§ LORD LAMINGTON
said, he rose to call the attention of the House to the very inconvenient arrangements made by the Admiralty to enable the Members of both Houses of Parliament to see the Naval Review. The arrangements for the Members of both Houses and their ladies were most unsatisfactory. They would be taken down to Portsmouth by special train, but left to get back to London as best they could. It was stated that they must return in any class of carriage they might be able to get into. The arrangements made by the Admiralty were not intelligible; and he would ask why, if they could have special trains down from London, they could not have special trains back to town, as he thought might be arranged with the most perfect case? The arrangements made for the Naval Review of 1856 were also very bad. Many Peers and Peeresses on that occasion did not get back to London until 3 o'clock in the morning. The whole affair wag a disgrace to the Admiralty, as the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville) well knew; and he trusted that the mistakes made then were not going to be repeated on Saturday.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, that, as his noble Friend had appealed to him, he would say that, partly from his recollection of the eventful day to which reference was made, and partly from his own want of confidence in Her Majesty's present Government, he intended to entrust himself entirely to the hospitality of the Mercantile Marine, and not to that of the Royal Navy.
§ LORD ELPHINSTONE (A LORD in WAITING)
regretted exceedingly that his noble Friend was not satisfied with the arrangements made by the Admiralty for the convenience of both Houses of Parliament. The Board had made the best arrangements in their power, and they hoped they would be successful in every respect and that every person would be satisfied. He had taken the trouble to go to the Waterloo Railway 1594 Station, and he learned from the manager that there was only room in the dockyard for one train at a time. The difficulty was to get a train into the dockyard and out of it: under ordinary circumstances, and if the way was clear it occupied 20 minutes, not allowing five minutes for filling up. The Admiralty guests, who numbered 2,900, would fill seven trains, and they would occupy about three hours in getting away. If a special train were in waiting when the guests were landed, no doubt his noble Friend, with his stalwart frame, would be able to get a seat, but smaller and weaker men like himself would be left behind. It was only six and a-half minutes' walk from the landing stage to the Harbour Station, where the trains would be continuous. It was thought very much better that the Admiralty guests should go from the Harbour Station, carriages being reserved for them in each special train despatched. It would be much more for the convenience of Members of Parliament that this course should be adopted, as otherwise they might be kept waiting a long time for special trains. Moreover, noble Lords and Members of Parliament, with the other Admiralty guests, would be landed at different times from Her Majesty's Ships, and would leave for town as they came ashore without waiting for a special train at a stated hour. He thought that the Railway Company had done the best they could, having regard to the fact that the company was answerable for the lives of all the passengers they carried. The Admiralty had, he thought, made the best arrangements possible under the circumstances with the Railway Company in arranging that two carriages should be reserved for noble Lords and Members of Parliament in each special train despatched for London.
§ THE EARL OF WEMYSS
asked whether arrangements could not be made for more than two carriages for ours to be attached to special trains for the Admiralty guests to start from Portsmouth Harbour Station at stated hours?
§ THE EARL OF FEVERSHAM
said, he thought it would cause a great deal of inconvenience unless more than two carriages were reserved by each train for the Admiralty guests.
§ LORD ELPHINSTONE
said, he wished to remind noble Lords that all the trains despatched from Portsmouth Harbour would be special trains. As all the Admiralty guests would not be landed at the same moment, it would be inconvenient to run special trains at stated hours for the Members of Parliament. If two carriages were not enough by each train, all the rest of the train was open to their Lordships and Members of Parliament.