HL Deb 07 July 1851 vol 118 cc281-2

, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, referred to the numerous inquiries and propositions which had been made in reference to Smithfield market during the present century. In 1809 the Government had expressed an opinion against it; and in 1828 the butchers of London had memorialised against it. It therefore could not be alleged that in proposing the Bill now before their Lordships, the Government had not acted with due deliberation. The last Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry unanimously recommended that the Government should take on themselves the duty of removing the nuisance. Upon that recommendation the Government acted, and appointed a Royal Commission composed of persons of different political opinions; and the Bill which he now proposed to be read a second time was founded upon the report of that Commission. The Bill was one which did not require much explanation. It proposed the appointment of a certain number of Commissioners charged with the duty of procuring a site for a new market in the suburban districts, and of slaughterhouses, if necessary, connected with the market; and also empowered the Commissioners to raise money under certain restrictions, to appoint officers, to make certain bylaws, &c. There was also a clause in the Bill which must remove all ground of complaint on the score of grievance on the part of the City of London, for by that clause it would be competent for the City of London, within six months after the passing of the Bill, to undertake all the functions connected with the management of the new market. Not anticipating any great opposition to the second reading of the Bill, he would content himself with saying, that though the passing of the Bill might, as was inevitable in effecting these great changes and improvements, inflict some injury on certain persons connected with the present Smithfield market, yet it would enhance the value of the property in the neighbourhood by removing a nuisance from which the regular course of trade suffered. The Bill, by providing for the establishment of a large market in a suburban spot, would remove from a part of the town in which the population was most dense, an intolerable nuisance necessarily accompanying a cattle market situated in the heart of London. It would be surprising if, in the present advanced state of civilisation, a cattle market should be retained on its present site, which was selected for that purpose more than 500 years ago, when London was so much smaller than now; and if it should be longer permitted that droves of cattle should be driven by day and by night through the most populous streets, to the danger and alarm of all passers-by, and giving opportunity for scenes of disgusting cruelty which must have the worst effect on the population. In removing the market, he believed that they would get rid of this great amount of evil, afford greater facilities to the graziers and dealers, and also enable the consumers in this metropolis, amounting to above 2,000,000 of persons, to obtain meat of a much better quality, as, in consequence of the insufficient room in Smithfield, and the cruelty the drovers were obliged to resort to, the cattle now suffered great deterioration.

Bill read 2a (according to Order), and committed.