HC Deb 19 February 1951 vol 484 cc881-3
46. Mr. Driberg

asked the Lord President of the Council the reasons which have led the Festival of Britain authorities to select the village of Trowell, Nottinghamshire, for special commendation to Festival visitors; and if consideration will be given to the possibility of similarly commending other villages and small towns, in other parts of the country, which have, like Trowell, shown enterprise in planning their Festival programmes but are also, in their physical aspect, more conventionally beautiful.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

Trowell has been chosen as a village whose effort to produce a worthy contribution to the Festival typifies the spirit of such endeavours. The object of this selection is to encourage places which are not conventionally beautiful to seize the opportunity of Festival year and to have a go at improving their amenities. In reply to the second part of the Question, I think it is for villages and small towns to put on the best show they can and for public opinion to judge the results at the time.

Mr. Driberg

Is my right hon. Friend aware—with all respect to Trowell, which, I gather, is a delightful as well as a typical industrial village—that the basic industry with which most of our villages and small towns are associated is agriculture? Is he aware that many such places as Finchingfield or Coggeshall, or even places outside Essex, have an equal claim with Trowell to special commendation by the Festival authorities? That is the point.

Mr. Morrison

I appreciate that every hon. Member will have quite a list of villages which he can suggest. This one was not picked out on the basis of urging people to go there as against other villages. It is an ancient village; the first mention of it was in 802; its motto is "Independence and self-help "—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I thought that that might revive the earlier doctrines of the Opposition—and, in the words of the rector, it is the type of English village where the old rural life is passing away and where an industrial community has been superimposed. [An HON. MEMBER: "This is a funeral, not a Festival."] My information is that it is a good example of a case where the parish council is struggling with an industrial superimposition to prevent the village from being spoiled. It was chosen merely as an example of modern social problems in a village.

Earl Winterton

Arising out of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, might I ask him whether he could, for the benefit of my constituents and others having rural constituencies, explain the meaning of the term "conventionally beautiful," so that in his eloquent words they may "have a go?"

Mr. Cocks

Is it not a fact that this village combines the strength of modern industry with the peaceful beauty of the English countryside, and is, therefore; typical of England today?

Mr. Morrison

I understand that that is so.

Mr. Oliver

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether conventional beauty or the fact of its being a typical English village was the criterion on which the selection of this village was based? May I also ask him whether my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg) had been to see it before he put down this Question?

Mr. Morrison

I do not suppose that for a moment.

Mr. Driberg

Nor had the Festival people when they picked it.

Mr. Mitchison

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider asking the National Association of Parish Councils for some further recommendations?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think so. I should think that it would split them all over the place.

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