HC Deb 09 July 1931 vol 254 cc2421-4

(1) For the purposes of this Act there shall be appointed annually by the Council—

  1. (a) a board of architectural education (in this Act referred to as 'the Board') constituted in accordance with the Second Schedule to this Act; and
  2. (b) a committee (in this Act referred to as 'the Admission Committee') constituted in accordance with the Third Schedule to this Act.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Board to recommend to the Council—

  1. (a) the recognition of any examinations in architecture the passing of which ought, in the opinion of the Board, to qualify persons for registration under this Act; and
  2. (b) the holding of any examinations in architecture which ought, in the opinion of the Board, to be passed by applicants for registration under this Act;
and to hold examinations in architecture in accordance with this Act.

(3) It shall be the duty of the Admission Committee to consider every application for registration under this Act and to report thereon to the Council as to whether or not the applicant is, in the opinion of the Committee, qualified for registration.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, in line 3, to leave out the words "architectural education," and to insert instead thereof the words "education in architecture."

At first sight this may not seem to be an important Amendment, but I assure the House that behind it lies a story. Those who were on the Committee upstairs know that a great controversy arose as to the constitution and powers of the Board of Architectural Education, and the position was confused very much by the fact that there is in existence today a chartered body of that name. In order that there should be no confusion as to the name of the body which is set up by this Bill and the existing chartered institution, which will be outside the Act of Parliament, it is very desirable that another title should be found, and it is with that object that I have moved my manuscript Amendment.

Lieut.-Colonel MOORE

We know that the Lords Amendments are purely nominal, as it is the Government who have really introduced the Amendments. This Bill has been before the House for five weeks, and now suddenly we are faced with suggested new words for which I cannot see any justification. We discussed this matter both in Committee on the Report stage, and I cannot see any reason for the Amendment which has been proposed by the hon. Member. It is very much better that we should stick to the original wording.


I am prepared to advise the House to accept the Amendment to the Lords Amendment.


Surely the House is not going to be treated in that way. If the Government themselves have been concerned with the drafting of these Amendments, the hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the House is entitled to hear from him at least one reason why a change should now be made. We wish to know why he has advised the House to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member. The words may look innocent on paper, but they may be very revolutionary in their actual effect. We desire to be assured that there is to be no real change by the acceptance of the manuscript Amendment which is now before the House.


The Second Schedule states the constitution of the educational board, and as that seems to conflict with our own Board of Education, it would be infinitely preferable to have the board in this Bill described as a Board of Education in Architecture. As the Government are prepared to accept the Amendment, there is no point whatever in the objection which has been raised, and the House ought to accept the Amendment. That is no board whatever. It would be infinitely preferable to call it the Board of Education in Architecture. That would help the Bill.


The Committee spent weeks on this Bill, and now it would appear that some arrangement has been made by the Under-Secretary with hon. Members who have hitherto opposed the Bill with the utmost ferocity. The Under-Secretary, with great contempt, will not condescend to explain. If he does not know, he ought to send for someone who does know something about the matter. If, on the other hand, he does know, the House is entitled to some statement on the question. We have spent a great deal of time examining the Bill, and we thought the Under-Secretary was with us. Now we have an Amendment which, according to one hon. Member, means nothing. I do not agree with Amendments that mean nothing on paper, and that have to be apologised for. This Bill is of great importance to one of the most honourable professions. The architectural profession have taken a great deal of time and trouble in bringing forward this Bill. We have been told by the Under-Secretary that he is in favour of it, but he accepts from hon. Members on his own side, behind the backs of everyone concerned, an Amendment which we do not understand. It is treating the House with the grossest contempt. This is not a party matter. There are three or four thousand young architectural students, living on grants from county councils, borough councils, or other municipal bodies, whose fate depends on the Bill. Surely we do not want to destroy this work which has been agreed to by students, professors, builders and everyone concerned in the architectural profession. I ask the Under-Secretary to give us reasons for this curious change of front.


I thought that I was facilitating the passage of the Bill. When the Bill was in Committee I made it clear that, owing to the way in which the Bill was then drafted, and the various Amendments that had been accepted, it was impossible for the Parliamentary draftsman to keep in touch with the proceedings of the Committee, and I reserved to myself the right to put down Amendments which would carry into legal effect the decision of the House. When the Bill reached another place it was in a state unfit to become a Statute. We took steps to ensure that certain Amendments were moved in another place. Since then, owing to the position which has emerged, and Amendments which have been submitted from another place, I have tried to find a way out, and to secure agreement. I am advised that the inclusion of the words "education in architecture" would make no material difference. The words make no material difference. I am entirely in the hands of the House in this matter.

Lieut.-Colonel MOORE

What is the difference between "Board of Architectural Education" and "Board of Education in Architecture"? Neither will conflict with the Board of Education. If these Amendments are accepted, it means that the Bill will have to go back to another place and then come back here, and we shall never get anything done. I hope the hon. Member will not press the Amendment.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Lords Amendment," put, and agreed to.

Question, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put, and agreed to.