HL Deb 24 May 1867 vol 187 cc1013-5

said, that he proposed to present to their Lordships a Bill in reference to the right of holding public meetings in the Parks. Their Lordships were aware that the Government had introduced a Bill on the subject in the other House, and that the progress of that Bill had from very reasonable considerations been suspended. There seemed to be still an agitation going on among parties who wished to hold meetings in the public Parks. From his acquaintance with what had passed with regard to parks in other places which had been given to the public, he knew that public meetings were in almost all such cases prohibited; and therefore, from his knowledge of what had taken place "elsewhere," as well as for his own protection and comfort as one of Her Majesty's subjects, having a right to the enjoyment of the Parks, he would lay on the table a Bill containing the same provisions as were inserted in an Act of Parliament on the suggestion of Sir Francis Crossley when he presented a park to the town of Halifax. No one could say that Sir Francis Crossley was likely to frame any unreasonable or unpopular regulations for the enjoyment of a people's park. The provision with regard to his park was that it should not on any occasion be used for the purpose of holding political or any other meetings, nor for open air preaching, nor for celebrating the anniversaries of clubs or benefit societies. He proposed to adopt the very words of the Halifax Improvement Act. In local Acts, referring to provincial parks, it was enacted that the respective corporations should have power to make bye-laws for the regulation of the use of the parks; but as there was no such body which could make laws for the London Parks, he proposed to vest the power in Parliament. He had brought in the Bill entirely on his own responsibility, and without consulting any Member of the Government; but of course if it was objected to by the Government he should not proceed with it.

A Bill for the better and more effectually securing the Use of certain Royal Parks and Gardens for the Enjoyment and Recreation of Her Majesty's Subjects—Was presented by The LORD REDESDALE.


It would not become me to express any opinion upon a Bill of this nature while its subject is under the consideration of Her Majesty's Government. In point of fact, the difficulties that have been felt have not been so much with regard to laying down regulations as to providing penalties for en-i forcing them. As we have been advised by the Law Officers of the Crown, there is no question whatever as to the rights of the Crown with regard to the Royal Parks. The Crown has a right, in virtue of its ownership of the Parks, to make bye-laws for their regulation, the violation of which ought to be subjected to some penalty. At present, any person violating those bye-laws can only be proceeded against as a trespasser, and even that course cannot be taken unless personal notice has been given to the offender. The penalty for trespassing has been found to be quite inadequate for the purpose; and the question of providing a more efficient remedy is now under the consideration of the Government. Of course, we shall be happy to have the assistance of my noble Friend in framing an efficient remedy. I believe that such penalties as would prevent the violation of the regulations which are framed for the benefit of the public at large, for whose recreation the Parks are thrown open, will meet with general approval.


said, that the question was of such importance that it ought to be left in the hands of the Government. He did not see why the law required for Hyde Park should not apply to every park throughout the kingdom. If the Government, after due consideration, should be disposed to alter the law of trespass, there would be less objection to such alteration if it applied to all places than if it were confined to a particular place. He was in the habit of allowing persons to assemble for amusement in his park; but if any of those persons misbehaved themselves he had no remedy against them but the law of trespass, which was a most roundabout and unsatisfactory proceeding.


said, his only object in laying his Bill upon the table was to express his own opinion upon the subject, and to bring under the notice of their Lordships and the public generally the stipulations which had been insisted upon by nearly all those who had given parks for the use of the inhabitants of towns. He reminded the noble Lord who had just spoken that there were particular laws in force in almost all towns having these parks, except London. What he proposed would not be in the form of a bye-law, but would be an enactment by Parliament. He had no particular desire to proceed with the Bill.

Bill read 1a; and to be printed.—(No. 113.)