asked the First Commissioner of Works, If the light in the Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament is to be permanently retained; and, if so, whether its objects might not equally be secured without the projections by which the architectural outline of the building is at present disfigured?
The Clock Tower was proposed to the House as an experiment by a right hon. Predecessor of mine at the Board of Works—Mr. Ayrton. So purely tentative was it that Mr. Ayrton declined, at the time, to insert any sum to meet the expenses connected with it in the Estimates of that year. The question whether the light is to be made permanent or not is one in which I shall be guided solely by the wishes of hon. Members. I can, however, assure the hon. Member that, under any circumstances, it was never contemplated to retain the present glass lantern, which disfigures the Victoria Tower; at the same time, it is my duty to state that the cost of establishing a permanent light would be considerable both in the process of fitting up and its maintenance.