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Parliament—New Refreshment Rooms—Question

Volume 203: debated on Thursday 14 July 1870

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said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether Her Majesty's Government intend to adopt the plan for now refreshment rooms which has been altered from the plan of Mr. Barry of 1869, and with any and what modifications; and, whether it is not to the advantage of the Public Service that this altered plan, which interferes materially with important architectural features of the Palace, should be prepared and executed by a competent architect, in accordance with the Second Report of the Committee of the House of Lords? He would also beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury the other Question which stood in his name. Whether he will fix a day for proceeding with the Civil Service Estimates, Class I.?

Sir, as the Question of the hon. Gentleman, although addressed to the First Lord of the Treasury, relates to the business of the Office of Works, I have to state that it is the intention, I believe, of the Secretary of the Treasury to lay on the Table of the House in a day or two the Estimates for the special service of the Houses of Parliament. That Estimate will embrace the plans which have been submitted by the Office of Works for consideration to a Select Committee of the House, and unanimously approved of by them, and which I trust will lead to the convenience and comfort of hon. Members. The hon. Gentleman is pleased to say that the plan is altered from Mr. Barry's plan. Well, the plan is not Mr. Barry's, but one prepared by the officers of the Department of Works. The plan relates both to the House of Commons, and in a small degree to the House of Lords. The House of Lords, undoubtedly, in their first Report, took great exception, in an architectural point of view, to some statements I had made. They combated my views at considerable length; but on reflection they presented another Report, in which they acquiesced in my views, and the critical affair that arose between myself and the House of Lords is, therefore, at an end. With regard to details, as I shall have to explain the Estimate when proposed it would not be right that I should now do so; but I can assure the House that the plans have been prepared entirely to meet the convenience of the House, on which Members will be enabled to form an opinion, and, perhaps, a better opinion than any architect however distinguished.

With regard to the second Question of the hon. Gentleman, I may state that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War has been prepared for some time to go on with the Army Estimates; but, in order to meet the convenience of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), the Army Estimates will not be taken to-morrow. The Civil Service Estimates will be taken; but not Class I.