§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
I beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether the trustees of the British Museum are at present prepared with plans for its extension, and whether they have funds bequeathed to them which may be applied to this purpose.
§ MR. HANBURY
Under the will of the late Mr. Vincent Stuckey Lean the trustees are entitled to a bequest of £50,000 for "the improvement and extension of the library and reading room." A plan for the extension of the museum which would comply with the terms of the bequest at an estimated cost of £150,000 was put forward by the trustees in 1899. Its consideration has been deferred, as the Bill now before Parliament to authorise the trustees to deposit copies of local newspapers with local authorities and to dispose of value less printed matter would set free a large amount of space.
§ MR. J. MORLEY (Montrose)
Is it not true that the Treasury wrote to the 298 trustees of the museum in August last informing them that they could not feel justified in acceding to any proposal for the extension of the buildings until an attempt had been made to take the opinion of the House, with a view to giving new authority to the trustees for the disposal of newspapers and other printed matter.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
That being so I wish to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he will give facilities before the end of the session for the discussion, if not the passing, of the Museum Bill.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
We consider the Bill to which the right hon. Gentleman refers to be a Bill of a public character, and we are more or less responsible for it in the way stated by my right hon. friend. But whether it would be possible for me to find time this session for the discussion of the Bill is a question which at the present moment I cannot answer.