§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE CIVIL LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (EARL STANHOPE)
My Lords, this is a very short Bill, which I hope will not detain your Lordships for any length of time. Its object is to give effect to an agreement made by the previous Government with the Seamen's Hospital at Greenwich. I believe that about the end of the War a very large sum of money was raised, principally by the efforts of one of your Lordships, Lord Devonport, to increase the size of the Dreadnought Hospital at Greenwich, and I think the fund was subscribed largely as some recognition of the great services performed by the mercantile marine for the nation in the course of the War. Your Lordships will realise that an extension of the Hospital is urgently necessary when I say that it deals almost entirely with seamen of all nationalities who come in ships into the port of London.
The only possibility of such an extension is across a road on to another piece of land belonging to the Greenwich Hospital Trust, a trust founded by Royal Charter many years ago, in 1694. It has always looked with a friendly eye on the Seamen's Hospital, which has continued the work that was at one time done by the Greenwich Hospital Trust. It was discovered that this site, the only possible site for an extension, was part of an old burial ground which had ceased to be used from about 1856 and it was therefore necessary 160 to obtain the approval of Parliament for the use of that ground. I need hardly say that arrangements have been made whereby, if any human remains are found, they will be removed and decently re-interred in the present naval cemetery about half a mile away. The public have no access at present to this land, and I think your Lordships will agree that it is not really closing one of the very necessary lungs of London when I remind your Lordships that on one side of it is Greenwich Park, a very large area of open park, and on the other side is the river. I hope that your Lordships will agree to give this Bill a Second Reading and that its passage through this House will be as peaceful as its passage through another place.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.