HC Deb 26 July 1937 vol 326 cc2647-9
28. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department why the three chief exhibits which the visitor sees on entering the British Pavilion of the International Exhibition in Paris are a large model of people hunting, another of people shooting, and a large picture of the Prime Minister fishing; and whether he is satisfied that this arrangement is either suitable or dignified?

Mr. R. S. Hudson (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

I cannot accept the suggestion in the first part of the question that the three exhibits mentioned are the chief exhibits which the visitor sees on entering. Love of sport, however, has always been a characteristic feature of our national life, and I understand that it was for that reason that the Council for Art and Industry, who, on the invitation of His Majesty's Government undertook the responsibility for the selection of exhibits and for their display in the United Kingdom Pavilion, arranged this particular series of exhibits. I should mention that all forms of sports and games are represented, including football, cricket, golf, and, I may add, darts. The answer to the last part of the question is in the affirmative.

Mr. Strauss

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the usual reaction of visitors to the British Pavilion is to laugh at these exhibits, and is it not possible now to take steps to change them, so that they shall not be so ridiculously unrepresentative of British life?

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Is it not the case that the Prime Minister always lands his fish, and that the Socialist party always get a fouled line?

Miss Wilkinson

Is it not possible in the Exhibition to suggest that the British people occasionally do some work?

Mr. H. G. Williams

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider adding to the—

Mr. Speaker

We cannot debate this matter now.

29 and 30. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department (1) whether he has given consideration to the correspondence sent to him by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent; why the letter was sent out stating that no studio pottery was to be exhibited at the Paris Exhibition; and will he call a conference at once of representative pottery manufacturers and pottery artists to enable him to hear the representative opinion on the pottery section of the British Pavilion at the Paris Exhibition, and to take any action that is mutually agreed upon;

(2) whether he can give the whole of the names of the people who influenced or decided on the pottery exhibits; and will he state why Stoke, Fenton, and Longton pottery and Longton bone china are not better represented in the pottery section in the British Pavilion at the Paris Exhibition?

Mr. Hudson

As the hen. Member was informed by my predecessor, the responsibility for the selection of exhibits and for their arrangement and display in the United Kingdom Pavilion at Paris was entrusted by His Majesty's Government to the Council for Art and Industry. In the circumstances, I am very much afraid the conference suggested would not serve any useful purpose. A list of members of the Council's Pottery Sub-Committee has already been communicated to the hon. Member, but I shall be happy to send him another copy, together with a list of the members of the council.

Mr. Smith

Did the hon. Gentleman see the letter in the "Times" from a well-known potter, and is he aware of the deep resentment which exists in the pottery industry at the way in which these exhibits have been chosen; is he further aware that the industry are of the opinion that certain influences have been at work to have brought this position about?

Mr. Hudson

Yes, Sir, I am aware that certain criticisms have been passed; on the other hand, I am aware that many exhibits have been the subject of very favourable comment. Indeed, only last week a buyer from one of the largest houses in the United States told us that certain of the exhibits were the best he had ever seen, and asked for the names of the exhibitors in order that he might place large orders for the American market.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

In order that Members might be able to form an opinion about these exhibits, has the hon. Gentleman any photographs which he could put up in the Tea Room?

Mr. Hudson

Yes, Sir, I have photographs, and I will arrange for them to be put up in the Tea Room.