HC Deb 25 January 1973 vol 849 c633
23. Mr. Hamling

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations have been made to her about the offer of the Hill-Adamson collection of Victorian photographs to the National Portrait Gallery by the Royal Academy; and whether she will take steps to ensure that this collection will remain intact and available to the British public.

The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas)

None, Sir. The National Portrait Gallery has been able to purchase the photographs through the generosity of an anonymous benefactor.

Mr. Hamling

That is a most satisfactory state of affairs, but is the hon. Gentleman aware that his Department has some public responsibility for seeing that collections of photographs and of documents are available for historians and writers on the 19th century and that nothing should be done to allow such collections lightly to be dispersed or, indeed, exported?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I agree with the hon. Gentleman, but he will know that many national collections interest themselves in photographs and, since November 1972, licences have been required for the export of photographic material which is more than 70 years old.