HL Deb 28 June 1867 vol 188 cc660-2

, in moving that a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the statements contained in the petition of Mr. John Joseph Morewood, presented on the 3rd of May last, praying for compensation for expenses incurred in the promotion of Metropolitan drainage, said that Mr. Morewood claimed to be considered the originator of the scheme for the main drainage of the metropolis, in the preparation of the plans and estimates for which he had incurred vast labour and expense, and upon which he had been engaged since the year 1845. Mr. Morewood stated that his plans had been adopted and copied by the Engineer to the Board of Works, that he had many times applied for compensation, but had never received any satisfaction. He hoped their Lordships would not refuse to perform this simple act of justice.

Moved, That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the Statements contained in the Petition of Mr. John Joseph Morewood, presented on the 3d of May last, and to report to the House thereupon.—(The Marquess Townshend.)


said, he should be sorry to have the appearance of casting discredit upon the efforts of, he had no doubt, a very talented person, who had bestowed a large amount of time, money, and consideration upon this important subject of metropolitan drainage, but no sufficient ground, in his opinion, had been shown for the appointment of a Committee. Mr. Morewood was not the only person who had put forward schemes for the improvement of the drainage of London. During the long course of years—upwards of forty years—that the subject had been under the consideration of the Government, of different Boards, and lastly of the Metropolitan Board of Works, no less than 137 competitors had forwarded rival schemes, all of which had been fully considered and reported upon by the Commission in 1850. If their Lordships were to grant this Committee now asked for, each one of the 136 other gentlemen would be equally entitled to have their claims submitted to investigation. It was claimed as a distinguishing feature of Mr. Morewood's scheme that it embraced the construction of two low-level intercepting sewers, one on the north, and the other on the south side of the river, of a character similar to those included in the present Main Drainage Works. Mr. Morewood's scheme, however, was not put forward till 1845; while a scheme for the main drainage of London on the principle of interception was put forward by Mr. Martin in 1843. This was supported in the next year by the Commissioners for the improvement of the metropolis. The petitioner had stated that in consequence of the Board of Works having adopted his plan he was entitled to compensation; but, so far from the Board of Works having adopted Mr. Morewood's plan, it appeared that it was considered with a number of others and was deemed of such little worth that no notice was taken of it in the Report, and in 1858, after repeated pressing and much discussion it was decided not to refer it to the Committee of Works. The petitioner had also said that his plan was identical with that now in course of construction; but the records of the Board of Works showed that the two plans were entirely different in character and one who was at the time an eminent Member of the House of Commons took the trouble some years ago to examine into Mr. Morewood's claim; but after three days' inspection of the plans and documents in the case, he came to the conclusion that it was untenable, and that it would not be proper to bring it before Parliament. Under the whole of the circumstances, and considering that there were 136 inventors of drainage Schemes, it would be most unwise to waste any of their Lordships' time by appointing the desired Committee.

After a few remarks from the Marquess TOWNSHEND, in reply,

On Question? their Lordships divided:—Contents 8; Not-Contents 42: Majority 34.

Townshend, M. [Teller.] Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)
Dartrey, E. Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)
Kimberley, E. [Teller.]
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Foley, L. Stratheden, L.
Chelmsford, L. (L. Chancellor.) Bagot, L.
Belper, L.
Bolton, L.
Buckingham and Chandos, D. Boston, L.
Brancepeth, L. (V. Boyne.)
Marlborough, D.
Richmond, D. Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)
Exeter, M. Churston, L.
Clonbrock, L.
Amherst, E. Colonsay, L.
Bathurst, E. Denman, L.
Bradford, E. De Saumarez, L.
Cardigan, E. Dunsany, L.
Dartmouth, E. Egerton, L.
Devon, E, Feversham, L.
Graham, E. (D. Montrose.) Heytesbury, L.
Meredyth, L. (L. Athlumney.)
Haddington, E.
Malmesbury, E. Redesdale, L.
Nelson, E. Saltersford, L. (E. Courtown.)
Romney, E.
Shrewsbury, E. Sherborne, L.
Stradbroke, E. Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Tankerville, E.
Southampton, L.
Hawarden, V. [Teller.] Wynford, L. [Teller.]

Resolved in the Negative.