§ MR. FRESHFIELD
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the fatal fire which took place a few days since in a private lunatic asylum at Southall; and, if he would consider whether it should be made one of the conditions of the grant of licences to 1344 such establishments that all necessary means and appliances should be provided and maintained and precautions taken for the prevention of fires, and for the escape of the inmates in such establishments?
§ MR. HIBBERT (for Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT)
said, in reply, his right hon. and learned Friend had drawn the attention of the Lunacy Commissioners to this unfortunate occurrence at Southall. He had no power himself to lay down any conditions as to the mode in which licences ought to be granted for these houses, the number of licences being determined by the Commissioners, and in some districts by the magistrates. The Commissioners said that their attention, when visiting these asylums, had been constantly directed to the necessity of precautions against fire and the means of escape, and they had frequently urged the adoption of additional means of protection against outbreaks of that kind. A great deal had of late been done in that direction. It had not hitherto been the practice to grant licences conditionally; but in examining premises which were proposed for a licence, the Commissioners stated that they never overlooked such alterations as were necessary for giving security against fire.