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Festival Of Britain (Concert Hall)

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 22 March 1949

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asked the Lord President of the Council whether he is satisfied that in the permanent Concert Hall, which is to form part of the Festival of Britain building scheme, it will be possible to avoid the ill effect of severe vibrations caused by trains passing over the bridge and the fact that the whole site area is composed of made-up material; and whether he will reconsider the position and give support to the reconstruction of Queens Hall to be ready in time for the Festival opening.

I am assured by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research that modern acoustic methods make it possible to measure very exactly the amount of sound and vibration to be excluded. A great deal is known about what building construction and materials will be required for prevent the vibrations from entering the Concert Hall. The Department's Building Research Station has carried out for the London County Council a very thorough survey of the sound and vibration problems on the site, and a leading acoustic expert is being employed as an adviser. In addition experiments are in progress to reduce sound vibration at its source. Trial borings showing the nature of the sub-soil are also available. The question of made-up ground is not a factor at all, as the building will have its foundations on ballast over blue clay which is well known to be one of the best foundations available. On the basis of this evidence and advice measures have been incorporated in the plans of the Concert Hall to avoid any ill effects of vibrations. The Government are also giving facilities for the reconstruction of the Queens Hall, and it is hoped that the promoters will be able to complete the work in time for the Festival opening.

Can the right hon. Gentleman and whether the designs for all these buildings to be erected for the Festival of Britain are now agreed on and the contracts issued?

Are modern acoustic methods as certain as the experts would like us to think they are? Was not there some difficulty about the County Hall a few years back?

I would not defend the acoustics of the County Hall for anything. They are very bad. But I understand that the science of acoustics has very much improved in recent years, though other people may have a different opinion.