HL Deb 26 July 1885 vol 300 cc212-3

said, he rose to ask a Question of the noble Viscount the Under Secretary for War about the military prison of Glencorse, the condition of which he ventured two years ago to bring to the attention of their Lordships. This prison was built about 100 years ago for the reception of French prisoners taken during the war with France, and was constructed entirely of wood, except the stone staircase in the centre which connected the two wings, and the wood was tarred over. It was nothing more nor less than a fire trap. A prisoner within it once set fire to his clothing, and if the fire had spread not a single person in the prison would have escaped. His firm conviction was that if the building should take fire, as it might do at any moment, not a soul in it would escape. The prison was admirably conducted, and he was convinced that in the event of a fire the warders would do all in their power to get the prisoners out, and would fall victims to their sense of duty. He wanted to know what were the intentions of the Government with respect to the prison?


, in reply, said, that this was a very important matter. The facts as stated by the noble Marquess were perfectly correct. The prison was built of wood at the beginning of the present century, or at the end of the last century, for the reception of French prisoners. It had continued from year to year, and there I was no doubt that it was now absolutely unsafe. The Military Authorities did not consider that it would be desirable to retain the prisoners in the building any longer than could be helped, and they were as anxious as anybody else to get them out of this very dangerous position. The noble Marquess might therefore consider that the prison was condemned, and that as soon as room could be found elsewhere the prisoners would be removed from their present quarters. The necessary arrangements would be made as soon as possible, and the prison would be a thing of the past.