§ 4.26 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. As the Bill deals with one of the principal agencies in the United Kingdom for the promotion of Commonwealth inter-relations, I think your Lordships will agree that it is a matter of the highest importance. Noble Lords will no doubt have read the Explanatory Memorandum in the Bill, in which its purpose is described as beingto provide for the vesting in the Trustees of the Imperial Institute of a new site for the Institute, and for the erection by them of a new building.The Imperial Institute Act of 1925, which is the legislation under which the Imperial Institute is administered, ties the Institute to the buildings in South Kensington which at present it occupies, and it cannot be moved elsewhere without amending legislation.
The need to move the Institute is the result of the decision of Her Majesty's Government to expand the Imperial College of Science and Technology on the South Kensington site, and thereby to enable an increase in its student numbers from 1,650 to about 3,000. That decision was announced in another place on January 29, 1953. A careful examination of the urgent need for the expansion of the College convinced the Government that the best solution was to concentrate on the existing site between Prince Consort Road and the Imperial Institute Road. It was, in fact, as my noble friend Lord Selkirk told your Lordships on March 13 of last year, the best site upon which to expand the College, as the City and Guilds Engineering College, the Royal School of Mines and the Royal College of Science are already there.
At the same time, Her Majesty's Government considered with equal care the requirements of the Imperial Institute, bearing in mind the important rôle that it plays in the life of the Commonwealth. I would remind your Lordships that the Institute occupies only a small part of the Collcutt building, the main part of which is used by the London University. This dual occupation dates from the end of the last century, when the Institute was 1048 in financial difficulties and was rescued by the Government, which in 1899 took over the lease and discharged a substantial mortgage and floating debt handing over to the London University those parts of the building which have been occupied by the University ever since. From the point of view of the Institute, and therefore from the point of view of the Commonwealth as a whole, a new building specially designed for its purpose will be of great advantage. As was pointed out in the Tweedsmuir Committee Report of 1952:The present accommodation which dates from 1887 is not well suited to the present activities of the Institute.On January 25, 1956, my noble friend the present Leader of your Lordships' House said this [OFFICIAL. REPORT, Vol. 195, col. 521]:In view of the urgent need to increase the country's output of scientists and technologists, the Government have decided, notwithstanding the difficulties which are involved to adhere to the scale of development for the Imperial College which they originally announced. In order that this decision may be put into effect, new premises for the Imperial Institute will be provided elsewhere.Whether or not the Collcutt building should be retained is not directly relevant to this Bill, and though I personally do not share in the regrets of those who lament the physical disappearance of this building, I rejoice that it has been found technically possible to keep the tower, and that it has been decided that the planning of the rectangular site in South Kensington should proceed on the assumption that the Queen's Tower is to be retained. I use the words "physical disappearance" as it seems to me that it is the spirit of Commonwealth unity and co-operation which it is so much more important to retain and to fortify. It is that spirit which created the Imperial Institute, and it is that spirit which will create and fortify the new Commonwealth Institute of 1961.
Here I hope your Lordships will allow me a momentary digression from the plain practical facts of this Bill. Collcutt's tower has recently, in our discussions and elsewhere, been considered as "a free standing campanile." I hope that, if and when this tower does stand alone, it will not be referred to as "Collcutt's Campanile": it is the Queen's Tower, erected in honour of Her Majesty Queen Victoria; and it carries within its bell 1049 chamber ten bells which were the personal gift to the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, the first President of the Institute, a gift from an Australian lady, Mrs. Elizabeth Millar, of Melbourne.
The chimes of these bells, known as the Alexandra Peal, may be heard on certain special occasions. Let us hope that these chimes may long continue to be heard, and that, when they ring, men, women and children passing by may pause to think and pledge themselves anew to the great concept of Commonwealth partnership. Let them never forget that the funds which built the Imperial Institute were subscribed by millions of people from all over the Empire. No less than £413,000 was subscribed. In addition, special donations were subsequently made for specific purposes, notably a gift of two lakhs of rupees from Sir Cowasjee Jehangir, which raised the total sum to about £440,000. Of this sum, in accordance with the terms of the Charter, £140,000 was set aside for endowment, the remainder being spent on the building and the construction of the Imperial Institute Road. The total sum ultimately spent on the building and equipment amounted to £354.000.
The purpose of the Institute was to promote the commercial, industrial and educational interests of the British Empire. No one possessing any sense of history—and I deliberately leave aside the controversial æsthetic sense—can accept lightly the demolition of the old Imperial Institute. I personally am very proud of what it stood for, but we have to move with the requirements of the times, and its disappearance will enable us to train nearly double as many student scientists and technologists, whom we so badly need; and it will also enable us to house the new Commonwealth Institute in a building specially designed for its purpose, in modern conditions.
Meanwhile, subsequent to the Government's decision, announced on January 29, 1953, to expand the Imperial College of Science and Technology, considerable progress has been made in that direction. The student numbers have already grown from 1,650 to 2,453, and the College itself estimates that it will be able to accommodate up to 3,300 students in the buildings as planned. The Aeronautical and Chemical Engineering building is complete in the north-west corner. On 1050 the north side a big new storey has been added to the Royal School of Mines. A start has been made on the major project of an engineering block, costing some £1,300,000, on the eastern side. The planning of the remainder of the site, and of a contiguous site in Princes Gardens, where student and staff accommodation is to be built, is proceeding rapidly. As your Lordships are aware, a suitable site for the new building of the Commonwealth Institute has been found and secured. The site is in Holland Park, where Her Majesty's Government have leased from the owners, the Ilchester Estate, approximately 3¼ acres for which a capital payment of £215,000 has been made; and there will be an annual rent of £10. The lease is for 999 years. The Governors were strongly in favour of this site, and their recommendation was endorsed by the Trustees. I may perhaps add that the Director of the Institute is enthusiastic about the prospects, and I think he has no regrets over leaving the old Imperial Institute.
The Government had to consider what size the new building should be. They decided that it would be fair and just to provide a building which, in terms of space, would be equivalent to the accommodation now used by the Institute—that is, 102,000 square feet, for exhibitions, cinema, offices, workshops, and so on, with a margin for corridors, staircases, et cetera bringing the total to a gross figure of 125,000 square feet. In terms of utility, there is no doubt that the Institute will be much better off in a new building specially designed on a spacious site of its own than where it is at present.
It has been suggested that this Bill should provide for the possibility of enlarging the building at some later date. The main reason why this is not practicable is that the Bill is, in effect, asking Parliament to authorise expenditure, and the extent of the expenditure must be defined. There is expenditure on the site, expenditure on the building, and also, of course, the annual expenditure on the maintenance of the building for almost an indefinite period. It follows, therefore, that if at some future date any major addition to the building were agreed to be desirable this would require amending legislation. It does not mean, however, that legislation would be 1051 necessary to cover minor items of internal reconstruction. Nor does it mean that the plans of the new building cannot be drawn in such a way as to make it possible to enlarge the building if and when a development of this kind proves to be practicable.
The responsibility for the appointment of an architect rests with the Trustees of the Institute, since the present Bill gives the Trustees the function of erecting the new building. The Trustees have also consulted the Governors of the Institute, and at a meeting held on July 17, 1957, under their new Chairman, my noble friend Lord Dundee, the Governors decided to recommend that the choice should fall upon Professor Matthew and Mr. Johnson-Marshall. The Trustees decided to accept this recommendation, and they invited the architects to undertake the project. This selection does, of course, anticipate the passage of this Bill. It has been done simply to enable progress on the new buildings to be made without delay. The formal appointment of Messrs. Robert Matthew and Johnson-Marshall, will be made when the present legislation gives the Trustees power to do so.
The cost allowed for the building has been fixed at a figure which we think should allow for imaginative planning and a finish of good quality, but which will none the less offer, as any new project should, a challenge to economy in design and construction. Your Lordships may wonder why the design for the new Commonwealth Institute building was not made the subject of a Commonwealth competition. The reasons are twofold: first, such procedure would inevitably have involved considerable delay and further expenditure; and, secondly, the winning design might have imposed upon the building certain forms which might not have suited the practical requirements of the Institute. The Director, who is, after all, the man most fitted to judge the practical requirements of the Institute under his direction, will work in close co-operation with the architects.
Your Lordships will, I think, wish to consider the valuable work which is carried out by the Institute. It might perhaps be of somewhat wider scope than some of your Lordships are aware. 1052 I hope that my noble friend Lord Dundee will have something more detailed to say about this matter in the course of his remarks shortly. Perhaps I may make a few observations. It is estimated that approximately 1½ million people are reached each year through the activities of the Institute. During 1957, approximately 1,500 parties visited the Institute, totalling about 42.600 teachers and children. In the exhibition galleries of the Institute the total annual attendance is in the neighbourhood of half a million.
Many special exhibitions, mainly of Commonwealth art, have been held in the Institute. There are three performances of Commonwealth documentary films every day. Maps, leaflets, study kits, and film strips are provided for the use both of the public and schools. A number of travelling exhibitions circulate throughout the United Kingdom, and there is a lecture service at schools. Lectures are provided on payment, but the charges are kept as low as possible by means of special grants from the Colonial Office and from some of the Governments of the overseas countries of the Commonwealth. Many members of the Overseas Civil Service give valuable held by lecturing for the Institute when they come home on leave. One of the most important activities of the Institute, which was started in 1952, is the organisation of conferences on Commonwealth subjects for sixth-form pupils in grammar schools and for teacher-training colleges. There were thirty-six such conferences in various provincial centres last year, including seven which took place in Scotland. There is also the Commonwealth Students' Club, the aim of which is to increase understanding and friendship between students from all parts of the Commonwealth, including, of course, the United Kingdom, by promoting companionship in leisure and shared activities. Though its membership is relatively small, this club is doing most valuable work.
My Lords, I will now turn to some of the clauses of the Bill which may require a little elucidation. Broadly speaking, and with the exception of the change in the title, some minor changes in the Trustees and the new Clause 5, the Bill does not alter the present statutory pattern of the administration of the Institute. This pattern is a little complicated, as 1053 there are three parties involved. The first is, a body of Trustees—not Governors, Trustees—some Ministers, some not, in whom is vested the building used by the Institute. Normally, the Trustees have no duties except to safeguard the premises and the endowment fund to which I referred earlier. The present Bill gives them the function of erecting the new building, as I have already said earlier in my speech. They have no part in the management or the activities of the Institute. Secondly, there is a responsible Minister (the Minister of Education) who carries the ultimate responsibility for the management of the Institute, and provides with Parliament's approval, such monies as are necessary to supplement the Institute's other sources of revenue, such as the endowment fund income, contributions from other Commonwealth Governments, and so on. The third group is a body of Governors, some appointed by the Minister, some by the self-governing Commonwealth countries, and some co-opted, to whom the responsibilities of management are mainly entrusted by the Minister. The Institute also has a full-time Director appointed by the Minister. The rest of the staff are appointed by the Director on behalf of the Governors.
The constitutional changes proposed by the Bill are, first, in the composition of the Trustees, where the Secretaries of State for Commonwealth Relations and Colonies are to replace the Prime Minister, the Lord President of the Council and the President of the Board of Trade; and, secondly, in the method of the appointment of the private Trustees, whereby it is proposed that the present requirements for prior consultation with the Governor of the Bank of England and the President of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce should be dropped. The reason for this latter change is due to the alteration in the functions of the Institute which took place in 1949, when it was given its present predominantly educational rôle.
The Bill does not in any way alter the purposes of the Institute which are defined in the Order in Council of 1949. The Bill does not alter the composition or method of appointment of the governing body, but it does bring up to date the list of self-governing countries of the Commonwealth who have to be consulted before any change in this regard is 1054 made by Order in Council. After the Bill becomes law it will be possible to consider making an Order in Council under the procedure of Section 8 of the 1925 Act to give any new member Government acceding to the Commonwealth the right to appoint members of the governing body.
Clause 4 enables the Minister to require the Trustees to surrender parts of the present building pending the completion of the new building. It will be necessary to invoke this power at a very early stage after the Bill becomes law, since the planning of the Imperial College will require the demolition at an early stage of much of the accommodation now occupied by the Institute east of the Great Hall. Plans have, in fact, been worked out to cope with this situation. A new area of some 13,000 square feet is being provided for the Institute under the Great Hall and will be ready within the next week or so. The Director of the Institute is satisfied that after the initial disturbance the new exhibition facilities will be at least no more inconvenient than those available in the past. The Institute will, however, have to be closed to visitors during March and April of this year—I repeat, closed to visitors; the work of the Institute will, of course, go on.
I should like to add here that it is clear to me, from a conversation that I have had with the Director, that the most cordial and co-operative relationship exists between the Institute and the authorities of the College. We hope that after this initial disturbance it will be some time before any further encroachment on the Institute's accommodation will be necessary. Clearly, no precise guarantee can be given, especially as no more than an approximate estimate can yet be given of the time which the new building for the Institute is likely to take to plan and complete. But I know that my right honourable friend the Minister of Education has already repeated his predecessor's assurance that every effort will be made to ensure as much continuity as possible for the activities of the Institute during the transitional stage.
Clause 5 enables the Minister of Education to lend objects in the Institute for exhibition elsewhere, and to dispose of useless objects. There are precedents in other Acts—for example, the 1055 Imperial War Museum Act of 1920. Commonwealth Governments will have the special privilege of taking over any exhibit if it can more appropriately be housed by them. Clause 6 deals with the cost of putting up the new building. The cost of the new building will be met by the Exchequer. The cost of maintaining the Institute will, as now, also be met by the Exchequer, except so far as it is met from other sources. These are the income from the endowment fund, contributions from Commonwealth Governments and sums received in the course of running the Institute—for example, from lecture fees. At present the expenditure of the Institute is about £94,000 a year, to which Commonwealth, including Colonial, Governments contribute about £12,000. The endowment fund is held by the Trustees under the 1925 Act, and produces an income of a little less than £5,000 a year. The contribution from the Exchequer for the current year is £40,000; but, in addition, the Trustees occupy their building free, valued at £33,500 a year, and obtain certain free services from the Ministry of Works valued at £17,500 a year.
I hope that I have not wearied your Lordships too much by going into this Bill, which to me is a most important one—and I hope that your Lordships share my views—in such detail. It is one of the earnests of our belief in the value of Commonwealth co-operation and in educative work to do with Commonwealth history. I hope that your Lordships will give it a good welcome, and that our friends in the Commonwealth all over the world will know that we here, in London, really care about our great Commonwealth partnership. My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Marquess of Lansdowne.)
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, certainly I would agree with the noble Marquess who has moved the Second Reading of this Bill that it is a most important one, and also that the subject with which it is concerned is of vital significance to this country. To-day we are considering the end of one story and the beginning of another—the end of the story which commenced with contributions from 1056 civilians and soldiers throughout the Empire towards the building of the Imperial Institute to celebrate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. I believe that the private soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers of Her Majesty's Forces contributed voluntarily a day's pay, or something of that kind, at the time. Certainly, the foundation stone was laid by Queen Victoria in the presence of a distinguished and large congregation upon an occasion a good deal hotter than it is to-day.
Throughout the years the Institute has performed an important task, although to my mind it has never been as well known as it should have been. It has formed part of the great mass of buildings in South Kensington which the late Viscount. Lord Haldane, described as the "English Charlottenburg." That is the end of that story, as the building, by the decree of the Government, is being pulled down. Perhaps it is significant that this memorial to the late Queen is now pulled down to provide scientists in the middle of the twentieth century with the training to make, among other things, bigger and better bombs. However that may be, the Government has taken this decision. I regret it. I do not think it is necessary to pull down this building. I think that the University of London in general, and the Science College in particular, would be able to use a building of this description; and well it would serve them. However, we are not particularly concerned with that issue to-day and I do not want to enlarge upon it. The Government know my view and that of many noble Lords in this House, because we have had more than one debate upon it, and I shall not enlarge upon it.
The question now is simply one of the future of the Commonwealth Institute, and this is the beginning of the new story—that is to say, the move of the Institute to its new quarters in Holland Park Road, or what was at one time part of the grounds of the old Holland House. Perhaps it is not right to describe it as Holland Park Road; it is probably part of Kensington. I do not quite know what the exact description of it will be, but at all events it is part of the old Holland House, and as we have not had a plan attached to the Bill it is difficult to say what road it will front.
1057 My Lords, the situation is that there is both a plus and a minus in connection with this move. There is a plus because undoubtedly the Institute will obtain a better building—there is no doubt about that. At present they are housed largely, not in the old Institute building itself, but in a number of buildings of lesser importance around it—chalets and corridors and such places as that; they are temporary buildings. So they will get a much better building and they will be able to display their various goods and their panorama and the like in a much more congenial atmosphere. That is the plus.
On the minus side there is the fact—I think it is an undoubted fact—that it will not be so convenient to get at. Once you get away from what you may call the "Charlottenburg"—that is, the number of buildings in the South Kensington area—you are getting away from the transport facilities that exist there. I believe it has been found that the moving of the London Museum to Kensington Palace has not been a great success, and certainly moving the Imperial War Museum to the southern part of the city, to Lambeth, has not been a success because people cannot find their way to it. So to that extent I think there will be a loss. I shall say a little more about that in a moment.
However, as they have had to move from that particular area of South Kensington, I think possibly this is one of the best sites to which they could have gone. It is certainly far better than the original site proposed, which was a bombed site, I believe, somewhere in the southern part of the city, on the other side of the river. That, I am certain, would have been fatal. Before I go on to my next point, I would say, as this is the first opportunity we have had of doing so, that I am sure that noble Lords would wish to express their regret at the loss of the noble Viscount. Lord Hudson, who did so much for the Imperial Institute and was so interested in this work; and to welcome the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, who is to take his place. We wish him and the Committee every possible success on the new site.
As to the name, I believe we should all agree that in this day and age it is desirable to change it from "Imperial Institute" to "Commonwealth Institute." 1058 I think it is particularly appropriate since they are going to the grounds of Holland House, which was for so long the home of Whiggery and the important centre of wit, for I am sure that the shades of Lord and Lady Holland, Charles James Fox, Lord Melbourne, and Thomas Babington Macaulay would not want the home of Whiggery to be sullied by the name "Imperial".
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS (THE EARL OF HOME)
My Lords, the Commonwealth Institute is not to be made up of Whigs, I hope.
§ LORD OGMORE
No doubt there will be a few Tories in it. As to the membership of the Committee, your Lordships will remember that in August of last year the noble Earl. Lord Perth, and I had a difference of opinion on the question of the appointment of Trustees and Governors. It was not that I in any way objected to the noble Lords and gentlemen who were appointed—far from it—but I felt that the appointments did not in themselves sufficiently widen the scope and that there should have been other appointments, in addition to those noble Lords and gentlemen, which would have expanded the range of experience and understanding contributed to the Trustees and the Committee. It was a curious fact that all the appointments were either of noble Lords from the Benches opposite or distinguished former civil servants. Much as we all esteem noble Lords opposite and civil servants, we do not regard those two categories of the population as being the sole repository of wisdom and experience; and there might have been something to be said for having others who could contribute experience of a kind different from theirs. Perhaps that matter can be looked into now, for I hope it is not yet too late to do so.
There is just one other point that I have to make on the actual detail of the Bill, and as we may not have a Committee stage I had better mention it now. It was rather surprising to me to find in Clause 3 of the Bill that the Ministry of Works should have obtained from the noble Earl, Lord Ilchester, a lease. I have always understood that it was the practice of Her Majesty's Government wherever possible to obtain freehold title, and perhaps when he comes to reply the noble Marquess will inform the House as 1059 to the circumstances which induced Her Majesty's Government to depart from their usual practice and to obtain a lease for these valuable premises, instead of a freehold.
Another question I should like to ask is: what is the cost to be? Though I may have missed it, I do not recall that the noble Marquess stated the figure. I have in mind that £750,000 has been quoted for the building, but perhaps he can confirm that when he comes to reply. I am sure that the first thing Her Majesty's Government and the Trustees and Governors must do is to ensure that there is as little dislocation as possible in the changeover. There is bound to be some, of course, and to that extent there will be a loss, if one building is to be pulled down before the other is erected, there must be weeks or months of delay, and perhaps the noble Marquess can say how long that delay is likely to be. At any rate, it must be cut down to the minimum possible, because this is a living Institute and any loss is bad. Much loss of time will possibly be a very serious matter, because children come to these institutions at certain periods of their scholastic life and we might have a whole range of children from various schools who will never go there at all, which would be a great pity. Then, people coming from the country or from Scotland or Wales may visit the Institute if it is there but will not be able to do so if it is not.
To my mind, another very important matter is transport: in fact it is vital. If we cannot get a place outside the actual museum area where transport is laid on, then we must ensure that there is an easy and rapid form of transport, either bus or underground. I have had a look at the Underground map, and though without seeing the plan I could not, of course, see what stations would be near, it looked as though Holland Park would be the nearest, with Kensington High Street, and perhaps Earls Court. None of them is very near. At present there is a covered way from South Kensington Station almost to the doors of the Institute, or at least to within a couple of hundred yards of it; so we are surrendering quite a good means of access for one which may be not nearly so good.
1060 Then, it is important to have a good parking place for charabancs and cars. Many children and others now come in buses which at the moment are parked in the excellent facilities provided in Imperial Institute Road; so that matter will have to be considered. I can assure your Lordships that nowhere on the main road around Kensington is likely to be at all convenient for the parking of buses or cars, and that is very important for the purposes of those coming to the Institute.
I wish to pay a tribute to Mr. Bradley and his staff, who are doing an excellent job of work. We must encourage them to develop the facilities of the Institute to the greatest possible extent, as I hope they will now be able to do, and to have the displays properly mounted; to have, wherever possible, moving panorama, because nothing catches the eye of a child like a moving panorama, as we found in the Colonial Exhibition in 1948: and also to expand the other activities set out in the Annual Report for 1956, a copy of which Mr. Bradley was good enough to send me. They are very extensive and most of them have been referred to by the noble Marquess to-day. Although the noble Marquess did not say so specifically, I take it that those activities will be maintained, if not increased, in the new building; that the cinema will continue to show Commonwealth and other films; and that the Commonwealth Students' Group will be maintained there. I occasionally go along and speak to students in the Commonwealth Students' Group and also take part in some of their functions. It is an excellent organisation which I hope will be expanded in the new premises.
It is very desirable that the plans, when they are completed, should enable substantial additions to be made, if necessary. We do not want to find in a few years' time a Government spokesman saying, "I am very sorry, but the plans were made in 1958 and this is the only building which can be built on this site. We cannot put up any additions without vast expenditure, and you should have thought of that at the time." Well, we are thinking of that at the time, and we ask the Government to ensure that substantial additions can be made if necessary.
1061 Among other features of the Institution is the Travelling Exhibition. We have heard that it has travelled to Scotland—I think the noble Marquess said on six occasions—
§ LORD OGMORE
May I suggest that this year is a particularly good one for the Travelling Exhibition to visit Wales, because this year, under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen, the Festival of Wales is being held and the whole of Wales is en fête, as it were. Welshmen have contributed a great deal to the Commonwealth in the course of history, and Welsh people would, I am sure, appreciate the opportunity of seeing the work of the Commonwealth Institute. I would ask the Minister and also the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, to consider whether that is not possible. I am a Vice-President of the Festival and I am sure the Festival authorities would be pleased to welcome such an exhibition, and I would ask them to consider whether it is not possible for them to do so. The Festival does not open until July so there is a little time before the opening date. I think that the Games open in July and the Festival in June; nevertheless, there is enough time.
There is only one other matter to which I should like to refer, and that is a matter which concerned me considerably when I read about it in the newspaper this morning. The following is from a report contained in the Daily Telegraph of to-day's date. The heading is: "Commonwealth 'Fed Up'. Lack of Publicity ", and the report says:The Australian High Commissioner, Sir Eric Harrison, said in London yesterday that Commonwealth countries were completely fed up' with the lack of publicity given to the Commonwealth in Britain. He was speaking at a lunch of the Institute of Public Relations.He said: 'The only things that seem to appear are reports of hush fires, floods, cricket and cricket again, and maybe the Wallabies, sometimes when they play a little too rough.'It's something that must be remedied. Sometimes I am completely amazed at the crass ignorance shown by big business executives as to what Australia is doing,1062'Please do not take the Commonwealth ties for granted. The time may come when divergence of opinion might well break the Commonwealth asunder unless hard thought has been put into it'.We all know Sir Eric Harrison as a great friend of Britain and a great believer in the Commonwealth, and he is, of course, the High Commissioner for Australia in this country. I am perfectly certain he would not make a statement of that kind unless he had a serious reason for doing so and considerable evidence. I must say I think this is a very serious statement for a High Commissioner to make, and it is one we should regard with the utmost care. I entirely agree with Sir Eric Harrison. I have long held this view. It is no good spending money on publicising Spain or Czechoslovakia and other foreign countries (although in itself it is a perfectly good thing to do) if our own brothers in the Commonwealth are neglected, because when the time comes they are the people who are going to stand by us as they have done so often in the past.
One of the means of combating the ignorance in this country is the Commonwealth Institute. It has been sorely handicapped in the past by unsatisfactory accommodation. It has been sorely handicapped by lack of funds and by lack of general interest. I think the debates in this House in the last few years—and we have had several—have stimulated interest in the Commonwealth Institute, as can be seen from the figures of the people who have been attending or visiting it. I would ask the Government and the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, and his Governors, to do everything in their power to make the Commonwealth Institute a really live and dynamic instrument in this field. It has been said that friendship needs continually to be nourished, and, as Sir Eric Harrison quite rightly says, the same thing applies to the Commonwealth tie: the Commonwealth tie itself needs constantly to be looked at, and everything should be done to ensure that the tie remains as firm in the future as it ever has been in the past. I support this Bill, my Lords, and I hope chat you will give it a Second Reading.
§ 5.16 p.m.
§ LORD TWEEDSMUIR
My Lords. I rise to welcome this Bill, and I shall detain your Lordships for only a few minutes. I shall not go very far but I 1063 shall go rather wide. I was the Chairman of the Committee of Inquiry set up by the last Government to inquire into the activities of the then Imperial Institute and to make recommendations for its future. We made some very sweeping recommendations, and a number were surprised, and some even shocked, when we said that if our recommendations could not be met within a reasonable time, we recommended that the Imperial Institute be wound up and the building put to some other use. The reason why we said this was that we believed that the creation of the Commonwealth is the greatest achievement of the British race. We have a great subject to deal with. If we cannot do justice to that subject we belittle it.
The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has drawn attention to the Australian High Commissioner's speech of yesterday. I, too, read that speech. He is merely voicing what many of us in this House, and hundreds and thousands in the Commonwealth, think; but if, in the words of the Australian High Commissioner, people are "fed up" at the lack of publicity, then take the position of some young man in the Commonwealth who may have come from, say, New Zealand or Nigeria and visits this Institute in London. London is no longer the head of the Commonwealth but is the heart of it. If he sees his own country portrayed there, in a way which he thinks does not do justice to it, he will not be merely "fed up" but he will be deeply aggrieved and be tempted to think. "Is this the measure of what the people in this country think of my own country?"
Nothing I have said so far must be held to disparage in any way the previous directors and officers of the Institute. They did a very good job with very little money and very little encouragement. Because they built so well, this resurgence of the Institute is possible. It owes a lot, as has been said, to the late Lord Hudson, whose task has been taken over by my noble friend Lord Dundee—and we wish him, as well as to the Director, Mr. Kenneth Bradley and his staff, all the luck in the world. We, as a Committee are extremely pleased that so many of our recommendations are being followed—not all of them, to be sure, because if one is realistic one must accept that 1064 if you want to realise a dream you have to give up part of it.
On the matter of the new building, of course there are others we should have preferred. I should have liked to see it beside London River, looking out upon the Houses of Parliament; but I think the site chosen has many advantages as well as disadvantages. When the last building was erected it was a great building to do justice to a great purpose, but we have a warning in building something too big to be maintained.
This, I think, leads one to reflect how few buildings there are, not only in London but in Britain, where one can go in and obtain any information about the Commonwealth as a whole. In the last twelve months I have done 80,000 miles of travelling within the Commonwealth. I do not say that in the hope of impressing your Lordships, but merely to record the humility I feel at the vast amount of the Commonwealth which I have not visited. And if that is my trouble, how much more is it the trouble of those who rarely, if ever, get a chance of leaving these shores. The noble Marquess told us that half a million people had been through the galleries in the past year, and that 1½ million people are reached in one way and another by the Institute's activities. We all welcome that. Here, at any rate, is a place where those who are interested can come to know the whole Commonwealth.
But—and this is where I warned your Lordships I was to go rather widely—surely this is part of a much larger problem. I have always felt that the greatest danger to the Commonwealth was that we become strangers to each other. Do not let us underestimate that danger. In this country people know a certain amount about Canada; they hear a certain amount, generally rather one-sided, about South Africa; they know much less about Australia and New Zealand, far less still about the Asian Dominions and absolutely nothing at all about the Colonies. It is very difficult to maintain a partnership if some of the partners are completely ignorant of the others. Far more associations of men have been destroyed by apathy than were ever destroyed by hostility. As the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has said, the Institute is starting a new history—a new life, under a new name, in a new place 1065 and in a new building. We all wish it well, and sincerely trust that not only this Government but those who follow them will never allow it again to shrink and wither through lack of support and encouragement.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, I do not propose to detain the House for more than a minute or two, because after the ample and instructive introduction by the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, there is little which remains to be said on a subject which commands such general agreement. I should like to say that there never was an institute, or institution, which more properly could be called the Commonwealth Institute than this one. That name might have been applied with equal propriety to the Institute of a generation ago; it seems to me almost a belated recognition, though that might easily and properly have been its name from the beginning.
I have in my hand the brochure published by the Imperial Institute, entitled Imperial Institute, 1887–1956. I must admit that although I know a certain amount about its subject matter, I was deeply impressed by this record of the Institute's activities, which are growing ever greater, particularly in a more educational direction. I should like to take this opportunity of congratulating the Director and staff upon their excellently produced Annual Report for 1956, which I also have beside me.
It is true that there is lamentable ignorance of the Commonwealth in this country—there always has been—but, as the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, said, it is a vast subject and one must remember that it does not fall to everybody to have facilities for travelling and for obtaining that intimate personal knowledge which is so highly desirable. On the question of publicity, perhaps I may intrude this thought. It has been said that there is not enough publicity. But those who know about the activities of the Commonwealth Institute realise their vastly growing nature (I will not go into the list of different sections), and is it not possible that we are deluded a little by the fact that the Institute does not publicise itself? It publicises the Commonwealth. Perhaps it might be better if it gave a little more publicity to the work it is doing and which it was founded to do. 1066 In studying this recent brochure, I have been surprised, at the extent of these activities, and I have had unusual facilities to acquire personal knowledge. Perhaps there is this to be said in answer to the Australian High Commissioner: that these activities are not so much on the surface that they would be mentioned by, and perhaps have not yet succeeded in reaching the notice of, the higher executives in business, because I imagine that the Institute has concentrated so largely and so properly on the rising generation.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I do not think that Sir Eric Harrison was criticising the Institute. So far as I recollect, he did not mention the Institute. He was criticising the lack of interest in the Commonwealth in this country and the lack of publicity given to Commonwealth matters.
§ LORD MILVERTON
I am sorry if I was misunderstood. I never meant to suggest that the High Commissioner was referring to the Institute, but that perhaps he had been moving in circles where the work of the Institute had not yet penetrated. That may easily have been so. I am particularly interested in the activities centred under the Commonwealth Club, which is now functioning under these auspices. I think that there is no greater field for work and no more valuable work than this of encouraging and co-operating in social life in leisure hours. So much of our reputation depends on that. I have personal experience abroad of how the whole of a man's outlook on this country can be coloured by the accident of whether people were kind to him or not in this country. I do not wish to detain your Lordships longer because we are about to hear the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, who is in charge of the direction of these activities. I should like to say, however, that I give the Bill my unqualified support, and that I think all the decisions therein embodied are correct.
§ 5.28 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, when your Lordships last discussed this subject in 1953 the Report of the Committee presided over by my noble friend Lord Tweedsmuir had lately been published. I understand that the Government have never formally adopted the Tweedsmuir Report, but in practice its 1067 recommendations have been followed by the Board of Governors of the Institute in the development of their educational policy. I should like to acknowledge our debt of gratitude to my noble friend and to his Committee for producing this most valuable Report.
In the last five years, under the chairmanship of the late Lord Hudson, whose death was a sad loss to the Institute, great progress has been made, in spite of severe financial limitations. I think that the credit for this progress is mainly due to the remarkable vigour and ability of the Director, Mr. Kenneth Bradley. Since 1933, the annual number of gallery attendances has increased from 380.000 to about half a million, and the number of student parties which have received instruction has increased from 1,000 to 1,300. The number of lectures, some of which are given in the Institute's premises, though most are given in schools throughout the country, has gone up from 5.000 to 7.000; and that has embraced total audiences of no fewer than 700,000 schoolchildren. The number of school conferences and courses for more senior pupils has gone from two to thirty-six. There are also some new features of the Institute's activities which have been introduced, and which were mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and by my noble friend Lord Lansdowne. There are the travelling exhibitions: thirty-eight showings to 250.000 people took place last year. I am sorry to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, that Wales has been neglected, and I can assure him that we shall immediately do our best to put this right. We started an independent committee of the institute in Scotland, to extend its work there. That committee has existed for only two and a half years, and it now organises school conferences in Scotland, and also arranges the circulation of our travelling exhibitions.
I am glad that my noble friend Lord Lansdowne referred to the Commonwealth Students' Club. It is perhaps a small affair, but I think it is most desirable. The average membership is about 300 Commonwealth students, all of different races, who use the premises of the Institute at week-ends for lectures, concerts, dances and other kinds of recreation. I ought perhaps to mention that it 1068 throws a slight additional strain on the staff of the Institute, who have to do a good deal of overtime work, extra cleaning and so on. However, they are most willing to do it, and I believe that it is well worth while.
The main purpose of the Institute, and the main reason why Parliament votes us any money at all, is to educate the British public about the British Commonwealth. I do not think one could have better evidence of the need for doing that than the speech by the Australian High Commissioner which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has quoted. I am sure Sir Eric Harrison will appreciate that if the Australian Government could see their way to increase substantially the contribution which they are now making to the Commonwealth Institute, so that we might greatly improve the Australian gallery at the Institute, we should be delighted to use that in order to advertise here much more effectively than we can do now the social and economic achievements of that great Dominion—because that is precisely what the Commonwealth Institute is for.
The section of the public which we most particularly desire to reach is, of course, the schoolchildren. By far the most outstanding and effective item in the Institute's programme for last year was the lantern lecture given last April by the Duke of Edinburgh to an audience of 2,000 senior schoolchildren; and on a much smaller scale, hundreds of thousands of similar lectures are being organised in all parts of the country. As I think my noble friend said, about 1½ million people received some kind of instruction last year through the Institute, and more than half of them were children. But although all these children have received sonic instruction, and, we hope, some entertainment, it does not amount to more than a few hours each.
What we should like to see is more attention being paid in all the schools in this country to teaching children about the Commonwealth. I should never be rash enough to criticise the curriculum in any of our schools—even the Minister of Education would never dare to do that—but perhaps I may be allowed to make one general observation. I have always thought it rather a pity that history and geography should be taught, as they usually are, as two completely 1069 separate subjects. I am sure that I should be much less badly educated than I am if, when I had been at school, instead of having to attend a geography class for an hour and being supposed to learn something about the rivers and mountains of Africa, and then the next week having to attend a history class, when I was supposed to learn something about the Norman Conquest, I could have been taught the geography of Africa and the history of the Commonwealth countries and races in Africa as one combined subject.
While it is important for us to make continual contact with schoolchildren, I think it is perhaps even more important to make contact with school teachers. During last year the Institute had seven largely attended conferences at the teachers' training colleges; in the last two months we have had five well-attended lectures in London, again attended by members of the teachers' training colleges; and there have recently been two larger conferences, not for the training colleges, but for older teachers who are already working. Of course, our purpose is not to try to persuade school teachers to adopt any kind of political slant—that would be quite wrong. What we are trying to do is to ask them how they can help us, and to find out how we can help them, in giving more objective teaching to the schoolchildren of this country about the history of the British Commonwealth and the ideals of human freedom and inter-racial friendship for which the Commonwealth stands.
We are grateful to the great majority of local education authorities, both in England and in Scotland, for the assistance which they have given us in our aims. I should also like to express my appreciation—my noble friend Lord Lansdowne has already expressed his—to all the Dominion High Commissioners and other representatives of Commonwealth dependencies, most of whom have ex-officio seats on the Board of Governors and make substantial contributions towards the funds of the Institute for the purpose of maintaining the various Dominion and Colonial galleries. Some of the newest independent members of the Commonwealth—Ghana, for example—have been most eager to make financial contributions in order that they 1070 may be able to show us here what they are able to do.
I should like to make particular reference to India, because India has special difficulties about sterling currency at the present time. Every pound in sterling which the Indian Government want to spend over here has to be meticulously scrutinised before authority is given to spend it; they have most severe sterling exchange difficulties. The Indian Government, I know, would like to give more money in order to have a better Indian gallery here. The Indian High Commissioner and his Office are most helpful in discussing the means by which we might be able to do that. I hope that it may be possible for our Director this year to be sent out on a visit to India—and possibly Pakistan and Ceylon might be included—so that he can discuss with the Indian Government what is the easiest way of providing the money and the material which they would like to provide, in order that their gallery here, which is seen perhaps by millions of people, should give more effective demonstration than it does now of the cultural contribution and the economic contribution which India makes to the Commonwealth and to the world.
I wish that I had time to tell your Lordships a little more about the work which the Institute is trying to do, but I must conclude with a word or two about the new building which is envisaged by this Bill. The overriding consideration behind the Bill is the urgent and imperative need of the Royal College of Science to extend on the premises now occupied by the Commonwealth Institute. Any delay in that extension might have an adverse effect on the future scientific preeminence of Great Britain in the world. Therefore, there must be no delay. They have got to finish moving in by 1961, and the Commonwealth Institute has to get its new building in Holland Park finished and ready to move into so that we can make way for the College of Science by the end of 1961.
The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, asked about the transitional arrangements between now and then. I do not think I need say much about that matter. The Institute will have to be closed for only a short period of two months in March and April of this year. Apart from that, I think that all its activities will be able 1071 to continue—I hope upon an increasing scale. Arrangements have been made for all the Commonwealth and Dominion Galleries to be temporarily housed in adjacent buildings Both the Imperial College of Science and the Government Departments concerned have been very helpful and co-operative, and the Board of Governors have no complaint to make about these transitional arrangements.
Your Lordships will probably be more interested in our ultimate target of getting this new building put up in Holland Park by the end of 1961, a building of major importance both to London and to the Commonwealth. It will have to be built under limitations which I think your Lordships will agree are pretty tight. There is the financial limitation—I understand that the maximum sum we are allowed to spend on this new building is £600,000. Perhaps I may quote what was said on the Second Reading of this Bill in another place by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour—and repeated, I think, by my noble friend Lord Lansdowne this afternoon. He said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 582 (No. 50), col. 306.]:On the question of costs, the cost allowed for the building has been fixed at a figure which, we think, should allow for imaginative planning and good quality finishes, but will, nonetheless, offer, as any new project should, a challenge to economy in design and construction.I should like to say that I most emphatically agree with the second part of that statement, and I shall not make any comment about the first part.
As to space, we are limited in the Bill to 125,000 cubic feet, which is the absolute minimum we require for the continuance of our present work. I am told that it is constitutionally necessary to put that figure in the Bill, and I am also advised that if, by any chance, any generous private donor should endow us with a large sum to undertake some new activity and extend the building, it would not be difficult to get an amending Act passed. But the most important limitation of all is that of time. We have to get the work finished by the end of 1961. So the task which confronts us now is to erect this building, which will not only be required for the practical purposes, which are of great importance to the Commonwealth, but also be of major significance to the Commonwealth and 1072 to London, which is the capital of the Commonwealth.
We want it to be a building which may be admired not only by our own people but also by the large numbers of Commonwealth visitors who come here. That is what we have to try to do with £600,000 in three years. I think it is the kind of task which might well have been imposed on the Israelities in Egypt by the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph:And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. … And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw.Then when the Israelites went and complained about this to Pharaoh, and told him:There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick; and, behold, thy servants are beatenPharaoh merely replied:Ye are idle, ye are idle. … Go therefore now and work: for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks.It seems to me that is very much the position in which my Board of Governors have now been placed by Her Majesty's Government.
When we first considered the problem last July, the first decision we came to was that if we were going to ask a number of architects to submit competitive plans and drawings, so that someone might judge which would be the best architect to choose, we might then perhaps reach the stage of laying the foundation stone of this new building just about the time when we were, in fact, to have it finished and occupied. So we—that is, the Board of Governors—took the step of making up our own minds at once on the firm of architects who we felt would be most likely to do the job as we wanted it done within the prescribed limits of time. We made our recommendation in July to the Minister, and our recommendation was accepted by the Trustees in December. At one time it was feared that it might be constitutionally impossible even to appoint the architect until this Bill had reached the Statute Book, but we were advised that it would be all right if we instructed the architects to go ahead on the understanding that it all depended upon the passing of this Bill. So we had a conference in December with the architects, 1073 to whom we had submitted a detailed schedule of every square foot of our requirements, in every lecture room, every exhibition gallery, and for all the other accommodation which we require, right down to the last coathanger; and we have instructed the architects to get to work and produce plans and detailed drawings showing the fulfilment of those requirements.
I do not think we can expect to get the plans for another six or seven months, and then they will have to be approved, I think, by the L.C.C., and certainly by the Ilchester Trustees from whom the site has been acquired. That may perhaps take a little longer, and I myself can see no reason why all plans should not also be shown to any person who may be considered, or who may consider himself to be, a good judge of architecture so that all the howls of execration which I feel bound to anticipate may be uttered before it is too late for us to pay any attention to the howlers.
I think it is a very good plan to get all the howls as quickly as possible, and I would only ask your Lordships, and everyone else, to bear in mind that when we have only £600,000, and only three years in which to do the job, it is impossible to produce a Palace of Versailles—in fact, at the present rate of building costs, I doubt if one could produce even the Petit Trianon. We certainly shall not be able to please everybody; I do not know whether we shall even succeed in pleasing ourselves, but my only consolation is that if the Government had given us £10 million, and allowed us ten years, even then I do not expect that we should have been able to please everybody. But we are deeply anxious to get a building which will be worthy of the significance which it will have for the Commonwealth. We are anxious that its appearance should be worthy of its purpose as well as its utility, and all I can say is that we shall do our best to get a modern building—it will have to be a modern building—which may combine the most strictly economical methods of construction with, I hope, grace and dignity, and which will at least not be despised by the future citizens of the British Commonwealth.
§ 5.52 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lords who have taken part in this 1074 debate. First I will try to answer the questions that have been put to me by noble Lords. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, was good enough to give me advance notice of some of the questions he has asked, so I hope I shall be able to give him satisfactory answers. The noble Lord was somewhat anxious about the question of inaccessibility, as I think he put it, and transportation to the new site. I have gone into that matter carefully and it seems to me that the noble Lord's anxieties are somewhat ill-founded. To start with, I think he will agree that a large number of the visitors to the present Imperial Institute go there by charabanc. That, no doubt, will continue to be the practice. But for those who do not so travel there are innumerable buses which pass by, through Kensington High Street—ordinary buses and Green Line buses as well. So far as the Underground is concerned, I have had inquiries made and it appears that the Inner Circle and District lines pass through High Street Kensington Station and it is about five minutes' walk from the station to the new site. But I must, of course, admit to the noble Lord that that five minutes' walk will be in the open and not under cover.
§ LORD OGMORE
Five minutes walk by whom—Chris Brasher? Because it is quite a long way, I think one would have to be a "mile in four minutes man" to do it in five minutes from High Street Kensington Station.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I am afraid that I have not measured the ground myself; I am only giving the noble Lord the figures I have received, and if they are incorrect I will certainly try to correct them for him. There does not appear to be any serious difference in the facilities for getting to the new site and for getting to the old site. In regard to a matter that I think also worried the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, there is one big advantage: that is the question of parking space. I understand from the Director that there should be sufficient parking space for twenty-five charabancs and seventy-five private cars. That, surely, should be amply sufficient for the requirements there.
Then the noble Lord raised the question of the Trustees and the Governors. I should like to go into that point very 1075 briefly. I will not detain your Lordships by discussing the present Trustees, because the names of the Trustees were circulated at the noble Lord's request. The names of the Governors and the composition of the Board has not so far been circulated. The Chairman, as you all know, is my noble friend the Earl of Dundee. The Vice-Chairman is Sir Griffith Williams. The members of the Board of Governors are the following: Sir Arthur Kirby, Commissioner, East Africa; Mr. R. Beloe, Chief Education Officer, Surrey; Sir Robert Russell, Indian Civil Service—and he is particularly responsible for Scotland as the chairman of the Scottish Committee of the Institute; Mr. M. T. Mbu, Commissioner for Nigeria; Mr. H. L. Bullock, who was chairman of the Trades Union Congress from 1949 to 1951 (I am not quite sure of my dates but in 1949 he was certainly chairman): Mr. G. H. Gordon, Trade Commissioner for the West Indies; Miss Mary Glasgow, former Secretary of the Arts Council; Sir Ronald Gould, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers; Mr. F. S. Joelson, Editor of East Africa and Rhodesia; at the moment there are two co-opted members, Sir Donald Anderson, Vice-Chairman of the P. & O. Company, with, as you know, great interests in Australasia; and Mrs. I. M. Spry, wife of the Agent-General for Saskatchewan. I think your Lordships will agree it is a fairly wide ranging list of Governors, and all those people appear to me to be eminently qualified to be members of such a Board.
The noble Lord asked me a question about cost, which has in large measure been replied to by the noble Earl, Lord Dundee. The figure which appears in the Bill is £725,000; that is the total amount which is allowed for. It does not appear in our version but in the version of the other place it is there. As to the question of the lease, I think the noble Lord will agree that 999 years is pretty well as good as ownership.
§ LORD OGMORE
It depends also upon what are the covenants in the lease. It may not be anything like as good as ownership. If there are restrictive covenants or covenants which enable the freeholder to take back the land under certain conditions, it may not be nearly 1076 as advantageous as freehold. That is the reason, I understand, why the Government usually insist on freehold.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I am not in possession of the detailed legal facts. If the noble Lord wishes me to obtain them I shall be pleased to do so.
The question of transitional arrangements which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, raised was, I think, admirably answered by my noble friend Lord Dundee. Indeed, I have an assurance from the Director himself that he is not unduly perturbed about how things will go. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, raised the question whether every possible use would be made of modern facilities for display, and I can assure him that the Director is very much alive to that matter. In fact, when I went around the Institute with him and we looked at the displays which he has there, he explained to me in some detail what he proposes to do in the new Institute. I can assure the noble Lord that full use will be made of dioramas and moving pictures. As to the question of the cinema, there will be a cinema in the new building and it will be slightly larger than the cinema in the old one. I think that I did make it clear, or I tried to make it clear in the course of my opening remarks, that nothing that is in this Bill prohibits the planning of the new building to make allowances for further developments, and I can assure the noble Lord that Her Majesty's Government will take due consideration of that point and provision will be made for additions should they prove practicable.
On the question of travelling conferences, I looked in the book which the noble Lord himself has and I see that during 1955, at least, Wales was not so neglected. I have not the details for last year but only the figures, so it may well be that Wales was not overlooked last year either. But certainly note will be taken of the suggestion of the noble Lord, and I think Lord Dundee has already made a mental note of it.
§ LORD OGMORE
The noble Marquess means the suggestion that, if possible, something should be done during the Festival year?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
It is not for me to say that, but I understood that the noble Earl had taken the 1077 point and that it will be given due consideration.
With regard to the observations of Sir Eric Harrison, we have heard from various noble Lords that what the Commonwealth Institute stands for is to combat exactly the state of affairs about which Sir Eric Harrison was talking. In my own opinion, the High Commissioner was perhaps somewhat exaggerating the situation; but there is a distressing ignorance, and that is one of the things which we hope will be corrected through the work of the Commonwealth Institute.
I think the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, asked me a question about the scale of grants. Even if he did not do so, I feel that I should have given them to your Lordships, so I will give them to Lord Ogmore now. The scale of grants has been steadily increasing. In 1950–51 it was £12,000; in 1955–56 it was £24,000; in 1956–57 it was £36,000; and in 1957–58 it was £40,000. In addition to those grants there was a sum of nearly £13,000 which came from the Governments of Commonwealth countries themselves. I believe I have now answered all the questions that Lord Ogmore raised. I should, however, like to associate myself with him in the tribute which he paid to the late Lord Hudson.
I should like to say to the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, that, without any prompting from me, the Director of the Institute said how grateful he personally and his staff were for the work which had been done by the Tweedsmuir Committee; and as Lord Dundee has already told your Lordships, although their Report was not adopted it has indeed been followed in many respects. I should also like to associate myself with Lord Milverton in congratulating the Director of the Institute and his staff on the work that they are doing, and also to wish them every success in the new premises to which they go. The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, referred to the question of publicity by the Institute. No doubt that is a matter which may well be considered by the Board of Governors; it is not one upon which I should like to pass comment.
Lord Dundee has assured your Lordships that the activities of the Institute have been steadily expanding, and indeed over the last five years there has been a remarkable increase in all the activities 1078 of the Institute. As to the rather plaintive note of Lord Dundee, which drew from him his admirable quotation from the Bible, all I may say to him is that I pray that he and his fellow Governors will not be idle, but will get on with the job and will spend the money wisely, quickly and well, as I am sure they will. My Lords, I do not wish to detain you any longer. I am grateful for the "sendoff" to this Second Reading, and I wish, with all my heart, that when this Bill eventually becomes law the work that the Institute is doing will grow and will continue to be of the great value that it has been in the past.
On Question, Bill read 2a; and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.