§ MR. W. EWART
said, he would beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether more seats round the larger trees in Kensington Gardens and the Parks can be placed there for the accommodation of the public; also, whether the large piece of ground lately used as a reservoir for one of the Water Companies, opposite Grosvenor Gate, can be thrown into the Park for the use of the public; and whether the unsightly iron railing round the Statue of King Charles I., at Charing Cross, might not be advantageously removed?
said, that when the country was deprived of the services of Sir Charles Barry, there were some works in progress in connection with the Houses 520 of Parliament which had been commenced some time ago, when his predecessor in office had proposed a final Vote for the completion of certain works which it was then agreed should be carried on. Those works were of small extent, and in selecting an architect to finish them, he thought the right course to pursue was to ask Mr. Edward Barry, the son of Sir Charles Barry, to undertake the direction of them, because he knew he had assisted his father in their construction, that he was in possession of the plans and designs, and had manifested his competency for the task by the results which he had achieved in the case of Covent Garden Theatre and the Floral Hall. He had proposed to Mr. Barry that he should accept the same amount of remuneration as that which it had been agreed his father should receive —that was to say, 3 per cent on the whole outlay on those works, with 1 per cent additional on the measured work. The plan which Sir Charles Barry had prepared in order to enclose New Palace Yard as a Quadrangle, had been laid before Parliament in 1855; but in his office there were no further details than those contained in the Parliamentary Returns. The design consisted of throe parts; the first was intended to occupy the place on which the houses in Bridge Street now stood, and would cost £67,000; the second portion would extend from the east end of Bridge Street to the Courts of law, and would cost £80,000; while the third would occupy the site of the present Courts of law, and would cost £150,000. Hereafter, when all the houses in Bridge Street were pulled down, the House would probably deem it desirable that buildings should be erected on that site for the accommodation of the public offices, and likewise that the site of the Courts of law should be built upon; but it was as yet premature to come to any decision on these points.
In reply to his hon. Friend behind him (Mr. Ewart), he could say that he was extremely anxious to provide as much sitting accommodation as possible for the public in Kensington Gardens and the Parks, and steps had been already taken for increasing the number of seats. With respect to that hideous circle in Hyde Park, opposite Grosvenor Gate, which had hitherto been used as a reservoir, he had to state that it had only lately passed into the hands of the Crown, and that it would be necessary soon to determine to what purpose it should be applied. He should be 521 very glad if the subscribers to the Monument which it was proposed to erect in Waterloo Place to the memory of the Guards who had fallen in the Russian war, and which, he thought, was too large for the present site, could be induced to place it in the circle to which he was referring; but he could give his hon. Friend no positive information as to how that particular spot would be ultimately disposed of. He quite concurred, he might add, with his hon. Friend in condemning the unsightly iron railing which surrounded the statue of Charles I., and he knew of no necessity for its being continued. It was a work of ancient date, and had been erected probably from a feeling that some of the mob might at that time be disposed to mutilate the statue as being an emblem of principles of which they disapproved. He found that there were three Royal equestrian statues in the Metropolis, and of those, that of George IV. in Trafalgar Square, was unprotected by a railing; while in the case of the statue of George III., in Cockspur Street, which had until lately been so protected, he had taken the liberty of ordering the railing to be removed, and the result had been that the appearance of the pedestal had been improved without any injury to the statue having arisen. He believed, therefore, that the best course to take would be to remove the railing which surrounded the pedestal of the statue of Charles I., and he felt assured from the quiet and becoming demeanour of the people in the streets of the present day no harm to the statue need be apprehended.
§ COLONEL WILSON PATTEN
asked, what the Estimate was for the completion of the remaining works connected with the two Houses of Parliament?
In the Estimates which have been laid on the table, no sum has been put down for the completion of any such works. The works which are now being carried out are to be paid for by means of a Vote which was taken in a former year.
§ COLONEL WILSON PATTEN
Are there any works remaining to be carried on for which an Estimate will be required?