HC Deb 02 February 1897 vol 45 cc1046-7
MR. J. F. HOGAN (Tipperary, Mid)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the staff of the British Museum are the only officials in the State-supported institutions of the Metropolis who are deprived of the Saturday half-holiday all the year round; and, whether it would be possible, by working with a reduced staff or in some other manner satisfactory to the trustees, to make a concession of alternate Saturday afternoons to those hard-working and deserving officials?


I know of no light to a Saturday half-holiday, except that which is allowed by the two Orders in Council of 1890 to the Higher and Second Divisions. That right is confined to alternate Saturdays and is only when the Department is a seven hours' office, and then only on condition that the Head of the Department is satisfied that the state of public business will permit of it. The assistants in the British Museum are only required to attend six hours per diem, so they have not even this contingent claim under the Order in Council. If the hon. Member is referring to the attendants, they have no claim to a half-holiday. Whether it would be possible to do as he suggests is a question not for the Treasury, but for the trustees of the British Museum to decide. I understand that the trustees have already considered the matter, and have decided that it would be impossible, on the ground that Saturday afternoon above all others, is the time when there is generally most pressure, owing to the increased attendance of the public.