HC Deb 27 July 1954 vol 531 cc206-7
1. Commander Donaldson

asked the Minister of Works the average numbers of those who view the Crown Jewels on weekdays and on Sundays during the tourist season.

The Minister of Works (Sir David Eccles)

During the tourist season the Crown Jewels are viewed by an average of about 2,900 people on a weekday and 1,500 people on a Sunday.

Commander Donaldson

Can my right hon. Friend give any estimate of how many people are turned away on weekdays and on Sundays?

Sir D. Eccles

Not accurately, but it is a great many.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are Crown Jewels in Edinburgh Castle about which there is no difficulty in viewing?

2. Commander Donaldson

asked the Minister of Works if he is aware of the disappointment felt by overseas visitors, especially those from the Commonwealth countries, when they are unable to see the Crown Jewels owing to the present inadequate arrangements in the Tower of London; if he will remove the Crown Jewels to a new jewel room, possibly in the White Tower; what would be the estimated cost of such a move; and what would be the estimated increased revenue.

Sir D. Eccles

Visitors are sometimes disappointed by not being able to see the Crown Jewels. However, the jewels cannot be housed elsewhere in the Tower because of problems of display, security, and public access. The only satisfactory solution would be a new building. This would cost about £100,000. It is difficult to estimate the increased revenue which might be obtained if a new building were erected.

Commander Donaldson

Does my right hon. Friend not think that the goodwill engendered by Her Majesty's citizens who come from all over the world to see these jewels would justify the expenditure? Does he not think that if a new building were constructed it would not be long before it would be a profitable business? The important point is that people are very distressed at not being able to see the Crown Jewels when they come here.

Sir D. Eccles

I hope it will be possible one day to build a new Jewel House.

Mr. Ede

Is not the right hon. Gentleman the warden of all the ancient monuments and the Tower one of the greatest of them?

Sir D. Eccles

I quite agree, but there is no suitable place in the Tower where the Crown Jewels can be kept in security unless we build a new Jewel House.