HC Deb 08 March 1956 vol 549 cc2290-1
19. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Education whether he can yet state what new premises will be provided for the Imperial Institute.

Sir D. Eccles

I would refer to the Answer I gave to the hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) on 15th February.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

In carrying out the changes that will inevitably be involved, will the Minister try to save the existing building from destruction, because many people would regard that as an act of vandalism? Will the right hon. Gentleman, who is not without some reputation for artistic taste, use his personal influence to prevent this building from being destroyed?

Sir D. Eccles

That is a Government decision which is in the interests of the Imperial College. We have a great project there which it would be difficult to carry out unless that building goes.

Sir F. Medlicott

Is my right hon. Friend aware that he will gain much support from hon. Members on this side of the House if he uses his influence to prevent the vandalism which would be involved in the destruction of this beautiful and graceful building?

Dr. Stross

Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to add my voice to the plea that he should join with hon. Members on both sides of the House to rescue the present building, and thus save himself the effort of having to find a new site?

Sir D. Eccles

I will convey these feelings to my right hon. Friend whose responsibility it is.

Mr. Albu

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there are two views, among those who are competent to judge, about the artistic merits of this building? In 1953 the Government promised a site to the Imperial College and their plans are now being held up. Will the Government make no alteration about the existing plan?

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Will the Minister confirm that no irrevocable step will be taken until this House has had an opportunity of discussing the matter?

Sir D. Eccles

It is not for me to give any such assurance. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to discuss that through the ordinary channels, he can do so.