Skip to main content

Metropolis—Hyde Park—Bathing In The Serpentine—Question

Volume 217: debated on Wednesday 30 July 1873

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the First Commissioner of Works, Whether any complaints have been made to him of the limited area allowed to bathers in the Serpentine; and, whether he can arrange for more ample accommodation?

said, in reply, some persons had taken exception to what the hon. and learned Member called the "limited area" for bathing in the Serpentine; but he (Mr. Ayrton) ventured to think that, as the practice, scarcely decent, if not disgusting, of a number of persons bathing in the evening just at the time when a great number of persons were enjoying their leisure in the Park, was one that had better be discouraged than increased, he did not think that the area was of too narrow limits. At the same time, he had always been desirous the public should have facilities for bathing in the Park, and he had intended to make a proposal to the Government on the subject, when a lady who had long resided in the metropolis offered to make large baths at her own expense. Plans were prepared and were submitted to Her Majesty, who expressed great satisfaction at the benevolence of that lady in this undertaking; but just as the contract was being made, the lady unfortunately died without leaving any powers to fulfil her intentions. Her estate had fallen into the hands of the Crown at present, but was likely to be claimed by some one of those persons who always turned up when large fortunes were at stake. Whether the estate reverted to the Crown or not it would be necessary to give the question of bathing accommodation full consideration. If it did, he could not doubt that some part of it would be applied to carry out the intentions of the lady.