HC Deb 14 May 1863 vol 170 cc1721-4

Order for Committee read.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 (Fourpenny Coal Duty to be applied by Corporation of London to Holborn Hill Improvements).


said, the clause provided that the fourpenny tax should in the first place be applied to the raising of Holborn valley and afterwards to other improvements. He wished to move as an Amendment to insert the words "Removal of Middle Row, Holborn." That would make it the first duty of the Corporation to remove Middle Row and raise Holborn valley. Ever since he had been a member of the Corporation, nearly twenty years, there had been annual discussions for raising Holborn valley, but up to that time they had come to nothing. He thought it probable that, a considerable time would elapse before that improvement was effected, and therefore he was anxious to suggest a very useful work, which could be accomplished within a short period, and at a comparatively small expense. Middle Row, Holborn, could he removed in a few months, at an expense of between £45,000 and £50,000. It and Temple Bar were, in his opinion—and for the last twenty years he had been a strict observer of the obstructions in the metropolitan thoroughfares—the greatest nuisances in the metropolis. He had not been bold enough to put Temple Bar in his Amendment, because he thought it the best policy to proceed by gentle degrees, and only proposed the removal of Middle Row. Holborn was contracted at Middle Row to a space which permitted only two vehicles to pass. Several years ago the requirements of the traffic of Holborn demanded the removal of Middle Row, and recently the traffic had been increased very considerably. Middle Row was a greater nuisance than Holborn valley. He might be met with the objection that Middle Row was beyond the jurisdiction of the Corporation, but it would be a graceful act on their part to express their readiness out of the proceeds of the duty to expend the small sum required for the removal of that acknowledged nuisance. He was anxious to prove to the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr Ayrton) that the Corporation did not rest upon turtle, but that it rested at all events on the removal of Middle Row.


said, he was not commissioned on the part of the City to do graceful acts; but as the money—the produce of the tax—was to be employed in the improvement of the City and the parts adjacent, he had no doubt that they would pay proper attention to the subject brought under consideration by the hon. Member. But as between the improvement of Middle Row, Holborn, and of Holborn Hill, he thought the latter had the prior claim. On the score of humanity alone to the animals that passed along Holborn Hill, the efforts of the Corporation ought first to be directed to the removal of that nuisance. If after that nuisance had been abated, enough remained to remove Middle Row, the surplus funds might, of course, be well applied to that task.


said, he was at first surprised that the hon. Member for Finsbury had ignored Holborn valley; but having learned that Middle Row was in Finsbury, he ceased to wonder. No doubt the hon. Gentleman wished to tell his constituents at the next election, that although he was a Member of the Corporation, he had proposed that their funds should be expended in effecting a great improvement for Finsbury. Of all metropolitan nuisances that of Holborn Hill first required removal.


was afraid that the hon. Gentleman was reckoning him up by his own measure. He admitted the nuisance of Hoi born Hill, over which, by the way, there had been a recent consultation of half-a-dozen metropolitan Members to decide whether it was in Finsbury or not; but he contended that the removal of Middle Row was essential to the improvement of Holborn Hill. The hon. Gentleman was an Alderman, while he was only a common councilman of London, which showed how much more liberal one section was than the other.


said, he thought it was a great omission not to have included Middle Row in the Bill, for it would be useless to raise Holborn Hill unless the obstruction of Middle Row were removed. They ought to be treated as one work.


said, he would remind the Committee that there were improvements which required to be done in the City proper, in the eastern part, of the greatest importance to commerce. The cost would he something like one million sterling. The Corporation must be just before it was generous. If after these improvements there was any surplus, it might be applied to the making of improvements "adjacent to the City."


said, it was not correct, as had been represented, that the removal of Middle Row was essential to make the raising of Holborn Valley efficient, though, of course, the taking away of that obstruction would be a great improvement.


said, that Parliament had expressed an opinion that the fund under consideration should be appropriated to the carrying out of important improvements in the metropolis, and it struck one more and more every day what a disgrace those hills were to the City. To remove Holborn Hill was the thing most wanted in that part of London, and therefore it was treated as a primary charge. Whatever funds remained alter that was done might be applied to the removal of Middle Row. He thought it highly desirable that power should be at once given to the Corporation to agree with the railway companies, which were buying up all the laud in the vicinity of Holborn Valley; and it was quite necessary for them to know that an improvement of Holborn Hill was contemplated, and would be carried out. If the Bill were passed during the Session, the property required to carry out the improvement would probably be obtained much cheaper than after it had been devoted to some other purpose.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported, with Amendment; to be read 3°, To-morrow.