§ 2.45 p.m.
My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Rennell, I beg to ask the Question which stands in his name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask whether Her Majesty's Government will consider cleaning the Whitehall façades of the Admiralty, the Horse Guards, Dover House and Treasury Chambers in time for Her Majesty's Coronation next year.]
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (THE EARL OF MUNSTER)
My Lords, the question of cleaning the façades of these historic buildings has been considered very carefully from time to time, and various experiments have been tried; but these have not been uniformly successful, as your Lordships may have noticed. The view is held by many authorities that the methods so far discovered do not ensure that the appearance of buildings which have weathered over centuries is improved by cleaning. My right honourable friend the Minister is, however, having further experiments carried out before deciding whether to take any further action. I might add, in conclusion, that parts of the façades of Dover House and the Horse Guards have recently been restored.
My Lords, arising out of the noble Earl's reply, may I ask whether there is any possibility of the scaffolding on the Palace of Westminster being removed in time for Her Majesty's Coronation? I should appreciate an official reply, because when I recently asked a policeman at the Palace he said he had no idea. When I further asked him how long the scaffolding had been there he replied, "I have no idea, my Lord: I have only been here seventeen years."
§ THE EARL OF MUNSTER
My Lords, I myself have been a member here only a little longer and I would not dispute the views of the policeman.