HC Deb 11 February 1964 vol 689 cc207-8
22. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what are his intentions for the future use of the Board Room at the Admiralty.

Mr. Rippon

It is proposed that the Board Room should remain in use for conference purposes in the Admiralty Building with which it is historically associated.

Mr. Digby

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that this very attractive room has many historic associations and that it would be a pity if an appropriate use could not be found for it? I am not sure that low-level conferences will necessarily be the right answer. Does my right hon. Friend mean that the new Admiralty Board will meet there, or that the Defence Council will meet there?

Mr. Rippon

The Admiralty will continue in occupation for some years, and if in time an agreeable proposal is made for transferring this Board Room we shall certainly consider it.

Mr. Snow

Is the Minister aware that the sentiments expressed by the hon. Member for Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby) will be echoed by many of my hon. Friends? This is an historically most interesting and architecturally extremely valuable room and it must not be allowed to degenerate into an ordinary conference room. Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the accoutrements of this room, including the wind indicator, will be retained as an historic memento?

Mr. Rippon

I am not sure what is meant by the reference to the room degenerating into an ordinary conference room. Apart from that, I appreciate that this is a room of very great historic interest. I am in close touch with my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty to ensure that we make the best arrangements possible in all the circumstances.

Sir P. Agnew

As it may well be that the tenure by the Navy Board, as we shall have to call the Admiralty after 1st April, may be only temporary, will my right hon. Friend consider transferring this historic room to a worthy permanent site, such as within the Royal Naval College at Greenwich, so greatly associated with the Royal Navy?

Mr. Rippon

I am certainly prepared to consider that and any other suggestion.