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Volume 202: debated on Tuesday 5 July 1870

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said, he would beg to ask the hon. Member for Bath, When the Metropolitan Board of Works will proceed with the embankment of the Thames at Chelsea, pursuant to the Act passed in the last Session of Parliament, and if it has been yet determined whether the embankment shall be faced with brick or granite?

said, in reply, that the embankment referred to was a very extensive work. It was to be a mile long as nearly as possible, and was intended to proceed from the front of Chelsea Hospital and to terminate at Old Battersea Bridge. It would carry with it the main sewer, and the total cost would be £250,000. The first Bill authorizing its construction passed in 1868; but, unfortunately, the clause empowering the Board of Works to borrow the money was struck out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of that day. The result, of course, was that the undertaking could not be proceeded with. Thanks, however, to the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, another Bill was passed in 1869, which enabled the Board of Works to readjust all their debts, and with power to obtain all necessary funds. The money was accordingly borrowed, and the work taken in hand. He had great pleasure in informing the hon. Baronet that considerable progress had been already made. The rights over the property which was required and the various water rights were, however, extremely complicated, and consequently there were many difficulties to be encountered. Nevertheless, considerable progress had been made in the purchase of property. A portion of the embankment, beginning from Westminster Bridge, was commenced by the Government many years ago, when they thought the metropolis ought to be improved at the expense of the nation; but they subsequently changed their mind, and stopped the works near Chelsea Hospital, and a sum of £70,000 was repaid by Sir Benjamin Hall—the then Chief Commissioner of Works to the Exchequer. That embankment was faced with brick. The Board could not, perhaps, afford to make at Chelsea a granite embankment, but they would make one of what was technically and geologically known as millstone grits, which would furnish material for the construction of a beautiful and elaborate stone wall. The hon. Baronet would, he hoped, see the work carried out before the expiration of two years.