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Rehousing—London And North Western Railway

Volume 90: debated on Thursday 7 March 1901

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I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that Broad Street Buildings, Whitecross Place, Wilson Street, Finsbury, recently the property of the Land Security Company and occupied by 585 of the poorer labouring class, have now been transferred to the Chief Manager of the Estate Office of the London and North Western Railway Company, and the tenants given notice to quit; whether these buildings are in process of being cleared of tenants and demolished, and the land handed over vacant to the Railway Company to be used for the extension of that Railway Company's Broad Street Goods Station; whether his attention has been called to the fact that the acquisition of working class dwellings for this railway company's purposes through a secret agent enables the railway company to escape their statutory obligations in contravention of Standing Order 183A; and if he will give particulars of other purchases made by the London and North Western Railway Company in the same or a similar manner throughout the United Kingdom; and whether he will state the measures he has taken, if any to mitigate the hardships to the working class tenants concerned, and to prevent overcrowding in congested districts of the metropolis.

I am informed by the London and North Western Railway Company that the property referred to has not yet been transferred to them, but that they have entered into a conditional agreement to purchase it. The case appears to involve questions as to the rehousing of displaced labouring, class persons, with regard to which I am bound to say that I consider the attitude adopted generally by this company to be very unsatisfactory. Without answering the latter parts of the question in detail, I may say that the "whole matter is engaging my most serious consideration.