HC Deb 16 June 1953 vol 516 cc712-3
11. Mr. Murray

asked the Minister of Works when it is proposed to offer the stools for sale used in Westminster Abbey at the Coronation ceremony; and if he will state their price, the method of disposal, and to whom applications should be made.

Sir D. Eccles

I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a copy of the text of the notice which was published on 12th June. Guests who attended the Coronation Service will be given the opportunity to purchase chairs and stools.

Mr. Stokes

May we know what they are to be charged? Is it true that they are to be charged £7 each? Does the £7, or whatever the amount is, bear any relation to the cost of production?

Sir D. Eccles

The charges appeared in the newspapers on 12th June——

Mr. Stokes

I did not see them.

Sir D. Eccles

—and the right hon. Gentleman obviously did not see them. The chairs will cost £7 10s. each and the stools £4 7s. 6d. each, including packing and delivery. No profit is made by my Department.

Major Anstruther-Gray

Can my right hon. Friend say how those prices compare with prices charged at the last Coronation?

Sir D. Eccles

Obviously they are greater because costs have gone up and there is Purchase Tax.

Mr. Murray

Will the Minister say what was the cost of these chairs and stools? Is there a profit?

Sir D. Eccles

The cost was within a shilling or two of the prices charged.

Captain Duncan

Can my hon. Friend arrange to inform hon. Members how they should apply for these chairs?

Sir D. Eccles

That information is contained in the notice that was published in the newspapers, and which will now be published in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Stokes

As the right hon. Gentleman says that this is the cost price, will he cause a close examination to be made into the terms of the contract? Having regard to what the stools and chairs consist of, to the ordinary person this does not seem a reasonable price at all. Will the Minister have the matter looked into?

Sir D. Eccles

I have looked into it. On the contrary, I think that, compared with ordinary contracts for furniture, of which my Ministry have great experience, these stools and chairs are made of very good materials. They are very well made, and I think that on the whole the price is reasonable.

Mr. Stokes

I do not.

Following is the notice:

Coronation: Sale of Abbey Chairs, etc.

The Ministry of Works wishes to inform guests who attended the Coronation Service in Westminster Abbey that the chairs and stools used by the Congregation may now be purchased. It may not be possible to offer more than one chair or stool to each applicant. In considering applications for chairs preference will be given to those who occupied them.

Chairs will cost £7 10s. 0d. each and stools £4 7s. 6d. each, including packing and delivery. Applications should be sent, not later than 30th June, 1953, to: —

The Controller of Supplies,

Ministry of Works,

Great Westminster House,

Horseferry Road,


The envelope should be marked "Abbey furniture." Payment should not accompany the application.

Applications may also be made for the purchase of carpets and damask frontals. Preference will be given to applications from churches.