HL Deb 14 August 1883 vol 283 cc448-9

, in rising to call attention to the state of the military prison in Scotland; and to ask, If any Reports have been received on the subject? said, the prison in question was situated at Greenlaw, and, although he would admit it was most admirably and carefully managed, yet he must say it was in a most dangerous condition. It was built in 1803, entirely of wood, for the reception of French prisoners, and ever since it had received an annual coating of tar, which rendered it highly inflammable. The consequences of the place catching fire would be most disastrous, inasmuch as the building contained only one staircase, and the prisoners were locked up, so that their chance of escape would be very small. The water supply was absolutely nil; and there were no means whatever of extinguishing a fire, if the building caught fire, though no amount of water would save it if it did catch fire. He had no doubt the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Morley) had made every inquiry; but he would press it upon him that he should make every further inquiry that he could. In the interests alike of the prisoners and of those who had charge of them, it was absolutely necessary that something should be done.


, in reply, said, he was glad to find that the Question put by his noble Friend opposite (the Marquess of Lothian) had the single illustration of the prison to which he had referred. He believed the prison was an old one, as mentioned in the Question, although he was not acquainted with the details stated. He could only assure his noble Friend that he would take care that inquiries should be made; but he might add that he had been unable to find any Reports or complaints at the War Office regarding the subject. Should any defects be proved to exist steps should be taken at once to remedy them.


said, he perfectly agreed with his noble Friend (the Marquess of Lothian) as to the state of the prison in question, that if the building caught fire there would be no chance of extinguishing it. In fact, he did not think the whole Metropolitan Fire Brigade would be successful in putting it out, for it was completely saturated with tar. He had been through it, and a more unfit place he had never seen. He hoped it would not be used much longer.