HL Deb 04 May 1888 vol 325 cc1345-7

Bill read 3a (according to order).

Clause 4 (Provision of fabric fund).


moved in Sub-section 4 of Clause 4, an Amendment providing that, whenever in due course of time a sufficiency of funds renders it possible, it might be considered within the improvements of the Abbey for which this clause provided to restore the north transept to its proper use for worship by relieving it of a row of most incongruous occupants, for which a more suitable building should be made. He urged the desirableness of removing the colossal statues mounted on colossal pedestals which blocked up and disfigured this portion of the Abbey. His proposal would not involve the immediate appropriation of any sum of money, but only in aid, when possible, to funds now being subscribed. The improvement indicated was desired by the Dean and Chapter themselves, and he thought the public generally who were interested in the Abbey and the purposes for which it should be used were as anxious as the authorities that it should be carried out. Moved, in page 4, line 18, at end to insert—"In due course of time, when a sufficiency of funds renders it possible, a more suitable building in connection with the Abbey for the statues of great men, which now occupy, in an unseemly row, the east side of the north transept, shall be made."—(Lord Norton.)


said, that the object of the Bill before the House was to find money for the restoration of Westminster Abbey, and it would be unreasonable to apply any part of that money to the erection of a new building for the reception of the statues now in the Abbey. He sympathized with the view of his noble Friend, but he did not think it necessary to go to the great expense which carrying it out would involve. National pictures had been removed to Bethnal Green, and perhaps it would be as well to send these statues there also. He would earnestly ask his noble Friend not to press his Amendment. The money in the Bill was taken for a particular purpose—namely, the restoration of Westminster Abbey. He would recommend the noble Lord to endeavour privately to obtain the money he required, and not allow Westminster Abbey to tumble down whilst he arranged a plan for the removal of the statues within it.


said, he was glad that the subject had been mentioned. Westminster Abbey was now quite full, so that at the present moment, if any general or admiral was going into battle he could not say, as Lord Nelson had said—"Victory or Westminster Abbey," because there was no room in Westminster Abbey; it was all filled up. There was a prevalent and increasing desire amongst the public to perpetuate the memory of distinguished men who had conferred benefit on the nation by their moral or political or intellectual work, and the popular method was to erect their statues in places of public resort. This reason able feeling would be assisted by erecting on the property of the Abbey a sort of campo sancto, where statues could be put instead of their being tossed about in all parts of London.


was not at all sure that our modern statues had been so great a success as to render it desirable that they should be collected together and placed in a separate building. There were, no doubt, some successful statues; but, on the other hand, we had effigies of warriors in London which were rather objects of terror than otherwise. Whether Nelson himself would have liked being placed on the top of a pillar in Trafalgar Square might be doubted. A lot of these statues standing in a row would be a painful spectacle.

Amendment (by leave of the House) withdrawn. An Amendment made; Bill passed, and sent to the Commons; and to be printed as amended. (No. 94.)