HL Deb 02 May 1912 vol 11 cc915-6


Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, after the discussion which took place on Tuesday last I imagine that your Lordships will not wish to further discuss this question to-day, but will agree to the Second Reading of this Bill and to its being referred to the same Joint Committee as that to which the other two Bills have been referred. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Eversley.)


My Lords, I naturally wish to avoid expressing any opinion on the merits of this Bill, which is going to be referred to a Committee of which I may myself be a member. But in the absence of the noble Lord the Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of England, I desire to make one allusion to a clause in the noble Lord's Bill and to point out to him that it goes in direct opposition to the First Interim Report of the Royal Commission on the ancient monuments of Hertfordshire, the first county with which the Commission dealt. In subsection (2) of Clause 2 of this Bill the noble Lord proposes that— Where an Order of the Commissioner of Works is made under this section the Royal Commission shall forthwith, and in any case within six months from the date of such Order, inspect the monument which is the subject of the Order and report whether, in their opinion, the monument is especially worthy of preservation. In their Interim Report the Royal Commission say— We have from time to time been asked for advice and assistance with respect to the preservation of monuments which have been threatened with destruction. In these cases we have tried to give such help as lay within our power. But we are agreed that, having regard to the conditions under which we carry on our work, it would seriously impair the efficiency of our inquiry were it expected that we should at any moment interrupt its settled course in order to report upon the nature and value of threatened monuments in counties outside the immediate purview of the Commission. I desire, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Burghclere, the Chairman of the Royal Commission, to point out that there would be from the members of the Commission itself considerable objection to the provision in the Bill which I have quoted.


My Lords, perhaps I may be allowed to say a few words on this Bill, and to welcome it on behalf of His Majesty's Government as being yet another sign of the interest which is taken by members of your Lordships' House in the question of the preservation of ancient monuments. Like the noble Earl who has just sat down, I should be unwilling to express any decided opinion on the merits of the Bill. There are two things proposed in this Bill. One of them follows the suggestion which was thrown out by the noble Earl, Lord Curzon, on Tuesday last, that instead of proceeding by the purchase of monuments we should say that the rights which would exist under the Preservation Order should not be taken away by the sale of any monument. In that way the noble Earl thought that the Treasury would be saved an expenditure of money and that the public would be protected. I think now, as I thought then, that that is a valuable suggestion. It is proposed in this Bill that that b suggestion should be carried out. The method by which it is proposed to carry it out is a method to which the noble Earl, Lord Plymouth, takes sonic objection on behalf of the Royal Commission. The method suggested is that it should be done on the recommendation of some member or members of the Royal Commission. I do not suppose that the noble Lord in charge of the Bill would look upon that as an integral or vital part of this scheme, and I am not sure that if it was carried out by some other body well qualified to do it it might not meet the objection raised by the Royal Commission, and at the same time, if it was agreeable to the Select Committee, prove a method more generally acceptable in carrying out the object which we all have at heart. I venture, therefore, to hope that your Lordships will agree to refer this Bill, with the other two Bills on the same subject, to the proposed Joint Committee, and that as a result we may have a workable scheme to which we may all be able to give our hearty support.

On Question, Bill read 2a.

Then it was moved to resolve, That it is desirable that the said Bill be referred to a Joint Committee of both Houses (the Lord Eversley); agreed to; Ordered, That a Message be sent to the Commons to communicate this Resolution and to desire their concurrence.