the bridge. They have already suffered considerably during the last few years. There is a great amount of unemployment among the dockers and river workers. They have been hit very badly by the advent of the light-draught Dutch motor vessels carrying goods direct from the Continent to the upper portions of the river, and the arrival of the tariff has for the time being affected their trade very considerably inasmuch as a great amount of stuff now comes over in the form of raw material and is manufactured here and the tonnage is correspondingly low. Therefore, we must in our consideration of the matter take into account the men who have worked the river for so many years, because they played a great part in our national history. Many of the men who were recruited to man the ships that were built on this great river years ago went out to fight the Armada and took part in many of our maritime wars. The river continues to breed a no less daring race. These men are very skilful navigators, they played a very great part in the last War and their livelihood is a matter of consideration for Parliament.
On the subject of the various points of opposition which have been very skilfully dealt with already, I would like to say something on the question of the length of the archways. It has been said that if the archways were lengthened it would increase the difficulties of navigation. The navigator would not agree. If he were given an extra width of arch he would be thoroughly compensated in vision. Therefore, there is nothing; in that argument. The point that the bridge is not an obstacle is not agreed to by practical men on the river. All are unanimous in their opinion. The experts say that the bridge should come down, and they agree with them.
§ Lord BALNIEL
The hon. Member says that all experts are agreed that the bridge should come down. May I point out that Lord Ritchie states in evidence:I do not want you to think that I have come as an advocate for the destruction of Waterloo Bridge. It is an impediment to the traffic of the river, but it is not so serious an impediment as to warrant the destruction of the bridge.
§ Mr. CLARKE
It is true that Lord Ritchie made that statement before the Royal Commission, but it is nearly seven 285 years ago, and the colossal increase of tonnage since that time has caused even Lord Ritchie to change his point of view. Practical men say most definitely that this brdige is the greatest obstacle on the River Thames. If one took the advice of a specialist as to having his tonsils out and he were advised to do so, he would not go to a veterinary surgeon afterwards. This subject has been very near getting into a party controversy. I was very disappointed to hear earlier in the day that various people were going to vote against the London County Council. I do not think that that is quite the right point of view on a big question of this sort which affects the lives of so many people and the great industrial development of those ports in the upper reaches of the River Thames. We must remember what the river means to us, and in this connection I will quote the words of the Poet Laureate:A thousand landmarks perish,A hundred streets grow strange,With all the dreams they cherishThey go the ways of change.But, whatso towers may tumbleAnd, whatso bridges fall,And, whatso statues crumbleOf folks both great and small,The oldest thing in London,He changes not at all.
§ 9 p.m.
§ Sir MURDOCH MACDONALD
I rise to support the Motion, because I think that it is unnecessary that anyone should go to the expense of building a new bridge when the present one can be adapted to fit in with the general circumstances of the area which it is intended to serve, notwithstanding what the two speakers who have just preceded me have said. The first hon. Gentleman stated that we have to deal with the merits of the case. He twitted my hon. Friend who proposed the Motion with not having dealt with the merits, but I am afraid that when he reads the OFFICAL REPORT to-morrow he will be compelled to say the same thing about the speech, however eloquent it was, which he himself delivered. After all, this is a practical engineering problem, and the question is, what are the merits of the case and what requirements are to be served by a bridge across the river at this point? Any work of this sort, whether the reconditioning of Waterloo Bridge or the construction of an entirely new bridge of different dimensions, 286 should form part of a co-ordinated scheme of development for its own and adjacent parts of the river. Anything that may be done on the site of the present Waterloo Bridge should fit in with a town planning scheme which would, in my view, necessitate the construction of a Charing Cross Bridge. The hon. Member who moved the Motion, and the first hon. Member who spoke in support of it, agreed that a Charing Cross Bridge was a desirable thing, but I was amazed to hear the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fulham (Mr. Wilmot) say that the proposal was to deal with 10 lines of traffic. I doubt if the hon. Gentleman realised that these two bridges —Charing Cross and Waterloo—are not parallel bridges which, when crossing the river, would, as a consequence, serve different areas.
§ Mr. WILMOT
Perhaps I ought to point out that this was not my suggestion or the suggestion of the London County Council, but the recommendation of the Royal Commission.
§ Sir M. MACDONALD
Whoever made it, let us deal with it as it is. These two bridges are not parallel. If they were parallel they would deal with different areas on either side of the river. On this side they would both debouch into the Strand, and on the other side it is conceivable that they would have two main arteries which would feed them, and to some considerable extent they might be regarded as independent, but that is not the case at all, These two bridges converge rapidly. Indeed, they converge so much that lines drawn along the centre of them would meet at no great distance on the other side of the river. They would meet somewhere opposite the present entrance to Waterloo Station. Meeting there, they would have one main artery leading away. That one main artery would feed the two bridges. The hon. Member is shaking his head. Here are two bridges crossing the river, and shortly after crossing the river there would be one artery leading away. They could have a lot of branch roads coming in down the New Cut beyond Waterloo Station. A big plage could be built such as was put down on the original plan with a whole series of roads leading into it. But it was meant by such a plage that one road would serve both the Waterloo Bridge and the Charing Cross 287 Bridge. I know something about it because I put up the alternative scheme.
It is proposed to erect an entirely new bridge at Waterloo with six lines of traffic, and to build a bridge at Charing Cross, the two bridges converging on the other side of the river with one main artery serving both. Is it reasonable to put six lines of traffic on either or both of these bridges? What main artery can possibly carry traffic of that nature? No argument has been put before the House to substantiate a proposal to build a new Waterloo bridge with six lines of traffic. What is the position now? Roughly, with the temporary bridge and the existing bridge you have two lines of traffic. There was not much congestion on the bridge before the disaster took place, nor has there been since, but when the traffic gets to the Strand it becomes congested. If you put up a bridge with six lines of traffic, just imagine the amount of congestion which will take place in the Strand. It would be practically impossible to deal with it at one point. Therefore I see no reason why the present bridge should not be reconditioned. There is no engineer who will not agree that it could be done easily, and I have heard that about 25 contractors have lodged tenders offering to do the work. There can be no question about the possibility of reconditioning.
The only point left is the amount of traffic which the bridge can be made to carry. I understand that the county council have produced a satisfactory plan with exactly the same width of roadway as Lambeth Bridge, that is, 36 feet wide, for four lines of traffic. What more is required? I understand that there is also ample footway for foot passengers. There is a small amount of overhang, four feet and an inch or two, and if a couple of feet extra are added to that on either side a very excellent footpath can be provided, with four lines of traffic on the 36-foot roadway. Therefore as far as traffic is concerned there is no necessity to spend £500,000 extra in order to build a new bridge. Then there is the question of the river traffic. The hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Clarke) said that the Port of London Authority would like a new bridge. Every interest in the country would like the taxpayer and the ratepayer to spend money for their benefit. 288 Has there ever been a suggestion by the Port of London Authority that they will subscribe towards this scheme? It would be only reasonable if they were to say "it is going to benefit us and we will subscribe to it." If motorists want a road widened a tax is put upon them by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the money is found. If railways want additional facilities they have to find the money themselves, and if the Port of London Authority want a bridge widened they should subscribe to it in the same way as other people. Why should the whole of the burden be put on the taxpayer or ratepayer?
Therefore, on the ground that the bridge can be reconditioned, whatever figures are taken, at considerably less cost than a new bridge would cost, and on the ground that four lines of traffic are ample in the circumstances I support the Instruction. And also on the ground that river traffic is not at the present moment impeded. Since the temporary bridge has been put up with a couple of arches shut to traffic in Waterloo Bridge, the conditions in the river are not as they would be if the bridge was reconditioned and in its normal state. There has been no suggestion of accidents, and if a barge does hit a pier and takes off some of its paint is that a reason for spending £500,000 extra. On all these grounds I hope the House will agree with the proposal that Waterloo Bridge should be reconditioned.
§ 9.12 p.m.
§ Sir WILLIAM RAY
I do not intend to take up the time of the House for any length of time but I feel that as one who took some part in the discussions in this House two years ago, and has been connected with the controversy over this bridge for the last 10 years, that it is incumbent upon me to say something in this Debate. Two years ago I had the opportunity of speaking on behalf of the London County Council. To-day I have not that opportunity, but as one who has taken an interest in London administrative problems for more than a quarter of a century perhaps I may claim the indulgence of the House in saying a few words on this new attempt to bring the matter before Parliament. When the House decided two years ago to refuse the request of the London County Council we 289 thought that the matter was more or less closed. At the beginning of 1933 we made representations to His Majesty's Government again and put forward our point of view, and the Government decided that no alteration could be made in the decision at which the House had arrived. The London County Council by resolution reluctantly acquiesced in the decision of the Government. We proceeded to take the necessary steps, as outlined by the hon. Member for East Fulham (Mr. Wilmot), to secure tenders from various people for the reconstruction of Waterloo Bridge on lines that were decided by the Government of the day.
Things have changed, of course, in the last few months, and the London County Council again comes to this House and asks the House practically to reverse its decision. I feel that I must join with the London County Council in forwarding that request. One must follow out the ideas that one has held for all these years, that in the circumstances, without any possibility at the moment of a Charing Cross Bridge being in sight, in the interests of London and London traffic, a new six-line bridge is essential. As one who loves London and London government my vote to-night must be given in favour of the request of the London County Council. We did not think that this question would be reopened. I want Members of the House to realise that the scheme originally was a scheme of the party in power, opposed by the party which is in power now. It was brought forward by the party with which I was connected, and in the welter of politics, in spite of the many stupid things that had been done by the London County Council in the last couple of months, such as the abolition of Empire Day, this is one bright spot on their record, where they have had the courage to follow me.
I feel that the House to-night is pursuing something of a dream. It does not matter what this House decides to-night. Whatever point of view the House takes, the decision of those responsible for London administration has been made. For 10 years we have been reproached for our vacillating policy and all the rest of it, and have been urged by the leaders of the present London County Council to have the courage to put the cost on London rates and to defy the 290 House of Commons. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Yes, I have quotations here. The present leader of the London County Council went so far in 1932 as to say that if he were in my position as leader of the council he would vindicate the right of self-government in London and he would pay out of the rates for five years. So I say, with all respect, that the policy of the London County Council is already determined. But of course, if this House is willing to give a percentage of the cost the county council is going to accept it gracefully, or I should say gratefully; and if this House does not do that, the decision to place it on the rates has already been taken by those responsible for London administration.
I hope that the House will give the necessary 60 per cent. of the cost of the new bridge. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I will state why, if I may. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why should the rest of the country pay?"] I am asked, why should the rest of the country pay? London has not done too well out of the Road Fund for many years. It contributes very heavily to the Road Fund, and some of us think that London might get a greater share out of the fund than it has had. That is the reason why the rest of the country might do something for London, when the rest of the country is always asking London to help it.
I appeal for support of the London County Council's decision to-night because I believe that the one essential in London to-day is the development of the South bank. I appeal for that support, not because I believe a new Waterloo Bridge will do anything to help the development of the South bank, but because I believe that we may induce the Minister of Transport, or someone from his Department, to indicate that the Charing Cross Bridge project is not dead. If some of us could get an assurance that that is still within the realm of practical politics, we are quite prepared to support a four-line traffic bridge at Waterloo— quite prepared. I for one, if I could receive such an assurance would be prepared to support the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison); but without that assurance one feels that it is essential to advocate a new six-line bridge at Waterloo. I believe the development of 291 the South bank is entirely or practically dependent upon a Charing Cross Bridge scheme and the establishment of a great railway terminus on the other side of the river. It speaks volumes for the Southern Railway that they were prepared to assist the County Council a few years ago in that direction. I think there is hope even to-day that we could secure a development of that kind. But failing the assurance I have asked for, one is bound to support any scheme whatever which provides that at Waterloo Bridge there should be a six-line traffic bridge.
Of course, it is unfortunate that two years ago we were met by the claims not merely of those who professed to call themselves aesthetics, but by the current demand for economy. I cannot grumble at the use of the word economy. I do not think we hear enough of it to-day. We shall have to hear more of it in the days to come, especially from those people who ask for reduced Income Tax and want to maintain public expenditure at a high rate. But so far as the pry for economy is concerned, the final words on the Charing Cross Bridge proposals were made by those people who are responsible for the carrying on of affairs at County Hall at the present time. It was only the maladministration of public finance by the last Socialist Government that was responsible for the then Socialist Minister of Transport, who is now coming to this House and asking the House to give him 60 per cent. of the cost of a new bridge —it was only that maladministration of public finance that caused the Minister of Transport of that year to tell the County Council that it could not be done because the money was not available.
To-day, just because we preach a doctrine of economy throughout the country and get it more or less carried out, and because His Majesty's National Government have been able to bring to this country something in the nature of a return to former prosperity—now that we have that beneficial result from the operations of the two great parties, in the municipalities and the Government, hon. Members of the Socialist administration, which nearly ruined the whole show, come along and ask for this further grant. I do not think, however, that that ought to make this House refuse their demand. I do not think that they ought to be penalised because of their misdeeds 292 in the past, and I for one, being a totally unresentful person, am prepared to support the London County Council in their demand this evening. The whole scheme from our point of view was put back as soon as the Royal Commission on Cross-River Traffic had reported in favour of a Charing Cross Bridge. We gave way on the question of the new bridge at Waterloo. Our Bill was defeated by a Select Committee—I would remind the hon. Member for East Fulham (Mr. Wilmot)— and not by the House of Commons.
Our second Bill, produced under the guidance of a Committee presided over by Sir Leslie Scott, was not proceeded with because according to the dictates of the Minister, there was not money in the Exchequer or the Road Fund. We were ultimately reduced to going back to our original project. I do not want to say, as the hon. Member said, that the decision of the London County Council in this respect was always unanimous, but we always had a comfortable majority in favour of the six-line bridge. Parties took the same attitude on this question. I have made these few remarks in order to reassure some friends of mine that some of us are still in favour of a new Waterloo Bridge in lieu of an indication from the Minister of Transport that a Charing Cross bridge of some kind is still within the realm of practical politics. Failing that assurance, we must support the London County Council in its present demands.
§ 9.28 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel APPLIN
I feel that we are being asked to look at what we have already looked at, and to come to a decision which this House has already made. After a considerable Debate, at which I was present, we came to the decision that Waterloo Bridge was necessary as a matter of economy, as a matter of necessity, and as being the best means of getting the traffic across the river. It is well known to everybody who has ever crossed Waterloo Bridge that it is placed at a very awkward point. It runs into the Strand at a narrow place, and traffic cannot get out into the Strand except by going right or left. The bridge will only carry at the present moment four lines of traffic, and it could not carry-more and empty into the Strand as it does at present. We are faced with the question of whether another bridge at 293 that point will relieve the traffic and enable us to get six lines of traffic across the river at that point. We have evidence that that is an impossibility. You cannot get six lines of traffic into the Strand as it is at present. The question of cost is more important, because the new bridge will be an extraordinarily expensive one and a very useless one.
My main point, and the point that this House will consider, is the question of the cross-river traffic of London in general, and I do not think that any hon. Member will deny that the proper thing to do is to build a bridge at Charing Cross. Charing Cross gives us an entry into London to the clear, open space of Trafalgar Square and all those great roads leading out of London. This will be a very expensive bridge, and consequently we cannot afford it if in its place we build a new bridge at Waterloo. We have also to remember that if we pull down the existing bridge we shall incur terrible delay and expense over the demolition and clearing away of the material in addition to building the new bridge. If we build the new bridge, it will postpone the great bridge at Charing Cross for at least a century.
What we have to decide to-night is whether there is any evidence before the House that the question we are deciding is not the question we decided two years ago. If we go back on the decision to which we came two years ago we shall make ourselves ridiculous, for we are asked by a Socialist county council to do what we refused to a Conservative county council. I do not want to make any party points, but I can see no reason for granting to a new county council of a different complexion what we refused to ourselves here. As no new evidence has been brought, the House will be very foolish to go back on its decision of two years ago.
Before I sit down I should like to put one great point before the House; it has already been put many times, but I will put it again. There is no question that the Port of London Authority are now in favour of pulling down Waterloo Bridge and building a new bridge at the same point, because the new piers will be a little broader and there will be some greater ease—that is all that can be said—in passing traffic under the new bridge than there has been under 294 the old. We have, however, already had the evidence of the Port of London Authority that the old bridge has been adequate for passing the traffic through during the whole of the last century and that there has never been an accident at that point. There is no reason to presume for one moment that the new bridge will make the passage of traffic any easier. I want the House to note that to pass traffic through the new bridge, which is to be a bridge for six lines of road traffic and therefore far wider than the present bridge, with a narrower arch, is dot necessarily going to be any easier.
Evidence has been given by no less an authority than Lord Ritchie that there is no reason why this present bridge should not continue to take the traffic as it has done in the past. It is admitted that a wider arch may make it a little easier for the people who will use it, but is that a reason for desiring this bridge and for spending a colossal sum of money in getting a new bridge which will not serve the public of London? I venture to think that the House will not go back upon its decision. In the interests of the public of this great city, in the interests of the traffic of this great city, we should recondition the present bridge and leave it for four lines of traffic, because that is all we can get into the Strand, with any facility. I certainly look forward at a later date to the building of that great bridge which London wants and demands at Charing Cross, which will take the whole of the traffic across into the only open space we have, feeding all these main roads in and out of London and leaving that monument which we all admire and love so much. The old bridge, reconditioned, will last 100 years, and I therefore support the Motion.
§ 9.34 p.m.
§ The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Mr. Oliver Stanley)
I do not wish to go over the past history of this case. It is well within the recollection of all hon. Members of the House. I should, however, like to state quite briefly how its past history has affected, and how the present decision may affect, the particular position of the Minister of Transport. It is, of course, true that the decision which the House took on 1st June, 1932, did not, technically, deal with the Road Fund 295 grant. It operated only as a ban upon borrowing by the London County Council but my predecessor at the time accepted that resolution as an indication of the feelings and desires of this House and felt himself precluded by it from giving any grant for a scheme which involved the restruction of Waterloo Bridge, even if the London County Council would be able by other financial methods to raise their share. I, of course, feel myself under the same obligation to this House and I so informed Mr. Morrison when, soon after the county council election, he raised the matter anew. If to-night the House alters the decision which it took two years ago, I shall regard that ban as removed. I shall regard myself then as being in a position to offer a grant for a new Waterloo Bridge. As the hon. Member for East Fulham (Mr. Wilmot) explained, the London County Council itself has not decided and is not tied to any particular bridge. Therefore, my discretion is not in any way fettered nor am I in any way committed.
There are, however, two considerations which have to be remembered. The first is that, from the point of view of its architectural merit, any scheme for a new bridge, before I consider it for a Road Fund grant, would have to receive the approval of the Fine Art Commission. The second is this. The discussions between my predecessor and the London County Council of the time proceeded upon the basis of a new bridge which would cost something in the neighbourhood of £1,300,000. If I were asked to accept a scheme for a new bridge at a cost which would exceed substantially the basis upon which my predecessor discussed the matter and upon which he gave a tentative approval, I should have to consider the whole position again. As upon the previous occasion, so to-night the decision upon this matter is left entirely to the free vote of the House and I informed Mr. Morrison that the Government would adopt that position. In fact, I doubt whether I, as a Member of the Government, should have to-night intervened upon a Private Bill, left to the free vote of the House, were it not for the fact that some aspects of this problem touch very closely matters connected with my Department and I think the House is entitled to expect that I should give them upon those aspects 296 whatever information is in possession of my Department and of whatever advice is tendered by my experts.
There are many factors which will go to make, in the minds of hon. Members, a final decision and on many of them I am afraid I can offer the House no guidance. We have heard a great deal about the artistic factor. I must confess at once that not only do I know nothing about art, but I do not even know what I like until I am told by the right person. I, certainly, should not presume to advise the House upon that factor. Even my untutored eye can, of course, recognise the beauty, the strength, the simplicity of the existing bridge but other and greater experts must advise hon. Members as to the exact place which that bridge is to take in the hierarchy of beauty, the exact extent of the loss we should suffer by its demolition and how far the work of an artist of 100 years ago is to be regarded as completely irreplaceable to-day.
Another factor to which our attention has been drawn has been the historical memorial factor. There too I am afraid I am in no position to advise the House. Alone, I expect, among all hon. Members in this House I must confess that until two years ago when this controversy started in the Press, I had no idea whatever that Waterloo Bridge had any intimate connection with Waterloo any more than Waterloo Place or Waterloo Junction. I agree that those are considerations to which everybody is entitled to give the greatest weight and I am not for a moment going to depreciate the efforts of those who attempt to save what is beautiful in this country from almost inevitable destruction by a mechanical progress. Perhaps in many walks of life it would be just as well if a little more often instead of asking "is it cheaper" or "is it more convenient," we asked "is it more beautiful." We might by doing so, be able to restrict the harm arising from the new mechanical life which we are called upon to live. But, important as those considerations are, I suggest that ultimately the test of a bridge must be its suitability for the purpose for which it was built.
We have had raised to-night the question of navigation. The Port of London Authority and the river users have put forward their case with great emphasis 297 and have proved, I think, conclusively a fact which I also think no one would deny, that for their purposes a five-arched bridge is more convenient than an eight-arched one, just as no bridge at all would be more convenient still. I do not think that fact can be disputed on any side of the House, but it is, of course, for hon. Members to decide on the balance of advantage as between the five-arched bridge and the eight-arched bridge, and whether the advantage which undoubtedly the river users would get from the five-arched bridge would compensate for any disadvantages which there might be upon other grounds. The real factor with which I am concerned, however, is the traffic factor, and I venture to say that, as regards a bridge, the traffic which it is going to carry and the traffic which it ought to carry represent the most important consideration of all. I do not say that the traffic advantages of a six-line bridge as opposed to a four-line bridge ought necessarily to outweigh any other disadvantages which such a bridge might have, but I do say that those traffic advantages are such that they are worthy of the very serious consideration of the House.
Two questions have been raised, with regard to the proposal for a new six-line bridge, from the purely traffic point of view. The first is, whether a six-line bridge is really needed. The second is whether, granted you have a six-line bridge, you can deal with the six lines of traffic at either end of the bridge. With regard to the first question, the need for a six-line bridge, I say frankly that on the basis of the present traffic I could not suggest to the House that a six-line bridge was a necessity. It would undoubtedly be an advantage. It would be an advantage from this point of view, that at the present moment the capacity of all those bridges—Westminster, Waterloo, Blackfriars and London Bridge —is occupied to the full. There is practically no reserve, and if you had some serious defect appearing in one of the other bridges, there would be no reserve capacity upon any of the others which could absorb the deflected traffic, and it would obviously, from the traffic point of view, be a great advantage if you did have, even on the basis of present traffic, a certain reserve capacity which you could use to take up any unexpected strain 298 thrown by the partial or complete closing of a particular bridge. But I am not sure that when we are talking about the building of a bridge which is going to last, not five or 10, but, to judge from the bridge we are now discussing, over 100 years, we can be quite satisfied with discussing the traffic needs of the moment. I admit that here, of course, I pass from the realms of fact, in which I ask the House to attach some weight to what I am able to say, with the authority of my Department, into the realms of conjecture, where we all stand on an equality and where we all have to make up our minds for ourselves.
But I would ask the House, even if it is true that on the basis of to-day's traffic a four-line bridge would be ample to accommodate it, to consider whether it would be entirely wise to forget the possibilities of expansion in the future. We have had a remarkable history of expansion and development in the London area in the past few years. We have seen, in the years since the War, an amazing growth of vehicular traffic, and if we are just planning for the generations ahead, the House, I think, must seriously consider whether it is wise to limit our resources entirely to our immediate needs and leave no room whatsoever for possible expansion. There is one particular point which I think adds to the necessity for careful consideration of the possibilities.
I think it was my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Withers) who, when he was discussing Waterloo Bridge, said that there was practically no exit to the north. That is quite true, but hon. Members know the reason for that. It is that due north of Waterloo Bridge lies the Covent Garden area, and no driver of a motor vehicle in his senses is going, if he can possibly avoid it, to take his motor in the hours of daylight into the Covent Garden area and risk the congestion which inevitably occurs there. But I wonder whether we may assume that Covent Garden is going to continue in its present form during the whole life of this reconstructed bridge, and whether, in the days to come, if the Covent Garden area were to be reconstructed, instead of on the northern exit from Waterloo Bridge the motorists were faced with a well planned area, with a large street running through it, rather than the present congested small streets 299 round the market, we should not then see an immense increase in the traffic which is now passing through that area.
The other point raised is the ability to deal with six lines of traffic, if we have a bridge built to carry it. Here, of course, I venture to speak with rather more certainty, because we are dealing not so much with assumptions as with facts for which my experts can vouch. I think it is undoubted that the roundabout system which has been introduced has immensely decreased the congestion which previously occurred in the Strand. One hon. Member spoke with some feeling about delays of eight or nine minutes which he has experienced there. I think he must have been very unlucky, because in the past two years my officers have taken a great many tests of the traffic at that particular point, and I am informed that they have not get on record any ease of a hold-up of longer than from one minute to two minutes.
§ Mr. STANLEY
My hon. Friend must remember that one's judgment of time when one is in a traffic block is rather like one's judgment of time when one is listening either to a speech with which one disagrees or to a speech from a chronic bore. But I do not think anyone who knew the Strand before the introduction of this round-about system and who knows it now will deny the immense improvement that has been made in the matter of traffic acceleration. I believe that even on the existing system we have a reserve capacity at the Strand entrance for more traffic crossing the bridge; but there are further possibilities by which I think we can increase the passage of the traffic into and over the Strand if we have to take it from the bridge. First of all, there are light signals. Undoubtedly, where they have been tried in London, they have produced a considerable acceleration of the traffic, and the possibility is that their installation at that spot would in itself provide us with a further acceleration.
There is, secondly, the fact that the six-line bridge, and therefore the six-line approach from the bridge to the Strand, would by itself facilitate traffic. It would, of course, prevent the hold-up which you now get in the one line between the 300 corner of the Strand and the bridge itself, which banks back into the Strand and creates a hold-up there. If that traffic turning out of the Strand to cross the bridge were proceeding in three lines, not one line, you would, of course, avoid that possibility, but equally you would have a very definite advantage upon the other side, that is to say, for the traffic going North. The traffic going North, when it reaches the Strand, can go in one of two directions. It can either turn West down the Strand, or it can go half-right up Aldwych, and at the present moment vehicles do that in the proportion of about one down the Strand, West, to two which go up Aldwydh. Owing to the fact that you are confined to one line of traffic, all those vehicles are mixed indiscriminately from the time they leave the bridge till the time they reach the corner of the Strand and separate on their various ways. If you had, instead of the one line, three lines by which they could approach the Strand, you could reserve the one nearest the pavement for the traffic turning into the Strand, and you could reserve the other two for the traffic, which works out at about exactly twice as much, into Aldwych, and that in itself would, I think, immensely accelerate the traffic capacity.
Finally, there is this further potentiality. If you were faced with any sudden and great increase of traffic over the bridge, the possibility of a subway still remains. My hon. Friend has no foundation whatsoever when he says that that possibility has been found impracticable. I imagine that he took it from the leader in the "Times" this morning. There is no other foundation for it whatever. When the tramway subway was constructed provision was made to allow for this possibility, and, as far as I am aware, no practical doubt has ever been cast on the possibility of making such a subway if the traffic demands be such as to make it desirable. I can therefore say with some confidence that, if there were a need for six lines of traffic across Waterloo Bridge, we could deal with them in comparative simplicity when they debouched at either end.
I would like to say one word about Charing Cross. Here, too, we are in the realm not of fact but of conjecture. I think, perhaps, that some hon. Members 301 may be inclined to forget the distinction between Charing Cross Bridge and the Charing Cross Bridge scheme. The Charing Cross Bridge, as I see it, and as I have heard it described to-night, certainly conveys to me something which starts from a place where no one wants to be and goes to a place where no one wants to go; but the Charing Cross Bridge, as part of the scheme which has as its aim not merely the provision of one more traffic link but the replanning of a district of South London which ought to be one of the best features in our London life and which is in fact one of the worst, is a scheme which I think must fire the imagination of everyone. The possibility of seeing the Embankment on the South side in line with the Embankment on the North, the possibility of seeing the architecture on the south as impressive as that on the north is one which I think must appeal to all of us. Do not forget, however, what the effect of that may be upon the traffic problem. If you create in this part of the south of London a residential area of the same class as that north of the river, a business area as prosperous as that north of the river and perhaps a hotel and shopping area of the same category, then you will create a community of interests between the north and the south of the river, and in doing so you may well create a greater cross-river traffic than you have to-day. It might well be that the development of south London and the putting into force of the Charing Cross Bridge scheme would in itself lead to such an increase of cross-river traffic that you would find the six-line bridge at Waterloo not wasted even though you had the bridge at Charing Cross.
My task this evening has not been an easy one. I do not disguise the fact that I voted on the last occasion for the new bridge and that I intend to vote for it again this evening, but I have tried as far as possible to put before the House the considerations which are peculiarly applicable to my Department in as judicial a manner as possible. I feel that it is all the more necessary because we have upon this occasion imposed a strict quota system upon the Front Bench and I am the only speaker from it to-night, and my hon. Friends will be deprived of the support of my hon. Friend the Member for St. George's (Mr. Cooper), whose 302 eloquent speech on the last occasion all of us, even those who disagreed with him, remember with admiration. I said I have tried, if I could, to put the facts in a judicial way. If I have failed, I apologise to the House and I ask them to forget anything in my speech which has been at all partisan in character and to remember only such facts as I have been able to give which may be useful to them in coming to a decision.
In conclusion, may I give the House two pieces of advice, both of which, I believe, are unnecessary and unwanted. So often when the House has to come to a decision upon a Measure, however important it may be, we have the comforting sense that in a way it is experimental and that, even if the decision we take be wrong, we can put it right very quickly at the expense of nothing more perhaps than a little delay and a little Parliamentary time. About the decision which the House has to take to-night, however, there is a terrible finality. If we pull down Waterloo Bridge, and we are wrong in pulling it down, we can never put it back again. Just the same, if we are wrong and we keep Waterloo Bridge when we ought to have built the new bridge, it will be years before we are in a position once again to consider the matter, and we shall have caused inconvenience to traffic for years. Therefore, I appeal to the House from that point of view to take a decision to-night upon the most closely reasoned grounds. The second piece of advice, which I think is unnecessary—for the hon. Member for Richmond (Sir W. Ray) made such a completely unbiased, unpolitical and non-partisan speech—is that no political considerations should enter into the decision of the House to-night. We are dealing one way or the other with the convenience and amenities of London, and I am sure there is no Member of the House who would like to think that a decision so important as this was dependent on party political feelings. The decision of the House, difficult as it is bound to be, must be reasoned and impartial.
§ 10.4 p.m.
Sir JOHN SANDEMAN ALLEN
I am sure the House is grateful for the very judicial and balanced speech which we have just heard from the Front Bench. I am one of those, and I think there is a 303 fair number here, who voted against any change being made two years ago, and I propose to vote against the Instruction proposed by the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison). In doing so I do not consider I am reversing my decision in any way. I think it is not right to suggest that the House is reversing its decision if it agrees to the proposal in the Bill. The majority of us voted as we did on the last occasion solely on the grounds of the financial position of the country at the moment. We thought then that economy had to be foremost, and we could not support a heavy expenditure of money. Things are different to-day. Moreover, we have had more information on this subject. Some of us have been able to study closely the pros and cons in a way we could not before. Therefore, it would be wrong to suggest that the House took its decision on the merits of the case two years ago. We have had the point argued very carefully from both sides with regard to road traffic, and it has also been dealt with by the best authority in the House, the Minister of Transport. He has made it perfectly clear that the fears entertained by a good many hon. Members about traffic blocks and traffic jams are unfounded and that the position is not feared by those who are responsible for the ordering of the traffic of this great city.
§ The question of navigation has not been fully dealt with, although it was referred to by the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Clarke). We have to look at this matter from a broad and general point of view. We have to recognise the growing importance of river and water-borne traffic in this country, and particularly in London. If we were to transfer carriage from barges to lorries we should have the whole of the roads going in and out of London completely congested. The cost of carriage of coal, oil and refuse would be doubled and trebled if it went by road. To suggest that we should not have a six lighters tow is perfectly ridiculous. I would ask the House to remember the increase in the number of trucks put into a goods train to-day for economy purposes. The only economical way of dealing with barges is to have six in tow, and to suggest that we should give that up is absurd.304
§ One reason why we should consider how important it is that a change should be made in regard to Waterloo Bridge is that the river traffic is growing, and it is very vital to the interests of the Thames and of London. We cannot measure how much that traffic has been hindered by the difficulties of the past. The House must look not upon what has happened in the past but the position at the present time and the serious position in the future if we are going to maintain a bridge which is of the greatest danger and the greatest hindrance to navigation. Apart from these matters, the question can be easily disposed of. We have been assured that there is no real danger in regard to road traffic. We can see that the proposed change will make a very great improvement and will give better opportunities for traffic by water. Therefore, in supporting the proposal for the new bridge we are doing what is best for the future and what is best for trade. We have to weigh the practical question of the great advantage to the people and the City of London and to compare that with what we shall undoubtedly lose in regard to the beauty of a particular bridge. I will not say anything about the speech made by the hon. Member for Richmond (Sir W. Ray), and the psychological impression that he made on the House.
§ Two years ago objection was taken that Members from the country should speak and vote on a London Measure. As a Member from another city, I feel it is my duty to speak and vote on this matter, because the Road Fund is a general fund for everybody. I do not see why London should not have its proper share, although some of us in other parts have small or large shares, as the case may be. The House must not be prejudiced. We must do what is fair and right in the interests of the city and the country as a whole. The city is the centre of the business of the country, and I feel confident that this House, having heard both sides, will decide that, much as we regret what we must lose; we must take a step forward in the general interests of the community.
§ 10.11 p.m.
§ Commander MARSDEN
I welcome this opportunity to emphasise the case for the river users, which was very ably put by the hon. Member for Dartford 305 (Mr. Clarke). The testimony that he gave to the House is worth all the opinions given by other hon. Members who have no practical experience. I have some little experience of river traffic. I spent 10 very happy days in 1926 towing barges through the Very bridge about which we are talking, during the general strike. I should like hon. Members to bring their minds back to the evidence given by Lord Ritchie, on behalf of the Port of London Authority. That evidence was given seven years ago when traffic on the river was very different from what it is to-day. There has been a tremendous increase in the volume of petrol traffic in tanks going up the river. Each of the barges conveying this inflammable freight under Waterloo Bridge carries 180 tons. There may not have been any accidents yet but there have been quite sufficient unpleasant episodes in navigation to make one rather afraid of what would happen if any of these barges were to get into collision with another craft.
We have heard a good deal about the asthetic qualities of the bridge. That question has been dealt with by the Minister of Transport. As a sailor, I might say that we appreciate the beautiful but when a man in navigating a ship on a nasty night, with a strong tide and a cross wind, and he cannot see what is on the other side of a bridge, he does not care whether it is a Conservative bridge or a Socialist bridge, but what he does want to see is an open passage where he can navigate his craft with safety. The hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) was rather upset at one barge towing six lighters. Those lighters carry 1,200 tons. During the general strike I was very much struck by the fact that when the lorries were coming down to the various wharves, surrounded by armed troops or armoured cars, it took a tug with eight volunteers to convey 1,000 to 1,200 tons of cargo. The river was used for traffic before roads were invented. A great volume of traffic was carried up and down the river before a single bridge was put across the river, and yet one hon. Member suggested that, having put these impediments in the way of navigation, the navigation should pay for their removal, an argument with which I did not find myself in accord.
Two years ago the case for the navigation side was not put at all. [HON. 306 MEMBERS: "Why not!"] I did not catch Mr. Speaker's eye. The evidence given before the Royal Commission has been freely quoted by the hon. Member for South Kensington, and we have been reminded of what Lord Ritchie said at that time, but what does Lord Ritchie say now as representing the Port of London Authority, which is the body responsible not only for the safe conduct of the river but for increasing and making easier the facilities for navigation? The opinion of the Port of London Authority is that the present bridge should be pulled down and a more satisfactory one put in its place.
I will say one word about the traffic over the bridge. The Minister put clearly what so many of us have thought about the six-line traffic when he told us that we must consider not only present needs but the possible needs of the future. I would add that it may not be necessary to have the whole six lines now. Many of the big new roads in the country have spaces at each side of them to enable widening to be undertaken if that should be necessary in the years to come. I would suggest that in the ease of this bridge the pavements on each side might give a six-line traffic for pedestrians, which in itself would facilitate traffic slightly. Referring again to the aesthetic aspect of the question, I wonder whether the aesthetic experts stick to the old winding narrow road in order to pass through some picturesque village or town and admire the beauties of the scene or choose the broad and rather possibly ugly by-pass which goes round? Where traffic is concerned it is often a question of men's livelihood, because they earn their living by the transport of goods. These are the chief considerations on which I shall have no difficulty in making up my mind to go into the Lobby and vote to give the London County Council authority to build a new bridge if they wish to do so.
§ 10.16 p.m.
§ Mr. JOHN JONES
As a representative of a division which is not connected with the London County Council but which is a riverside constituency I am here to support the London County Council in this effort. We have heard some fine language to-night about the beauty of Waterloo Bridge, but you ought to hear the language of the tugboat men, the watermen and the lighter-men in my constituency when they 307 approach Waterloo Bridge. It is more forcible than descriptive. It may not be recorded in history, but it is recorded in the memory of the men who have to work on the river day after day and night after night. Some people fail to realise that the traffic on the river is becoming more and more important as the days go by. We have on the riverside a great station for supplying electricity for the underground railways, and there are big gas works to provide gas for the West End of London, although, no doubt, the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) could provide it with all the gas wanted. The men in the East End of London who come up the river from Purfleet bringing commodities for the use of the inhabitants of London are in favour of a new bridge and against the reconditioning of the old bridge, because they feel this would make it more difficult than ever for them to carry on with their jobs. I wonder what the hon. Member for South Kensington would think if he got up one morning and found that he could not have his breakfast because the electricity supply had failed or the gas had "gone west." He would talk as he did on the barrack squares in the old days when he was a general.
I am speaking now for the men living in the East End of London who get their living on the river. In spite of all that has been said about the beauty of Waterloo Bridge, there are more beauties in the West End of London than ever there were. It is not beyond the reach of possibility for architects and artists to provide us with just as good a bridge as did the old artists. Is art dead? Is scientific knowledge finished? I have seen statues in ferro-concrete that were more beautiful than some of the Members of this House.
All this talk about the aesthetic qualities of Waterloo Bridge leaves me cold. I want to see a bridge that will be useful to the public. You can have all the beauties you like on top of the bridge, but let us have decency underneath, so that the men who get their living on the river will not be impeded by ancient monuments or be prevented because, 100 years ago, somebody did something which he ought not to have done. Waterloo does not trouble me a 308 bit. Over 100 years ago we had a fight at Waterloo; we have had another since, and those who were our allies at that time were our enemies on the next occasion. Can we not forget Waterloo and remember London? Can we not remember that we are living in a country which has something to talk about? The needs of its people are the country's greatest problem; not the preservation of an old bridge, but the preservation of the life of the people.
§ 10.22 p.m.
§ Mr. SIMMONDS
If I understood my hon. Friend the Minister of Transport aright, in his inimitable balanced speech he introduced a fallacious innuendo. I had decided to vote in favour of this Instruction, but as I listened to my hon. Friend's suggestion that if he could avoid the banking of traffic on the northerly bridge-head between Somerset House and the Strand, that would be a very great asset, I began to wonder whether I was still correct in supporting this Instruction. I was mesmerised only for a few moments, because it came to me quite clearly that my hon. Friend was not at all right in connecting a six-line roadway just south of the Strand with a six-line bridge. The bridge can very easily remain a four-line bridge, and when you get on to the bridge-head, past Somerset House and between Somerset House and the Strand, you can widen out in order, as my hon. Friend pointed out, that a longer line of traffic could go down the Strand, and the other two lines could go down Aldwych. I trust that any hon. Member who felt, as I did, that the argument of the Minister was a very cogent one, will agree that it is by no means essential, if we are to have six lines immediately south of the Strand, to pull down Waterloo Bridge. On the contrary a four-line bridge could continue to pour out enough traffic to block the Strand, never mind the question of the traffic proceeding east and west.
§ 10.24 p.m.
§ Sir GEORGE HUME
After the most admirable speech of the hon. Member for East Fulham (Mr. Wilmot), who put the council's case completely and eloquently, there is no need for me to detain the House. The riverside problem has already been dealt with, and the Minister of Transport has once more put the traffic case completely. I should like to deal 309 with the atmospherics of the case. I am taking part in this Debate upon the proposals put forward by the London County Council because it is essential to let the House realise that this is not merely a party question. I have been connected with the council for a long time, dealing with municipal affairs, and the longer I have done so the more sure I have become that when politics get mixed up with administrative matters, commonsense goes out of the window. I hope that the House on this occasion will not allow itself to be led astray by any political suggestions which may enter into the minds of Members or which may have been made.
The London County Council in this matter has been an extremely patient and long-suffering body. It was in 1923 that the bridge first showed signs of collapse. The London County Council did not take that matter lightly. They called to their assistance practically at once, not merely their own chief engineer, Sir George Humphreys, but also two other eminent engineers, the best they could lay their hands on—Sir Basil Mott and Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice, who had been chief engineer to the council and was well acquainted with the bridges that the council owned. They went into this matter, not as a political matter at all, but purely as a matter of fact, from an engineering point of view, and the advice which they gave to the London County Council at that time was most emphatic. It was that it was not advisable to try to patch up or reconstruct the existing bridge, but that it was advisable to pull it down completely.
The Council proceeded to follow that advice. In 1925 they decided to rebuild the bridge with six lines of traffic and five arches, and that was included in the London County Council (Money) Bill of 1926. Then the difficulties began to arise. Artistic feeling was extremely excited by the suggestion, and, as the House will know, a very infiuentially signed memorial was submitted to the Prime Minister. As a result the Royal Commission was set up to go into the whole question. The Council at once held its hand and did not go forward. The Royal Commission was appointed in July, 1926, and made its report in November of the same year. Then the Council bowed to the decision which was come to against its better judgment, and in 1927 decided to adopt the scheme on the basis of a 75 per cent. 310 contribution from the Ministry of Transport, on the consideration that a bridge at Charing Cross would be proceeded with on the same basis as that on which Waterloo Bridge was to be dealt with. In 1929–30 the London County Council presented a Bill to incorporate in the scheme that of the Ministry of Transport for a Charing Cross Bridge and approaches. That scheme also was killed in a Select Committee of the House of Commons. I have not the slightest doubt that every one of us deeply regrets that the opportunity was not then taken which appears to us now so unlikely to recur.
In any case, the Council did its very best, and, when that Bill was destroyed, instead of letting the matter drop, it invited its critics and those who had made alternative proposals to join the Committee in order to see if a new scheme could be evolved. A new scheme was evolved and another Bill was prepared. Then, unfortunately, we came to that period when, in 1931, economy had to be practised and the present leader of the London County Council, who was then a most capable Minister of Transport, had to refuse to join in the enterprise for building a new bridge, and the scheme had to be dropped. Right through those years the council has been twisted and turned and upset in one direction and another until we came to the House once more two years ago and, although we had the good will of the Ministry of Transport, we were met with opposition again. I would remind the House of the nature of that opposition. We had behind us the considered opinion of some of the most eminent engineers. Throughout, from a technical point of view, the line that the council had taken was not shaken. As far as traffic was concerned, the Advisory Committee to the Ministry of Transport had reported in favour of a six-line bridge. Every responsible authority had supported it, but the House was carried away by all sorts of amateur figures which were thrown across the Floor and by the opinions of, it may be, very distinguished volunteers who said the thing could be done this way or that way for less money or in a shorter time.
To-day we are in a different position. We have actually before us fixed offers by reputable firms of the price at which they can carry out the work and the time that it will take. We have heard stories about the immense amount of time that a 311 completely new bridge would take to build and have been told that the reconditioning of the present bridge would take much less time and cost much less money. We now know, from the tenders that have been received, that the reconditioning will probably take longer than building a new bridge. A new bridge will cost more but, on the other hand, when you are considering the question of cost you have to consider at the same time how long the structure is going to last. It is well worth paying twice the amount if you are going to get three times the life. We have not heard a word to-night as to the period in which it is estimated that a reconstructed bridge would be likely to last. [Interruption.] It has never been suggested that you were going to reconstruct for a very long period. It is no use putting forward amateurish suggestions. We have to go on the advice tendered to us by our responsible technical people.
I only hope that to-night the House will not once more step in and try to prevent the London County Council carrying out the work on lines upon which for years it has been thought were the right lines to adopt, even though there is a change of management and some of us might be tempted to take a contrary view to that of the new management of the London County Council. But some of us think that these questions affecting London life and well-being are far more important than the question of political tactics, and it is of vital importance that we should satisfy our own consciences no matter what advantage might be claimed by any political party. That is our bounden duty, in view of the opinions which we hold, the advice which has been given to us, the struggles which we have made through those years to try to meet the difficulties which have been raised, and as a Charing Cross bridge seems to have departed for the time being, and the fact that, right away from the beginning, we said that it was essential to have six lines unless we were to get a Charing Cross bridge. We still stand there. The majority of the council, quite apart from parties, stand to-day where they stood before, and it is on that ground that I hope the House will not pass the Instruction which has been moved.
§ 10.37 p.m.
§ Mr. W. MORRISON
I join with the hon. Member for Greenwich (Sir G. Hume) 312 in hoping, and, indeed, believing confidently that this important question will not be decided with reference to any consideration other than the merits of the case with which we are confronted. I, for one, would deprecate, as most hon. Members would, I am sure, any attempt to consider the matter on political party lines. I am reinforced, if it is necessary, in that view by the great diffidence I feel in regard to my capabilities in following the tortuous maze of London County Council politics. It appears to me that it is a matter devoid of political significance in the ordinary party sense, because it is only two years since we had the same proposal put up by an opposite party in the London County Council. We came to a decision upon it then, and now to-night we are asked to reverse that decision. I feel sorry that we have to interfere at all with the arrangements made by the London County Council for the good government of this city. It would be an easier task for us if we had not to interfere in any way with the decisions arrived at by that well-informed and public-spirited body, but that is no excuse for us to-night shirking what is our duty, namely, to discharge the function of saying whether or not this proposal is to go forward in its present state. If anything were needed to add to the necessity of our examination of this proposal, it is the fact that, as far as the matter stands at present, about 60 per cent. of the cost of the proposed bridge is to come out of public funds for which we are all responsible.
It was with some surprise that I found this question cropping up again upon the Order Paper after the House had, after a full discussion a short time ago, by a very emphatic majority, come to a conclusion which it is now asked to reverse. I could have understood it if there had been before us to-night any new factor which had altered the decision we were asked to consider. What is the main consideration put before hon. Members tonight by those who oppose this instruction? It is the question of navigation. It is said that on the previous occasion when we had this matter under consideration the navigational aspects of this question were not properly considered, and that that is a reason, when we are considering them for the first time, for 313 reversing the decision to which we previously came. At least we can say this, that after the full and admirable Debate we have had to-night that complaint can no longer be made.
We have had the navigable aspect of the problem put before us in terms of the utmost eloquence by hon. Members including the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Clarke) and the hon. Member for North Battersea (Commander Marsden). But is it right to say that the navigable aspect of the question was not within the contemplation of the House on the last occasion? What are we told now about the problem of navigation? We have been told to-night that if we had wider arches to the bridge it would make it easier for ships to go under. Is that a fact of such a recondite description that it was not within the contemplation of every hon. Member when the matter was last under discussion? I cannot accept the view that the navigable aspect of the problem was not considered by every hon. Member. Let us examine what has been put forward to-night on the matter. We are told by the Port of London Authority in a statement which they have issued, and in words which they have thought of sufficient importance to print in red instead of black:The Port Authority submit that in considering the form of construction of any bridge that the question of river navigation consideration should outweigh all others.If we are to say that a certain consideration must outweigh all others our task would be a great deal easier than it is. It is natural for the Port of London Authority to take that view. They are a very important and admirable body discharging specialist functions, and it is only to be expected that in their view the maintenance of the waterway of the Thames should outweigh all others, and that the House must give its decision on that footing. We are familiar with specialist pleas in this House. I have no doubt that if there were in existence a body whose duty it was to look after the interests of pavement artists we should be asked, in allowing one consideration to outweigh all others, to consider that the new bridge should provide sufficient suitable pitches and well glazed pavements for the exercise of that profession. I am not saying that 314 the navigation question is not one of the most important aspects of the case, but what are the facts regarding navigation? Even if we assume that navigation is the only question to be considered, that we are to provide a commodious and safe waterway, without regard to expense or existing amenities, or its effects on cross river traffic, I submit that those who have supported the Bill have not made out the point of view put forward in the Port of London Authority's statement.
Any bridge, if you like, is an obstacle and is bound to be so. In order to get through it requires skill on the part of the navigator. But the case against the present Waterloo Bridge must go as far as this. It is no use saying it is an obstacle, every bridge is an obstacle, the case for the present Bill must assert either that it is an obstacle of such a character that reasonable skill cannot surmount it in safety, or that it is an obstacle of such a character that it is bound to impede, definitely and permanently, the economic development of the river. Unless the assertion of the effect of the bridge upon the navigational aspect goes that distance, it goes no distance at all.
From the point of view of safety reference has been made to the evidence given by Lord Ritchie to the Commission. I do not wish in any way to make any use of that evidence which was not in the contemplation of the Noble Lord when he gave his evidence; but it is quite clear that figures were put to him on that occasion, that between 1921 and 1924, when the bridge was first blocked by its present supports under the arches, there was no accident of any kind to life or limb or cargo or craft. It does not appear to me that those figures are in themselves conclusive, that there will be no obstacle in the bridge, if it is reconstructed, in its arches, which reasonable skill, the skill to which the hon. Member for Dartford paid such a glowing tribute, would not be able successfully to surmount.
But the question goes a little deeper than that. The bridge that it is proposed to construct is to be wider than the present bridge, and that has the effect of lengthening the tunnel formed by the arch through which the boats must pass. From the navigational aspect that is of the highest importance. Let me refer again for a moment to the evidence given 315 by Lord Ritchie before the Commission. It will be seen from that, when he was pleading for consultation of the Port of London Authority on every bridge building proposal that was made, that what he had in mind was not the question of the number or the narrowness of arches, but that the bogy from the navigational aspect was the length of the tunnel through which a boat had to pass. These were his words:Lord RITCHIE: That brings me to say this, if I may: Amongst the other proposals or suggestions that have been made was one that the bridge should be widened. Now, I have always understood that Waterloo Bridge in its present condition is the great test of a waterman's art. It is easy to imagine how the difficulties of navigating the bridge would be accentuated if it was increased in width.
Yes, in tunnel width. So that if any suggestion of that kind were made, of course the Port of London Authority would have a good deal to say." To-night it is not merely a question of contrasting a narrow arch with a wide arch, but a question of setting against the undoubted advantage of a wide arch the disadvantage of a longer tunnel. From the navigational point of view, I respectfully suggest that that is a matter which ought to be brought before us. The other point of view is that Waterloo Bridge with its present arches is a danger to navigation—not in the sense of danger to life and limb, for, as has been, said, there have been no accidents for three years—and is so formed that it is a check to the economic development of the river higher up. Let any hon. Member look at the statements that have been showered upon him in favour of the Bill. They one and all join in a paean of praise over the immense development of river traffic in recent years, how it has grown by leaps and bounds. Let the House remember that is has grown so by leaps and bounds in recent years with the bridge in its present condition, with the two main arches blocked. If indeed that great increase in river traffic be a fact —there is no cause to deny it—it has taken place not only with the bridge as it will be when reconstructed, but with the bridge with its two chief arches blocked permanently by wooden structures.
There is nothing in these facts that Suggests for one moment that a reconstructed 316 bridge with its arches open again would not provide ample accommodation for all reasonable developments of river craft and would not hold out for tie future an ample hope of coping successfully with any stream of traffic that human foresight can imagine going up and down the river. I suggest, therefore, for these reasons that those who oppose this reconstruction have failed to show that the arches of the bridge in its present form would, if reconstructed, be a danger to navigation. The contrary is proved by three year's navigation without accident of any kind. The opponents of reconstruction have failed to prove that the bridge would be a hindrance to the economic development of the river, because even in its mutilated and truncated present condition it has permitted, as the opponents of reconstruction themselves say, an immense development of river traffic.
Something has also been said about large boats. We are told that if the bridge be left in its present form with regard to arches there will be difficulty in developing the larger river craft which will be capable of sea-going voyages. For my part, I do not think that that would be any great loss. Even if it were true, Waterloo Bridge is ten feet higher than Westminster Bridge, and if a boat can go under Westminster Bridge it can go under Waterloo Bridge. Nevertheless, I believe that we are here in danger of falling into an error. The river traffic depends in the last resort not upon the big boat but upon a vast number of small boats, manned by our own watermen. By retaining Waterloo Bridge in its present condition we shall be preserving the livelihood—the monopoly if you like—of those who ply up and down the river in small craft at the present moment and have done so from time immemorial. On that aspect of the matter, I would suggest to the House that, if that be a now point on which we are to make a decision, it is entirely without foundation. The experience of three years has shown that the skill of our native watermen is quite sufficient to cope in absolute safety with the bridge in its original condition. The immense increase of traffic even when the bridge has been blocked up shows that, when it is open, it will be no hindrance to the economic development of the river.
I come to a point which must be one of great importance from the navigational 317 point of view. Whatever you do in this matter of the bridge, whether you reconstruct the present bridge or pull it down and erect a new one, there is bound to be some interruption both of cross-river and of river traffic. We ordinary Members are in difficulty on those matters because we have to be guided very largely by what we are told of estimates, the time it will take, and so on. I cannot, however, conceive it possible that the reconstruction of the present bridge in the manner suggested could possibly mean such a prolonged interruption, both to river traffic and to cross-river traffic, as would be involved in pulling down the present massive structure and replacing it by an entirely new one. It we are considering the interests of river trade, let us bear in mind the damage done to that trade if we suffer a plan to be passed by this House which will have the effect of closing the river for a long period and closing the bridge to cross-river traffic for an equally long period.
There are other considerations besides that of navigation. There is the consideration of cost. I accept the figure of the hon. Member for East Fulham (Mr. Wilmot) that the difference between the two proposals is from £600,000 to £700,000. That is a vast sum of money, and unless there is good cause for spending it, I suggest that the House should not spend it. We are inclined to imagine that the time has come when we can spend money freely, but one of the most important instruments in promoting financial recovery has been the determination on the part of the House to spend no money on non-productive and unnecessary works, and the time has not yet come to reverse that policy which has been so successful in promoting financial recovery. One has only to look at the state of the world about us and the heavy burden of local and national taxation to realise that the vigilance of this House is as necessary as ever in order to see that no money is spent which is not amply justified by the needs of the people and the urgent necessities of the time. I am told that it is a small sum, but deficits are made up of small sums which are allowed to pass one after the other, and there is no case which would warrant the House in allowing this 318 sum to pass, by reversing its previous decision.
We are told also that four lines of traffic are not enough, and that we must have six. I impress upon the House that four lines of traffic across a bridge equal at least six, if not eight, on the highway. On the ordinary highway, made for six lines of traffic, one can always count on two lines being permanently blocked by cars and carts drawn up at the sides of the road. There are also the interruptions of traffic inevitable on a highway caused by the laying of pipes and mains and so forth, and four lines of traffic proceeding over this bridge means that there will debouch into the congested area at the end of the bridge a stream of traffic equivalent to six lines on the highway. I suggest that the state of affairs at Wellington Street offers no hope that we are going to improve matters by adding this amount of traffic to that already congested area. The whole case on that point was given away by ray hon. Friend the Minister of Transport when he said we had to look to the future. Wellington Street to-day is a bottle-neck and a difficult place. In the future, who knows that Covent Garden may not be swept away and great approaches made through there? Look at the money that is going to cost.
If you are going to make great approaches to Waterloo Bridge through Covent Garden it may cost, perhaps, £20,000,000. Why not spend your £20,000,000, where everyone is agreed a road bridge ought to be, at Charing Cross. One is reminded of the man who was ruined because his wife get a present of a very fine carpet and in order to live up to it, had to get a better house and indulge in all sorts of luxuries which he could not afford. We are beginning at the wrong place. Waterloo Bridge is not the solution for the chaotic condition of affairs south of the Thames. It is agreed that it is the Charing Cross Bridge that is required, and I suggest to the House that we shall be taking a false and irrevocable step if we allow our word to go forth that this old bridge is to be taken down.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 194; Noes, 159.321
|Division No. 259.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Grigg, Sir Edward||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Grimston, R. V.||Pike, Cecil F|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Purbrlck, R.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Hanley, Dennis A.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Harris, Sir Percy||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Rankin, Robert|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Hepworth, Joseph||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Hornby, Frank||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Horobin, Ian M.||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Bateman, A. L.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Bernays, Robert||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Jessen, Major Thomas E.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Scone, Lord|
|Bracken, Brendan||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kimball, Lawrence||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Shute, Colonel J. J.|
|Burghley, Lord||Law, Sir Alfred||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-ln-F.)|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Somerville, Annesley A (Windsor)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Levy, Thomas||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Llddall, Walter S.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)||Spens, William Patrick|
|Christie, James Archibald||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Llewellin, Major John J.||Stones, James|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd. Gr'n)||Storey, Samuel|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||McKeag, William||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||McKle, John Hamilton||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||McLean, Dr. W. H, (Tradeston)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Cross, R. H.||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Maitland, Adam||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Denville, Alfred||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Donner, P. W.||Martin, Thomas B.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Drewe, Cedric||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||White, Henry Graham|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Morgan, Robert H.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Morrison, William Shephard||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Nall-Oain, Hon. Ronald||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Nicholson. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Nunn, William||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||O'Connor, Terence James||Wise, Alfred R.|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Womersley, Walter James|
|Goff, Sir Park||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Pearson, William G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.-|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Penny, Sir George||Sir William Davison and Lord|
|Greene, William P. C.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Balniel.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Cripps, Sir Stafford|
|Albery, Irving James||Cape, Thomas||Culverwell, Cyril Tom|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Daggar, George|
|Allen, Lt.-Col J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Carver, Major William H.||Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Cassels, James Dale||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Castlereagh, Viscount||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Banfield, John William||Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Clarke, Frank||Dlckle, John P.|
|Batey, Joseph||Clarry, Reginald George||Dobble, William|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Edwards, Charles|
|Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Colman, N. C. D.||Elliston, Captain George Sampson|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Cooke, Douglas||Elmley, Viscount|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Cove, William G.||Entwlstle, Cyril Fullard|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Essenhlgh, Reginald Clare|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Kirkwood, David||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Knight, Holford||Remer, John R.|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Knox, Sir Alfred||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Gillett, Sir George Matterman||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Rlckards, George William|
|Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lawson, John James||Salmon, Sir Isldore|
|Graves, Marjorle||Leckle, J. A.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lees-Jones, John||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Leonard, William||Selley, Harry R.|
|Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Loftus, Pierce C.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Logan, David Gilbert||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||McEntee, Valentine L.||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Soper, Richard|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Mainwaring, William Henry||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Hales, Harold K.||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydyll)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Harbord, Arthur||Meller, Sir Richard James||Thorne, William James|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P||Milner, Major James||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Hicks, Ernest George||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||West, F. R.|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Mitcheson, G. G.||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Holdsworth, Herbert||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Alton)||Munro, Patrick||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Williams, Thomas (York, Dan Valley)|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Peat, Charles U.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Petherlck, M.||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Jenkins, Sir William||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|John, William||Pybus, Sir Percy John|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Radford, E. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Sir George Hume and Mr. Wilmot.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Ray, Sir William|
That it be an Instruction to the Committee to which the Bill is referred that they amend Part I of the Schedule thereto by striking out in the second column, paragraph (c), of Item 7, the words 'or the demolition thereof and the erection of a new bridge.'