HC Deb 04 May 1914 vol 62 c54W

asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, whether he is aware that orders were given to the boat-owners in Hyde Park not to allow their boats to be hired on Sunday, 26th April; that this action was resented by many intending patrons, who were disappointed and inconvenienced by the unexpected suspension of the ordinary custom of allowing boats to be hired on the Serpentine; and will he say by whom and with what object such orders were issued; and if it is proposed to repeat the prohibition?


Acting on the advice of the police the First Commissioner had refused permission to the Women's Social and Political Union to hold a water pageant on the Serpentine for the purpose of advertising their paper and union. It was known that in spite of this refusal attempts would be made to obtain possession of the boats. Instructions were therefore issued that boats should be let on Sunday, 26th April, only to regular users of the boats. The boatmen found that the only effective means of preventing the suffragettes from using the boats was to moor them in the middle of the Serpentine. The First Commissioner regrets any inconvenience caused to the public, but the responsibility for such inconvenience does not rest with him, and he would not hesitate to take action again in similar circumstances and on similar advice.