§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will give the reasons why the House of Lords is to have a reproduction of its 184 Pugin carpets; what the cost of this will be; and if he will compare the cost of Axminster, Wilton or other types of existing British-made carpet.
§ Sir George Young
I assume the hon. Gentleman's question is intended to refer to the House of Lords' 1847 carpet.
The existing carpet in the House of Lords Chamber is nearly worn out and there is no longer spare material to patch when necessary. The same carpet in the adjacent Princes Chamber is in a worse condition and likely to break up at any time. A high quality carpet is needed to withstand the heavy wear caused by the large numbers of visitors to the Palace of Westminster.
The Sub-Committee on Works of Art of the House of Lords Offices Committee confirmed that the replacement carpet for both areas should be in keeping with the original design of the Chamber. The design finally approved by the Sub-Committee and subsequently by the Offices Committee is reasonably close to that which it is believed Pugin intended in 1847. The cost will not be available until tenders have been received and evaluated from the British manufacturers invited to bid.