HC Deb 20 March 1956 vol 550 cc974-5
6. Mr. M. Stewart

asked the Minister of Works what progress has been made with the extension of the premises of the British Museum Library at Colindale.

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn

Tenders for the work have been received, and I hope that a contract will be let within a month.

Mr. Stewart

Does the right hon. Gentleman remember that his predecessor said last November that he hoped that a start would be made with the work in March? Can he now say when the work is likely to be started?

Mrs. Jeger

Can the right hon. Gentleman use his influence with the Trustees of the British Museum to encourage a more imaginative use of the space already at their disposal? Is he aware that many miles of shelving are being used in London for the storage of books which have to be kept—because it is a statutory duty of the British Museum to keep a copy of every book and publication which comes out—but which need not be kept in London at all? If some of these could be moved outside London, would there not be room for expansion in London?

Mr. Buchan-Hepburn

That is beyond the scope of the Question. At Colindale, about which I was asked, newspapers are stacked in corridors and between the shelves, thus preventing access to the papers on the shelves themselves.