HC Deb 30 October 1919 vol 120 cc937-8W

asked the First Commissioner of Works whether he is aware that the whole exhibition gallery of prints and drawings in the British Museum and the most interesting part of the Egyptian department at the museum are still occupied by the officials or staff of some Government Departments to the entire exclusion of the public; whether he will state the names of the Government Departments; and whether, in view of the importance that these unique collections should, in pursuance of the statute governing the British Museum, be open to students who come from all parts of this country and the world, and to the general public, he will take immediate steps to find other quarters for the officials and gaff of the Departments referred to, and so to restore the British Museum to its legitimate uses?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part the Departments in question are the Registry of Friendly Societies and the Medical Research Committee of the War Office. As regards the last part, every effort has been made for some time past to provide other accommodation for the staffs in question, and I am now engaged upon a scheme which, I hope, will enable me to remove the Medical Research Committee at an early date. Owing to the unprecedented scarcity of offices which would suit the somewhat exigent requirements of the Registry of Friendly Societies, I have not yet been able to secure other accommodation for that Department. Search for suitable premises is, however, being continued, and the hon. Member may rest assured that I shall use every endeavour to set free the space in question in the museum at the earliest possible moment.