HL Deb 28 July 1846 vol 88 cc104-5

presented a petition from William, Joshua, and Thomas Watts, proprietors of the cold and swimming baths in the City-road, known as Peerless-pool, complaining of the Baths and Washhouses Bill. The petitioners stated, that the Bill had been introduced under the false pretence of providing baths and washhouses for the use of the poor—an inestimable benefit (the noble and learned Lord observed), but at the same time one which ought to be established upon a due principle, and supported from proper funds. The washhouses of which the petitioners complained were to be established by means of the poor-rates, a revenue which was levied for a totally different purpose, and which was never intended for any other purpose than the sustenance of the poor. These new baths under the Bill were, he understood from the petition, to be created partly for the use of the middle classes, who were to pay for them at least to some extent; there would therefore be a probable deficiency in the receipts; this deficiency, as the petitioners stated, was to be made up out of the poor-rates. It was of this that the petitioners complained. They were ratepayers, and they had a right not merely to ask, as they did, for compensation, but they had a right to demand that the Bill be rejected altogether.


said, that it would be much more convenient if the noble and learned Lord would not speak when a petition was put into his hands as if he spoke from a brief; for he believed that the Bill would be found to be very different from what the noble and learned Lord anticipated. It was true that money for this purpose was to be raised on the security of the poor rate; but then it was a loan, which was to be repaid out of the profits of these baths and washhouses.


said, that he believed these baths and washhouses would return from seven to ten per cent., and therefore he thought that no fear ought to be felt with respect to the proposed mode of raising this money. He hoped that the noble and learned Lord would not oppose the Bill, for he was convinced that it would confer the greatest benefit on the working classes.


observed that any measure whatever which might be introduced for the establishment of baths and washhouses must materially affect the interests of individuals; and that happened in the case of schools, colleges, or any other public establishment of a similar character. He believed that the establishments intended to be created under the Bill would very speedily maintain themselves; it was quite a mistake to suppose that they were to be maintained out of the poor rates.

Petition to lie on the Table.

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