HL Deb 29 July 1914 vol 17 cc282-4

My Lords, I rise to ask His Majesty's Government, having regard to the promises of further consideration made in the discussion on 20th May—

Whether, as stated in the Press, pay days at the Victoria and Albert Museum have been abolished.

Whether they have come to any decision as to the appointment of a guide lecturer at the Imperial Institute.

Whether at Kew Gardens steps have now been taken to make the system of guide lecturer better known to the public by means of placards and advertisements in the Press, and in conjunction with the railway companies.

Whether they will state what are the numbers that have gone round with the guide in Kew Gardens from 1st January to 30th June, 1914, as compared with the small number of 203 during the whole of last year.


My Lords, I am glad to be able to tell the noble Lord, in reply to the first part of his Question, that it is quite trite that pay days at the Victoria and Albert Museum have been abolished from the 1st of this month. With regard to the second Question, the Imperial Institute is not controlled directly by Parliament although the Government makes a grant. The authorities have agreed to appoint a guide lecturer as an experiment. The appointment will be made in the autumn of this year. With regard to the third Question, in respect of Kew Gardens, twenty-one notice boards displaying large posters giving full details of the tours of the guide lecturer are placed outside and within the gates of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Fourteen of these are placed outside the gates and seven within the grounds, two being at the Refreshment Pavilion. Large posters are displayed in the waiting rooms of the Colonial Office and the Royal Colonial Institute, and in the offices of the High Commissioners for Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand, and in the offices of the Agents-General for Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland. The Crown Agents for the Colonies and the Agent-General for Western Australia, who were unable to find space for the display of the poster, have been supplied with copies of the leaflet.

In May last the Board issued a communiqué to the principal newspapers of England and Wales calling attention to the fact that the services of a guide at Kew were available for the public, and giving particulars of the small charge made. The Board have now decided to advertise at once in the leading London daily newspapers that a guide is available for visitors to Kew, and to give in such advertisement particulars of the arrangements as to hours of starting, terms, etc. The Board have also arranged with the Underground Railway Company that the company, when advertising Kew Gardens as one of the attractions of their line, will call attention to the fact that the services of a guide are available, and the Board are also approaching the London and North-Western and London and South Western Railway Companies with a view to these companies adopting a similar course by means of referring to the guide in their leaflets or booklets in which Kew Gardens are mentioned. Lastly, the number of visitors who have availed themselves of the guide lecturer from January I to June 30 of this year is 441 at the morning tours and 641 at the afternoon tours, a total of 1,082 and an average of 3.5 per tour. The number 203 referred to by the noble Lord alludes to the period front April 1, 1913, when the guide was appointed, to December 31, 1913, and not for the whole twelve months of 1913, as the noble Lord seems to think from the last paragraph of his Question.