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Offices (Disused Warships)

Volume 439: debated on Monday 30 June 1947

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asked the Minister of Works if, in view of the shortage of office accommodation for civil servants in the London area, temporarily evacuated to the provinces, he will conside mooring disused warships in the River Thames, in order that they can be used as temporary office accommodation to enable many civil servants to return to their homes in London.

This suggestion has been considered but it is not practicable.

Will the Minister issue a statement saying why in is not practicable, bearing in mind the fact that warships were used during the war for offices in many ways?

Is the Minister aware that there are already several ships moored in the Thames, and that a further one is due for the Master Mariners? So what is impracticable?

I am advised by the Port of London Authority that the mooring of vessels of any appreciable size above London Bridge would adversely affect the current and cause the navigable channels to silt up. If they were moored below London Bridge, they would interfere with the navigation of merchant shipping and thus cause inconvenience.

Could not smaller vessels be used instead of larger ones? Surely, it is not necessary to have large vessels only.

When we get down to the question of smaller ships, the installation of the necessary sanitation, telephones and lighting, makes the thing impracticable.

The Minister will be aware that there is a most alarming aggregation of civil servants at Cambridge. Will he consider putting some of them into houseboats on the Cam?