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Hansard 1909 - featuring the menace of automobile road scouts, polar expeditions and the creosotability of cut larch

Unlike the current lot, the MPs of 1909 were still busy legislating and so forth.

There were some major issues to consider:

Naval Depots (Officers' Mess Subscriptions).

Mr. COURTHOPE (Con) asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will take steps to alter the regulations now in force at naval depots whereby an officer, when appointed to a depot for work unconnected with that depot, is compelled to pay a subscription of over £1 per month and his savings to the extent of 10d. per day to the officers' mess of the depot, whether he uses the mess or not?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. McKenna) The maintenance of a depot ship's ward room mess, which is for the benefit of the officers as a whole, would not be practicable unless all the officers borne on the books of the depot are required to subscribe; and it is therefore not proposed to make any change in the existing system.

Mr. COURTHOPE Will the right hon. Gentleman consider if some relaxation cannot be made in the case of engineer officers?

Mr. McKENNA I will inquire into that point. But there is difficulty, I understand, in relaxing the rule.


Courthorpe would appear to be the bane of ministerial lives:

Mr. COURTHOPE asked the Postmaster-General whether larch is a timber which will take creosote; and what are the respective cost and average length of life of telegraph poles of uncreosoted English larch and of creosoted foreign pine?

And with the answer, a fretting nation exhales a deep sigh of relief:

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Sydney Buxton) Larch will absorb creosote, but not nearly so well as red fir. The Post Office has but slight experience of uncreosoted English larch, but the life of poles made thereof is thought to be about seven to ten years. The life of creosoted red fir poles is very much longer. If the cost of uncreosoted larch be taken as 100, the cost of creosoted larch is 134, of uncreosoted red fir 77, and of creosoted red fir.

Ah, they don't ask 'em like that any more.

Something else to keep the nation from slumber:

Mr. REMNANT asked the Home Secretary if his attention has been called to the increased number of persons employed by the automobile associations as road patrols between 1st July, 1907, and 1st July, 1909; and what steps does he propose to take, by legislation or otherwise, to preserve the control of the roads in the hands of the police?

Mr. GLADSTONE The Commissioner of Police reports that, as regards the-Metropolitan area, there is no noticeable-increase in the number of scouts employed. There can be no doubt that the scouts hamper the police in carrying out the duties which Parliament has imposed on them, and, if the evil continues, it may become necessary for Parliament to intervene for their protection.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

Not a sparrow falls but Colonel Seely spots it:

Mr. SUMMERBELL asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can state whether there were any deaths in Chaguanas, Trinidad, in the year 1908, due to privation; and, if so, the names of such persons so dying?

Colonel SEELY All the evidence before the Secretary of State goes to show that no case of death from privation occurred among residents or labourers in the district during the year 1908, and that such deaths are almost unknown in the Colony, as the necessaries of life are very cheap, and there is an efficient system of relief for those who are found to be actually destitute. The district medical officer of Chaguanas has found the record of one death in 1908 which might be attributed to privation. It is that of a free Indian named Biharri. He was a vagrant from some other district, and died suddenly while begging at a house in Longdenville.

One wonders whether Biharri was offered something particularly good as the result of his begging and the shock killed him.

Elsewhere, Gladstone fils emerges as a stern character

Mr. GEORGE ROBERTS asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention had been drawn to the case of a car conductor who had been sentenced by the Cardiff stipendiary to six weeks' hard labour for stealing a penny fare; whether he was aware that, if guilty, it was the man's first offence; and whether he would favourably consider taking action to secure a mitigation of the sentence?

Mr. GLADSTONE I am still making inquiries with regard to this case, which presents difficulties of which I have not yet obtained any satisfactory explanation. If the prisoner was actually guilty I do not think it can be said that the punishment was necessarily excessive merely because the sum stolen was a penny. In such a case all the circumstances have to be considered, and not the mere amount which is the subject of the charge.
No soppiness from Asquith either:

Mr. ASHLEY asked the Prime Minister if he can now state if it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to aid Lieutenant Shackleton in meeting the cost of his recent South Pole expedition?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith) The matter is still under consideration.

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Blogger Pavlov's Cat said... 11:08 pm

Re. The road patrols ,

I'm not sure it went that far back, but I was certainly told that in the inter war years , both the RAC and AA would tip off members/other motorists to the presence of upcoming Police speed traps.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 11:39 pm

PC - Much appreciated. Thank you.  

Blogger JuliaM said... 7:09 am

Yes, my Dad confirms that. If they saw the badge on your grille, they'd wave to you too!  

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