HC Deb 25 May 1954 vol 528 cc181-2
7. Mr. Grimond

asked the Minister of Works which national collections have substantial numbers of pictures or articles which they cannot normally exhibit owing to lack of space; and what proposals he has for extending their accommodation.

Sir D. Eccles

In general the national collections contain a great many more articles than the responsible authorities are able, or, indeed, would wish, to exhibit. Within the limits of their resources, Her Majesty's Government deal as sympathetically as possible with requests for further accommodation.

Mr. Grimond

Apart from Lancaster House, has the right hon. Gentleman considered whether any other prominent building in London, such as the Banqueting Hall, Greenwich, or Kensington Palace, might be made available, or that some of these articles might be displayed in suitable buildings owned by the National Trust or by local corporations throughout the country?

Sir D. Eccles

I hope that the example of Lancaster House may lead us to do more in the same field.

Mr. Stokes

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the rehabilitation of the National Gallery is going on fast enough? If he is not, might it not be a good thing to ease off on ancient monuments and get the National Gallery going properly again?

Sir D. Eccles

I am not satisfied and I do not think that hon. Members are, but we are subject to financial limits and I doubt whether it would be a good thing to transfer money from the ancient monuments Vote. We are £2,500,000 in arrears in respect of ancient monuments that are already in my guardianship.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Has the right hon. Gentleman considered the possibility of displaying surplus pictures in the Palace of Westminster and getting rid of some of the frightful ones that we already have here?

Sir D. Eccles

That is a matter of argument which the hon. Gentleman and myself might take up together by walking round the Palace of Westminster