§ 75. Mr. P. Morris
asked the Minister of Works why he is spending approximately £127,000 in adapting a house in Kensington Palace grounds, having regard to the urgent need for economy.
§ 76. Viscount Hinchingbrooke
asked the Minister of Works if he will make a statement about recent expenditure at Kensington Palace.
§ Sir D. Eccles
I am not spending £127,000 on adapting a house in Kensington Palace grounds. The position is as follows:
Kensington Palace is of outstanding historic and architectural importance and the repair and restoration of the Palace, including the private residences, is a duty which must be carried out. Very heavy expenditure is necessary because of war damage, and maintenance which was allowed to stand over during and since the war.
The first step was to restore the State Apartments to public use in 1949. This cost £17,000. The next step was to accommodate the London Museum after His late Majesty King George VI had graciously granted to the London Museum the free use of about 20,000 square feet in Kensington Palace, thus saving public funds several thousand pounds a year in rent. The cost of this work was £50,000.
A third item was the restoration and modernisation of other parts of the Palace, including a Grace and Favour apartment for H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent. Work was started in November, 1952, and £35,000 is provided in the Civil Estimates for Royal Palaces.
Another important item is the provision of a new boiler house to serve the whole Palace, including the London Museum and State rooms. This work is now under construction at an estimated cost of £42,000.
I should be glad to arrange for hon. Members who wish to see the present condition of Kensington Palace to be taken round.