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Zoological Gardens, London

Volume 236: debated on Monday 17 March 1930

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43.

asked the Minister of Agriculture the terms and conditions of the lease held by the Zoological Society of London in respect of Regent's Park; and whether he is prepared to make it a condition of the renewal of the lease that the Zoological Gardens shall be open to the public on Sundays?

The Zoological Society of London occupy 30 acres, 2 roods, 34 poles of land in Regent's Park as tenants of the Commissioners of Crown Lands at a rent of 6358 10s. 9d. It is a yearly tenancy, but has been in existence for a great number of years. The society are responsible for all outgoings and costs of maintenance. The suggestion made in the latter part of the question has been considered on several occasions, but it has not been found practicable to carry it out.

Is it in the power of the Government to make this a condition of the lease, and when was it last considered?

The question could no doubt be negotiated, but the objection of the Zoological Society is that they depend on the income derived from the subscriptions of Fellows, and that would be very seriously affected by this proposal.

Is it not a fact that this society has been created and maintained by the Fellows without any grant from the Government, and, if that be so, does the right hon. Gentleman not think it reasonable that the Gardens should be reserved on one day in the week for the use of those Fellows and their friends?