HL Deb 15 February 1949 vol 160 cc852-4WA

asked His Majesty's Government, what is the cost in money and man hours of moving and replacing Henry VIII's wine cellar in Whitehall; whether this cellar has hitherto been open to the public, and if so, how many persons visited it in the last recorded year; how much they paid for admission; and whether the cellar will be open to the public in future.


The wine cellar is of exceptional historic interest and size, and on two occasions undertakings have been given in another place that it would be preserved. In its original position it would have broken the elevation of the new building on the Whitehall Gardens site and protruded beyond the Horse Guards Avenue frontage by some 30 feet. It was found impracticable to take it down brick by brick as Tudor bricks are softer than the mortar between them and would have disintegrated.

The move has enabled an extra 1,335 square feet of office space to be provided at a cost of £9,000; the capital value of this additional accommodation is estimated at £28,000. The estimated cost in money of moving the cellar is £31,000, and in terms of labour represents roughly ninety men working for eighteen months. The general public have never been admitted to the wine cellar except by arrangement and it is not proposed that they should be in future. My right honourable friend the Minister of Works will, however, be ready to give permission to interested persons.

House adjourned at twenty-three minutes before eight o'clock.