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Improvement Of The Metropolis

Volume 49: debated on Wednesday 24 July 1839

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved the second reading of the Metropolis Improvement Bill, intended to afford additional communications between different parts of the town. One plan was for opening a convenient thoroughfare from the end of Coventry-street to the junction of Newport-street and Long-acre, combined with that which had been suggested for the continuation of the line from Waterloo-bridge already completed to Bow-street, from thence northwards into Hol- born, making an additional thoroughfare to the City, besides the crowded parts of Holborn and the Strand. The second plan was for extending Oxford-street, in a direct line through St. Giles's, so as to communicate with Holborn; and the third plan was for opening a spacious thoroughfare between the populous neighbourhood of Whitechapel and Spitalfields and the docks and wharfs of the river Thames, by widening the northern and southern extremities of Leman-street, and by creating a new street from the northern side of Whitechapel to the front of Spitalfields Church. These plans had been recommended by the committee which bad sat on metropolis improvements, and they anticipated, that sufficient funds would be found by existing means. It was proposed, that these plans should be executed by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests out of the funds remaining unappropriated after defraying the charge of the alterations connected with the Royal Exchange. If this bill should be read a second time he would propose, that it should be referred for the consideration of the same committee as had sat on metropolis improvements.

said, that, as a Member of the committee who had sat on this subject, he felt bound to state, that the propositions of this bill were cordially supported by the whole committee. The House ough to understand, that it was not intended to levy any new duty on coals, or to increase the present duty, or continue it beyond the time first specified for the purpose of carrying these improvements into effect. It was expected, and he believed the calculations before the committee justified it, that there would be found from the present duty a surplus sufficient to meet all the expenses of those improvements.

said, that his constituents were deeply interested in this bill. At a large meeting which was held a few months ago, all parties agreed to the continuance of the present tax, provided the intended improvements could be carried into effect. With respect to the third improvement referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, be roust say, he thought it of the last moment to the happiness, comfort, health, and morality of that district; for although the district which he represented was inhabited by some persons possessing very large property, yet it was the place where the criminals of the metropolis were accustomed to assemble. The expense of these improvements would be more than repaid by the moral advantage the public would derive from them.

Bill read a second time and referred to a select committee.