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House Of Commons Chamber (Acoustics)

Volume 392: debated on Wednesday 20 October 1943

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether further steps will be taken to improve the acoustics of the Chamber by the introduction of a microphone over Mr. Speaker's Chair and amplifiers at the Western end of the Chamber?

The installation of an additional microphone over Mr. Speaker's Chair would serve no useful purpose, as those already installed pick up sound satisfactorily from all parts of the Chamber. On the other hand, I am advised that loud-speakers cannot be installed where they will be within range of a speaker's voice, or where the sound from the loud-speakers will be picked up by the microphones, without producing an unintelligible or uncontrolled volume of sound. I am, however, arranging to have an actual test made when the House is not in Session to see whether there is any part of the Western end of the Chamber where a loud-speaker could be usefully installed without involving either of these difficulties.

When it is possible to have amplifiers in the Galleries at the Eastern end, why is it not possible to have them at the Western end?

Are not all the utterances of hon. Members really worth hearing?

Would it not be better, instead of trying to improve the acoustics of this Chamber, to ask Members to try to improve their elocution?