HL Deb 08 July 1878 vol 241 cc953-5

asked Her Majesty's Government, Why the gravel which had usually been laid down between the Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner, and between the end of Rotten Row and Queen's Gate, had not been laid down this year; and whether there was any objection to building shelters in case of rain in Rotten Row and Battersea Park? In regard to the question of gravelling, he knew that one reason assigned for discontinuing the practice was that pedestrians objected to it; but he would appeal to the experience of their Lordships, as to whether newly-watered macadam did not splash a good deal more than gravel?—as his noble Friend the Lord President of the Council would find if he would stand whilst somebody cantered by. If gravel did splash, then he would suggest that that objection might be obviated by the use of a little tar, or tan and sand. In regard to the question of shelters, he really believed the erection of such places would be a very great accommodation to those who frequented the Park. The cabmen had their shelters, and deservedly so; but he wanted to know why ladies and gentlemen should not also have the benefit of similar conveniences? He could only conceive two objections. One would be on the score of expense; but the question of usefulness would so far over-balance that, that he need not further refer to it. The second objection was, that shelters would be unsightly. He had been told that a large building in the middle of the park would not only be very hideous in itself, but would be also very much in the way. He, however, did not wish for such a building. What he asked was, that there should be some light, ornamental buildings on the side of the Park, which might be convenient for pedestrians as well as equestrians. Instead of one shelter, they might have half-a-dozen, and he believed it could be managed without difficulty. Of course, it was very easy to build ugly places. That was demonstrated every day, and the new barracks formed a case in point; but it was also possible to erect ornamental buildings, and nothing could be more simple than the plan he had suggested.


said, the noble Duke had given satisfactory answers to his own Questions, and had shown why the proposals he made could not be carried out. The noble Duke had been quite correct in his surmise as to the reason why there was no gravel on the side of the Park between the Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner. The First Commissioner of Works received so many complaints as to the great inconvenience to pedestrians which arose from gravel being placed in that part of the Park, that last year and this year the practice had been discontinued. His noble Friend considered that pedestrians would be more splashed by newly-watered macadam than by gravel; but he should have thought his great hunting experience would have taught him that people were less likely to canter on hard macadam than on soft gravel. The noble Duke also forgot that there were some parts of the Park made soft for the use of equestrians who, if they wished to canter, could do so round the North side of the Park, or if they preferred Rotten Row they could select that portion in front of the barracks. In regard to the second part of the noble Duke's Question, he had also answered himself correctly. Shelters could not be put up without incurring considerable expense, and as they would have to be large enough to accommodate hundreds of horses, they must necessarily be unsightly. As to the proposal that the shelters should also be occupied by pedestrians, if the noble Duke were a pedestrian he would find himself in a rather uncomfortable position when boxed up with a lot of restive horses.


explained that his proposal was to have separate shelters for equestrians and pedestrians. In the latter case, the structure would be raised slightly from the ground.


replied, that that would increase the amount of accommodation to be provided, and would, therefore, strengthen his objection. The noble Duke had spoken of the new barracks as unsightly; but he could have no idea of what they would be when the scaffolding was removed and they were in a finished state.


hoped the subject would be further considered. In Paris, in the Bois de Boulogne shelters were provided.


did not think the Question had been sufficiently answered. He should like to see our Parks made more attractive than they were now, and he hoped the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon) would consult the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works who had charge of the matter, and see whether something could not be done to meet the very reasonable wish expressed by the noble Duke who put the Question.


did not think the gravel was open to the objections urged against it. The walk was very wide, with plenty of room for pedestrians to get out of the way of the splash, if there really was any; but his experience was that they crowded up along the rails against the road to see and be seen.