§ MR. SUMMERS
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has on more than one occasion been called to the floating powder magazines in the Mersey; and, whether, having regard to the enormous damage that would be caused to the City and Port of Liverpool in the event of an explosion, he will, notwithstanding the recent expression of opinion by the Mayor of Liverpool that all possible precautions are observed, take steps to prevent so disastrous a calamity from occurring, in the only completely effective way, viz., by procuring the removal of the 400 tons of powder stated to be 1822 stored in these magazines to a considerable distance from the city?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Sir, this is, no doubt, a very important matter, and I have been in communication with the authorities at Liverpool with regard to it. I am informed that these magazines are under a special Act passed in 1851, and that they are exempted from the operation of the Act of 1879. They are, therefore, under the jurisdiction of the Admiralty and the War Office, and my hon. Friend the Secretary to the Admiralty will answer the Question put by the hon. Member.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
Sir, in answer to my hon. Friend I may say that the private gunpowder magazines in the Mersey are under a special Act of August, 1871. By this Act the Board of Admiralty, with the approval of the Master General of the Ordnance and the Conservators of the River Mersey, are to appoint places for mooring these hulks; and, if it is represented to the Admiralty that they are unsafely placed, the Admiralty have power to remove them to another place in the same river. The Master of the Ordnance, which now means the War Office, is directed to appoint an officer to superintend the stores, and has the power of making regulations for the safe keeping of the powder; and it is expressly stated that the power of limiting the quantity is attached to the Master of the Ordnance. At this moment the hulks are being closely watched by a Revenue cruiser—one of the tenders to the Defence—which is anchored near them, and whose crew rows guard. Lord Northbrook, who is now at Liverpool, is inquiring into the question; and Admiral Spratt, who is the Conservator of the Mersey who acts for the Admiralty, has been asked to give his advice. I will let my hon. Friend know as soon as anything is determined on, whether in concert with the War Office or without it.