HC Deb 02 May 1950 vol 474 cc1579-80
69. Lieut.-Colonel Hyde

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will authorise the trustees of the British Museum to extend the hours during which the reading room is open to the public.

Mr. Jay

Owing to the need for economy in public expenditure, it has not been possible to authorise the British Museum to engage additional staff for the purpose mentioned.

Lieut.-Colonel Hyde

Is the Minister aware that, by reason of their other work, many people cannot use the Museum during the normal hours of opening in the day-time? Can he make arrangements for the Museum reading room to be opened for at least one evening a week?

Mr. Jay

This is another case where the Opposition are pressing the Government to spend more public money, but we are certainly prepared to look at it if a case is made out.

Mr. Wyatt

is my hon. Friend aware that towards the end of the last century the British Museum reading room used to be opened in the evenings, and that the management of the Museum has been gradually deteriorating since then and the Museum is now becoming more and more restricted to the public day by day?

Mr. Jay

I understand that the experiment of opening the reading room in the evening was tried just before the war and that it was found to be rather expensive and was not very well attended.

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