§ Read 3a (according to Order).
§ Clause 7:
§ Power of sale.
§ 7.—(1) From and after the appointed date the old church and the ornaments fittings and furniture thereof (subject as hereinafter mentioned) including any pictures in the vestry thereof and the site thereof including the vaults churchyard and other lands and any rights attached or belonging thereto as well as the rectory or parsonage house provided under the Act of 1817 together with the outbuildings garden and premises thereto belonging and the site of the rectory or parsonage house and any rights attached or belonging thereto existing at the date of the passing of the Act of 1817 shall be respectively subject to an absolute power of sale (but subject to any leases or tenancies subsisting at the time of such sale in any such lands rights rectory house outbuildings garden or premises) to be exercised by the trustees as in this Act provided.
§ (2) From and after the appointed date the trustees shall until the sale of the site of the old church as hereinafter mentioned have (subject as in this Act provided) all such rights of entry and control over the same and over all other things in connection therewith made by the immediately preceding section subject to a power of sale as if they were the owners thereof.
§ (3) As soon as conveniently may be after the appointed date the trustees with the consent of the Commissioners shall sell the old church or shall demolish the same and sell the materials thereof and shall sell the site thereof and the vaults churchyard and other land (if any) belonging thereto (including the site of the rectory or parsonage house referred to in the Preamble of the Act of 1817 but subject to any leases or tenancies of the said sites or lands then existing) and the ornaments fittings and furniture of the old church (subject as in this Act provided) either together or in lots and in such manner at such times and on such terms and conditions as they shall think fit freed and discharged from all ecclesiastical and subject as is by this Act provided from all other trusts uses purposes obligations disabilities and restrictions whatsoever and from all rights or interests of the owners of any seats or pews or of any other person and may and shall execute and do all assurances acts and things necessary or proper for effecting the purposes aforesaid.
§ (4) The sale of the old church shall be subject to any terms and conditions relating thereto set out in this Act and shall be taken to be upon the condition that the purchaser shall within three months from the completion of the sale wholly demolish such church if then existing on the present site thereof and on breach of such condi 1118 tion such sale shall be void and any moneys paid in respect thereof shall be forfeited to the trustees.
§ (5) Every assurance of land executed by the trustees under this section shall be registered in the Episcopal Registry of the diocese of Southwark and shall be effectual without the concurrence or consent of any other person.
§ (6) The trustees shall after the sale of the old church pay over to the Commissioners out of the proceeds of such sale any capital moneys required by the Commissioners for the purpose of meeting the annual payment referred to in subsection (2) of the section of this Act of which the marginal note is "Commissioners may form funds to meet annual payments."
§ LORD MUIR MACKENZIE moved to amend subsection (3) of Clause 7, after the words "As soon as conveniently may be after the appointed date the trustees with the consent of the Commissioners shall," by inserting "subject as provided in section nine of this Act". The noble Lord said: I have an Amendment on the Paper which comes before the one in which I think your Lordships will take some interest. It really is a verbal Amendment which can do no harm if it is inserted, whatever may be the ultimate position of the Bill, but which I admit would be necessary if either my Motion or the Motion of the noble Earl is carried. It is a drafting Amendment, and I would suggest to your Lordships to accept it.
Clause 7, page 7, line 24, after ("shall") insert ("(subject as provided in section nine of this Act)").—(Lord Muir Mackenzie.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ clause 9:
§ Churchyard of old church not to be built upon.
§ 9. Nothing contained in this Act shall be deemed to allow any building to be erected contrary to the provisions of Section 3 of the Disused Burial Grounds Act 1884 on the disused burial ground forming the churchyard attached to the old church and in the event of such burial ground being acquired by any public authority with a view to its enjoyment by the public as an open space under the provisions of the Open Spaces Act 1906 the owners for the time being of and all other necessary parties having any interest in the site of the old church shall vest in such public authority a strip of land not exceeding nine feet in width (for the purpose of affording an access from Tooley Street to such open space) on such terms as may be agreed between such owners and such other parties (if any) respectively and such public authority or as failing such agreement may be determined subject to and in accordance with the provisions of the Lands Clauses Acts with reference to the purchase and taking of lands otherwise than by agreement.1119
LORD MUIR MACKENZIE moved to leave out Clause 9 with a view to inserting a new clause in its place. The noble Lord said: The explanation of my Amendment is clearly expressed in a special Report from the Select Committee which your Lordships appointed to consider the Bill, and I think the most convenient course, if your Lordships will allow me, will be to read that Report, which is in very plain and concise terms. The Report is as follows—
The Committee have been through the Bill, and recommend that it should proceed.
The members of the Committee have visited St. Olave's, and are strongly of opinion (1) that, in the existing state of things, the church is useless, and the churchyard derelict and disreputable; and (2) that, independently of the positive objects to be gained by the Bill, the discontinuance of the present objectionable features is desirable in itself.
In accordance with the Instruction passed by the House on the Second Reading of the Bill, the Committee have inserted a clause reserving out of the power to sell the premises an obligation to I retain the existing churchyard as an open space; but they feel it their duty to represent to the House that the result must be the dropping of the Bill and the loss not only of the benefits which were in view for the diocese, but also of the abatement of the sad conditions now prevailing.
The Committee had before them some suggestions for dealing with the subject which would have enabled substantial parts of the scheme to be realised, and at the same time made part of the land available for an open space, somewhat less in area than the churchyard, but also less unfavourably situated. The Committee were precluded by the Instruction from entertaining any proposal of this kind; and, indeed, neither the County Council nor the Open Spaces Society was favourable to it. The Committee, however, though preferring the original Bill in its entirety, desire to bring before the House their strong feeling that such an arrangement would be in accordance with the views which actuated the majority on the Second Beading, and might have been embodied in the Bill if the House had instructed the Committee to provide in the best manner practicable for an open space out of the premises affected by the Bill.
The Committee beg leave to recommend to the House that on Third Reading either (1) the new clause be simply left out—
that is the clause carrying out the Instruction—
or (2), in lieu thereof, a clause to the following effect be inserted:
That the tower of the old church, and a portion of the site of the old church and of the churchyard, to be delineated on a plan signed by the Chairman of the Committee on the Bill, shall be vested in the Metropolitan Gardens Association for the purpose of an open space and a public approach thereto.
Note.—The area would be about half the churchyard, together with a space for approach
from Tooley Street through the tower; the space would be about 3 feet wider than the tower itself, so as to prevent the tower actually touching any new building.
That was the Report of the Committee. I think I need not add anything, but I dare say your Lordships would allow me to make a few remarks later on if anything should arise in the discussion that scents to show that I have omitted something that might be useful for your Lordships to know. There, is, of course, the other Motion on the Paper to the same effect as mine—namely, to leave out Clause 9; and I submit to the House that it would be convenient in the first instance simply to move to leave out Clause 9. The House will understand that the object of deleting this clause is in order to substitute for it a clause containing the recommendation of the Committee which I have already mentioned to your Lordships, the only difference being that the space proposed to be delineated on the plan will represent not less than one half of the whole area that is dealt with by the Bill. This means a space as large as that which was the subject of the Instruction which your Lordships passed on the Second Reading. On the simple Motion to leave out Clause 9 I think there is no difference between myself and the noble Marquess opposite.
§ LoRD MUIR MACKENZIE
Such differences as there may be between us will arise when I move the substitution of the clause which is on the Paper. I now move that Clause 9 do not form part of the Bill.
That Clause 9 be omitted."—(Lord Muir Mackenzie.)
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
My Lords, the House will have noticed, as the noble and learned Lord opposite has stated, that he has an Amendment on the Paper as a sequel to the Motion to omit Clause 9. I also have an Amendment, but in a somewhat different sense. If, therefore, the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack will first simply put the Motion for the omission of Clause 9, I will follow the course suggested by my noble friend opposite and defer until the Amendments come to be considered any further observations on the particular merits. So far as the retention of Clause 9 is concerned— 1121 speaking on that point alone, without any question of the substitute—it is, I think, evident that if Clause 9 remains as it stands the Bill cannot proceed. It would be impossible for the promoters, I take it, to agree to Clause 9 in its present form—that is to say, the demolition of the church and the conversion of the whole of the site into an open space. That is not a course, as I understand, which would be desired by anybody, and therefore the retention of Clause 9 would involve the dropping of the whole Bill and the continuance of the unsatisfactory state of things which exists at present. For this reason I hope that your Lordships, whatever course you may prepared to take later, will consent to strike out Clause 9.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD MUIR MACKENZIE
My Lords, now rise to move that a new clause be inserted in lieu of Clause 9. Your Lordships will notice that in form the new clause follows Clause 9; that is to say, it begins in the same wily by saying—Nothing contained in this Act shall be deemed to allow any building to be erected on—"and so on. That is a point at which the clause now proposed differs from the one which was in the Bill, because it goes on to stay this —so much of the disused burial ground forming the churchyard attached to the old church and of the site of the old church as is delineated on a plan signed in duplicate by the Lord Muir Mackenzie, Chairman of the Committee to whom the Bill was referred —Here I propose to insert the words which stand in the name of Lord Meath immediately below on the Paper—being not less than one-half of the whole area of tile existing churchyard and church site.Then my proposed new clause proceeds—but the area so excepted from building shall be available for enjoyment by the public as an open space under the provisions of the Open Spaces Act, 1906, and shall include the old church tower which shall not be demolished but shall remain both as a memorial and for the purpose of affording an access from Tooley-street to such open space.The importance of these last words is that they also formed part of the Instruction. I need not trouble your Lordships with any further observations at present, but will move the Amendment, which I understand now meets the view of those who were the 1122 authors of the Instruction on the Second Reading.
To insert the following new clause:
§ "Part of sites of old church and old churchyard not to be built upon."
§ 9. Nothing contained in this Act shall be deemed to allow any building to be erected on so much of the disused burial ground forming the churchyard attached to the church and of the site of the old church as is delineated on a plan signed in duplicate by the Lord Muir Mackenzie, Chairman of the Committee to whom the Bill was referred, being not less than one-half of time whole area of the existing churchyard and church site, one copy to be deposited in the Parliament Office and the other in. the Private Bill Office of the House of Commons, but the area so excepted from building shall be available for enjoyment by the public as an open space under the provisions of the Open Spaces Act, 1906, and shall include the old church tower which shall not be demolished but shall remain both as a memorial and for the purpose of affording an access from Tooley-street to such open space."—( Lord Muir Mackenzie.)
THE EARL OF MEATH
My Lords, you will have heard from the noble and. learned Lord that he has included in his proposed new Clause 9 the words which the Open Spaces Society of London desire to have inserted in order to make it perfectly clear that we shall have no reduction in the superficies of the disused burial ground, which, by your instruction, you desired to be preserved intact from building. It is a matter of great satisfaction to me individually, and I am sure to all who are interested in open spaces, that we have been able to come to an agreement with the noble Lord upon this point. The matter was a little complicated. We had really very little choice the other day when the Division took place in regard to what action should be taken, and we thought it wiser to support the words which made it impossible for the Act of 1884 to be overridden. At the same time, we were not blind to the fact that we were not obtaining exactly what we wanted. Since then we have had negotiations, and I am thankful to say we are agreed. The noble and learned Lord has accepted the Amendment standing in my name; he has proposed it to your Lordships' House, and the Open Spaces Society have agreed to support him and his Amendment with these additions. The Instructions of your Lordships' House to the Committee will thus be in spirit upheld.
The clause, as drawn up by the noble and learned Lord with the Amendment 1123 which I suggested, assures that the existing general law of 1884 for the protection of disused burial ground as regards building shall not be overridden, as was proposed originally by the promoters of the Bill; it preserves for the use of the public the full half of the combined sites of the churchyard and church site; and it obviates the very serious danger mentioned by the noble Lord and his Committee in their Report—namely, that the promoters, being unable to sell the most valuable portion of the site abutting on the river, should be induced to drop the Bill altogether, and thus throw the disused burial ground back again into the hands of the Church authorities, who have always been unwilling to allow the site to be maintained as an open space.
I may say that the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association over and over again offered to lay out the ground, and the Bermondsey Borough Council has under- taken to maintain it, but the former rector and also the present rector have both declined and refuse to allow us to do so. I hold a letter now from the Borough Council of Bermondsey informing me that on May 5 they passed a resolution to the effect that they would undertake to maintain as an open space for the use of the public one-half of the churchyard and church site, and the extra area equivalent to' the former entrance to the churchyard from Tooley Street. In other words, if our Amendment is included in Lord Muir Mackenzie's new clause they will maintain this ground for the use of the public per- manently. I may also add that a resolution has been passed by the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association, of which I am chairman, by which they undertake to assist towards the laying out of this ground. Therefore, my Lords, I think we have really attained all that we can desire in the interests of open spaces if your Lordships will approve of this clause. There is no reason that I can see why, if this Bill is passed, we should not commence operations at once, and why during the summer we should not take steps to do what we can to make the ground a spot of beauty rather than what it is now, the reverse of that, and enable it really to be of service as an open space to the people of Bermondsey.
§ The MARQUESS OF CREWE had given notice of an Amendment to insert the following new clause 9—1124
§ Removal of old church and re-erection elsewhere and provision as to open space.
§ 9. The following provisions shall, unless otherwise agreed between the London County Council (in this section referred to as "the Council") and the Trustees, apply and have effect (that is to say):—
- (1) The Trustees shall, out of the proceeds of the sale of the site of the old church and the churchyard attached or belonging thereto, by this Act authorised to pay to the Council the sum of five thousand pounds which shall be applied by the Council in or towards the acquisition of a public open space within the diocese of Southwark as near to the site of the said church as the Council, having regard to the cost of acquisition, may consider reasonably practicable.
- (2) The Trustees shall make provision for the removal of the old church and the re-erection of the same to the reasonable satisfaction of the Council as far as practicable in its present form within that part of the diocese of Southwark which is within the county of London.
- (3) The Trustees shall, to the reasonable satisfaction of the Council, make provision for the erection and maintenance on the site of the old church or on any new building erected thereon of a suitable memorial of the old church and the site thereof.
- (4) For the purpose of widening Tooley Street the Trustees shall vest in the Bermondsey Metropolitan Borough Council the strip of land fronting on Tooley Street and forming part of the site of the old church which is coloured pink on the plan, dated the day of, one thousand nine hundred and eighteen, and signed for identification by on behalf of the Council, and such strip of land shall when added to Tooley Street be deemed for all purposes to form part thereof.
- (5) The Trustees or the person in whom the site of the old church and churchyard is for the time being vested shalls—
- (a) Carefully preserve and remove all objects of geological or antiquarian interest discovered by them in the excavation of the said site and subject to the rights of the Crown, and, except so far as the same may be proved to be the property of any other person, place any such objects at the disposal of the Council:
- (b) Give sufficient notice in writing to the Council of the time when any excavations in the said site are to be made:
- (c) Give to the Council facilities for the inspection and making drawings of any ancient foundations that may be discovered in the said site; and
- (d) Make provision by any deed by which they may sell or otherwise dispose of the said site for securing compliance with the provisions of this subsection.
§ Originally the open space proposed by the Committee was of the magnificent dimensions of sixty feet by fifty—four feet—that is to say, considerably smaller than some of the rooms which many of your Lordships possess in your country houses. A slight addition might be made to that sluice by the Amendment which has been accepted——namely, that half the entire area should be available—but it would be a very slight addition, and to speak of this cramped area, surrounded on every side by high warehouses, as affording an open space of the slightest value to the people of Bermondsey, or to any others, is, I venture to think, a travesty of the facts.
§ I cannot help thinking that in passing the Instruction which your Lordships adopted you exhibited an almost pedantic adherence to a rule which is excellent in itself, but, like all rules, is subject to occasional exceptions. It is an admirable rule that disused burial grounds should not usually be built over. Upon that we all agree. We do not yield at all to the noble Earl himself in our enthusiasm for the provision of open spaces. We all agree that, particularly in the crowded areas of London, lungs and playgrounds and resting places 1126 are needed, but we say that this particular attempt to turn part of the precincts of an old church into a public space is a mistake which can only be justified by what I venture to call the pedantic adherence to the letter of a law which in certain cases may advantageously be broken through.
§ The noble Earl, when speaking rather confidently of the agreement arrived at between himself and his friends on the one hand and the Committee on the other, omitted to notice that the Committee preferred the original Bill in its entirety, though as I understand— and my noble and learned friend opposite has not contradicted it —they accepted these terms because they felt bound to accept terms of some kind rather than adhere to the Instruction which your Lordships forced on them on the Second Reading, which quite obviously and by common consent involved the failure of the Bill altogether. That being so, I ask the House whether it would not be wiser to revert to the original proposal. Of course, I am not in a position to press my Amendment upon the House; that is quite evident; but I ask your Lordships whether, rather than agree to this very unsatisfactory Amendment, it would not be better to revert to the original proposal which is emboded in the Amendment that I have on the Paper. It involves the handing over of a certain part of the proceeds of the entire sale to the London County Council to be devoted to the provision of an open space as near the site of the church as is possible, having regard to the character of the district, and, of course, to the high price of land in that particular area. It is true that it might be difficult to supply that space within the actual bounds of the borough of Bermondsey, and very naturally, therefore, the municipal authorities of Bermondsey prefer even a little area of about the dimensions of a lawn tennis court, with which the noble Earl is prepared to supply them, to nothing at all, and support his proposals. On the other hand, the kind of open space which would be provided under the original proposal would undoubtedly serve a great number of the inhabitants of Bermondsey, even though it were not actually within the borough boundary. I do not think, therefore, that Bermondsey, generally speaking, would have much to complain of.
§ The original proposal had this further advantage, that it involved the careful demolition stone by stone of this interest— 1127 ing church and its re—erection on an appropriate site where it would be of real service once more to the community. I cannot feel that the mere leaving of the tower on the existing site as an ancient monument really meets the case. I do not think that an archæologist would regard that as a satisfactory solution, although he might prefer it to the complete disappearance of the whole building and its associations. I venture, therefore, to ask your Lordships whether the House would not reconsider its former opinion, arrived at, as I think, in a spirit of most laudable but mistaken enthusiasm for one particular application of an excellent principle, and accept the Amendment which I have on the Paper. My noble friend on the Cross Benches (Lord Meath) spoke as if nothing remained to be done but for your Lordships to pass the Bill, upon which the gardeners from to-morrow would proceed to plant flowers in this somewhat forlorn area. The Bill has to go to another place, and your Lordships may be sure that the whole of this controversy will be repeated and renewed there, and the views which I have ventured to put forward will be undoubtedly pressed there by those who are probably far more competent to express them than I am. In these circumstances I question whether it is worth the while of Your Lordships to send the Bill down representing what I cannot think my noble and learned friend opposite believes to be a completely satisfactory compromise, of which he is the somewhat unwilling godfather.
§ LoRD SOUTHWARK
My Lords, I support very cordially the views which have been expressed by the noble Marquess. I very much regret that on the occasion when the Instruction was passed by a majority of this House I was not present, because had I been I should have taken the liberty, as an old Member for West Southwark for twenty-two years, of entering my protest on the ground that I cannot conceive of a more unsuitable site for an open space than that which has been selected and approved. I am quite certain that the Instruction was passed under a misapprehension. With respect to the remarks of the noble Earl, Lord Meath, we all have the greatest respect for him and for the great work that he has done. As an old London Member, there is no one in the House more anxious than I am to preserve the open spaces in the metropolis, and, wherever possible, to increase them; while as to ancient
1128 monuments I had the honour of sitting under the Chairmanship of the noble Earl, Lord Plymouth, and I think that I actually moved the Second Reading of the Ancient Monuments Bill in this House. This shows, I think, that I have much sympathy both for ancient monuments amid for open spaces; but when you come to practical common sense business principles, and to apply them to this case, I do not think that your Lordships will agree to this proposal.
This is only a very small open space, and a wharf there would be of the greatest possible value to commerce, while the money obtained by the sale of this land would provide a fund for a new church, or to remove the present church to a new site, and would also in addition probably provide enough money to pay a suitable stipend to a clergyman. Moreover, there would be a balance in hand for the purchase of an open space in a suitable position. I cannot, therefore, conceive of any argument that can weigh against this practical common sense view of the matter.
The noble Earl just now spoke about a spot of beauty. I read the speech of my noble friend Lord Bryce in moving the Instruction—a most delightful speech. I almost fancied that he considered himself at the Riviera or the Italian Lakes, or amid some of the splendid Swiss scenery that we all so much admire. If you were to see this site and imagine what it would be if you had it as an open space you would realise that it is a misapprehension to think it is a suitable site for that purpose, or that it would be of any benefit either to grown-up people or to children, As regards children, I cannot conceive a more dangerous position for an open space for them right in the midst of heavy traffic to and from the wharves.
I can quite appreciate the difficulty that the Committee had in dealing with the Instruction which Your Lordships sent to them, and I know that when you do send an Instruction you expect it to be kept. But there are occasions when rules of this sort might be broken. I should very much like to hear from the members of the Committee, if they could rise and say "We have visited the site; it is a splendid place, and. it would be a great sacrifice for the public to lose the advantage of such a site." I am sure they could not say that. From a little practical experience of the locality, I am obliged to say, looking at it from a business point of view, that it would be a 1129 horrible waste of money to carry out my noble friend Lord Mackenzie's Report. I think he himself, as Chairman of the Committee, must have felt some difficulty in meeting the views of your Lordships and trying to have a compromise that would satisfy the noble Earl and his friends.
I do not rise as an opponent of open spaces in London; indeed I should like to see more and more. I know the hardship it is to the people in these crowded. districts not to have more open spaces. But it is impossible to call this a desirable open space. I have spoken to a great many important people in the area as to whether they thought it a suitable site, and I could not find anybody who thought it was. Of course, the work which is being done by the noble Earl, Lord Meath, and his Association is of the greatest value to London, and we all appreciate it. Therefore I very much regret that I should have to express anything like disapproval of his action, but I am sure that he will appreciate what I am saying. It is not that I am opposed to open spaces, or to his action. I know that he is so enthusiastic about his work that he would not give up an inch of anything if he could help it. That is the principle upon which he is working. On the other hand, some of us ought to try and guide him on some occasions, and I think this is one. It would be more practical to allow this site to be used for some commercial purpose and produce money. That would be beneficial both to commerce and to the Church.
§ VISCOUNT BRYCE
My Lords, I am sorry to find my noble friend Lord Southwark acting in opposition to the sentiment of the Borough Council of Bermondsey. He says he does not know any one in that part of London in favour of this proposal, but I am in receipt of repeated communications from the Borough Council of Bermondsey dwelling on the great importance that they attach to this open space, and earnestly hoping that your Lordships will preserve it. It is of no great importance whether one particular company is able to get more space for building in a place like that, but it makes a great difference to a crowded area like Bermondsey that the people should have in their midst an open space to which they may go. Some one said—I think it was Miss Octavia hill—that an acre or two of open space in London is worth thousands of acres in Scotland, because an open space may make 1130 all the difference to people who want to get a little rest and open air, especially in the middle of the day, when they have a short intermission from their work.
I have made a visit to this place; I am under no misapprehension on the subject. It is a spot rather unique on the side of the Thames. It has the most interesting historical associations in connection with the famous battle which was fought at London Bridge, and which is probably commemorated by the dedication of the church to St. Olave, because St. Olave was the king who commanded the Norwegian fleet on that occasion. It also commands a view of the Custom House Office and down nearly as far as the Tower. It is one of the very few places on the river front in London where there is an open space from which people can see the river to advantage, and I can fancy an artist wishing to paint this part of London choosing that particular spot as one where he would get a characteristic view, because not only does the bridge come in but there is a beautiful group of spires on the north side of the river which add distinction to that particular prospect.
As regards the remarks of Lord Crewe, I should like to assure hint that this compromise is by no means an unsatisfactory one. It has been arrived at by the Committee after a great deal of consideration, and it meets the views of those who supported the Instruction. That Instruction was intended to defend and maintain unimpaired the principle which Parliament adopted in 1884, and which it has reasserted on two subsequent occasions—that open spaces occupied by churchyards should not be built upon, but should be kept open and, if possible, turned to account for the benefit of the people by being preserved as open spaces.
The Committee have taken a great deal of pains in this matter. I should like, on behalf of those who moved in the matter in this House some few weeks ago, to acknowledge the pains and care which the Committee have taken; and it seems to me that they have arrived at a quite satisfactory arrangement by which this open space—which is by no means so small as your Lordships would have gathered from the observations of my noble friend Lord Southwark—would be preserved for the enjoyment of the people and access given to it through the tower. The tower, which is an interesting little monument, 1131 especially in its historical associations, would be preserved, and at the same time there would be quite enough land left to enable buildings to be erected, the proceeds of the sale going to the objects enumerated in the Bill, the residue being applied to purposes in the diocese of Southwark which are desired by the Bishop, whose wishes, of course, the Committee and those who moved the Instruction were most anxious to meet as far as possible.
I think, therefore, that this is one of those rather unusual compromises which satisfy every one, excepting the London County Council. My noble friend, Lord Crewe, is here to move his clause on behalf, as I understand, of the London County Council. I am sorry to say that I cannot at all agree with them about the extreme smallness of the area. There are many areas much smaller than this, as your Lordships might find if you walked through the City of London, which nevertheless are greatly valued and prized by the people—open spaces where the public resort, especially in the midday hours. And I do not think it is at all pedantic that we should adhere to the principle of an Act which was passed so many years ago, which has been repeatedly observed, and which has worked for the benefit of the people of London.
My noble friend Lord Crewe suggests that we passed the Instruction in a moment of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the last thing with which this House is generally charged, and I rather hope that if it did show its enthusiasm for the interests of the people and for the preservation of historical monuments on that particular occasion, it will not go back upon the principle which it then asserted. I should like to observe also that the suggestion made by the noble Marquess that the money to be obtained from the sale of this church should be applied in finding some open space at a considerable distance would by no means meet the wishes of the people of Bermondsey. To provide an open space away beyond Camberwell would not be of the same use as giving the inhabitants of Bermondsey one in their own midst.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
May I interrupt my noble friend for one moment? If he looks at the terms of my Amendment he will see that the open space is to be "as near the site of the said church as the Council, having regard to the cost of 1132 acquisition, may consider reasonably practicable." Therefore its acquisition at Hampstead or at Eelbrook Common obviously would not meet the case.
§ VISCOUNT BRYCE
I was not suggesting that it would be at a distance like that, but that it would be too far off to be of any particular value to the people of Bermondsey, and I think it was admitted that it cannot be there. I suggested that if it were three or four miles away even it would not be of much service. If they wanted an open space at that distance the people might as well get on to a tram and go out to Dulwich.
With regard to taking down and rebuilding the church, from what little judgment I could form about the church, and from what I have heard from those who know more about this sort of thing than I do, it does not appear to be a work of such exceptional value as to be worth our while to charge the promoters of the Bill with the heavy cost of taking down the church and rebuilding it, stone by stone, somewhere else where its associations with the present site will have disappeared. I therefore submit to your Lordships that the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Crewe would be, in the first place, against the principle of the Disused Burial Grounds Act, which has been repeatedly reaffirmed; that it would be against the Instruction which was passed by your Lordships' House; that it would be against the wishes of the Bermondsey Borough Council, who are the people most directly interested; and that it would be against the Report of the Committee who have taken great pains over this matter.
THE EARL OF PLYMOUTH
My Lords, I want to say a few words to supplement what the noble Viscount has said. I very much hope that the House will not completely reverse the decision to which it came a few weeks ago, but that it will accept the present Amendment moved by the Chairman of the Committee which was in charge of the Bill upstairs—the noble and learned Lord, Lord Muir Mackenzie—which Amendment has been accepted by those who supported the Instruction moved in the House on the former occasion, and which is to my mind, considering all the circumstances of the case—and they are difficult—really a very reasonable one.
1133 The noble Marquess (Lord Crewe) is no doubt very anxious to obtain a decision and to persuade the House to accept his view of what ought to be done, but I want to remind the House that one of the chief objections taken at the Second Reading of the Bill was that it was overriding an Act of Parliament, and that a very strong case ought to be made out in favour of a particular Bill of this sort if it absolutely contradicted an Act of Parliament deliberately passed by both Houses of Parliament. The noble Marquess now not only wants to persuade the House to override this Act of Parliament—which the House decided not to do a few weeks ago—but he also asks us to override an Instruction which was given by this House on that occasion, and to sweep away our own decision of a few weeks ago. I hope that the House will accept the proposal of the Committee made by its Chairman.
One word upon an argument used by the noble Marquess—namely, the clause in his Amendment, which was mentioned by the noble Viscount below the gangway, providing that the church should be carefully taken down, stone by stone, and removed to be erected elsewhere. I am not impressed with that; and I must say that those on whose judgment I would rely—architects and others—in no single case have said a word in favour of this proposal. To take down a building stone by stone is a very costly proceeding, if properly done. When you rehandle and re-build a building it is a new one; it has nothing left but the old design and a certain number of old stones which belonged to the original edifice. It really ceases to have any great architectural interest; it is probably re-erected on a site for which it was not designed, and it will in all probability be out of place. With regard to the tower, the value of leaving it is that, from London Bridge and from anywhere else from where you can see this site, the tower stands out as a rather remarkable piece of architecture of the early eighteenth century. By leaving the tower you will, so long as it exists, have a monument on the very site of the old St. Olave's Church, which is the thing you want to commemorate from an historical point of view. There is the site where the old St. Olave's Church of 1730 (or whenever it was) was erected, and there remains part of the eighteenth century building. Therefore, not only from the open space point of view but also from the point of view of the historic value of the 1134 position of old St. Olave's Church, I sincerely hope that the House will accept the Amendment moved by Lord Muir Mackenzie and will not agree to the Amendment standing in the name of the noble. Marquess.
§ Loan LAMINGTON
My Lords, the noble Earl who has just spoken referred to the objection which the House might possibly entertain to reversing a decision arrived at three or four weeks ago. Lord Bryce also alluded to that aspect of the question, and I think he said that the noble Marquess (Lord Crewe) indicated. that, owing to the enthusiasm of three or four weeks ago, an Instruction was inserted for the consideration of the Committee. I think that it was the result of the natural enthusiasm entertained by your Lordships for the principle of preserving open spaces in London, re-inforced very much by the remarkable speech of the noble Viscount (Lord Bryce), who delivered a most interesting and historical disquisition upon the site and area in question. The noble Viscount gave us a very long account of the past records associated with that locality. I was myself so unprejudiced in the matter that I cannot exactly remember which way I voted; but since that time, on one Sunday afternoon, I thought it would be better, in order to arrive at a more certain knowledge, to inspect this site, so, accompanied by two friends (one of them a member of your Lordships' House) I went to see it. We unanimously came to the conclusion that it would be a ludicrous thing to retain such a spot of ground as an open space, hemmed in, as the noble Marquess said, by the high walls of warehouses.
There is one other point I wish to mention which I do not think has been touched upon. This is not a residential or a crowded area; and I think the recommendation in favour of having an open space at a spot indicated by the noble Marquess would be of tenfold value compared with this little spot of ground. It is a pity that we have not had plans furnished of this site and. of the whole parish of Bermondsey in order to enable us to see whether a position might not be found for a larger and more useful open space elsewhere. At any rate, I am convinced that to retain the site in question as an open space would result in obtaining a minimum of advantage at a maximum cost.
THE LORD BISHOP OF SOUTHWARK
My Lords, if the comparison were not too flattering to myself I should be inclined to claim that sympathy which is produced by the spectacle of the good man struggling with adversity. The adversity in this case is the difficulty of reconciling what would appear to be widely divergent interests. If each and all of these interests are converted into some principle which we cannot under any circumstances abandon, then I am afraid we shall drift to the dismal conclusion to do nothing to put an end to a situation which every one admits to be highly unsatisfactory. We have been perilously near coming to the point of having the church permanently closed; that could not possibly satisfy the desire of those who wish to preserve unimpaired architectural beauties and the work of an architect of the eighteenth century, or the desire of those who are anxious to secure an Open space, because there is no access to that open space.
THE LORD BISHOP or SOUTHWARK
In the third place, the Bishop would be prevented from carrying out what is his first duty; his primary duty is not to provide open spaces or museums, or to adapt a church to secular purposes, but to convert a church which can no longer be used in the circumstances of the parish into another church somewhere else, in circumstances where it would be highly useful in the best interest of his fellow-citizens. I should deplore very much arriving at a conclusion of that kind, because it would show that we are unable, owing either to a lack of good will or practical intelligence, or a sense of cooperation, to solve this puzzle, and we should leave an unsatisfactory state of things unremedied and we should all feel disappointment.
I entirely respect all the interests which have been represented. I consider that these interests ought to be most fully represented and most scrupulously weighed, and I respect very much indeed the scruples and difficulties which are felt by the Open Spaces Association. I wish to do nothing in this scheme which would be likely to impair in the future the usefulness of their 1136 work in other localities, or make it more difficult for them. It is for the Houses of Parliament to decide, I suppose, whether by going back upon the Act of 1884 they would be likely to undermine the principle for which the Open Spaces Association stands. I would only say this for myself, that I should prefer to accept the Amendment moved by Lord Muir Mackenzie, on the ground that it would safeguard the spirit and principle for which the Open Spaces Association stands. I should dislike very much to do anything which would seem to weaken their work or impair the efforts which they make for the benefit of our people.
If I might be allowed to add one word it is this, by way of apology to the noble Marquess. I trust I shall not seem to go back upon anything that I might have suggested on previous occasions with regard to the arrangement for carrying out our scheme. I should have been fully prepared to accept the Amendment that he has moved with all the limitations and conditions there attached, if we had the whole space at our disposal to deal with. But after the course of procedure in this House over this Bill the circumstances, as far as that is concerned, have been completely altered. Therefore it would be obviously impossible, with the limitation that has been imposed by the procedure of the House, to carry out the suggestions which were made and the conditions attached. I confess it seems strange to me if after an Instruction has been moved and the matter has been carefully considered in Committee, and after an arrangement has been arrived at by which the spirit of the Instruction is observed, the House should go back entirely upon that. It is for that reason, as well as my desire to support the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association generally, that I should prefer to accept Lord Muir Mackenzie's Amendment.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON)
My Lords, I hope that it will not be regarded as great impertinence on my part if I intervene in this debate. I have been detained by public duties elsewhere until the last few minutes, and I have therefore unfortunately missed most of the speeches which have been delivered in the earlier part of this debate, but I was present on the last occasion and listened 1137 most attentively to the speeches then made, and notably to that delivered by the noble Viscount, Lord Bryce. I am sure that the noble Viscount will agree that my own prepossession, or prejudice if you like, would be entirely in favour of the course which he there recommended.
Nobody is a more ardent advocate of, or has fought more violent battles for, the preservation of open spaces, and there are few people in this country who take a more passionate interest in the preservation of ancient monuments than I do. Some of your Lordships may recollect that when the Ancient Monuments Bill was brought before your Lordships' House by Earl Beauchamp, I was one of its most enthusiastic advocates, and I trust that I have been able in one or two other ways to do something for the country and for the cause which I have so much at heart. Therefore my own instincts and convictions would have been entirely in favour of the course recommended by the noble Viscount. But, like Lord Lamington, I put my own a priori impressions and inclinations to the lest of actual fact. Before going down to see this place I gave myself the pleasure of once again reading the picturesque language of the noble Viscount, which reminded me of some of the best-known passages in some of his well-known works. He told us that it was a spot of historic interest and the site of a famous battle. It must have been a very small battle having regard to the size of this space.
§ EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON
If fought on the river it cannot be very useful as an argument for preserving the churchyard.
§ EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON
Then if the battle is to be commemorated it would seem to require not so much a disused churchyard as a floating pontoon. I understood that the argument of the battlefield was used as an argument for keeping an open space. Quite apart from that, he told us that it was a spot of singular interest with a unique and charming view, and that it was a kind of spot where people liked to sit and have a little quiet. On a busy afternoon I sought a moment's holiday and contemplated having a siesta 1138 myself. What did I find? I crossed the bridge and arrived with the greatest difficulty at this picturesque site, where the bones of ancient warriors rested in the river mud below, and I found that it was surrounded by tall and forbidding warehouses, which gave almost repulsive evidence of a vigorous and successful trade. With the utmost difficulty I clambered to the top of the wall. Looking over this wall I discovered what the Committee have described as an "unsightly and disreputable" churchyard, or something to that effect. There was a small space which was now, or had been, a churchyard. There was no access to it. You had to look over the wall in order to see it, and when you looked inside there was a slatternly space encumbered with a few tombstones, most of them on the ground, one I think standing, and this space on the land side was blocked by a church. I sought to penetrate to the church, but experienced the utmost difficulty. Though I got at least six keys, and though I went to the proper custodian of the church, I found that not only did none of them fit the door nor was entrance possible, but that nobody wanted to enter it or had entered it for some time. Now as regards the architectural features of this church, I myself am a great admirer of the later Renaissance architecture, and its greatest exponent in this country was undoubtedly Sir Christopher Wren, but if I were drawing up a list of the examples of the genius of Sir Christopher Wren I should not include the church of St. Olave's among them. As a matter of fact, I believe it was not the product of his genius, but, as I think the noble Marquess told us, of a pupil of his.
§ EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON
And I should say myself that it was a bad example of a decadent and uninteresting style. But that is a matter of opinion. That is what I saw; and then I find that your Lordships' House is being invited to conserve this space, with or without the church—people differ about that—as an open space for the excellent inhabitants of Bermondsey, really, it is the most ridiculous thing you ever heard of—absolutely fantastic—and when I am told by the right rev. Prelate who has just spoken (whose conversion or perversion. I most deeply regret) that because of the verdict of the House 1139 on a previous occasion he is prepared to accept the compromise proposed by the Committee, I can only say that I think the House was absolutely wrong on the previous occasion, and that anything I can do by vote or voice to reverse what I think was a most untimely and unfortunate decision, I would gladly do. That is my excuse for venturing on the impertinence of speaking in a debate where I have not heard the previous speakers.
Will any noble Lord tell me what object, artistic or archæological or hygienic, is to be attained by the preservation of this space? I understood—my information may have been corrected by what has passed this afternoon—that the principal parties concerned were agreed upon the removal of what I myself can only think is an eyesore. We were told, I think, on the last occasion that the assent of the Crown had been procured, the Crown being the patron of the living; that the Bishop of the diocese was in favour—I think perhaps, if he will allow me to say so, he is still in favour; that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were in favour; that the rector of the parish was in favour and that the principal local parishioners and business men concerned in the locality were all in favour of this change. And not only ought great weight, in my view, to be attached to that concurrence of opinion, but as I listened to the debate I thought that here were the elements of a most admirable bargain. On the one hand you were to get a new church, I understand, elsewhere. I am not myself much interested in the proposition as to whether the old church should be moved stone by stone. My personal opinion is that it would be entirely unworthy of the expense; but still, if local opinion or local prejudice was in favour of taking away the church, and if the money was forthcoming and people liked to erect it elsewhere, by all means let them do so. Nor, again, am I very much interested in the preservation of the tower alone. The tower has no beauty apart from the church; it has uncommon little with it, and apart from the church it will have absolutely none at all. To take down the church and invite the people of Bermondsey to sit, with the wharf on one side and a few tombstones on the other, to enjoy a quiet summer afternoon with this unhappy relic looming in the air behind—I would not condemn anybody to a penalty so extreme. Not only that, but, as I understand from what we were told the other day, from the monetary point of 1140 view the bargain was to be a very good one. From the sale of this site endowments were to be procured for the new church; there was to be an increase of the emoluments for the rectors of the parishes concerned; and a substantial sum of £5,000 was to be granted, I think, to the Open Spaces Fund.
EARL CURZON or KEDLESTON
I do not know that I would trust the London County Council quite as much as I would the noble Earl, but still it was to be devoted to the object of securing an open space. In these circumstances I think that that was a very excellent bargain. I do not really quite know which way I am to vote or what I am going to vote for, because I came in too late to catch what is called the "hang" of the debate; but I want to vote to reverse the decision of the House on the last occasion. If the noble Marquess offers me an opportunity to do so, I will vote with him. If the noble Lord, Lord Muir Mackenzie, is endeavouring to confirm the decision, I must vote against him.
EARL CURZON. OF KEDLESTON
What I was saying was that if the Motion of the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition enables me in any degree to reverse what I think was the mistaken decision of the House on the last occasion, I will vote for him. If, as I understand, the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Muir Mackenzie, is a kind of feeble, and as I think useless, compromise which will not reverse but will in its essence confirm the decision of the House, I must vote against him. I am still waiting for guidance on the matter, but I implore your Lordships to get away from the idea that there is either archæology or genuine bona fide sentiment or anything of the kind involved. It is a matter of practical business and utility; and if your Lordships turn down the scheme, with all respect I venture to say that you are doing an injury and not an advantage to the people of that part of London.
THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE EARL OF CRAWFORD)
MY Lords, I should be extremely sorry if my noble friend left upon the House the impression that as a House we are agreed that because an open space is small it is therefore negligible. It is quite a mistake, as Lord Lamington said, to look upon this as a ludicrous scheme because the area involved is insignificant. It is because Bermondsey is a congested area, and because, so far as I know, at the present moment a person who walks through the streets of Bermondsey cannot ever see the river Thames, that this little site has an extraordinary value to Bermondsey. And. if anybody would care to make a round of the open spaces that have been acquired and fitted up in London during the past twenty years he would agree with me, I think, in saying that the transformation of a sordid and disgusting patch of ground into a charming, beautiful, and restful garden is something which is simply phenomenal. I could secure from the Earl, Lord Meath, photographs of what were disgustingly dirty places which are now charming gardens, crowded by people—the very crowds testifying to the value which the people set upon them—as a proof in this case that although the site is small it is far from being negligible in consequence. The County Council offered, in return for the sum of £5,000, to provide an alternative site. It will not be in Bermondsey. If the site that the County Council finds in Bermondsey is not going to cost more than £5,000 it certainly will not be materially larger than the old burial ground of St. Olave's. Therefore, I rule out any possibility of securing a site in this parish.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
May I interrupt the noble Earl for one moment? The promoters agreed to contribute £5,000 towards the provision of an open space, but it by no means follows that the open space would cost £5,000 only. It is quite possible that it might cost a great deal more. And. may I remind the noble Earl, when he says that the open space would not be in Bermondsey, that the boundaries of the borough of Bermondsey, like those of all London boroughs, are not clearly defined in a way which a stranger would appreciate.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
No; and of course the noble Marquess and the County Council have taken good care in 1142 their clause to guard themselves against any misapprehension of that kind, So far from promising an open space in Bermondsey, it is promised in the Diocese of Southwark, which extends, I believe, some ten miles; and when I say that £5,000 is to be spent, the bigger the sum the County Council is prepared to add to this £5,000 contributed by the churchwardens the more remote is this open space going to be from the centre of Bermondsey. It is going to be some great and ambitious scheme, perhaps four or five miles away. A small and indeed insignificant open space in Bermondsey is worth a dozen acres at Greenwich or Dulwich. The great asset and feature of London is the little groups, so far as acres are concerned, of central London parks—Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, the Green Park, St. James's Park, and to the north Regents Park. In area they are utterly insignificant compared with the great parks of Paris or Vienna, but the difference is that here we have them in the centre of the metropolis whilst in Paris and Vienna they have them along the banlieur Therefore, I say that a few yards, a tennis court, in Bermondsey is worth two or three acres in Dulwich, and I am in favour of maintaining what open spaces we can in Bermondsey, one of the most unfortunate places of all the Lnodon boroughs so far as open spaces are concerned. There is one other point about which I should like to inform your Lordships—and I am in cordial agreement with my leader, Earl Curzon of Kedleston—and that is the proposal of the County Council to re-erect the church. I notice that they do not propose to re-erect the tower.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
The clause does not say so. The tower is not the church, and the church is not the tower. And as the word "tower" is not included, the Bill would not apply to it.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
Perhaps I ought to explain. The intention is to revert to the original proposal by which the whole site would be cleared and the entire church removed.
THE EARL, of CRAWFORD
And it is to be re-erected within the diocese? Where? Who wants it? Is there a parish that is waiting for this church to be re-erected within it? I do not think so. 1143 A new parish wants a new parish church, adapted to modern needs and to the requirements of the parish. This is a poor building at best. The noble Earl, Lord Curzon, said it is decadent, and if you pull this building down and re-erect it at the far end of the Lord Bishop's diocese you will have what we are all familiar with in our lives—a patched up and sophisticated old personage. It is not preservation of ancient monuments to pull a church down and re-erect it elsewhere. In the process it would lose all its character and would become a mere pasticcio The building itself must suffer, its character and personality is gone, and when you have moved it you have done an injustice to the old church and inflicted an injustice on the new parish as well. There is a great principle involved in this Bill. The site is small and insignificant; the values involved are trifling compared with the big issue of open spaces we have had to deal with in this House and in the other House; and I hope your Lordships, although the case is in itself rather small, will maintain the large principle of keeping open spaces wherever possible in London.
§ Loan STUART OF WORTLEY
My Lords, as the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have been referred to I wish to have a word in this debate. It should be understood that the Commissioners deal mainly with mundane and prosaic matters of temporalities, though they do very often find themselves faced with questions of public policy, and even of;æsthetics. I voted against the Instruction in this matter in the first Division in your Lordships' House on the ground—and I should have said so had I taken part in that debate—that this House would do well to trust its Committees in the first instance, and that it was a mistake to say, as the House said on that occasion, that at no time and in no circumstances should any exception be made in the provisions of a public Act of Parliament.
It has been said by the noble Earl that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were in favour of this Bill as it was brought in, and that was used as an argument for adopting the Amendment of the noble Marquess, Lord Crewe. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners approved of the Bill as "an Act for the development of the resources of the Church." They did not approve of paying £5,000 to the London County Council, which is what the noble Marquess is going to get 1144 out of the Bill if his Amendment is accepted. Let me support what the noble Earl, Lord Crawford, has said by another consideration. It is quite true that the noble Earl, Lord Curzon, when he went there found great difficulty of access. He found tombstones and unsightly things encumbring his path, and the key did not fit the door of the church. What is the relevancy of all these matters? The unsightly things are going to be got rid of, an access is going to be created, and it will be no longer a question of keys or a door to be opened.
Is this space going to be worth anything to anybody? It is very small, it is cooped in on both sides by lofty buildings, not perhaps so lofty as the great hop warehouses a little up the Thames, but the question whether anybody is going to sit there is settled by the vote of the Bermondsey Borough Council, whose spokesman the noble Viscount, Lord Bryce, has been to-day. Though the site be small, and though it be cramped, I venture to suggest that if there is one thing that can give it dignity and amenity it is a view of the River Thames below the bridge. It would be going too far to say that such a view would give absolute beauty to any site or any recreation ground—
§ EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON
I hesitate to interrupt the noble Lord. But will he tell me—perhaps I spoke in ignorance before—how the people in the churchyard are going to see the river when the river is concealed, and how any human being standing or sitting in the churchyard is to have any view of the river?
§ LORD STUART OF WORTLEY
I understand that the arrangement made by the Committee to whom this Bill was referred proposed such a readjustment in the divisions of the site as would bring the river within view of what would be the open space for the recreation of the public. I was saying that it would be going too far to assert that a view of the river will add beauty to a site already hideous and cramped by buildings. I do not know whether any of your Lordships ever remember going along Paternoster Row and placing yourselves in a position to enfilade one of the little cross streets which give you a view of St. Paul's, and thereby have become aware of the extraordinary beauty and dignity added even to the great structure of St. Paul's by seeing it through that 1145 narrow space. My Lords, there is a thing which has greater dignity even than St. Paul's Cathedral, and it is the great stream which is the source of the greatness of London and of so much in English history. I submit that it is an entirely mistaken view to suppose that, by closing the access to the river at this particular crowded part of Londen and giving possibly a larger area of ill-growing grass inhabited by discoloured sheep and other things which are the reverse of amenities in some other part of London, you are providing a fit substitute. For my part, as I voted upon the Second Reading of this Bill for supporting the Committees of this House, so I entreat your Lordships not upon this occasion to inflict another rebuff on the Committee which in this case gave so much pains to the consideration of the matter.
§ LORD COLERIDGE
My Lords, I went to this site this morning. The result upon my mind is that if I could possibly restore the original Instruction to the Committee, I would do so; and, as a second best, I certainly should support the Amendment moved by the noble Lord. This site is a small one; on three sides it is crowded with buildings, but it gives a most wonderful view of the Thames and of the great buildings of London. You see the whole collection of. Wren's steeples, you see St. Paul's, the Tower Bridge, and the Tower itself. It is a wonderful view. It is said that this site is small and at present bare and ugly. Many of your Lordships may sometimes penetrate into the fastnesses of the city, and may see small spots of ground made beautiful by planting trees, by placing paths, and by introducing the general amenities that come with the re-organisation and re-administration of such open spaces. The small spaces in London, your Lordships will see if you go in the middle of the day, are crowded with people of all clases, of all ages, and both sexes, sitting upon the seats and enjoying the open space which is provided.
When this Bill Was originally introduced it came straight up against the great principle which this House and the other House have always maintained in regard to the metropolis, and I was amazed that for the sake of a few thousand pounds so many great organisations should have put their heads together to deprive the public of Bermondsey of this open space. I only wish that they could get the whole space, but, if they cannot get the whole, that they 1146 may get whatever they can; certainly neither £5,000 nor anything else will make up for the deficiency of this open space if it is closed in and built over with hop warehouses and the like. I did not intend to say anything, but having been to see the site this morning I must state that my view is entirely different from that of the noble Earl the Leader of the House, who I think must have been deprived for the moment of that power of foreseeing in his imagination what the ground is capable of which I think he ought to have.
§ LORD COLERIDGE
Yes I did, without difficulty. There is no let or hindrance; and as to the wall, I suppose that it is part of the churchyard and can be taken down or replaced by an iron railing through which you could see.
§ LORD MUIR MACKENZIE
My Lords, perhaps you will allow me to say one word before the House goes to a Division. The clause that I am now proposing is undoubtedly in the nature of a compromise. It has been called a very unsatisfactory compromise, and I think it leis also been described by an even more opprobrious word. It is a compromise; but I think that if there is one thing which the debate this afternoon has demonstrated it is that this is a case for compromise, because the most diverse opinions have been expressed in different quarters of the House, and if it is possible to arrive at something that produces a result that will enable the right rev. Prelate to accomplish some of the good objects which he has in view, and which will also enable those who are interested in open spaces to see their wishes gratified, something will have been done. For that reason I still hope that the House will adopt this compromise.
The other observation that I have to make is with reference to what has fallen from the noble Marquess opposite, and from various speakers, with respect to the Amendment that stands in his name. The position of the House at this moment is to say Aye or No—is the douse which I have the honour to move to be carried or not? The question of whether the noble Marquess's Amendment is to he accepted is not before the House. If the noble Marquess should find himself in a position to move his 1147 Amendment hereafter, I should like very much to press upon him and upon the House the view that his Amendment goes into Committee matters that were not discussed before our Committee, and if they are to be discussed at all I trust that they will come before a Committee, by which I mean not that they should be referred back to us but that the noble Marquess should leave it to the County Council to bring the matter forward when the Bill goes into the House of Commons. I suggest to your Lordships that if you accept without full discussion the Committee proposals that are made by the noble Marquess you will again fall into just the
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and new clause agreed to accordingly.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
My Lords, in the circumstances I feel that it would be almost futile for me to move the Amendment which stands in my name, and I therefore will not do so. It is possible, of course, that it may reappear in its present form, or in some other form, in another place, and that your Lordships may hear of it again. That, of course, is a matter about which I cannot venture to prophesy.
§ LORD MUIR MACKENZIE
My Lords, in moving that the Bill do pass I venture, with great respect to the House, to point out that there has been much difficulty in dealing with this Bill, and that it has arisen from a course having been taken which, as the Lord Chairman pointed out on the Second Reading, was without precedent in this House—the course, that is, of
§ same difficulty, as I venture to call it, which occurred on the Second Reading. Therefore I very much hope that his Amendment, which has been commented upon to some extent already, though somewhat irrelevantly, will not be put before the House. The question now is, I think, whether or not the new clause which stands in my name on the Paper, and which I have moved, shall form part of the Bill.
§ On Question, whether the new clause shall stand part of the Bill?
§ Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 35; Not-contents, 6.1147
|Canterbury, L. Abp.
|Farquhar, V. (L. Steward.)
|Finlay, L. (L. Chancellor.)
|Sandhurst, V. (L. chamberlain.)
|Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.) (L. Privy Seal.)
|Desart, L. (E. Desart)
|Kintore, L.(E. Kintore.)
|Southwark, L. Bp.
|Monteagle, L. (M. Sligo.)
|Muir Mackenzie, L. [Teller.]
|Oranmore and Browne, L.
|Chaworth, L. (E. Meath.) [Teller.]
|Stuart of Wortley, L.
|Curzon of Kedleston, E.(L. President.)
|Lamington, L. [Teller.]
§ giving a rigid Instruction to one of your Lordships' Committees as to what they ought to do. I venture to hope that your Lordships will think upon future occasions that this should not be treated as a precedent, but that you should revert to the long-established practice of the House in this respect.
§ Moved, That the Bill do pass.—(Lord Muir Mackenzie.)
§ On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.