HL Deb 15 August 1882 vol 273 cc1798-800

asked Her Majesty's Government, Whether it is seriously intended to carry into effect the alterations proposed by Her Majesty's First Commissioner of Works at Hyde Park Corner; and, if so, when the said alterations may be expected to be commenced? The noble Marquess said, that in asking these Questions he had no intention whatever of finding fault with the scheme proposed by the First Commissioner of Works—quite the reverse; but what he wished was that the works should be commenced at once, as the nuisance was becoming every day more intolerable, even as early as 10 or 11 a.m., as well as 4 or 5 p.m. His reason, too, for pressing this on Her Majesty's Government was that as long ago as 1874 a Motion was carried and the sum of money required actually voted by the House of Commons on the proposal of the noble Lord at that time at the head of the Office of Works, then a Member of the other House for Chichester, and nothing more was ever done about it. When he (the Marquess of Ailesbury) made further inquiry, he found that the money had been repaid into the Treasury. He trusted that Her Majesty's Government would at once commence the works, as they would certainly take six or eight months to complete, or till Parliament should meet next year.


said, that he desired to supplement the Question of the noble Marquess by asking whether, in the event of these proposed improvements being effected, the Government would avail themselves of the opportunity thus afforded to throw open the roadway down Constitution Hill to the public? He asserted that if the contemplated improvements were carried out the exclusion of the public from the roadway in question would be more than ever a grievance. He was satisfied that this proposal would meet with the approval of Her Majesty, who throughout her long and happy Reign had ever considered the convenience of her subjects. Carriages and other vehicles had been allowed to pass in front of Buckingham Palace, and this road would run at the back of the Palace. The public use of it would be a great convenience, and at the same time no nuisance to anybody.


said, that he had to state that immediately the Vote was passed by the other House steps were at once taken to commence carrying out the great improvement at Hyde Park Corner. The first thing that had to be done was to remove the reservoir from its present position to a suitable place in Hyde Park, and tenders had already been invited for carrying this out. The First Commissioner had not yet decided whether the Duke of Wellington's Arch could be moved in one block on rollers, or whether it would be necessary to pull it down and rebuild it; but it was hoped that this matter would be settled in a few days. The Government hoped that cutting off the corner of Green Park would entirely remove the congestion of traffic, which had for so long been a standing nuisance to that part of the Metropolis; and they believed that of the numerous schemes which had been suggested, this formation of a large "place" would be the boldest and happiest solution of a somewhat difficult problem. He could not give the noble Marquess an exact date when the works would be completed; but he could assure him that, the money having been agreed to by Parliament, and the Metropolitan Board of Works and all parties having given their consent, everything would be done to expedite the completing of the improvements as soon as possible. In reply to the noble Lord opposite (the Earl of Milltown), he had to say that it was not proposed at present to open Constitution Hill to the public. The question had not been under consideration.


said, that he was very glad that what was now proposed was to be carried out; but he was convinced that the block in the traffic at Hyde Park Corner would never be got rid of until a subway had been made from Hamilton Place, under Piccadilly, to Grosvenor Place. He was aware that the construction of such a subway would be a very expensive matter, and that all sorts of difficulties connected with water and gas pipes and sewers would have to be encountered; but, in his opinion, these difficulties ought to be overcome, because the block at Hyde Park Corner was really a disgrace to a great city like this.


asked whether it would not be possible to place the statue of the Duke of Wellington on a pedestal opposite to Apsley House?


said, that the First Commissioner had received a great many representations respecting what should be done with the statue of the Duke of Wellington. Among many conflicting opinions, he had not yet decided what would be best to be done; but if the Arch were obliged to be pulled down, then he would take care that experiments were made to see how the Duke would look on a pedestal in the middle of the proposed "place" or similar position. If the Arch were not pulled down, but were rolled into its new position without having to take down the statue, then it was probable it would be better to leave it alone. The matter was, however, still under consideration.