HC Deb 16 July 1963 vol 681 cc319-20
18. Mr. Clive Bossom

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what use is being made of Hampton Court Palace for official purposes during 1963;and whether he will encourage a greater use of the palace in the future.

Mr. Rippon

So far there are no proposals for using Hampton Court Palace for official purposes in 1963 but I hope that the Cumberland suite, which is shortly to be restored, will be used for Government hospitality on appropriate occasions.

Mr. Bossom

Could my right hon. Friend persuade the Lord Chamberlain to allow Government hospitality in the banqueting hall and the gardens much more frequently, because I am sure that official Commonwealth and foreign visitors would enjoy functions there and would also enjoy going there by river?

Mr. Rippon

Quite a number of functions have been held in the Palace since 1961—at least five supper parties, for example. Hampton Court Palace is, of course, a Royal Palace which I administer on behalf of Her Majesty, so that her permission is required for any functions that may be held there.

19. Mr. Clive Bossom

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he will take steps to acquire suitable furnishings for the many empty state-rooms at Hampton Court Palace.

Mr. Rippon

The furnishing of the State Apartments at Hampton Court is the responsibility of the Lord Chamberlain but I will certainly draw his attention to my hon. Friend's Question.

Mr. Bossom

Could my right hon. Friend get some period furniture loaned from the Victoria and Albert Museum or some other national museum to fill up these empty rooms?

Mr. Rippon

I will certainly pass on that suggestion. I understand that the Lord Chamberlain's present policy is to restrict the furnishings to items with historical associations with the Palace.

Mr. M. Foot

Will the right hon. Gentleman persuade the Lord Chamberlain to confine his activities solely to Hampton Court and to leave us to look after the House of Commons?

28. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what steps he has taken to publicise the opening of the restored Cardinal Wolsey rooms at Hampton Court.

Mr. Rippon

Full information about the restoration of the decorated and painted ceilings in these rooms, and of the remarkable series of early 16th-century panel paintings in the Wolsey Closet, was circulated to all sections of the Press at the time of the re-opening in April, 1962.

Mr. Digby

Will my right hon. Friend do a little more? Since not one remains of the Palaces built by the Tudor sovereigns, is not this Palace built by Wolsey of particular historic interest?

Mr. Rippon

I quite agree about the importance of this Palace. We are doing a great deal of work there. I shall do all I can to publicise its value and importance.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Now that such great interest has been taken in one of the great ornaments in my constituency, namely, Hampton Court, will my right hon. Friend open up the blocked doorway into these rooms so as to allow visitors to circulate more freely?

Mr. Rippon

There is a further Question dealing with the extra work which we are doing. I will consider putting my hon. Friend on exhibition there, if he likes.