HL Deb 07 July 1903 vol 124 cc1513-5


Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this is another small Bill, the object of which is to authorise the London County Council to provide receiving houses for the detention of persons mentally affected, or alleged to be of unsound mind, pending their examination and removal, if necessary, to asylums. This initial procedure is at present carried out, for the most part, in workhouses, and is found to be inconvenient and sometimes harmful. It is believed that the proper treatment of mental disease in its earlier stages, or of symptoms of incipient mental disease, would often obviate the

pledged for it, because if there was to be any loss by the purchase of the land the loss would fall upon the ratepayers of the district that had embarked in this enterprise. In all the circumstances I do not think a case has been made out for the House reversing the decision it has come to on two previous occasions.

On Question, their Lordships divided: Contents, 11; Not-Contents, 50.

Ripon, M. Crewe, E. Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)
Northbrook, E. Sandhurst, L.
Carrington, E. [Teller.] Spencer, E. Thring, L.
Chesterfield, E. [Teller.] Reay, L. Tweedmouth, L.
Halsbury, E. (L. Chancellor.) Waldegrave, E. [Teller.] Clifford of Chudleigh, L.
Devonshire, D. (L. President.) Yarborough, E. Congleton, L.
De Mauley, L.
Portland, D. Churchill, V. [Teller.] Dunboyne, L.
Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.) Glenesk, L.
Ailesbury, M. Grey de Ruthyn, L.
Bath, M. Portman, V. Hatherton, L.
Kenyon, L.
Camperdown, E. Allerton, L. Kinnaird, L.
Carnwath, E. Alverstone, L. Lawrence, L.
Coventry, E. Ashbourne, L. Manners of Haddon, L. (M. Granby.)
Egerton, E. Avebury, L.
Harrowby, E. Balfour, L. Norton, L.
Leven and Melville, E. Barnard, L. Oranmore and Browne, L.
Mayo, E. Belhaven and Stenton, L. Redesdale, L.
Morton, E. Belper, L. Robertson, L.
Onslow, E. Calthorpe, L. Windsor, L.
Powis, E. Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.) Wolverton, L.
Rosse, E. Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.)
Vane, E. (M. Londonderry-)

necessity for sending to a county lunatic asylum persons who, under the present arrangements, cannot be otherwise dealt with. The proposed system of receiving houses will thus be not only beneficial but economical in its operation. The receiving houses will be available for the treatment of out-patients, and will be under the supervision of the Commissioners in Lunacy and be conducted in accordance with the law regulating county asylums. In the first instance there will probably be two receiving houses, one for the north and one for the south of London. Each house will accommodate thirty patients and the necessary staff. I understand that the Lord Chancellor told a deputation which waited upon him on this subject that he approved the proposals in principle. The Commissioners in Lunacy have also expressed their approval, the Local Government Board give a general approval to the scheme, and it is approved by more than 50 per cent. of the boards of guardians in London. I hope the Bill will therefore not meet the fate of the one I have just submitted to your Lordships.

Moved, that the Bill be now read 2a.—(Earl Carrington.)


My Lords, I join in the hope expressed by the noble Earl that this Bill will not meet the same fate as the Bill on which your Lordships have just divided. What I told the deputation was that I would be happy to consider the proposals, and assist in passing them if I could, when I had seen what the Bill was. I can redeem that pledge now by saying that I think what is proposed is an improvement which I should be glad to see made law. The present system is undoubtedly unsatisfactory, and I have received a great number of complaints with reference to the mingling of lunatics, or alleged lunatics, and paupers in the workhouses. One or two observations which have been sent to me will, I have no doubt, receive the consideration of the noble Earl and the London County Council. One is to the effect that the Council is rather behindhand in the work they have already undertaken with regard to the provision to be made for lunatics. I do not think-that a conclusive objection to the Bill, because the passing of the measure will relieve the pressure now complained of. It is also urged that enormous expense will be incurred. That may or may not be an objection on the part of the ratepayers, but they can urge it on the County Council, who rule their own finance. It does not concern me in respect of the jurisdiction of the Lunacy Commissioners. On the whole, I think the Bill, if properly amended in one or two directions, which can be indicated in Committee, will be an advantageous addition to the Statute-book, and I will support the Second Reading.

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.