HC Deb 28 October 1952 vol 505 cc1720-1
23. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Works for what purpose the marble Adam mantelpiece was bought by his Department for 500 guineas at a sale at Halnaby Hall, near Darlington: and where it will be installed.

Mr. Eccles

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 21st October to the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Watkins).

Mr. Dodds

Yes, but the Minister has only given one part of the answer to the Question. Would he now state in which apartment this £525 mantelpiece is to be erected? Is not it in the apartment of a privileged family? How can he justify, at this time when there is a ruthless cut on wonderful work because of economy, the spending of public money on a mantelpiece?

Mr. Eccles

I think it comes badly from the hon. Gentleman to complain about the preserving of a very fine work of art—and if he will refer to "Country Life" of 8th April, 1933, he can see a picture of it—when the party of which he is a member spent millions on temporary works of art on the South Bank, which have now disappeared. Secondly, the Government are responsible for Royal palaces, and Kensington Palace, which is one of our best palaces, was left in a disgraceful state by the late Government. We are doing up that palace. I am not willing to say for which member of the Royal Family the apartment is to be prepared.