§ Debate upon the Motion for the Second Reading, resumed (according to Order).
§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, I am sorry to say that the question of the St. Olave's Church, Southwark, Bill, which came before your Lordships' House last week, has not been settled, and I shall have shortly to bring to your notice the difficulty which still exists. The proposal is that the site of the church and the disused burial ground shall be sold in order that the proceeds may be used for the erection of a new church where it is very much wanted in a congested district in Southwark. A statement is before your Lordships' House which shows, first, that the church is not required in its present position and that the attendance is almost negligible; secondly, that the Report of the Attorney-General has been given in favour of the Bill, and that all the various authorities who have to be consulted, including the Crown as the patron, the Bishop of the Diocese, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, have given their assent to the proposals contained in the Bill.
The only point in debate arises in reference to the Instruction which my noble friend Viscount Bryce proposes to move after the Second Reading, namely—
That it be an instruction to the Committee to whom the Bill shall be referred, to amend the Bill so as to provide that the disused burial ground, described as the churchyard, attached to the church (together with any foreshore of the River Thames attached or belonging thereto) shall be preserved unbuilt upon in compliance with Section 3 of the Disused Burial Grounds Act, 1884, with a view to its enjoyment by the public as an open space under the provisions of the Open Spaces Act, 1906, and to preserve access thereto from Tooley-street across the church site.
The promoters of the Bill are as anxious as any one else to preserve and protect open spaces where they are required within the metropolitan area, and I shall read to your Lordships shortly—as I do not intend to deal with the matter at any length— 430 the terms of an arrangement which has been come to between the promoters and the London County Council, who are the statutory authority for protecting and safeguarding open spaces within the metropolis.
The difficulty in this case arises in this way. The site, so far as the church is concerned, opens upon Tooley-street, and so far as the disused burial ground is concerned it opens upon the river; and the value of the site depends really on its frontage to the river and not on its frontage to Tooley-street. I do not like to quote figures, but I will give two in illustration. It is said that the site, dealt with as a whole, would be worth something like £50,000 because the wharfage is of great importance, but if the proposed Instruction was carried the site facing on Tooley-street would have but a mere nominal value in comparison to the frontage on the river. The result would be, not that an open space would be obtained, but that the whole scheme would come to an end; the new church could not be erected, and there would be no open space for the benefit of the dwellers in the neighbourhood. At this particular point an open space is hardly wanted, because owing to change in occupation it has now become, not a residential district in any sense, but a district of warehouses.
To make the matter as short as I can, may I tell your Lordships what the terms are which have been agreed upon with the London County Council, who are, as I have said, the statutory authority to deal with open spaces and to safeguard the rights of the public. The terms are in these words. First, that the church shall be removed to a new site without any addition to it. The church is said to have been erected by a pupil of Wren's, and the desire is to maintain his architecture exactly in the same way by removing the church stone by stone and erecting it on the new site. Secondly, £5,000 is to be contributed to the Open Spaces Fund. That is to say, out of the money derived from the sale the London County Council will be handed £5,000, which will be contributed to the Open Spaces Fund of which they are the guardians. Thirdly, a suitable memorial is to be put up on the wall of the building erected on the church site to be approved by the Council. That is in order to keep an historical record of the old St. Olave's Church. Fourthly, there is to be a slight setting back of the frontage of the site. This is a matter of detail 431 The London County Council pointed out that the frontage site could be improved by a small proportion being put into the street, and this suggestion has been consented to. Fifthly, the name of "St. Olave" is to be preserved in the title of the daughter parish of St. John, Horsleydown. You have there what appears to be a suitable adjustment of all suggested difficulties between the promoters on the one side and the London County Council on the other.
I have consulted the Lord Chairman, and he tells me that it is quite out of accord with the ordinary procedure of your Lordships' House, after a Bill of this kind has been read a second time, that an Instruction should be given to the Committee to insert certain words. You will notice that the form of the Instruction is mandatory, so that the Committee would have no option in the matter. I wish to make this suggestion on behalf of the promoters. They are desirous that the best should be done in the interests of all parties. They are quite prepared, if your Lordships would allow a Second Reading of the Bill, to give an undertaking that as far as they are concerned they will take no objection to any necessary suspension of the Standing Order so that those interested in proposing the Instruction may be heard before the Committee upstairs. It will be quite impossible to explain in detail the special peculiarities which surround this Bill, but it appears to me to be a perfectly fair suggestion that if those who are in favour of this Instruction want to bring their views before the Committee the promoters should facilitate their desire in every way. The Act of 1884, on which I think those who desire the Instruction rely, has a section in it which says, "Nothing in this Act contained shall apply to any burial ground which has been sold or disposed of by any Act of Parliament." I sincerely hope that your Lordships will follow the ordinary practice and not allow a compulsory Instruction to be inserted.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed.
§ VISCOUNT BRYCE
My Lords, I desire to move the Instruction which stands in my name. My noble friend Lord Parmoor has stated in a general way the purposes of the Bill which is before your Lordships, but I wish to say a little more in order to explain the position. I move this Instruction upon several grounds, which I will 432 state. First of all, let me remark that the Bill deals both with the church and with the churchyard. The case is quite different as regards the church and the churchyard. Those on whose behalf I put down this Instruction are interested only in the churchyard, and whatever arrangement the Committee may make with regard to the church is a matter with which we do not propose to interfere. The Instruction relates only to the churchyard.
I say nothing against the objects which it is proposed to effect by the Bill. The objects in themselves are sufficiently laudable; but what the Bill proposes to do is to override several Statutes, to override the Act of 1884 and the subsequent Act of 1887 which amended and extended the Act of 1884, and to override the Open Spaces Act of 1906. These Acts were passed with the general concurrence of both Houses of Parliament, and they have been found extremely valuable. Under them a very large number of open spaces have been secured for the people of London. I believe that there are 140, or about that number, at the present time. These open spaces are very largely used even in places in which the population is, as has been said of Bermondsey, mainly a population engaged in business during the day, in counting houses and warehouses. People go out during the day, and are able to resort to these open spaces and sit down, and have a little time of quiet. To be able to do that is a very great boon to the men employed in the warehouses and offices as well as to such children as there are in the neighbourhood. Some one has well said that there is nothing more melancholy about the life of those who are engaged in daily toil than the difficulty of obtaining a place where they can be alone and in which they can be quiet for a short time. During the day these open spaces have proved very valuable in the most crowded districts of the city for that purpose, and those of your Lordships who sometimes pass through the city will often have noticed the numbers of people who are taking advantage of these open places, especially during the luncheon hour.
It is a strong thing to override these public Acts, and I think that your Lordships will feel that it ought not to be done unless there is a far stronger case than has been presented here. We ought not to sacrifice local interests, which the Acts were particularly intended to guard, and 433 the interests of the working class population of London merely for the sake of an improvement, however laudable its ultimate objects may be. That is the first ground upon which I submit that this Instruction is one which your Lordships' House may properly pass. I say nothing—though I know that is important—as to what is in the minds of the people of Bermondsey about the removal of the graveyard. The people of Bermondsey naturally feel that they do not wish the remains of their forefathers to be taken up and removed from this place and planted somewhere else.
I want to call your Lordships' attention to the fact that this is a spot of quite unique interest in London, a spot of that historic interest which it is desirable to preserve as much as possible and which we think is not an inconsiderable asset in attaching the people of London to their city. This place is the site of a famous battle which was fought in the early part of the eleventh century between the Norwegians under King Olaf, who came up with the fleet, and those who were then holding London Bridge. There is some doubt between the different authorities as to what was the respective position of the Danes and the English in this war, but there is no doubt that it was King Olaf's attack upon the bridge which turned the issue of the campaign and which drove those who were holding Southwark out of it, and practically settled the matter that was then in conflict. I will not trouble your Lordships with the details of the different authorities, but it is unquestionable that this is a place of unique and special interest.
We know that the church of St. Olaf existed before the Norman Conquest. There was a large population of Norwegians and Danes at that time in London, and there is every ground for believing that the reason why this spot was chosen whereon to build the church of St. Olaf was that it was associated with this great exploit which he had performed and which his Norwegian compatriots were anxious to commemorate. Curiously enough, exactly on the other side of London Bridge—the north side—there stands a church dedicated to St. Magnus, Who was a son of St. Olaf and who subsequently attained the crown of Norway. So these two Norwegian saints, the one on the north side and the other on the south side of the river, commemorate the association of this part of London with the con- 434 flicts of those days in a way which is of the greatest interest from our early history, and which I thinks deserves to be commemorated.
I would like to add further that the place has another interest. It is almost the only spot along the central course of the river where it passes from Westminster down towards the Isle of Dogs and Greenwich where access to the river is not entirely closed by warehouses. This little open space—this churchyard—just under the south corner of London Bridge, with its quaint little tower looking out upon the river, affords a singularly charming, interesting, and peculiar prospect. You see London Bridge and the spires of the city opposite, and you see the lofty walls of The Tower. It is ore of the places which an artist desiring to draw a picture of the river and the bridge would choose as the very best place for the purpose. It is a place which any one who wants to get an idea of London, or the highest part of the port, would seek, and from which he would obtain a perfectly unique and charming view. Moreover, it is one of the very few open spaces that exist in Bermondsey, and I think the only open space in Bermondsey which fronts on to the river.
My noble friend Lord Parmoor has suggested an arrangement which might be made if this Bill were allowed to go through without the Instruction, and he has mentioned a compromise which seems to have been suggested to the London County Council. I have to remark upon that that it is by no means satisfactory to those who desire to preserve the open space. The promoters have offered to give £5,000 to the London County Council. That apparently would be applied in purchasing some open space elsewhere, perhaps at a considerable distance, and would not be likely to confer any benefit at all upon the people of Bermondsey, and would be without the special advantages and charms which, as I have endeavoured to show, this open space possesses. We are not at all prepared to go before the Committee and take our chance there. We have no locus standi before the Committee. If we were to have a locus standi, as it is suggested we might have, the society which undertakes the charge of these cases would be put to a very considerable expense in engaging counsel and endeavouring to argue its case there. We conceive that, where a general public Act is involved, it 435 is before one of the Houses of Parliament, or both Houses, if necessary, that this matter ought to be brought—that it ought not to be left to the chances of a Committee, but ought to be disposed of by your Lordships as a question involving the interests of the people at large and as a question of the general law.
It would be very little comfort to the people of Bermondsey to have an open space perhaps five or six miles from the place where they live. The borough council of Bermondsey, which, of course, is specially interested in the matter, has prepared a Petition, which it has addressed to your Lordships' House, asking that the Bill be not sanctioned in its present form, and supporting the Instruction which I am now moving. They say that what they want, and what they care for primarily, is the interest of Bermondsey; that any thing that may be done in the way which the promoters have proposed to the London County Council would be of no benefit at all to themselves and to the people of Bermondsey, of whose interests they are the appointed guardians. And therefore they conceive that this scheme ought by no means to be accepted, but that it is now our duty to secure their interests by making this a mandatory Instruction. They feel that their interests are primarily concerned, and that it is for this House, for Parliament, which has placed their churchyard under statutory protection, to continue that statutory protection to them.
I submit to your Lordships that it is a very dangerous thing to set a precedent of this kind. Two attempts were recently made to overset the general law which preserves the disused burial grounds, and in both those cases the House of Commons passed an Instruction of this nature and secured for the people their local burial grounds, and also vindicated the general principle that the Statute should be maintained. It would be a most dangerous thing for us to set a precedent the other way, and in this case to overthrow what I believe to be not only the local interests but also the interests of the people of London at large, by allowing the Bill to pass without the Instruction. I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will see fit to support the Act, and to support also the interests of the working classes of London, and especially those of the people of Bermondsey, who have expressed their wishes to their borough councillors.
§ Moved, That it be an Instruction to the Committee to whom the Bill shall be referred, to amend the Bill so as to provide that the disused burial ground, described as the churchyard, attached to the church (together with any foreshore of the River Thames attached or belonging thereto), shall be preserved unbuilt upon in compliance with Section 3 of the Disused Burial Grounds Act, 1884, with a view to its enjoyment by the public as an open space under the provisions of the Open Spaces Act, 1906, and to preserve access thereto from Tooley-street across the church site.—(Viscount Bryce.)
THE EARL OF PLYMOUTH
My Lords, I should like to say a few words in support of the Instruction which has been moved by the noble Viscount, Lord Bryce. I do not propose to say anything about the merits of this Bill, because I am not forming my opinion upon the merits of a Bill which would naturally go to a Private Bill Committee upstairs to be thoroughly considered. But there is a principle involved—the principle which has been mentioned so forcibly by the noble Viscount. That principle is that Parliament has expressed its opinion in an Act of Parliament that disused burial grounds should not be built over, but that, especially in the London area, they should be kept as open spaces for the benefit of the public. Of course, there is also the sentimental reason referred to by the noble Viscount. I dare say Parliament had that in view too, and that the Act was also passed for the reason that specially in crowded areas of the metropolis, it was of very great importance that these open spaces should be retained, and by a subsequent Act they made it clear that they should if possible be so retained. I am not sure how many, but I believe there are certainly two instances when the House of Commons refused to pass a Bill of this nature without some Instruction of this kind. Parliament, therefore, may be taken to have reviewed this question on more than one occasion and to have deliberately determined to adhere to the general principle of the Act of 1884.
The question of principle is to my mind a very important one. If this Bill were passed without some Instruction of this sort, it seems to me that a Committee upstairs would naturally say, The House has sent this Bill upstairs to us; there can be no question of any important principle being involved, and we presume 437 that the House desires that the Committee should deal with it on its merits. And they would no doubt take evidence upon it on those lines. But I do not think that we ought to leave it in that way to a Committee upstairs to decide the case simply upon its merits. This principle, if it were infringed, would create a precedent that might be continually brought before the House, and a very great deal of harm might accrue to the metropolis as a whole in losing, in consequence of this precedent, disused burial grounds which ought in the interests of the public to be kept unbuilt upon. I think this principle is so important that I give my hearty support to the Instruction which the noble Viscount has moved.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
My Lords, both the noble Lords who have spoken from below the gangway have mentioned that the London County Council are specially concerned in this case, although we are by no means the promoters of the Bill, and it probably is advisable that at this stage I should say one or two words on behalf of the London County Council. As the noble Viscount observed, this is not altogether a simple matter, because various interests are involved—not, I mean, in the material sense; but there is the archæological interest of which the noble Viscount gave us some indications, there is the architectural interest attaching to a church possessing very peculiar characteristics, as this does, and there is the quite separate interest which has been emphasised by my noble friend Lord Plymouth—namely, that of the general question of the preservation of open spaces in London. Those are all separate matters, and have, indeed, to be dealt with separately. The London County Council are directly interested in all three. There are different committees of the Council which are specially concerned with these three aspects of the question, and therefore it is natural that the Council have given the closest consideration and spent a great deal of time in looking through everything that could be collected on this subject, which we all agree may be shown to involve questions of principle, and is, therefore, of no small moment. I am able to say, as was indicated by the noble Lords who spoke, that on all these separate matters the London County Council have been, generally speaking, satisfied by the promoters of the Bill, and that therefore, although they have peti- 438 tioned against it, they will not pursue opposition upstairs, on the terms which have been suggested to them on behalf of the promoters.
As regards the archæological interest, the history of the site, and so on, it is understood, I am told, that care will be taken that any objects of archæological interest which may be discovered in making the change will be available for one of our museums. So far as the historical interest is concerned, it is proposed that this should be satisfied in two ways—the one by placing some form of tablet, or similar memorial, on the site, explaining that this is where St. Olave's Church stood; and, secondly, what is also an important matter, by transferring, or adding, the name of St. Olave to the new parish of St. John's, Horsleydown, or, rather, the old parish which is to take over the existing parish of St. Olave's. It is true that we do attach great importance to the retention of the name. The name is, as a matter of fact—so I am told, though I had no idea of it before—enshrined in the name Tooley-street, which is, in fact, St. Olave's Street. Most people associate Tooley-street either with the three famous historical tailors who claimed not only to represent but actually to be the people of England, or with the great fire of 1861—perhaps the most famous fire that occurred in London since the Great Fire—when the then chief of the Fire Brigade lost his life, and the feat of "setting the Thames on fire," which is so often spoken of but so rarely witnessed, was actually carried out on a very large scale. Now the name of St. Olave's will be preserved, not only in a degraded form, but will be continued in the new parish.
With regard to the architectural interest, which is considered by those who are able to judge to be very substantial, the proposition is that the church should be removed precisely as it is, stone by stone, and re-erected on a site where it will be of more value for religious purposes than it can be in its present position. I understand that the Royal Institute of British Architects, who were consulted on this point, have expressed warm approval of this proposal. The church, although not of great antiquity, is of peculiar interest as representing one of the not numerous London churches of the pure basilica type, built by Flitcroft, by whom, I think, only one other church 439 now exists in London; and therefore its preservation is a matter of serious interest. One difficulty only arises over this question of re-erection. It may appear that, although the church has a large seating capacity, it is not considered quite large enough for the new position in which it is to be placed; and it may consequently be desired to add to it. It is a serious question, I understand, whether such an addition could possibly be made without destroying the architectural characteristics of the church; and I believe, therefore, that it is agreed that this matter shall be left open, and that the architectural features of the church should not be interfered with without agreement with the London County Council.
Then we come to the question of open spaces, in which, of course, the Council is supremely interested; and, considering who the promoters of the Bill are, I cannot believe that they too do not both feel, and will express, an equally keen desire that an open space should, if possible, be found if this improvement takes place. The main difficulty, as I understand, of turning this particular churchyard into an open space is this—that if you propose to do this you destroy all the motives for the demolition, or the re-erection elsewhere, of the church; and that, unless it is possible to sell the very valuable ground space which is involved, no money can be forthcoming for the removal of the church or for assistance towards the erection of the church elsewhere. Therefore, though I have no right to say so, because I have not been informed or instructed to that effect, I assume that, if Parliament decided that this has to be kept as an open space, the Bill could not proceed, that the whole transaction must fall to the ground, because the original motive in respect of which it was initiated would no longer exist.
The County Council, consequently, after full consideration, agreed not to oppose the proposal to sell the site—presumably for building purposes—provided that an open space, or a contribution towards an open space, could be supplied from the large sum of money which the site is likely to produce. It obviously is not possible either for the London County Council or for the promoters or for anybody else to say where such an open space could be provided. It is evident that it would be impossible to make any statement of that kind. So far as my own personal opinion is concerned—I cannot say more than that—I think 440 that every effort should be made to find and to create that open space as near as possible to the site of St. Olave's Church, in order that those who might have received some, although as I am told not very much, advantage from the turning of this particular riverside churchyard into an open space, may get some parallel advantage by a provision near at hand. As I have stated, it is quite impossible now to say where an open space could be found, but for myself I certainly hope that it would not be in an entirely different part of London but as near as possible.
In these circumstances, my Lords, the London County Council desire that the various points at issue should be left for the consideration of the Committee upstairs without their being bound by such a preliminary Instruction as that which my noble friend suggests. It is true that it is unusual in the case of a private Bill to fetter the Committee upstairs by an Instruction such as this. I am far from saying that cases might not arise where it would have to be done. I quite agree it is an exceedingly difficult case, because the notion of destroying what appears to be a possible open space and handing over such a space to be built on in apparent contravention of the Act of 1884 is undoubtedly a course which Parliament would not as a rule be disposed to take. But the circumstances are very special indeed in this case, and for that reason I think the Bill ought to be allowed to go to the Committee in order that they may have an opportunity of examining it from every possible point of view.
THE LORD BISHOP OF SOUTHWARK
My Lords, I do not intend to take up much of the time of your Lordships' House, but I think you would wish to hear from me something in regard to the scheme which has occupied my most careful and anxious consideration for some five years past. I should also be unwilling even to appear that I was in any way opposed to the principle that has been so eloquently advocated by the noble Viscount who moved that this Instruction should be given to the Committee. I need not—perhaps it might not be in order—go over the grounds of the merits and the origin of this Bill. Its one and only purpose is that the resources and opportunities of the Church should be economised and husbanded to the best advantage not only 441 of the Church but also of the whole community.
The parish of St. Olave's is one of those parishes with which we are quite familiar in which the parochial system can no longer be applied. The church has been closed for some months, but the needs of the parish can be fully met by the neighbouring churches. There is another parish in my diocese which a few years ago was a Surrey village, somewhat thinly populated, and which now contains some 30,000 people, and in that parish there is a district containing 10,000 people who are unprovided with any kind of religious or spiritual ministration not only by the Church of England but by any other religious body. The only purpose of this Bill is to use what is not required at St. Olave's, but is so urgently and obviously required in this other part of my diocese.
The point that I would like to bring before your Lordships is that this scheme has not been at all an easy one to formulate. You have already heard this afternoon that there are a great many interests and problems involved. We have heard of the historical associations connected with the place. No friend of mine will accuse me of depreciating the value of historical association and beautiful buildings in educating and refining the community. You have heard of the archæological interest of the place, and of the possibility of archæological discoveries. We have not heard of the complications also involved in the parish connected with the redemption of a Statutory rate levied under an Act of George I. This has been a most difficult matter to deal with, as there was no corporate body that could undertake to redeem the Statutory rate. You will see from the Bill how it is proposed that this should be done. I do desire to say more than anything else that no one has been more anxious than I have been from the first to safeguard the principle that disused burial grounds should be as far as possible utilised and kept for open spaces. As I travel about my diocese in my work in Bermondsey and other areas, again and again I have ample reason and I take every public occasion to express my great thankfulness for the work done by those who have been keeping these open spaces, and particularly by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association
442 I have said enough to show that this scheme really must be considered as a whole, and stands or falls as a whole, if the main purpose for which it is formulated is to be carried out. Therefore my desire is that the whole scheme should be submitted to the consideration of the Committee of the House, and that they should have full, free, and unfettered discretion in dealing with it. My only objection to what the noble Viscount has moved this afternoon is that if this Instruction were added it precludes the possibility of even considering some arrangement which would satisfy the principle for which he stands, and which I understand is an arrangement which would not be at all unacceptable to those whom he represents. This Instruction would preclude the possibility of even considering any such an arrangement as I have in my mind. Therefore, I ask the house to allow the Bill to go before the Committee of the House unfettered and to give the Committee full and free discretion.
I will only add one further word. Something has been said this afternoon which might give the impression that there was a great deal of opposition. I can only say that the rectory ratepayers have all been consulted, and they have heartily accepted the arrangements. Meetings of the parishioners and business men have been held and they have shown the heartiest approval of the scheme, while the rectory trustees also support the proposal before us.
I speak, therefore, not only for myself and not simply as a representative of the Church interested in this matter, but of the people themselves who are on the spot and directly concerned with the scheme which has been formulated in this Bill.
THE EARL OF MEATH
My Lords, as chairman of the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association, which has laid down about sixty-five of these burial grounds, may I be allowed a few minutes in which to explain our side of the question? There are two points on which great stress should be laid. The first is that the burial ground is absolutely distinct from the church. Those who support the noble Viscount who moved the Instruction do not desire in the smallest degree to interfere with the sale of the church or the rectory or any property the church may possess in Bermondsey or the neighbourhood. We are interested 443 only in the preservation of the burial ground as an ultimate open space for London.
The Association with which I am connected was largely responsible for the passing of the Open Spaces Act, 1881, and the Act of 1884, by which it was made illegal to build upon burial grounds. Why was that done? It was done because between 1881 and 1884 it was found that some of these burial grounds were being built upon at a very fast rate. The result of that Act has been that although London has lost 115 burial grounds, almost all these were lost before the Act of 1884. We have only lost one burial ground since that date, and that was the one upon which the General Post Office is built. It was Christ's Hospital burial ground. We opposed it, but, of course, we could not expect to win against the Government. We opposed it upon principle. Parliament has supported us in two other cases which have been mentioned—St. Bride's and St. James's, Piccadilly—and perhaps I might draw your Lordships' attention to the Resolution of the House of Commons in the case of the St. James's Vestry Hall Bill, which was defeated on the Second Reading. The Resolution was—That this House, having regard to the policy of Parliament as declared by the Disused Burial Grounds Act, 1884, and the Open Spaces Act, 1906, is not prepared to entertain a Bill authorising the erection of buildings on disused burial grounds in contravention of such Acts.They took similar action in the case of another Bill with which I will not trouble your Lordships.
I want to point out that the burial ground which the Church at this moment wants to sell is of no value because it is subject to the Burial Grounds Act, 1884, but if Parliament overrides that Act, it immediately obtains a very considerable value.
§ What is going to be done with the money? Is it going to be given to Bermondsey? No. It is no doubt to be devoted to very excellent objects to which no one in this House would object, but there is a principle involved. There are now 283 grounds unbuilt upon in London, of a similar character, owned by the Church, and many which are supposed to be in the hands of private owners, and what is to prevent speculators and great corporations buying up these burial grounds when they find they are of such an enormous value. The sum of £50,000 has been mentioned this afternoon. I ask your Lordships' House, is it wise, is it right, to give powers to the Church of England or to any other great corporation, excellent no doubt as the objects may be, to take the value from a district like Bermondsey, where open spaces are wanted more than in any other part of London, except perhaps Lambeth? I quite agree with the noble Marquess, Lord Crewe, that from his point of view he gets £5,000. But he is responsible, not for Bermondsey, but for the whole of London. Therefore it is absolutely right and proper that he should have his £5,000. But what would happen, supposing we had half a dozen of these grounds being put up, as it were, to auction? Are you going to allow it in each case? I hope your Lordships will recognise, as I was very pleased to hear the noble Marquess say, that this is a matter of no small importance. It is a very important matter. It is not a question of one little burial ground, it is a question of 283 burial grounds. I hope that your Lordships will pass the Instruction.
§ On Question, whether the proposed Instruction shall be agreed to—
§ Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 33; Not-Contents, 26.445
|Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.) (L. Privy Seal.)
|Monckton, L. (V. Galway.)
|Plymouth, E. [Teller.]
|Beresford of Metemmeh, L.
|Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway)
|Farquhar, V. (L. Steward.)
|Bryce, V. [Teller.]
|Chaworth, L. (E. Meath.)
|Willoughby de Broke, L.
|Fairfax of Cameron, L.
|Canterbury, L. Abp.
|Finlay, L. (L. Chancellor.)
|Curzon of Kedleston, E. (L. President.)
|Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)
|Monteagle, L. (M. Sligo.)
|Southwark, L. Bp. [Teller.]
|Muir Mackenzie, L.
|Parker of Waddington, L
|Courtney of Penwith, L.
|Stuart of Wortley, L. [Teller.]
On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Instruction agreed to and ordered accordingly.