HC Deb 09 February 1973 vol 850 cc213-4W
Mr. Cormack

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a full report on the archaeological discoveries recently made in New Palace Yard; and whether he will ensure that they are fully investigated and properly recorded before any further construction is undertaken.

Mr. Channon

One of the historic features of New Palace Yard, dating back to the Middle Ages, was a conduit-head or fountain. This appears in a number of late sixteenth and seventeenth century drawings of the Palace of Westminster. It survived until the reign of King Charles II, but its precise site was not known until the construction works for the underground car park gave my Department's archaeologists an opportunity to determine it with a view to examining and recording any remains. As hon. Members will have seen, what has so far been excavated is both extensive and well preserved; I understand to a considerably greater degree than was expected. Construction work in the area concerned has been halted, and I can assure my hon. Friend that arrangements have already been made for these important discoveries to be investigated, recorded and preserved.