HL Deb 19 May 1884 vol 288 cc647-9

renewed the suggestion that he had made when the "Black Rod" Committee was named, and many times previously, that the Royal Gallery, a large room adjacent to the House, now unused, should be partially furnished for the convenience of Peers. He understood that the objection to this proposal came from the noble Chairman of Committees, to whose judgment the House willingly bowed, except when he opposed a useful reform. Moved, "That it be an instruction to the Select Committee on the Office of the Clerk of the Parliaments and Office of the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, or other authority having charge of the arrangements of the House of Lords, to furnish in a substantial manner a portion of the Royal Gallery as a writing room for the use of Peers during the sittings of the House."—(The Earl of Longford.)


said, he supported the proposal of the noble Earl, and would like to know to what authority application should be made in such matters, as whenever he had applied to anyone he had always been referred elsewhere? He thought there were some other matters which were also entirely neglected in their Lordships' House. In the first place, no post-box was placed in the Library. Again, the stationery supply to the House was inferior to that supplied to the House of Commons; and the lights on the reading tables were quite insufficient. He felt grateful to his noble Friend for starting this subject, and hoped that it would not be lost sight of.


was of opinion that there was no great desire on the part of Members of that House to have the Royal Gallery turned into a writing-room. The noble Earl first brought this subject forward in 1867. At that time the Committee were not disposed to accede to his request; but when the Irish Church Bill was before the House it was thought desirable that some tables should be put into the Gallery, and to a very small extent they were used. After that period the room was not used at all; but in 1872 the noble Earl renewed his application to the Committee, who directed the Board of Works to partially fit up the Gallery, and accordingly four tables were placed there. They were still there in 1877, when the noble Earl renewed his application, because there were no chairs. Accordingly, chairs were placed there; but during the three years 1877, 1878, and 1879, not a single pen was used at any one of the tables. He thought, after that, their Lordships might be satisfied that there was no great demand for having the Royal Gallery turned into a writing-room.


remarked, that he had just been into the Library, where there were 12 writing tables, capable of accommodating eight persons each, and nobody was using them at present.


said, that those tables might as well be placed in Palace Yard for all the use they were; and he saw no reason why his proposal should not be considered, except for the crotchets of the noble Earl.


had at first intended to support the Motion; but he now thought the noble Earl opposite had conclusively shown that the room was not required.


remarked, that although on ordinary occasions there might be no need for additional accommodation for correspondence, yet when large measures were discussed there was great difficulty in finding room, and, therefore, he did not think the question of providing increased accommodation was unworthy of consideration.

Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.