I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This Bill is promoted by the Royal Institute of British Architects, to which both the training of architects and the control and guidance of architecture has been entrusted by successive Royal Charters granted by William IV, Queen Victoria, Edward VII, and His Majesty King George V. It stands at the head of a confederation of allied architectural societies, and among its members will be found the great majority of qualified architects practising in all parts of the British Empire. And, when to this I add that, whether domiciled in this country or overseas, all members have equal rights and are equally entitled to have their say in the government of the profession, and that over 8,000 persons are directly associated with its activities, I think the House will agree with me that the Royal Institute of British Architects has some claim to be regarded, not only as a great British organisation but as a great Imperial organisation.
Let us glance at what the Institute has done for architects and architecture. Before 1863 there was no test qualification. In that year the Institute appointed a Board of Examiners to examine candidates desiring to obtain their certificate. In 1882 the voluntary examination was made compulsory on all persons seeking election as associates, and by 1904 a complete system of progressive examinations was built up and the Council of the Institute established the Board of Architectural Education. That Board has been reconstructed and widely extended for the purposes of this Bill. If hon. Members will turn to the first Schedule they will see exactly what 1 mean.
Meanwhile close relations were established with the Universities; Public Schools, and various schools of architectural education. In fact, so marked has been the progress achieved mainly owing to the efforts of the Institute in the development of architectural education that there exists to-day every opportunity for the scholar in the elementary school to qualify for a diploma in architecture at any University in this country. Exclusiveness has never been allowed a place in the curriculum of the R.I.B.A. Only last year a number of maintenance scholarships were instituted for the purpose of helping promising students of either sex whose parents or guardians have not the necessary means to send their children to attend an approved course of instruction at one of the schools of architecture. And perhaps it will interest the House to know that out of five applications for one of these scholarships, by the unanimous vote of the Committee it was awarded to the son of an unemployed shipwright whose only weekly money coming in amounted to 7s. 6d. a week, and that was brought in by one of his children who played the piano. This student was admitted to the Royal West of England Academy for a three years' course, free of charge to himself, and that he might obtain the necessary means of livelihood he was given an appointment at 40s. a week by a prominent local architect.
We have in my constituency, Cardiff, a school at the technical college where scholarships are tenable at the School of Architecture, and there students who could not have afforded to pay the fees or go through the three years' course without earning, have been enabled to obtain a first rate professional education. Let me give an example of this. A working miner following his employment on night shifts took a part-time day course in architecture. The next session he started a full-time course, and partly by his own savings and partly by help from other sources he was able to stay at the college until he had completed a full three years' course. Two years ago that boy was appointed assistant to the Glamorgan County Council, and he holds that appointment to-day. At many of these schools the fees are particularly reasonable, and by making some sacrifices which everyone is required to do for their own sons and daughters, many of those in humble positions have managed to get their professional training. Stories like these should, I think, go far to remove any doubts or fears which may have arisen—and I understand they have arisen—in the minds of hon. or right hon. Gentlemen opposite as to the effect this Bill would have on the fortunes of the poor boy who desires to become an architect, and who possesses the natural aptitude and ability to pass the examinations.
But after all is said and done, in present conditions whatever the student's circumstances may be he labours under the disadvantage that, however hard he works, however successful he may be in his profession, the title of architect which is the outward and visible sign of his expert knowledge, has to be shared with a person who has had no architectural training and possesses no knowledge of architecture. I do not think any fair-minded man will regard this as satisfying the demands of public utility, much less does it agree with the accepted principles of equity. There can be no doubt that the indefinite character of a profession in which a person totally ignorant of the first principles governing art and construction has an equal right with the skilled expert to be described as an architect has had a prejudicial effect both on the public mind and on the profession itself. To remedy this an organisation was formed for the purpose of setting up a voluntary registration.
That organisation was taken over by the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1925 and since that time the register has remained under their control. It is a significant fact, and one which establishes its own conclusion, that some 800 architects and assistants, not members of the Institute or of its Allied Societies, have already enrolled themselves on this voluntary register. A system of voluntary registration is all very well as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough. It does not carry with it statutory authority, and that is where voluntary registration fails. What is wanted is registration having legal authority behind it, making it compulsory for all persons wishing to be officially recognised as architects to enroll themselves and submit to restrictions embodied in an Act of Parliament. Just as in the legal, medical and teaching, to mention a few professions, the public is safeguarded against unqualified persons by means of registration having the authority of law, so by this Bill it is proposed to give the same protection to the public in the case of architects. Accordingly, the Bill provides that any person desiring to practice as an architect shall be required to furnish himself with credentials carrying with them statutory authority, and showing that he has received the. necessary preliminary training and passed the necessary examinations.
The same machinery that gives protection to the public will also protect the qualified architect from the competition of the unqualified person, and, incidentally, by a process of elimination, the profession itself will be saved from the risk that now assails it of being placed in an undignified position by the wrongful acts, whether due to want of knowledge or otherwise, of persons describing themselves as architects, but who, neither by training nor by education, are qualified for the work that they lay themselves out to undertake. Here let me say that, in those professions where statutory registration obtains, the position of members has undoubtedly been raised, while the public has not failed to show its appreciation by taking advantage of the guarantees afforded for its protection. In no case that I can remember has anyone ever advocated a return to the status quo ante. On the other hand, one could easily refer to many instances where movements set on foot for tightening up qualifications have been readily accepted by the persons interested. Is it not, then, reasonable to suppose that methods which have had such far-reaching results in other professions should meet with the same good fortune in the profession of architecture? The wonder to me, and I am sure it will be to Members of this House, is that so useful and desirable a reform has been so long delayed. It is not, perhaps, generally known—it may, of course, be to Members of this House, but at any rate it is not generally known outside—that this country is one of the few where architects are allowed to practice without a statutory qualification.
In the Dominion of Canada, in the Commonwealth of Australia, and in the Dominion of New Zealand, a statutory qualification has long been insisted upon. The same is the case in the Transvaal, and it will very soon be general throughout the whole of South Africa. Similarly, there are proposals for registration under consideration in India and in Palestine. Registration laws are in force in 31 of the States of the United States of America, and similar legislation is now being brought forward in the other States, so that in a very short time statutory registration for architects will be compulsory throughout the whole of the United States. In Italy and Spain, legislation of a similar kind exists, while in France, in Germany and in Hungary, government diplomas are compulsory in the case of official architects.
The right hon. Gentleman opposite, who knows Hungary so well, will, I am sure, be able to bear out my statement. Already municipalities are finding it necessary to seek power for controlling the designs of buildings erected in their areas, and powers in this connection have been already secured by Liverpool, Bath and Edinburgh. Then, again, we have the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, the formation of which, I think the House will agree with me, shows the urgency for creating and maintaining a body of competent architectural practitioners to whom local authorities and other public authorities can turn for advice. Only by this means can we make certain of securing the preservation of our countryside, and prevent the continued repetition of the inartistic and badly constructed buildings that are now being erected in all parts of the country. A correspondent, himself a qualified architect of some standing, writes to me.
Ever since my student days, I have realised the necessity of registration, not only to uphold the dignity of the architectural profession, but to safeguard the public. It has always seemed to me that the need is particularly great in the Provinces, where the unqualified man has greater opportunities, and, when exercised, they are usually to the detriment of rural England. For five years after the War, I held an appointment as architect for housing under the Ministry of Health. Consequently I had exceptional opportunities of meeting and dealing with architects of all types, and I was surprised at the number of men I came across who were not really competent to carry out their duties.
It is a common view to take that the services of a trained architect are only necessary in the case of works involving
great expense. No view could be more fallacious. We shall not get a country architecturally fit until it is realised that there is no building, however simple in construction, however limited in accommodation, however small its cost, but will benefit by being the subject of trained architectural design.
Let me turn for a moment to urban development. What do we find there? Surely, it will be commonly agreed that one of the most pressing problems of our public health to-day arises from the fact that the urban development which took place in this country during the 19th century was largely in the hands of men uneducated and untrained in the principles and practice of architecture. If the next generation is to solve this problem and remove this burden, it needs, as I think hon. Members will agree, to be guided by the best that education can bring to its assistance. In this connection I may say that the Bill now before the House has the support of the Royal Sanitary Institute and the Royal Institute of Public Health—
I understand my hon. and gallant Friend to say that the authority has been withdrawn. Unfortunately, that withdrawal has not been notified to me, and, therefore, I am perfectly within my right in saying that the Bill has the support of the Royal Sanitary Institute. No doubt my hon. and gallant Friend is perfectly correct, but I think it would have been more courteous if, instead of rising in his place now, he had informed me beforehand that it had been withdrawn. In one respect—[Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to fancy that this is an amusement or entertainment party, but this is really a Bill for the registration of architects, and is not for the amusement of hon. Members. In one respect the profession of an architect is unique, inasmuch as he is paid to expend his clients' money in building enterprises, and, so long as the profession is open to unqualified practitioners, public and private money will continue to be wasted. Only a few days ago I received a letter from an architect who had been asked
to report as to why a roof laid only last autumn leaked in many places to-day. He writes:
I found nothing but shoddy work. The architect, having received some fees in advance, had gone for a holiday, and failed to certify or deal with the builder's accounts.
I need not say that that architect's name does not appear on the list of the Royal Institute. Under statutory registration, this could not have happened. He would have been subject to professional control, and I think hon. Members will agree that professional control will not only be to the benefit of the employer but to the benefit of the profession and to the benefit of the public.
I do not propose to go through all the Clauses of the Bill. This hon. Members can do for themselves. Doubtless many of them have done so already. [Interruption.] The hon. Member who interrupts shows that he has some knowledge of the Bill, and, when he comes to speak, I have no doubt that he will be able to criticise what I have said and to offer some illuminating remarks. I have no doubt also that the hon. and gallant Member for St. Albans (Lieut.-Colonel Fremantle), who interrupted earlier has studied the Bill will add to the interest of the Debate by a very excellent speech on the sanitary aspect of architecture. But I do not propose to go into all these Clauses. I should, however, like to draw attention to one or two points. I would like to say that not only will all bona fide architects—and by that I mean men who are now getting their livelihood as architects, whether they are practitioners or assistants—come on to the register without examination, but they will not be required to pay any entrance fees, nor will they be required to pay any renewal fees. No one is deprived of any right that he now enjoys. Similar privileges, as hon. Members will see if they read the Bill, are to be extended to other classes of persons engaged in the architectural profession. The interests of professional members of kindred institutions are also very carefully preserved, and nothing in the Bill will affect any act or operation in connection with the construction of buildings or the validity of any act of any person under any customary form or conditions of a building contract. As there is, I believe, some misunderstand- ing on that point, I am glad to be able to give this assurance to the House. Neither does the Bill prevent any local authority or person performing any act or operation in connection with the construction of buildings, which such local authority or person were entitled to perform previous to the passing of this Bill. It follows, therefore, that persons pursuing the callings of civil engineers, surveyors, structural engineers, municipal and county engineers, auctioneers, engineers, land and estate agents, builders, clerks of works, are one and all adequately protected by the provisions of the Bill. Several changes have been made in the original draft to meet objections which the promoters considered to be sound and valid, and which were put forward by various public bodies. I am glad to say that it has been found possible to make these Amendments without in any way interfering with the principle of the Measure itself.
The Measure may briefly be said to be (1) to protect the public by ensuring the proper training of persons holding themselves out to be architects, (2) to protect the qualified as against the unqualified architect, and (3) to provide an organisation for facilitating and developing architectural education available for all classes. If there be any doubts—and I sincerely trust they have been removed - -in the minds of Members representing co-operative societies on the ground that the Bill may handicap them in carrying on what is described as an architectural department, let me assure them that under this Bill they will be able to carry on exactly the same work that they are now doing, provided only that they employ a registered architect, and this, I think, in their own interests and in the interests of their members, they will gladly be prepared to do. Indeed, I think I am right in saying, though one never knows what changes may happen, even the night before, that an arrangement on these lines has been come to between the Promoters of the Bill and the official representatives of the co-operative societies. In these circumstances, I do not think that I shall be asking too much if I suggest that the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander) should withdraw his Amendment for the rejection of the Bill. Some hon. Member on my right says "Certainly not," but he is not a member of the co-operative society and knows nothing about it.
I am very sorry to hear that, because I have it on the best authority—an authority which, in my opinion, and I do not wish, of course, to be in any way rude—is even superior to that of the hon. Member. Our difficulties with the universities have been entirely removed, and Members no doubt will have noticed that the Whip which I sent out this morning bears the name of the senior Member for the Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil), as well as the names of the Members of other universities. I should like, if I might, to take this opportunity to thank the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Sir G. Butler) for his letter which appeared in the "Times" last Friday, and, with the permission of the House, I will read it. It is very short, and it runs thus:
"Some few weeks ago you were good enough to print an appeal from me to the Royal Institute of British Architects not to press for the passing of the Architects Registration Bill till it had had time to consult the University of Cambridge, and, perhaps, to meet the objections of the university to the Bill in its then form. If you can find space for another short letter, good manners demand that I should say that meetings have now taken place; and that, though every single point raised by the university has not been met, which was more than could be expected, by far the major part of the suggestions have been adopted, thanks to the courtesy shown by the Institute at every turn. I feel I am representing the Cambridge authorities in expressing their genuine appreciation.
There is another form of opposition which I am glad to say we have been successful in removing. The Bill was in type when our negotiations with the County Councils Association were proceeding, but I am now able to inform the House, if the hon. Member opposite who is so loquacious will allow me to do so—I am sorry to make such a remark, but, if I remember rightly, during a recent Debate he took up a good deal of the time of the House by interrupting—this time on the authority of the Chairman of the County Councils Association, the hon. Baronet the Member for Thirsk (Sir E. Turton), to whose courtesy we are much indebted—that an arrangement satisfactory to both sides has been concluded, and will be embodied in a form to be agreed upon by the parties in a new Clause which we intend to insert at a later stage of the Bill.
I understand that the Bill is to be opposed not only by the Co-operative Gentlemen opposite but in a quarter not far from where I am standing. [Interruption.] I am afraid hon. Members are rather anxious to keep off another Bill and are making as much interruption as they possibly can. This Bill, I understand, is to be opposed on the ground that it will interfere with the freedom of artists There are, I know, many hon. Members on the benches opposite who can paint interesting pictures and make beautiful drawings. Opponents on this ground forget that the examinations of the Institute include a very strict examination in design. Hon. Members say, and I am sure my hon. Friend on the right will endorse the suggestion, "What would have happened if Sir Christopher Wren had been required to register?"[Interruption.] I thought I had hit the mark. That is rather a hypothetical question is it not? Whatever difference hon. Members may have with me on this account, it is a fact that though Wren did not begin his career as an architect, it was undoubtedly his professorship in astronomy, involving as it did a study of geometry, that first led him towards architecture. To say he was not trained in the first principles of architecture is to misunderstand what constitute the principles of architecture. If Wren had not been one of the best educated men of his time he would never have been a famous architect. All through the ages—and I challenge hon. Members to contradict me —it would be difficult to prove that any building was erected by sheer inspiration. On the other hand there is always evidence to indicate that the better the architect's training, however it may have been attained, the better are the buildings he constructed. You have only to look at the Gothic cathedrals of Europe, to be assured that the art of building was carried out, even at that period, not by untrained men but by men trained by the various mediaeval guilds or other corporate organisations connected with the builders' craft, who established a thorough system of education as thorough as any school of architecture to-day. In the times of the Renaissance architects who achieved celebrity in building usually spent some years in the study of the classic buildings of Rome.
I said so. The hon. Member does not listen to what I am saying. I think I have said enough to cause the House to agree with me that, so far as the question of artists is concerned, it does not enter into this Bill other than in the way I have explained. The Institute of Builders is quite another matter. The Secretary has been good enough to send me an interesting and neatly printed leaflet entitled "A study of the Bill." It is always satisfactory to hear and read other people's views on a Bill, and I am glad the Institute of Builders have studied it. I only wish there were more hon. Members who had done the same, because it would not then be so necessary for me to explain it. Many of the criticisms made by the Builders' Institute have already been met, and I see no reason why the remaining differences between us should not be fought out in Committee and a reasonable arrangement arrived at. I may perhaps say, for the benefit of Members interested in the Institute of Builders, that there is nothing in the Bill to interfere in any way with the design or construction of building. The only thing we want to provide against is that the title of architect is not used in any other way than that intended by the Bill. I am sure we shall have something said about the criticisms put forward by the Institute of Builders, and I commend the suggestion I have made to those Members, and if they consider it in the spirit in which I throw it out, I think they will withdraw their opposition. Then there is the opposition of the Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors. I have received a letter from the society saying they are definitely in favour of the principle of the Bill. They suggest various Amendments, and if these are accepted, their spokesman in the House, the hon. Member for East Islington (Mr. Tasker) will support the Measure. I am very glad to hear that.
The Incorporated Society say I will support the Bill with the R.I.B.A. Amendments. They have not accepted those Amendments, and therefore I intend to oppose the Bill.
I am much obliged by the hon. Member's intervention, but that is exactly what I said. I said the society definitely agree to the principle, but they propose certain Amendments, and if these are accepted the hon. Member will support the Bill. If they are not accepted, obviously he will not support it, and we shall have the pleasure of a speech from him, which I am hoping to hear very shortly after lunch. The majority of the Amendments are merely Committee points. At this stage we are only dealing with principle. The Incorporated Association say they are agreed on the principle, and therefore I think there is no object whatever in opposing the Bill on the ground of the Amendments, because these can all be brought forward in Committee, and we shall be able to give them our most earnest and sympathetic consideration.
I ought perhaps to mention that the Bill sets up a committee comprised of representatives of all the professional organisations that are likely to be concerned, and if any question arises as to whether or not a person is entitled to go on the register it will be settled, not by any professional body but by this representative committee. In the same impartial manner the question of removal from the register is dealt with, to govern this a discipline committee is to be set up consisting of representatives of registered persons with the addition of a member appointed by the Law Society and the Minister of Health. As regards registration in respect of persons other than those entitled to be registered without examination, the council of the Institute will, from time to time, make regulations. These examinations will be conducted by the Board of Architectural Education, which includes educational authorities interested in the teaching of architecture, and if any body is not represented on that Board I am sure the promoters of the Bill will add their Dame. Any person aggrieved by the refusal of the council to enter his name, or to remove it from the register, may appeal to the High Court, whose decision shall be final. No regulations will have force unless and until they have been approved by the Privy Council and the Privy Council, before giving their approval, must cause these regulations to be published and give the interested parties an opportunity of being heard.
This is no new movement. It has been going on for 30 or 40 years. Between 1896 and 1902 a campaign took place throughout the country and resolutions were passed at every meeting approving the principle of the Statutory registration of architects and expressing the opinion that it was desirable in the interest of the public that the architectural profession should promote a Bill in Parliament for the attainment of this object. At the International Congress of Architects in Paris in 1890, and again in London in 1906, a resolution was passed to the effect that it is desirable in the interest of the profession of architecture that all practitioners should have a statutory qualification. Last year the councils of 25 architectural societies in this country passed resolutions of a similar kind asking that a Bill should be drafted on these lines. Accordingly a Bill has been drafted, and with the modifications and adjustments to which I have called attention, that is the Bill now before the House. May I assure the House that there is no desire or intention to make the profession a close profession. The Bill does nothing more and nothing less than restrict the use of the title "architect" and the use of the term "architectural" to people at present employed in the profession and to persons in the future who have attained the qualifying standing. After these few observations—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] —I will not say that my remarks have interested every hon. Member,, but to Members who, having a real desire to protect the qualified architect, my observations will, I think, have had some interest—I trust the House will give the Bill a Second Reading. In the Committee stage, if the Bill be given a Second Beading, the promoters of the Bill and myself will be very glad to consider in a sympathetic spirit any Amendments that hon. Members may wish to make, provided they do not interfere or conflict with the main issues of the Bill.
I beg to second the Motion.
In doing so, I will try to speak on behalf of three bodies, two corporate and one not yet in existence—the architectural profession, the British people and posterity. I do not pretend to have any qualifications to speak for any of them, but I hope that after the very comprehensive remarks made by the introducer of the Bill nothing further, except the good will of the House will be required to secure for the Bill a Second Reading. As regards the profession of architects, it is probably unnecessary for me to say anything about that great profession or about the great men who have adorned it in the past. One has only to go outside this House and stand on Westminster Bridge on an October evening and look across towards Westminster, to be convinced of the beauty of mind and design that must have informed and inspired those great artists, or one has only to walk along the streets of our cities or along the countryside to see the results of the activities which the members of this profession have displayed, activities which add materially to the beauty of our streets, the adornment of our rural districts and the happiness of our people. But, unfortunately, while we recognise the great work that these men have done in the past and the beauty which they have added to our lives, and also the utility which they have introduced into our lives, we have to recognise that side by side with beauty of design, beauty of conception and utilitarian design, there have marched intolerable and unutterable ugliness, not only uglinces of feature but ugliness of design, ugliness of conception and an absolute ignorance of the ordinary amenities of human existence. The latter has been the result of untutored minds and inadequate professional education. Our slums, the dreary suburbs of our industrial towns and the intolerable ugliness of some of our public buildings are the result of inadequate education from the professional point of view and of a mind that has not been fully trained. It is to prevent that contrast of method and result that this Bill is introduced.
We do not ask for very much. We do not ask for anything that is unjust, anything that is unreasonable or anything that is undesirable. We only want the same restrictions to be applied to the architectural profession as have been applied to doctors, barristers and the other learned professions. We merely want to insure that the term "architect," when used by a man professing to be an architect, shall mean that he has the qualifications to enable him to give responsible and adequate services to the public who ask for his services. We want to ensure that the standard of education is raised and maintained and that all those who follow the profession will be able to qualify and maintain its standard. By admitting the necessity for the registration for barristers and other learned professions we have admitted the principle that such a privilege is not restricted to the professions dealing with the life and health of the community, but that it is also applied to those professions which are charged with the well-being and culture of the community and, therefore, why should we neglect to grant this concession to a profession on the efficiency of whose services depends the comfort and security in which three-quarters of the population are to live.
We have even a stronger claim than that for the Bill, and that is the claim that we speak for the British people. It is the people who have to live in these drab and dreary slums: it is the people whose whole mental and spiritual outlook on life is altered or raised by the standard of architecture around them and the dwellings in which they live. To the amenities of good architecture and good buildings we depend very much for the happiness in our lives—I am speaking for the people at this moment. I am amazed, indeed I am ashamed, when I go through some of the slums in our industrial towns and see the misery and degradation there, and also see how courageously it is borne by the poor people who have to endure the bad, ill-designed and poverty-stricken work of past builders and architects. For the sake of our people, if for no other reason, for the sake of our poorer people, I say, away with these quack jerry builders calling themselves architects, and give us instead a profession of expert enthusiasts who will bring comfort and graciousness even into a two-roomed house. What we want is to develop the profession into a community of practical idealists, who will transform, not at once as that is impossible, in the course of time our thoroughfares, our countryside, our surburban streets and our villages, into places of beauty and utilitarian comfort and gladness.
What about posterity? I do not think we owe posterity anything, but I feel that we owe ourselves at lot. In this century there has been more of achievement, more of development, and more heroism, than has been wrought in any other for the last two thousand years. Are we, with all this to our credit, merely to hand down it as history, or can we not give them something more concrete of that history, something more informing of that history, something alive, something that will last in wood or stone, something which will show them the standards we have tried to create and live up to; the standards by which we wish our century and our generation to be known. If we can, it is our duty, and although I do not claim as much as that for this Bill, I claim that it is a step in the right direction which will ultimately lead us to our goal. What of the Bill itself? In looking at it and studying it hon. Members will find that we have tried to meet every legitimate criticism and that we have tried also to meet all legitimate interests. There are four Clauses which really matter, which are of essential importance. In Clause 5 we have made an endeavour to bring within the scope of the Bill all those practising or student architects, who, while possibly not members of the Royal Institute of British Architects or other kindred organisations, are fully qualified or are in process of being fully qualified to give an adequate standard of architectural service to the country. In Clause 10 we have endeavoured to remove the possibility of injustice being committed towards any member of the profession by being refused admission to the Royal Institute of British Architects or by being removed from the register. The possibility of in- justice is removed by allowing an appeal to a court of law.
In Clause 11 we have endeavoured to safeguard the use of the word "architect" and to preserve for that word a definite value. That is the whole aim and object of the Bill—to give a definite value to the word "architect" so that the public will know exactly what is intended by the word, exactly what they have to expect, what is due to them and what they are paying for. They will be paying for a standard of education which the public are entitled to get. In the two Schedules we have taken advantage to constitute the educational board and the admission committee on the broadest possible basis. We have not made a closed house of the architects' profession in any sense at all. We have brought in all those qualified to express an opinion on art or any other side of this great profession. In fact, we have done our best to make the committee and the council as representative as possible. I conclude by saying that for the sake of our ambitious youth, to whom we hope to offer a profession of dignity and satisfactory emoluments, for the sake of our people, and for the sake of posterity, to whom we would like to hand down a true and accurate idea of the mental and moral culture of the 20th century, I beg the House to give the Bill a Second Reading.
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day six months."
I have been referred to this morning, indirectly, as having been engaged in some negotiations with the promoters of the Bill on behalf of those bodies which are known as the co-operative societies, which have a particular interest in architecture. Before I go on to deal with other aspects of the Amendment, let me say at once that, if all we have heard this morning in the House had been presented in the same spirit as that in which the promoters of the Bill met the negotiators outside, there would have been a better chance for the Bill passing its Second Reading. The hon. Baronet who had charge of the Motion for the Second Reading of the Bill gave us quite a humorous entertainment for about 50 minutes, for which we are obliged to him, but probably he has not done the best possible service to the promoters of the Bill. At the same time, in order that I may not be misunderstood, later, I wish to say that I appreciate the spirit of conciliation in which the promoters of the Bill have endeavoured to meet the people who have objections to it. Probably if the time ever comes when the architects of the country secure some charter of this kind they will owe more to one who was formerly a popular Liberal Member of this House—Major Harry Barnes— than to any other person.
Although we have been in negotiation, there are aspects of this Measure to which I and many of my hon. Friends profoundly object. The practice seems to be growing of laying before Parliament a whole series of Measures for providing new close corporations. There are grounds upon which we may ask Parliament from time to time to set up a new close corporation. One can understand, for instance, a very strong prima facie case being made out in regard to a profession such as the medical profession, or, in a lesser degree, the dental profession, where the health of the people is concerned, and where serious results have arisen in the past from people practising in a professional manner without professional qualifications. But if we are going to follow the precedent of the medical profession in the case of professions of every other type in the country, it will very soon become almost impossible for the boy or girl from the working class to make a really broad highway into an employment or vocation which they have as much right to enter as anyone else. I know it is argued that the Royal Institute of British Architects are very anxious to conserve the right of boys and girls of ability belonging to the working class to be able to reach the summit of their ambition if it lies in this direction. I appreciate the fact that they have instituted scholarships, and that probably in the future the system of scholarships will be widened. Yet at the same time those of us who are from the working class ourselves, who have had to go through the struggle, and who have lived side by side with artisans engaged in building occupations, know that this can hardly fill the bill adequately.
If I may give an illustration from personal experience, may I say that when I had just left behind me my early ele- mentary schooldays, I was in charge of the clerical work of the higher education department of a county council. We had passing through that department hundreds of working-class students every year who were good artisans and who had to attain a certain standard of technical qualification even to get admission to trades such as carpentry and masonry. They gave up their time to go to classes, to the school of art, to the technical institute. The fact that their early education had been limited, was due in no sense to their own lack of brains but to the economic position of their parents; but it meant that in many cases they would not be able to attain the standard required in order to secure a scholarship in an architectural school which was part and parcel of a university. In order to enter such a school it was necessary to attain the academic standard laid down by the university. Is there any reason why a boy of that type, who qualifies by passing examinations such as those conducted by the Royal Society of Arts, or the Union of Educational Institutions, at the technical school, or the school of art, should not afterwards, with those qualifications, plus actual practical experience, be able to practise in the architectural profession if he so desired? We must raise our voices in support of much further consideration being given to this Measure before we consent to placing it on the Statute Book. We must be satisfied that the avenue for the working class into the profession is a clear and open one.
The hon. Baronet, speaking in regard to the educational bodies specified in the Schedule, said that the promoters of the Bill were willing to add any persons of any sort that were desired. I thought that was not a very good way of putting the matter before the House. The opponents of the Bill might suggest that if the architects were willing to incorporate a sort of world convention, in order to deal with the qualifications of architects, it would not help them very much. There are, however, practical suggestions which might be taken into consideration between now and the Committee stage. If you want to get support from the working class for a Measure like this, you will have to provide on the advisory body for the representation of such organisations as the Workers' Educational Association or the Central Education Committee of the Co-operative movement. Although you may not be able to give separate representation to all these various bodies, you must at least have a composite representation of working-class educational activity. I know from experience how the workers attain qualifications by evening studies. The Union of Educational Institutions, formerly known to many hon. Members as the Lancashire and Cheshire Institute, now conducts examinations for local education authorities all over the country, and a body like that should also be represented, so that the working-class point of view on qualifications for and avenues into the profession, should always be kept clearly in mind.
I say at once that we have been met by the promoters of the Bill in a conciliatory spirit, but I am not able to subscribe to what was said by the hon. Member for East Cardiff (Sir C. Kinloch-Cooke), that the matter is settled. The people who negotiated did not take that point of view. They said they would sympathetically consider a form of words designed to deal with certain objections. The hon. Member for East Cardiff again and again disclosed what was the true object of the Bill. The hon. and gallant Member who seconded, was much more careful and much more persuasive in his appeal to the House. The real object of the Bill is not only to provide for a proper title of "architect" being maintained, but also to provide against what they describe as unfair competition in the profession. Now, not only the cooperative societies, but many other corporate bodies such as banking institutions, limited companies and municipalities who desire a really good architectural service for all their activities, cannot afford, either in their own immediate interests or in the interests of a municipality in the case of municipal bodies, to pay the fees—I do not say that the architects' fees themselves are excessive, but some of the fees upon architects' estimates and costs—to as wide an extent as they would otherwise like to do. Therefore they employ salaried architects, and they desire to have conserved, in the future, their right as corporate bodies to employ architects under such an arrangement, as long as they pay reasonable professional salaries for a full architectural service of the best kind. That is one of the objects which we have in connection with our cooperative societies. We have our own particular method of dealing with the matter. Anybody who has studied the history of our movement, which is a working-class movement, will admit that, apart from the architecture which is employed in connection with warehouses, offices, factories, and so forth, we have been able to do a great deal for the housing of the people. I can take hon. Members to places where most valuable contributions to the housing of the people have been made by the cooperative societies with the aid of the type of architect who would now be described as registered—a qualified architect. This work has been carried out by architects who give their services to the co-operative movement at adequate salaries; and the people who are afterwards enabled to buy these houses get the advantage of that architectural service much cheaper than they would if they had to employ an architect themselves and pay on each particular house and each particular design the full scale of fees in regard to architectural service, quantities, and so forth.
We are, therefore, entitled to be nervous about the interpretation of the Clauses which deal with the prescription of future qualifications, the removal of names from the register and the setting-up of a central statutory body which, among other things, will have the right to lay down what is or what is not professional. Then we come to the real point of the Bill—the question of what is or what is not unfair competition. Although we may get a concession which may leave municipalities, banking corporations, and co-operative societies outside the scope of the Bill altogether, yet, because it will be necessary to have the head of the architectural department, a registered person, you may undo all the good of that concession for the community by leaving in the hands of the statutory body under the Bill the power of removing a person from the register for any so-called unprofessional conduct.
I am not against the principle of extending the possibility of raising the standard of architecture, of making better provision for education, even of providing gradually a better standard of remuneration if you like for the persons in the profession, but I am concerned, first, to maintain the avenue to that standard of education for members of the working class, and, secondly, to maintain the possibility of getting the highest architectural service provided—seeing to it, of course, that the architect himself is properly remunerated at a professional salary—for the whole of the community and not merely for a section of it. There are other things which I wanted to say but I do not want to occupy as long as the hon. Baronet did. There is just one other point to which architects themselves would do well to give careful attention. While it is essential, I believe, to improve all along the line education in architecture, and to widen the aesthetic desires both of the profession and community, yet, it is found again and again in connection with the practice of building, that the architect has so little knowledge of the business side of the matter that he is sometimes as big a danger in one direction as he is a great advantage, from the architectural point of view, in the other direction. If the architects finally obtain a charter of this kind I would urge them to pay very great attention to that matter. I am not going to labour that point but I think it is one about which the builders will have something to say. For all the reasons which I have mentioned, I move the Motion which stands in my name in order that the whole position may be debated. I say again as I said at the beginning, that whilst I have raised these objections, I am quite prepared on behalf of those for whom I speak to negotiate with those who have already negotiated in such a conciliatory spirit,, if and when the Bill reaches the Committee stage.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I think we may be quite certain that this Bill is favourable to the architectural profession and is in the interests of that profession; but what we have to consider is whether the Bill is in the public interest. Hitherto we have had the architects' point of view put before the House just as in times past we have had the points of view of other middle-class professions put forward when they were seeking to secure similar privileges. The dental surgeons got a similar Bill through the House by urging that in the public interest only licensed and certified dentists should practise. We know that the result of that has been that the dental profession is closed to working-class people. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] It casts now £1,000 to get the education necessary to pass the examination into that profession.
In the same way we have had the optical practitioners urging that their profession ought to be closed, so that they may have the privilege of a limited number of people supplying the needs of the community. The auctioneers demand similar rights, the accountants demand similar rights. [HON. MEMBERS: "They have got them!"and laughter.] I do not see anything humourous about that. They have got these rights, as hon. Members say, for themselves; but what we have to consider is whether it is desirable in the public interest that these professions should be closed. So far as doctors and dentists are concerned—so far even as optical practitioners are concerned—we may accept the fundamental idea that in the interests of public health it is desirable that there should be certain definite tests and that the passing of those tests should involve considerable technical education.
The right hon. and gallant Member is talking about closed professions but I have distinctly said that this is not a closed profession, and we do not intend to make the architects' profession a closed profession.
When I was interrupted by the hon. Baronet, I was pointing out that there were certain professions where the health of the people was involved and where a case could be made out in the public interest for stipulating for certain definite technical learning. The question is whether we ought to extend the principle of insisting on examinations being passed and a certain technical standard being reached in other professions as well as those affecting the public health of the people. If we are to go outside those professions which directly deal with the public health, then indeed there seems to be no limit to the number of professions which, by an Act of Parliament, we can bring into the blessed position of being closed professions, with restricted competition. I believe that the most important profession in this country to-day, or perhaps in the world, is the profession of being a political representative of the people in Parliament. After all, that is the most vitally important profession, more important even than that of the doctors, to the people of the country. If we apply to our profession the same principle that the architects are now proposing to apply to their profession, every Member of Parliament would have to go through a stiff examination before he could take his seat. No, I am wrong; only new candidates for Parliament would have to go through the test. Under this Bill we would be exempt and privileged for all time, however ignorant we were. I imagine that on those lines it would be exceptionally popular.
That case is strictly analogous with the present Bill. According to the Bill the existing architects are to be exempted from all tests and qualifications. The people who built those houses of which we have heard so much from hon. Members opposite, the slums in our great cities—in most cases they were not architects at all—would not be affected by the Bill; they would still continue to build such houses. All that would happen under this Bill would be that in future no one could come into the profession without having passed the examinations. Is it to the advantage of the public? In the first place, obviously, it must restrict the number of people who become architects. Any passing of examinations must involve higher education and expensive training, which will to a certain extent limit the number of candidates going into that profession. As the supply of architects is reduced, so the cost of employing an architect must go up automatically. It is true that their fees will be regulated, but there are other ways in which the cost of employing an architect could rise. At the present time there is certainly an enormous amount of building going on in this country without an architect being employed. The builders are their own architects. Hon. Members who support this Bill want architects to be used in those cases, because they think it would be better. All the building that I have done I have done without architects.
The hon. Member is probably the only Member of the House who knows what I am. Most of the bad building goes on without an architect. I understand it to be the object of the Bill to see that that bad building does not go on in future. Therefore we have a Bill which will restrict the number of architects and make it more expensive to employ an architect, but a Bill which does not attempt to prevent the builder going on as now and putting up those buildings without an architect. There is nothing in the Bill to compel the builders to employ architects, and if anything of the kind were put in the Bill would not have a chance of going through. So you do not, by the Bill, help the public to secure better houses in which to live. All that you do is to secure a limitation of the number of architects available, so that those architects will be able to charge higher fees. I submit that that is not in the public interest. But hon. Members say it is so essential that any building done where architects are employed should be quite certain of receiving first-class technical knowledge and experience. I quite agree. That is desirable. But I cannot help thinking that the people who are undertaking large and extensive building programmes should themselves judge of the architect they will select, that it should be left for them to choose the professional ability in which they believe.
The hon. Member for West Newcastle (Mr. Palin) has referred to the fact that I am a naval architect by profession. Thirty years ago I suppose I was as highly qualified a naval architect as any in the country. I am to-day a member of the Institute of Naval Architects. To my mind naval architects are far more responsible people than ordinary house architects. They are required to have a technical knowledge far in advance, because if they make mistakes ships go to the bottom of the sea. The naval architect requires a far higher standard of education than the ordinary civil architect. The naval architect has to be a naval engineer as well. He has to get an education that is far more mathematically advanced than that of any other profession that I know. The Institute of Naval Architects has never come forward and asked for a Bill to confine naval architecture to their particular members. They would scorn to come forward and ask for such a Bill. They know that their reputation depends on facts and not upon the title of "naval architect." They know that the people building ships will go to the men with the best reputation. If there is an argument in the public interest in favour of this Bill securing to us a smaller and more technically skilled body of house architects, there would be ten times greater argument in favour of a Bill for securing an equally tested body—tested by examination, if you like—of naval architects to ensure the safety of our maritime population. The Institute of Naval Architects is not asking for a Bill, although it can make out a case in the public interest far greater than this which is before us. I submit that no really adequate case can be made out for the Royal Institute of British Architects. The objections that I have to this Bill. therefore, are twofold. In the first place, by restricting the number of people who can become architects in the future, you tend to increase the cost to the public of employing architects; and you tend to make it more difficult for the children of the working classes to enter that particular profession.
My second objection to the Bill is that it will restrict the classes from which the budding architect of the future will be drawn, and a third objection is that it does not touch the spot, that is to say, it does not affect in any way the erection of those houses which at present are built without architects at all. I would point out to the hon. Gentleman who brought forward that argument that, if these houses are a disgrace to civilisation, the fault, surely, lies much more in the landlordism which restricts the amount of land per house, and in a capitalist system which forces people to accept houses like that, although any decent, civilised human being would prefer to have a decent house. The Bill does not touch bad housing in any way. So far as it touches it at all, it means that if the employment of an architect becomes more expensive fewer architects will be employed, and more houses of that type will be built without the least eye to beauty, simply by the builder of ribbon houses. I think that in the interests of the community we ought, not merely to vote against this Bill, but ought to indicate to all the other professions that are coming along that they, too, must make out a much stronger case in the public interest, and must not come before Parliament making out a case solely for their own vested profession as against the community.
I venture to intervene at this period of the Debate, because I think that perhaps the few words I have to say will have some effect in shortening the discussion, and enabling us to proceed to a vote on the Second Reading. There are two points at issue before us, and it is as well that we should appreciate exactly the two issues involved in this Bill. The first and the main object of the Bill is to help to promote architectural education. As the representative of seven universities, in some of which excellent schools of architecture exist, I am bound, not merely in my personal capacity but in my representative capacity, to support the Clauses of this Bill with that object. One of the most remarkable things that one has noticed in the course of a rather long life is that, although some arts, in the opinion of some of us old-fashioned people, have made no progress, have in fact reached a period of decadence—and one need go no further than a recent erection in Hyde Park to see that—in the profession of architecture there has been a remarkable advance. There is nothing more striking in the artistic and intellectual history of English life than the way in which architecture has progressed in recent years. I need not quote buildings in London which are familiar to us all, but I should like to mention one building which is known to comparatively few here, but perhaps appeals especially to university representatives like myself—I mean the magnificent pile of buildings of Bristol University, which is one of the greatest triumphs that architecture has devised for educational purposes. Or, again, take another, the Rylands Library in Manchester, the interior of which is a magnificent example of architectural art. Such buildings show a very great advance as compared with certain buildings in Oxford and Cambridge—or rather, I will not say in Cambridge, but certainly in Oxford—on which we turn our backs whenever we pass them.
I believe that this Bill will help architectural education, and I am bound to say that, although there may be small details in the Bill which will require amendment in Committee, as regards this portion of the Bill they are very small indeed. The Universities have been well met, and I think there is a bond fide attempt on the part of the profession and of those who are interested in architectural education to co-operate for the purpose of improving that education. I have been particularly interested in the working of the schools of architecture in Liverpool and Manchester. Both have really good schools. That at Liverpool is of older standing, and has obtained a marked position in the country. In Manchester we have an example of a school of architecture due to the cooperation, not merely of the University authorities, but of the municipality as well. We have linked the two together. The structural side of the work is done in the great Manchester School of Technology, which was put up by the municipality; the draftsmanship work is done at the municipal School of Art, and the historic work, within the walls of the University buildings, all three cooperate heartily and usefully in the city. That School of Architecture is one which I hope and believe will be helped by this Bill rather than hindered, and I feel that what I have said with regard to the two schools I have mentioned, which are two most promising schools, would apply also to others. I hope, therefore, that the Second Beading of this Bill will be passed, because I believe, after having gone carefully into the matter, that it will help architectural education and, incidentally, architectural progress. Therefore, I shall vote for the Second Beading.
Now I come to the other side of the sheet, and I am bound to state frankly that, unless certain Amendments which I am going very shortly to indicate are introduced into the Bill, I shall vote against the Third Reading and do everything I can to prevent the Bill from passing. The two Clauses in question are Clauses 11 and 12. If all the rest of the Bill were passed with merely the slightest Amendments, it would be doing good work for English art and for English building and architectural education; but the retention of these two Clauses would set another thoroughly bad example in addition to the many bad examples which I am sorry to see brought forward in Parliament from time to time for restraining or curtailing liberty more and more. Clause 11 says that if a man uses the term "architect" or "architectural" in connection with his business, unless he is registered, he is committing a crime. That kind of Clause I describe as another interference with liberty. What you can do, and do quite straightforwardly, is to say that, if a man uses the term "registered architect" when he is not on the register, then he is committing an offence, because ho is telling a lie to get money and is deceiving those he deals with. If the prohibition were limited to the use of the term "registered architect," well and good. If a man desires an architect who has gone through a definite formal training to design a building he wishes to erect, he can go to the register and choose an architect from the register. The fact that that name is on the register will indicate that the person may be fitted for the work. I do not object to fraud being treated as a crime; I do not object to violence being treated as a crime; but I do object to this manufacture of various prohibitions which interfere with the ordinary liberty of people who wish to render some useful service and earn an honest livelihood. A man not on the register may be one of those men who are so constituted that they do not care to go through a course of study, listening to certain lectures—and we know that some of the ablest professors are perfectly intolerable lecturers. He may be a man with original ideas, and why should we want to bring him into this cast-iron mould? As long as I have a chance of saying anything on educational matters in this House or anywhere else, I shall show myself dead against educating men in a rigid mould. In regard to matters of artistic taste, let us always have absolute freedom.
Suppose, for example, a man has studied a question like church architecture and decoration. I have in my mind now the name of an old friend who is known as a great authority on the subjcet. He was a schoolmaster for the greater part of his life. Supposing a rector and churchwardens come and say, "Who shall we get to advise us about this question?" that is, some question in connection with their church. The natural reply would have been "Go to A. B." He may not be a regular architect, but there is no reason why he should not put a plate on his door to say "Architectural expert" or "Expert in Church Architecture" or "Architectural adviser to Church Restorers." If he does that, why should he not be able to charge a fee? And so it is in regard to questions relating to artistic house decoration. There are people who are expert in advising on furnishing and the fixtures and decorations in a house in course of construction. What is going to be done in the case of a man of that kind? If that man states on his door that he is an architectural expert, of a special kind or that he is an architect of a certain class, unless he is a registered architect he will be committing a crime under this Bill. What is the good of that? Those who want it get sufficient protection by a monopoly in the name "Registered Architect." As for the talk about the registration of architects being necessary to prevent the erection of bad houses in the slums, there is no telling how long we shall have to wait to get any improvement in that direction if we wait for the architects. The idea that a man, however distinguished he may be, must necessarily be a better architect for such erections because he is on the register is an absolute fallacy. The most horrible and inconvenient buildings I know have been put up by architects, and sometimes by very distinguished architects. People talk of putting such things under a committee of distinguished architects. From my long experience I say I have found that if you want a thing badly done or left undone commend me to a committee of distinguished persons. I would rather have a committee made up of practical greengrocers. At the same time I do not deny that if you can get a distinguished person by himself and cross-examine him you can get something out of him.
Those of us who feel the strong appeal that great buildings, either in our own country or abroad, make to the imagination, are certainly not the people to oppose the idea of making architecture as good as possible; but we shall not do that by imposing fetters upon freedom in the development of taste from time to time. There must be prevailing fashions in architecture; they dominate particular periods. What may be regarded as good architecture by the various bodies who to-day may be licensing architects may be thought atrocious to-morrow. In a Renaissance revival, the experts say everything Gothic is bad! We have had instances of great architects who have been obsessed with the views of their own age and have committed most horrible architectural abominations by not understanding that there ought to be freedom in these matters, and that another age, with different views from their own, may produce far better work. If anyone doubts that let him go to the back of Ely Cathedral and see what the greatest architect in English history can do in the way of spoiling earlier work; and by the way, even that greatest of English architects whose work we all admire so very much might himself never have got on to the register. If he had not been on the register when he built St. Paul's Cathedral he would if Clause 11 of this Bill had been in force have been a criminal liable to a penalty of £50. I trust that we shall give this Bill a Second Reading without much more debate for the sake of the good that is in it; but I hope I shall have the support of hon. Members in telling the promoters plainly that unless Clauses 11 and 12 are dropped or modified we will oppose the Bill on Third Reading because we are out heart and soul to prevent these perpetual interferences with the ordinary liberty of those who are capable of doing valuable and tasteful work without being fettered by restrictions imposed by the Legislature.
I rise to support the Second Reading of this Bill. In the history of all the great recognised pro fessions we find that a time has come when it was thought it would be an advantage not only to themselves but to the public generally that the title under which they carried on their work should have for the public a specified and assured meaning. That has been the case with regard to the Church, the law, teaching, medicine and other professions. I think the time has now come when, in the interest of the public generally, as well as of the profession, there ought to be a specified and definite meaning for the word "architect." At the same time the Bill as it stands is not one to which we can give full assent. It has already been subjected to very considerable criticism; and it is right that every Clause in it should be carefully scanned. Like the last speaker, while I approve the principle of this Bill there are certain provisions in it to which I take strong exception, and I trust the House will reserve full right to insert such Amend-runts as will bring it more into accord with the needs of the case. Both in the body of the Bill itself and in the Schedule there is room for considerable improvement, and I hope the promise made by the Mover of the Motion will be given full effect to in Committee, so that in passing this Measure we shall not only raise the status of a very worthy profession, upon which much of the happiness of life depends, but at the same time safeguard the interest of individuals and do nothing to destroy the opportunity of any person who has a gift by the exercise the of which he may enrich life architecturally. The Bill is in itself a comparatively modest Measure. It protects all existing rights and at the same time has the very laudable object of raising the status of the profession. Therefore, while I join with those who hope that the Bill will get a Second Reading, at. the same time I thoroughly agree with the last speaker that, unless very considerable Amendment is made in the body and Schedule of the Bill, it will be for us to take measures on the Third Reading which will prevent it from having any ill effect.
My hon. Friend the Member for the Combined English Universities (Sir A. Hopkinson) told the House he supported the Bill, but I venture to say that when he sat down there was very little of the Bill left. He said he did not like Clauses 11 and 12 and yet these Clauses are the Bill. The Bill does this: It restricts the use of the word "architect" to one professional body. The word "architect" is not only a rather important English substantive, but it also connotes an art and an art which touches us and has more points of contact with us than almost any art. We are all more affected by architecture than any other art. The Bill creates a new monopoly and makes a new crime. Except a person be registered by the Royal Institute of British Architects, it forbids him to carry on the profession of architect under that name. There are two classes of interest concerned in this Bill; first, the public interest, and, secondly, the professional interest. The public interest is best served by the largest supply of well-qualified architects. But do you get the best qualifications by examination and registration? In certain professions you do best by testing and registering. I myself was trade-tested and before I had passed that test, I could not practise as a solicitor. But when you come to architecture quite different considerations arise, for the ultimate judge of architecture is not the persons who conducts an examination but the public.
The Mover said art did not come into his Bill except in the way he explained. That is true. All through his speech I listened in vain for any allusion which showed that he appreciated the art of architecture. I heard a great deal about the profession of architecture and about professional interest, but I did not hear a single word about architecture as an art I believe we have at this time some of the finest architects this country ever possessed. If you go to Winchester and see the Cloister that was erected by Sir Herbert Baker, you will see what is one of the most exquisite productions of the human imagination. Then there is some work of Sir Edwin Lutyens and Scotland also can produce Sir Robert Lorimer, but alongside of those artists you find a large number of very indifferent architects. I could show hon. Members in this House a building which I know very well, designed by a distinguished architect, which I think is the ugliest building in the world. So you do not get the best art by registration. I go further than that. I oppose the idea of an academy of art which can lay down a standard to which all practitioners must conform. Take the Royal Academy. That body has never said that nobody except the persons described and registered as portrait painters can paint portraits. Indeed it would be a monstrous and extravagant claim, but that is exactly the claim which this Bill makes. Nobody can call himself an architect unless he is registered under the Bill.
My hon. Friend below me said that a great many of the finest artistic minds would stay outside of their own free will. I admire the bravery of the Mover of the Bill in mentioning the case of Wren, because Wren was never an architect at all. He started as a mathematician, an anatomist, and a man of science. He was for 13 years Savilian professor of astronomy at Oxford, and during those 13 years he produced some of his finest architectural work. Suppose Wren had been alive to-day! I read in the papers a letter—I have not had time to verify the contents—from a man who signs his name as a former Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and who tells us that a near relative of his was compelled to resign from that body—for what? For some disgraceful conduct? No, but because he designed beautiful furniture. It is quite clear if Wren had been alive to-day and had practised his astronomy, he could not have practised as an architect, and if the Royal Institute of British Architects had been in existence in Wren's time, then Wren would never have practised.
So much for the art. I quite agree that architecture is also a profession. Will you help it professionally in the erection of good houses and healthy houses, in slum clearance and in good streets and in good cities? Of course, the architects have done something for this, but they are not the only people who have. After all, the municipalities have done a great deal, private individuals have done a great deal, and the public utility societies and the builders of garden cities have done even more, and our builders have done a great deal too—and these are only a few of the many many who have made building improvements. But beside the utility question it must not be forgotten that architecture touches art at several points. You cannot say where sculpture ends and architecture begins, and you cannot, at certain points, say it is not architecture but sculpture. Supposing that Alfred Stevens, who produced the beautiful tomb of Wellington in St. Paul's Cathedral, had been alive and working to-day, he could not have produced the architectural work of that tomb, for he could not have practised as an architect. All sculptors will tell you that there is a large amount of combined work required. Take the case of a war memorial. There is a case that will be present to the minds of all Members, namely, the memorial to the Guards in St. James's Park. A part of the work is sculpture and a part is architecture. If you pass this Bill, the sculptor will be compelled to divide his design between himself and an architect, for he cannot practise as an architect. You will not get that unity of construction which we all agree would be advisable, and I am sure that what is proposed in this Bill will do no good in this direction, and it will not assist professionally either the public or the practitioner.
Now I come to a more serious matter. It has already been pointed out that under Clause 11 no one can use the word "architect" or "architecture" unless he comes within the four corners of the Bill. Clause 12 says:
A person shall not be entitled to recover any charge in any Court of Law for any professional services rendered as an architect unless he is a registered person.
I want to direct attention to that Clause for a few minutes. When this Bill comes into operation nobody will be able to do architectural work and charge for it unless he is a registered architect. All kinds of architectural work are excluded, and no person can do such work and receive payment for it. This is exactly the same thing as happened in some of the United States where
there has grown up a large body of energetic and original architects who have refused to enter into a close corporation and have called themselves by various names in which the word "architect" is not used. I 'object to a monopoly in any word which describes a very important art. By this process you exclude the original genius, the man who will not be bound by your rules and who works on his own methods, while at the same time you let in the auctioneer or the surveyor who can still describe himself as an architect although he has had no architectural training whatever. Consequently by this policy you do not do any good to the profession and no art will flourish in chains. Here you are attempting to lay down a rule that all architects must conform to, a certain form of standardised art, and you say that a man must pass certain examinations conducted by people with certain established ideas in mind. Consequently you rule out the man who really will encourage architecture and do those great works which all the world admires.
By this Bill I think you are making the education of an architect much too close, and I do not believe in this exclusiveness. I believe in giving a fair chance to every boy and girl whether they come from Eton or from the Board school. Here you are building up all these bars and expensive examinations, and except under very exceptional circumstances no boy can come from the National schools and receive the fiat of this expensive body who alone have the power to say whether he shall or shall not practise as an architect. I think, after the discussion which has taken place the hon. Baronet who moved the Second Reading of this Bill may well say, "Save me from my friends." It has already been suggested that Clauses 11 and 12 should be omitted, but if that is done then there is nothing left in the Bill, and until those two Clauses have been omitted I shall continue to oppose this Bill at every stage.
I rise to support the Motion before the House. I may say that I have been associated with the architectural profession for a good many years, and I want to disabuse the minds of some of my hon. Friends as to the alleged dangers which are supposed to be embodied in this Bill. My brilliant colleague the right hon. Member for New- castle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) speaking in this Debate seemed to me to set up one or two bogies in order to knock them down again. He is usually well informed on these matters, but it sometimes happens that his arguments cancel one another, and that is what happened in this instance. In discussing the question of slums and the building of them he said they were not built by architects and sometimes that is so. I think the best thing for the architectural profession to do is to inspire those who build houses for the workers to employ people capable of designing them. An illustration has been given of house building under Government schemes where the local authority had to take an architect from a panel of the Royal Institute of Architects and the result has compared very favourably with days gone by. In my constituency we have one of the finest lay-outs in the country, and if it had not been for the architectural profession we should not have had it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme said that naval architects would never dream of asking to be registered under a Bill of this kind, and housing is in the same position. Naval architects would never think of supporting this Bill. Those who make ships for the Government do not take any risks and therefore the question of qualification is covered. Unfortunately, in regard to building not only for workers but for other sections of the community, people do take risks, and it is all important that people claiming to be architects should show some ground for their claim. At the present time, we have in this country some peculiar illustrations of what is called architecture. Some of them, it is true, were built by architects, but, generally speaking, the Institute which has asked for this Bill has in the past done a great deal for higher education in architecture. They spend on an average about £6,000 per year out of their own pockets without any State assistance on architectural education, and in the last. 80 years they have spent round about £200,000 in that respect. They are not a close profession, and they have never tried to be a close profession. If I thought there was anything in this Bill or that there would be inserted in this Bill anything which would make it possible to shut out one working boy from becoming an architect, I should be deadly opposed to it, but I know that is not the position. I know the rules and constitution of the Institute, and I know that even to-day, in regard to a man who has had no training whatever as an architect but. who by sheer artistic sense and development and an interest in the business suddenly comes into it, the Institute have the power, and they exercise that power, of making him a Fellow. Wren himself, if he were alive to-day, would not be a registered architect, because he was not trained as such; but the Institute would recognise him as an architect and elect him as a Fellow.
One of the points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander) was that of the co operative societies. I am more interested in getting this Bill through in the interests of the co-operative societies than I ever dreamed of being. because the cooperative societies spend a good deal of money, subscribed by workers, in putting up buildings. Unfortunately, they have put up some ugly buildings, because they have employed people who are alleged architects but who have had no training and who are a disgrace to the profession to which they allege they belong. A member of a co-operative society will now be in a position to say to his Committee: "If we are going to employ an architect, let us employ a qualified one." At the present time, they employ people who call themselves architects, and the ignorant member does not know that he is not an architect at a!). The co-operative society do not do that kind of thing when it comes to dental treatment. Then, they employ qualified dentists. When it comes to buying goods for the stores, they employ the best possible brains in the wholesale trade and elsewhere, and their efforts are all in the direction of getting the best men.
I am speaking as a person interested in State control and Socialism. Surely, some of the statements made this morning cannot find any favour on these benches. Are we in favour of unrestricted liberty and of people doing just what they like? Is the desire for freedom going to give certain people who flatter themselves that they are capable of doing a certain thing the right to do it? I do not stand for that, and I do not believe that the party to which I belong stands for it. On the contrary, I do not object to these charters. We are asking for a charter for the miners. On the question of making it a close corporation, it is said that they will restrict membership by increasing the examination tests. It would be a fatal thing if the Institute, getting these powers, were to attempt to do that, and were to say that no boy could sit for the preliminary or final examination if he had not matriculated; but they do not do that now, and 1 do not think that they would do it if the Bill were passed. At any rate, they would get opposition if they did, because there are many eminent architects who have not matriculated. There are people who become even lawyers without having matriculated, so that I am sure the Institute would never attempt prohibition to that extent.
Another thing which ought to interest the members of my party is the fact that to-day millions of pounds are spent every year by councils and public authorities generally on public buildings. Unfortunately, up to the present, in a very large number of instances, borough surveyors or engineers—men who know a great deal about roads and about concrete works; men highly qualified in their job—suddenly tack on architect to their title and the councils, composed of Labour, Liberal, and Tory members,, foolishly accept it. These people are let loose on building houses for workers. Go round some of the estates where that has happened and learn what the results are of that kind of thing. I think we ought to say that if a man is going to be qualified for any post he ought to have the training for it. My right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) says that every Member of Parliament ought to pass a test. I think he does. I have passed a test, and I am pretty certain that my hon. and gallant Friend has done so. I have no objection. I would even go further and make the test still higher. We might have a control board. But this is the point. The Bill is going to protect the community in this sense, that where public money is being expended—London does not matter so much, because fortunately the amount of work going on prevents the danger being so great as it is in some parts of the Provinces—it ought to be expended in the wisest way. An hon. Member opposite who supports the Bill says that it would be a bad thing if we had to wait until we could pay 5 per cent. to architects for the building of houses. Architects do not charge 5 per cent., much less 6 per cent. on the building of houses. Let the hon. Member put a question down to the Ministry of Health asking what are the fees under the Addison and Wheatley schemes and he will find they are nearer 2 per cent. It is all very well to make these wild statements without knowing anything about the facts. It is true that, if you employ an architect to build one house, he wants 6 per cent., but, if you employ him to build 100 houses, it is another story, and I am very glad that the Minister has had the wisdom to see that that was not abused. It is a provision that is going to protect the public.
There is another consideration Architects to-day in many cases, I am sorry to say, abuse the position of their clients, and the institute has not the necessary power to deal with them. An architect is in a peculiar position. He is employed by a man, woman, or corporation to do for them what they would do for themselves if they knew how to do it, and his duty is to protect them from repacious contractors and shoddy work. There is a standard of professional conduct among architects which is supposed to be observed, but I am sorry to say that in some instances it is not observed. Secret commissions and that kind of thing go on, and ought to be stopped, but until you get registration you cannot stop it. My hon. Friend says that when you get registration you will not be able to stop it, but at any rate you will be able to set an example and it will be very risky for anybody to undertake it.
On the other side, there is one Clause which I cannot support. It is Clause 7, which asks for a power to be conferred upon the Board to which I cannot agree. They are asking for the right to strike a man off the list if he is convicted of a misdemeanour. There are some Members of this House, I am afraid, who would lose their jobs under such a provision. If an architect goes out for a convivial evening—as I suppose, like other people, they sometimes do—and he happens to have an altercation and gets a black eye, is he to be debarred for life from following his profession? That would not be either freedom or justice, and it is a power that ought not to be conferred on the Board. It is true that this Bill does something which no other Bill has done. It gives a right of appeal to the High Court. That does not apply to the Incorporated Law Society nor to the medical profession.
There is another thing which I think will commend itself to my colleagues. The promoters of this Bill have agreed that a representative of the National Federation of Building Operators shall be on the Board. It is the first time that a professional society of this country has ever agreed to give Labour representation in the appointment of such people. It is a great concession and a necessary concession, because it will safeguard the interests of those operatives who start, as clerks, carpenters, or bricklayers, in an humble way and, who by going to evening schools and taking an interest in their work, get higher and higher. Their representative will be able to make provision, so that they will get a real chance of a recognition of their ability. I hope that this Bill will get a Second Beading without a division, and that when it goes to Committee the necessary safeguards, investigations and inquiries will be made, and the oldest profession except that of agriculture will be recognised, as it ought to have been recognised years ago.
The hon. Member who introduced the Bill has explained its provisions so fully that it is not necessary to go into details. I intend to support the Second Reading of the Bill, which, I consider, is a good one, although I also believe it will want a great deal of amendment. It will want amendment particularly in connection with the penal Clauses. As to the question of title or designation, I agree entirely with the hon. Member for the Combined English Universities (Sir A. Hopkinson) that the title should be "registered architect," not "architect." Leaving that aside, the Bill does not seek, as far as I can see, to create a monopoly in any class of interested individuals. It demands only that there should be a more complete training for future architects. The Bill seems to me to meet the two main requirements in legislation of this kind. In the first place, it is calculated to prove of national advantage by creating a higher architectural standard in the country. That is undoubtedly desirable in many parts of the country, and I am bound to say particularly in Scotland. As to the possible public benefit which the Bill may confer if put on the Statute Book, I am obliged to admit I do not attach great importance to the claim that it will provide the public with the power of discriminating between a properly trained architect and an architect who is only partially trained. There is, to my mind, no close parallel with the safeguard in the case of a doctor, where it is of importance that an individual should know if a doctor is properly qualified and registered. Then, again, I rather gather from what investigations I have made into this matter, that this Bill meets with the general approval of the majority of architectural practitioners.
The main point about which I should like to say a word or two is in connection with the possible effects of this Bill on the different classes of architects. Because one must remember that architecture is not only a profession; it is a fine art, and of those who take up architecture as their life's work, a great many do so in order just to gain a livelihood. They may have no real compelling artistic bent, and still less any genius or originality of artistic conception. Others —a smaller number—are artists in the first place, and only become architects because they are led in that direction for love of the artistic in the noble examples of architecture. These two categories, of course, are not distinct. There is no hard-and-fast line between them. Assuming for the sake of argument that they were distinct, they would surely be differently affected by any stereotyped statutory course of study which they were obliged to pursue, and on which they would have to be examined in order to get the designation of architect. Here I might say that any individual who possessed artistic skill and conspicuous originality of conception, but who was not interested or might shirk the studies of, say, sanitation, engineering construction, and so on, would surely derive benefit by undergoing a course of technical education. He should be able to profit from the instruction which would serve him in his professional capacity. Were this not so, I should be opposed to any legislation which deprived an individual of genius and imagination from calling himself an architect merely because he could not pass an examination. But what of the individual who is not gifted with imagination? How can any course, however complete, supply him with the imagination which is a most essential part in his professional acquirements? Is it worth while to go through all the details of the course in order to get the information which he can get from catalogues of manufacturers, who can also provide him with advice in all cases where he assumes professional responsibility, when all the time his art studies would fail to equip him with the qualifications most necessary for the successful prosecution of his profession? If we could classify into two categories, I should be inclined to leave matters where are are; but, obviously, it is not so, because there are all gradations, and, precisely for that reason, I see a justification for setting up a standard for all. Besides, there is the imitative faculty which comes to the aid of the unimaginative. This faculty can be fostered by a properly devised course of study which might include collective travel, which is done in another profession, under the guidance of teachers who are familiar with the finest works of architecture at home and abroad. We want to make the most of the natural beauties of our country by taking care that its architectural features are pleasant to look on, both as regards public buildings and domestic architecture. It seems, therefore, that an education leading to registration can be relied upon to raise the average standard of our architecture and to counteract at all events the worst types of incompetence without hampering the designer whose conceptions are noble, original and elevating. For these reasons, I would support the Bill.
I have explained to the hon. Member for East Cardiff (Sir C. Kinloch-Cooke) that he had been incorrectly informed in his observations relating to the Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors. He told the House that he had information from a better authority than myself. It is a little difficult to know who that better authority can be, because I was the Chairman of the Committee. Registration in principle is a thing that all architects acclaim and support. I support it. I do not know of a single architect who docs not support the principle of registration. But it is no new thing. It was not new when I entered the profession more than 40 years ago. Our difficulty has been to define what is registration. Our trouble has been, how are we going to confine the great and noble art of architecture in a strait waistcoat. Every man who loves art and architecture knows from our history that our great artists and architects are not men who have passed examinations. Reference has been made to Sir Christopher Wren. I might add Inigo Jones and others, but I do not want to dig into the old and mouldy past. Let us come down to the present day. One of the most remarkable buildings in London is the Catholic Cathedral at Westminster. It has been stated that the designer of that building was a Clerk of the Works. If that be so, he passed no examination set by the Royal Institute of British Architects or anyone else. He was a genius and he gave us a splendid and wonderful building. Is that to be denied to posterity because the Royal Institute of British Architects want to force through Parliament a Bill about which their members had not been consulted?
The foundation of this Bill is contained in a memorandum which has been issued to Members of the House. I greatly regret and deplore the methods which have been adopted by the Royal Institute of British Architects in their attempt to persuade this House to pass a Bill which violates all conditions in a Bill which even the Government itself might bring forward. They claim here, on the very first page, that they represent about 8,200 men. One would have thought that if it affected the livelihood of 8,200 men one of the first things they would do would be to have a referendum to consult their members. They did not do that. They called an extraordinary special meeting of their fellows, associates and licentiates to determine whether this Bill should be proceeded with or not and, according to one of their journals, so enthusiastic were their Members about it that 13 gentlemen attended. So I suppose this Bill is sponsored by the unlucky number. Who are these members? They set out that there are 1,300 fellows. Do hon. Members realise that the majority of them passed no examination at all, though I do not say that they are any the worse for that. Of the 2,200 licentiates I believe not one passed an examination. Why, then, should this monopoly be given to people who have no qualification, if we are to accept the standard set up by the Royal Institute of British Architects? Let us be consistent about it. If every man who has any pretensions to architecture can be roped in and the word "architect" is going to be sacred, let the architects, if they are going to claim the extraordinarily unique privilege of being termed an architect, say they will undertake not to practise any other profession unless they have passed an examination and qualified in that profession. Does the Institute undertake anything of the kind? No. You find that an architect who desires to be regarded as some super man, some extraordinary being superior to all civilisation says, "I may be an architect, I may also be a quantity surveyor, a land surveyor, a land agent, an auctioneer, a civil engineer"—
He may be a greengrocer if he likes. If you are going to create special extraordinary privileges for one class of men you must conform to the usual usages. We are told of these ghastly monstrosities. Who is responsible? It is a question of opinion. 1 might think that a building is extraordinarily beautiful while another hon. Member might think that it was extraordinarily ugly.
A great claim is made for the value of examination. I went through some of these examinations and I am wondering whether the same old system obtains today. In my day the sort of thing with which one was confronted was something like this—a tank contained 100,000 tons of water supported on four columns sixty-feet high, and the wind blowing at 20 miles an hour. Work out the stresses and strains on the columns. In the viva voce examination the professor who set that question said to the student, "You did not answer that question about the tank," "No, Sir, I did not" replied the student. "Why not" asked the professor. "Because the man is not born who can answer it retorted the student." That was a true answer. No man could answer that question unless he knew the form of the tank. That student was ploughed ! One of the professors of the Royal Institute of British Architects lecturing to students said: "Remember this, if one of you dares to spell the word syphon with a 'y' in the examination I will plough you." Are the livelihoods of men to be at the mercy of such pedants? It does not matter whether he spells syphon with a "y" or with an "i." Why plough a man for that?
When I heard the hon. Member for East Cardiff describing the mill boy who, at the end of three years of night classes became a wonderful and proficient architect, I wondered how he would have got on if he had sat for examination last year. With the permission of the House and in order not to deceive any hon. Members, I will read some of the questions set. In the examination by the Royal Institute of British Architects on the 11th June, 1026:
Sketch in plan and elevation one of the following: The Ercchtheum, the Temple of Apollo at Bassae, and the second Temple of Diana at Ephesus.
As hon. Members know, those temples were built some time before Christ. I wonder what the son of a miner or an ordinary boy could know about temples of that kind, and if he did, what would it matter?
They are asked to deal with ancient temples and to sketch them. That is only one of a series of questions, and the time allowed was three hours. Another question was:
What do you know of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus?
All that is known is that there are just the fragments of the foundations, which led to the most acrimonious correspondence between various gentlemen more than 40 years ago, as to how the Mausoleum could be restored and reconstructed. What does it matter? There are the fragments of the temple, but is a boy to be ploughed because he has never heard of it? In the same paper there was this question:
Describe the Roman amphitheatre and draw a plan and section of a typical example.
Who wants a Roman amphitheatre] It was not a thing of utility now anyhow. It might perhaps do for a football final, only in these days we should build something that would cost one-tenth of the money, and with rather better sight lines. Another question was:
What do you know of the Roman house as illustrated by those discovered at Pompeii?
Does it matter what the pupil thought about that? Does that help to solve our housing problem?
Discuss the principles of Roman planning as exemplified by the planning of the Palatine Hill and Imperial Fora
Is that the sort of question to set the miner's boy or the carpenter's boy? Some of our most brilliant architects have been the sons of carpenters, plasterers and bricklayers. These men, although they may be geniuses are to be shut out by pedantry. At my time of life it makes no difference what is going to happen in the future to my practice. My days are well nigh done, but I am thinking of my sons and I am going to put up fight for my sons and for the sons of other people, and I am not going to see this wrong done to the sons of men employed in the building trade. The House may think that I have chosen an exceptionally difficult paper. This is one of the papers from the wonderful examinations which show the distinguished ability set by the pedants of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) has not been in the House all the time or he would know that we are talking about architecture and the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Architecture. I will lend it to the hon. Member afterwards if he is sufficiently interested, and I will
give him a very excellent prize if he will answer 25 per cent. of the questions. The next subject is:
General history of architecture. Draw in plan and section a typical Egyptian temple of the New Empire.
Will that help us? Probably Members of this House and people in other places may be far more interested in the architecture of Leicester Square.
What were the building materials used by the Romans in their baths, their temples, their aqueducts?
Most interesting questions! We do not build aqueducts like the Romans did; we build reservoirs and we sink wells:
State what you know of the earlier Christian basilican churches at Rome.
Briefly describe any Gothic cathedral.
What do you know of Alberti Jaeopi San Sovina, Louis le Van.
I confess that I knew nothing of these gentlemen until I hunted up a book of biography, and even now I have failed to find the third man. Then there comes this priceless item:
Sketch one of the following buildings: Somerset House, Greenwich Hospital, St. Mary-le-Strand, Blenheim Palace, and Prior Park, Bath.
I ask any of my architectural friends whether in the three hours allowed they could perform that task. It is a generous list to select from. I wonder whether any Fellow, Associate or Licentiate of the Royal Institute of British Architects could sketch any of these buildings in the time to be devoted to this paper, I wonder if they could do the sketch in a day. That is the sort of pedantry to which these students are subjected. Here is another:
Construction and design.
In the first instance they gave a, b, c, d, and so on and then ask:
For what purpose is cast iron, wrought iron and steel used?
I could spend a whole day answering that question and so could any Member of this House who has had technical training. That is one of six questions. Then there is this question:
A stone monolith of rectangular cross-section two feet by three feet, on plan by 20 feet high, stands on a horizontal un-cemented base and weighs 1½ cwt. per cubic foot. What equally distributed horizontal
wind pressure in pounds per square foot applied to one of the wide faces would just be sufficient to blow it over?
Why work that out? Here is a monolith, weighing approximately nine tons, the biggest face is 20 feet by 3 feet, and you have to find a wind which will blow over something weighing nine tons. A hurricane blows at only 100 miles an hour, and gives you 49 lbs. to the square foot, as a monolith would not be set up imbedded I am indifferent if it would require a wind blowing at the rate of 400 miles an hour. This is typical of the examinations which men have to pass before they are permitted to practice as architects. Here is another one:
Design a church screen in wood: The opening which contains the screen is 25 feet wide and about 30 feet high to the springing of a semi-circular arch. The 6crcen is not to occupy the full height of the opening;…Bronze or wrought iron may be introduced if desired.
Is there any opportunity there for a young man who has to earn his living to pass such an examination as that. It is not a special examination set for last year; it is similar and typical of other examination papers. That is what is obtaining to-day under the Royal Institute of British Architects, and I do not think we should confer any more power on them. Let me come to the Bill. I want to inquire how this Bill came to be printed and why there is so much opposition to it. This is the third Bill of its kind. The first Bill came out like the one I hold in my hand, and when certain Amendments were put forward by interested people, whose livelihood was at stake, the Royal Institute of British Architects, who up to that moment had ignored and treated them with contempt, produced a second Bill. There was further opposition to that, they have now produced the Bill which is before the House to-day. If you look at the back of it the date is 11th February, 1927, but it was not issued before the 22nd March last, it could not be in the hands of the general public before the 23rd March. The Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors at once called a council meeting. They met last Saturday and discussed it in special session. They referred the Bill to their Law and Parlia- mentary Committee, which sat on Monday of this week and the suggested Amendments were forwarded to the Royal Institute of British Architects. With what result? Major Barnes, for whose pertinacity in pushing forward this Bill I have great admiration, asked me in the outer lobby this morning whether I was opposing or supporting the Measure, I had to ask him, "Are you accepting the Amendments, which are vital?" My Friend said: "There has not been time to consider them." If there has not been time for the Royal Institute of British Architects to consider them there has not been time for the general public and other people interested, and, therefore, for that reason alone I am bound to oppose the Bill.
I can quite imagine there was not, because this Bill is not a fortnight old. A Bill with such far-reaching consequences, which is the outcome of the considerations not of a fortnight or four years, or 40 years, should have been considered by department after department of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and sent to every other learned societies interested.
I have said that it was not a new idea even when I entered the profession over 40 years ago. This Bill has been conceived in a mystery. There has been so much secrecy that when it did emerge into daylight the suspicions of those who were vitally interested was aroused, they are therefore putting up a very strenuous opposition to its passage into law until it has had very mature consideration. It might be described as a Bill to compel everyone to become a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. It does not say so, but that is its effect. Those who have had experience of learned societies quite well know to what this will lead, and if the House does pass this Bill I hope it will be consistent and grant everybody else the same privilege.
Yea. This is an attempt to make a Star Chamber of a section of the community, and if the House grants such a privilege to the Royal Institute of British Architects, why not to trade unions? This is nothing more than a trade union—and it is not good for art. If hon. Members will turn to Clause 5 they will observe that the Committee to be set up is to be overloaded by members of the Royal Institute of British Architects. This is a Bill to enable the Royal Institute of British Architects to control the whole of the architectural profession in this country. Then again, the admission Committee which is to be set up is predominated, ruled and governed by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Clause 6 contains one of the most remarkable things put forward in any Bill. 1 submit that even when the Government bring in a Bill they do not include such a sweeping provision as this, which says that the Council of the Royal Institute of British Architects shall from time to time by regulations prescribe the qualifications necessary for registration. If the Government brought in a Bill they would have provision governed by certain protective Clauses and safeguarding qualifications. There is nothing of the kind here. It is said that the proposals of the Bill can be amended in Committee. We have been thinking about this Bill for 40 years. Why leave amendment to a Committee upstairs? Those who promote Government legislation by Regulation almost invariably require that any alteration in the Regulations shall be submitted to Parliament. Why give to a specially privileged Institute of admirable architects that which is denied to a Government Department? It is very doubtful whether Clause 6 does not nullify Clause 5. Reference has been made to Sub-section (2) of Clause 6. I see no object in going again over the same ground.
Clause 7 is a Clause to which no reference has been made in one particular, and that is that it affords scope for intimidation. It is no use saying that a man can go to the High Court. A man can go to the High Court if he has the money, but the young struggling architect cannot afford it; if he is in affluent circumstances it does not matter whether his practice is harmed or not. The Clause will require very careful con- sideration, and I imagine that in the redrafting most of the original wording will disappear. As to Clause 11, I was comforted to hear the hon. and learned Member who represents the combined English Universities (Sir A. Hopkinson) say that he would vote against it. I think that any fair-minded man would be bound to oppose the Bill on Clause 11 alone. If a man can satisfactorily perform his duty to his clients and carry out those functions faithfully in the name of architecture the mere fact that he did not commend himself to the Royal Institute of British Architects should not prevent him from exercising his skill, his technique and his art. But Clause 11 would deprive a man of that title. Probably the most brilliant architect of the last century in this country, the late Norman Shaw, who was a Royal Academician and had probably a greater gift for massing stone work than any man who has ever been, not even excluding Christopher Wren might be deprived of the right to term himself an architect.
Is there a general desire on the part of general public to have this Bill? Is there a desire on the part of some of our best architects? Let me read a short letter. [Interruption.] Why not? Letters have been read from the other side in support of the Bill. I propose to read the letter of a very distinguished architect who opposes the Bill. Professor E. S. Prior who is an Associate of the Royal Academy, an M.A. of Cambridge University, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge. Why should not a letter from a man like that be read? This is the letter:
I am told that the Bill for the registration of architects, as promoted by the Royal Institute of British Architects, is shortly to come before Parliament. As an architect 1 may be allowed to say that the Institute has been of service to the public in safeguarding the respectability of the profession. But the best servant may prove a tyrant, when he is allowed to take his master's place and to order the household. The proposal of the Institute is, in short, to set itself up as a court of judgment as to what shall constitute architect's title and practice. It would in the first place automatically endow the 8,000 odd who pay fees to the architects' 'unions.' Up to some ten years ago the Presidents of the Royal Institute have discountenanced attacks on the liberty of art to build; and indeed not a few of our leading architects have practised outside the limits that the Institute is now
seeking to define, The public should consider whether they wished to be tied to the Institute's tail.
A strong remark from an Associate of the Royal Academy, who goes on:
I have in my hands an autographed letter from a late President of the Royal Institute of British Architects. It informs me that, when a client has once appointed an architect, he himself has no occasion to interfere with his architect's execution. The appointment 'makes the work his' —the architect's—and so no protest, delay, or alteration can be discussed. The architect —like the Crown—can do no wrong. Will the public consent to put into legal registration such an autocrat's privilege?
That letter is from Professor Prior. There is nothing extraordinary or strange in that. I know a case of an architect who designed a house for a man. Ten years later the man went to the architect and said he wanted the house enlarged, but the architect was most indignant and said he was not going to spoil the house. The man said it was necessary for him to have a larger house because there were five children now and there were none when the house was built, but the architect said he could not help that, he the client should not do these things. I do not think the size of a man's family should be governed by the architect whom he chooses to make the design of his house. Clause 12 of the Bill closes another loophole, and as for Clause 16— [Interruption.] I think my hon. Friend the Member for East Cardiff (Sir C. Kin-loch-Cooke) took a fairly long time in what he said at the beginning of this Debate.
May I call the hon. Baronet's attention to Clause 16, which seeks to give unrestricted power to this body to make regulations. One could allege that any form of regulation was necessary in order to facilitate the work for the purposes of the Act. I will conclude by making one or two general observations.
I do not suppose the hon. Baronet will be influenced by them for one moment. The Bill as it now stands is almost incapable of reasoned Amendment, and it affords no adequate protection to men who have to earn then-living in the ordinary way but who have a love of art and a desire to become architects. It is an attempt to create a Star Chamber of individuals who are determined to make a ring or corner for architectural commissions: such proposals are opposed to all the principles of equity or justice. It is an attempt to confer very great powers upon this body, and I object to the rising generation being made the helots of the Royal Institute of British Architects or any other Institution. I believe that this was not the intention of the promoters of the Bill. I believe that they were quite honest about it and that they attempted to put into the language of an Act of Parliament something which we have sought for in vain for half a century, but what is the result? We have all agreed to the principle of registration but we have failed to find terms to put it into practice. I cannot conceive how, if this House sends this Bill upstairs, the Committee can decently alter it. This is not a day of rejoicing for me, but one of sadness. I am grieved to think the day should ever come when I should have to 6tand up in this House and say things which appear to cast reflections upon one of the noble arts. I feel it keenly, but I say to the House: Before you let this Bill go, let me remind you that all things are possible to God save one, and that is to undo the thing that is already done.
I propose to vote for the Second Reading of this Bill, because I appreciate the great principle of trade unionism that is underlying it, and I trust that the supporters of the Bill will be equally enthusiastic when we come forward for the registration, for instance, of dock labourers. If I contend that the registration of dock labourers has been a very great advantage, not only to them but to the community, I Jo not see why I should be debarred from voting for the registration of architects. I have great respect for the architect, because he is the man who is protecting the public health, and I can quite understand a certain type of builder objecting to the architect being given any protection such as is provided by this Bill. As a matter of fact, he performs a very important function in preventing the public from being robbed, and there is no reason whatever why he should not be so fully qualified to perform this function, to see that the work has been properly done, and that the proper materials contracted for are being used and so on, as to raise him above suspicion and to make his decisions accepted by all honest builders. I can quite understand the dishonest ones and the burglars complaining about the policeman, but, for my part, I am pleased to see that a policeman does occupy an honoured place in the community, and I trust that the architects, in performing these functions, will be adequately supported by Parliament. Indeed, I would go further and say that any person who spends a good portion of his life training himself efficiently to perform services to the community ought to be equally respected with the architect. As a member of a public authority, 1 realise that this Bill would on occasion be a very great advantage even from the point of view of housing. It is quite true, as has been stated, that the greater part of the slums of this country have not had the advantage of an architect in their planning or designing. We can see, at any rate in some of the housing schemes that have been put up under the direction of skilled architects, a vista for the future which is a very desirable one, and, so far as I am concerned, I am going to accord to the architect the same protection against blacklegging as to anybody else, and I trust that the architect will return the compliment when the opportunity presents itself.
The general case in opposition to this Bill has been put very clearly by several hon. Members, and so has the case of individual people who are interested apart from the general community. I would like to draw attention to the opinions of a very large body indeed of the public, namely, those represented by the Institution of Civil Engineers, a body of rather more than 10,000 members. They are, through their Council, unanimously of opinion that this Bill should not pass in its present form, as it does directly interfere with the privileges and the position which they have hitherto occupied vis-avis with the general community. What they point out is this, that the work of architecture is not necessarily restricted to those people who are, ordinarily speaking, called architects. Engineers are responsible for architectural work as well as those who are normally called architects. Engineers are responsible for railway stations, and are generally put in charge of all the buildings associated with the construction of railways. Equally so, in municipal affairs, the engineer is responsible for the buildings which surround waterworks, power stations and works of that kind, so that engineers are very largely responsible, throughout this and other countries, for what is normally called architectural work.
The promoters of the Bill realised that there was a difficulty in regard to this matter. They found the difficulty when dealing with naval architects, and they specially inserted Clause 19 in order to except them from the operation of the Bill. There was, I understand, an attempt at meeting the position of civil engineers, and promises were made, but I see from the Bill that these were certainly not implemented. Therefore, the Institution felt it right to see that this Bill should be opposed, and that is the main reason why I stand here to ask this House very carefully to consider whether, by restricting, as is done in Clause 11, the right to use the word "architect" or "architecture" only to those people who happen to be registered in this Bill, they are doing a just thing. Obviously, as regards engineers, it will not be a just thing, for there will always be the possibility of municipal authorities which have buildings to erect which are normally in charge of engineers, and which may be considered architecture in the ordinary meaning of the word, that they will ask the engineer to sign for it. The engineer, however, would not find himself able to do so once this Bill has passed into law, and, as a result, all this work which the engineer has in the past carried out, and carried out just as well as it could be done by anyone, will no longer be carried out and certified by him, and the municipal bodies will find themselves unable to put these works in future in charge of engineers.
It may be asked: Are engineers competent to do this work? I think I may say, without fear of contradiction, that, taking the standards of education which are to-day insisted upon by the Royal Institute of British Architects and by the senior Institution of Civil Engineers, in the latter case the standard is much higher than in the former, and that the principal thing which the public desire, namely, safety and stability in their structures, is undoubtedly more assured if left in the hands of engineers than if left in the hands of architects. All modern buildings, as we see in this great town of London, are mainly built on engineering plans, and they are nearly all to-day in the hands of structural engineers, who would no longer be able, under this Bill, to certify that they were the architects of those buildings. Therefore, if this Clause were left standing as it is, it would be impossible for these people to maintain the privileges which they have had from the public in the past. [Interruption.] There are bad engineers, just as there are bad architects, but when it comes to architecture, it is not quite a matter of book learning or of education in the earlier years. The important thing is a matter of artistry, the ability to put a proper or a pleasing facade on a building. That is the differentiating feature, if any. It does not follow that even those who are able, in the Institute of British Architects, to pass the highest degrees are the best able to apply that artistry in the buildings which is so very desirable in modern life. Therefore, I think that if Clause 11 were left in the Bill as it is the House should give its strongest opposition and prevent it passing into law.
I wish to say a few words in support of the Second Reading of this Bill, which I think is very necessary from the point of view of the protection of the public and for the improvement of the status and education of the architect's profession. There is no doubt that at the present time we live more or less in an age of quackery. There are many, people otherwise of average intelligence, who hold the view, that the fact of having undergone a specified course of training, and submitted their knowledge to a recognised test, renders those who have done so less able to practise their profession than those who have not. I think the architects must resist that at any cost. One can only suppose that there are a certain number of people born into this world with a knowledge of medicine, surgery, and so on who never had any training whatsoever, yet are supposed to be gifted with supernatural powers to practise those professions. So far as I know, those Heaven-sent powers have never been extended to the profession of architecture, but if they are, I believe the Bill we are now considering, if passed, will tend to curtail the activities of these divinely inspired 'individuals. I cannot understand the attitude of those hon. Members who are opposing this Bill. I have been struck by the moderation of the promoters of the Bill. They do not seek to prevent anyone from practising architecture. They merely seek to protect the word "architect," and by that means they will be enabled to protect the general public, who will know that, if a man uses the term "architect," he has had a certain definite training, and, what is more, has submitted his knowledge to a certain effectual test.
The arguments of hon. Members who oppose this Bill seem to be that the great architects of the past did not have to submit to a course of training and of examination, and that if they had, that very fact would have destroyed their imagination and made them less efficient architects than they were. I cannot see how the fact of a man having had a course of training or submitted to an examination can render him less efficient in the work of his profession than a man who has not. I am not concerned so much with architecture from the art point of view as I am from the practical, or, I may say, the scientific point of view. I have seen a good many houses built by so-called architects, who have had no training of any kind, who have done their work by rule-of-thumb, who have not the most elementary knowledge of the science of drainage, ventilation and lighting, and so forth. Under the Bill, the architect will be trained not only in the pure principle of architecture, and will have to qualify in that subject, but also have to qualify in the ancillary sciences upon which the whole of architecture is really founded.
I cannot see why there should be any objection to this Bill. The argument has been put forward that it leads to a monopoly. So is the General Medical Council a monopoly. So is the Incorporated Law Society a monopoly. So is the Bar Council a monopoly. If they are monopolies, I say it must be admitted that in some instances a monopoly is necessary. I notice that the promoters of this Bill have not made the mistake which was made in the Medical Act of 1858, when right of access to a court of law was refused. As hon. Members may know, under the Medical Act the right of anyone who disagreed with the decision of the General Medical Council to appeal to a court of law is refused. He has the right of appeal to the Privy Council, which, however, is a very difficult matter. In this Bill there is a definite Clause that anyone aggrieved, anyone who is refused admission to the register, or removed from it, has a right of appeal to a court of law. My hon. Friend the Member for the Combined English Universities (Sir A. Hopkinson) has said that there are many points in this Bill, apart from the main principle which can be dealt with in Committee, and this point of the right of appeal is one which, I think, should be dealt with. The right of appeal to the High Court, although, I agree, very valuable in this case, is wrong. It is too expensive, and I would suggest that if this Bill goes to Committee, the Clause should be altered so that some lower Court should be substituted, and the cost therefore, more limited. I cannot agree with the arguments of the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander) in which he attempted to prove that it would be unwise to go on with the Bill, because that might increase the cost of architectural education and prevent boys from the working classes gaining admission. I do not see that that is any argument against trying to improve the status of the architectural profession. I know in some schools of architecture there are sufficient scholarships to provide for the admission of any brilliant boy if he has got the ability by which he can obtain a scholarship. I am going to vote for the Bill, and I hope the House will give it a Second Reading.
I think it will be evident to the House, from the speeches which have already been made, that this Bill in itself is by no means all that is desired. Very important flaws have been shown in the Bill. I noted that the Seconder endeavoured to draw a picture of the conditions throughout the country as a result of bad architecture, and to lead the House to believe that those conditions obtain as aresult of our being short of good architects. We have an abundance of architects. The bad housing conditions of to-day, the slums we have in our midst, are by no means due to the absence of good architects, but are largely due to the fact that we are not prepared to spend the money that is necessary for putting into operation the plans of the architects. I was surprised at the speech of my hon. colleague the Member for North Hammersmith (Mr. Gardner) when he spoke in complimentary terms of the housing schemes of to-day. The lay-out may be admirable in many respects, but we have not been in a position to spend the money necessary to give even the air space to enable the architect to give good expression to the ideas in his mind. If you have not due proportion both in elevation and in plan, it is an impossibility to avoid ultimately slum areas developing. We have no poverty of architects. Therefore, I hope that the plea for this Bill is not going to be accepted on those grounds.
Again, I desire to draw attention to the fact that this Bill does not even give us a definition of an architect, and if we are to safeguard the architect through the passing of a Bill of this kind, we are entitled to know who is an architect and what the function of that person is to be. Is the function of the architect to be purely to satisfy the aesthetic taste of the community, or is he to combine with that knowledge of building science? Is it to be a combination of the two? The hon. Member below the Gangway referred to civil engineers and to many of the engineering structures in this country. and the point was made of the distinct absence of architectural design. The function of the structural engineer was not that of an architect; he was more concerned with the durability of a structure than the aesthetic taste of the community. We are entitled to know what the proposers of this Bill regard as the functions of an architect, in order that we may be able to appreciate an architect when we see one.
Some of my colleagues have referred to this as a trade union Bill. I suggest that it is in no sense a trade union Bill. It sets up a close corporation. Under the Bill these people will have power conferred upon them to decide even their own wages; or perhaps I should put it in this way, that they will determine the premium they draw on each contract they obtain. Such powers are not possessed by trade unions. There is no provision in the Bill to safeguard the interests of the community. An examining authority is to be set up, and the proposers of the Bill suggest that it should consist only of those who are in entire sympathy with the Bill. Even builders are not to be consulted, much less the general public. I am informed by the hon. Member for North Hammersmith (Mr. Gardner) that a promise has been given that operatives shall be represented by someone chosen by the National Federation of Building Trade operatives; but his voice will be only one among a large number, he may express his view but can go no further, he has no influence.
I am not at all sure that the Bill gives us an adequate guarantee that wherever initiative shows itself in the lower ranks of society it shall have an unfettered opportunity of coming to the top. There is no certainty that the ablest architects of the future will come only from the middle class or the upper class. It has often happened that men of capacity, insight and ability who have risen to the top have come from the lower ranks of society, but there is no guarantee in the Bill, in spite of the promises of the Mover, that the road will be kept clear for talent and ability to reach the top.
I feel that the Ministry of Health must regard this Bill as being as dangerous, from their point of view, as the Opticians Bill. It was held that that Bill needed more consideration, and it was referred to a Select Committee; and I suggest to The hon. Member in charge of this Bill, and to the Home Secretary, that this Bill also, after Second Reading, should be sent to a Select Committee, in order that we may have expert opinion brought to bear upon it and that the difficulties which have been revealed during the Debate may receive adequate consideration and the interests of the general public may be safeguarded. In its present form the Bill hands over to certain people powers which are not likely to contribute to the wellbeing of the general public. I have not spoken at any length, because there are so many other speakers wishing to address the House, but I hope my remarks may commend themselves to the Minister who will ultimately take charge of the Bill.
I would like to express some opinions, from the angle of the hon. Member for the Hillsborough Division (Mr. A. V. Alexander), on behalf of a somewhat inarticulate body of people who are employed on architectural work but are not absolutely recognised as architects, except in virtue of the appointments they hold. I refer to officers in Departments like the Admiralty, War Office, Air Force, Office of Works, and various organisations which employ engineers. I wish the promoters of the Bill would add them to the list in Clause 5. In conversation with representatives of the Admiralty and the War Office I was told that they encourage all in their service engaged cm architectural work to take such degrees as the R.I.B.A. or the degree of the Institute of Civil Engineers. A large number of those in the Services are fully qualified, but if this system of registration be enforced it may lead to a little dissatisfaction on the part of those who are employed by virtue of their office against those who are employed by virtue of qualification under this Bill. Occasions might arise when junior officers might feel that their qualifications under this Bill ought to give them a preference over others who might be their seniors in a particular branch. I think that is a point which the supporters of the Bill might consider.
I would like to congratulate the promoter of the Bill, because I think it is a very important Measure. Its object, I gathered, is not so much to improve the status of architects as to improve their training, and in that way to benefit the public at large. I cannot understand the line taken by the hon. and gallant Member for East Islington (Major Tasker), who criticised the proposals with regard to the education of architects and the examination. Surely (hose provisions must be to the advantage of architecture. I do not agree also with the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) in his contention that art must necessarily suffer. An architect may be very artistic but have no knowledge of structures, and it is essential, therefore, to have some body to report on his knowledge. With respect to statuary, to which reference was made, it is my experience that architects call in artists to help them. If in architectural matters we are to depend on artistic qualities alone we shall get some very curious buildings. It is in this connection that I assume "lunatics" may be removed under Clause 3, as doubtless many architects get credit for coming within that category. The corps to which I belong has often been twitted in that respect, and usually in connection with the omission of stairs from a certain barrack design. This, however, incidentally led to an important and useful innovation, namely, that of outside staircases, which have become a feature in buildings like married quarters and others of a similar nature. I myself am justified in feeling that I have some claims for recognition as an architect, but might possibly be credited by those who have suffered from my attempts as coming within the category referred to. On the other hand, I should also like to associate that term with the civil side and a very distinguished architect who occupies a very high position. I was once asked to look at one of his buildings when I was out in South Africa. I was taken up and shown the nursery. It may interest Members who are used to building to hear that the sills of the windows were six feet above the ground. I pointed it out to the owner and he. referred it to the architect, who declined to alter it on the ground that it would spoil the elevation outside. I am glad the promoters have brought in a Clause which may keep some of us quiet in this respect.
I would like to refer to those contentious Clauses, 11 and 12, as I feel that the term "architect" is too wide to be put down absolutely as a trade or profession in the way we can signalise other branches. If does work rather widely as you get architectural masons, landscape architects, etc. It is a little too open and I hope the promoters of the Bill will do something to put that right. Though you want to protect architects, you do not want to cut out that name as a word in the English language. I hope that Clause 12 is not meant to hit or penalise the builders. You do not always want to employ an architect. It adds to the cost, and builders are quite capable of doing ordinary alterations and reconstruction work without getting in an architect. It does seem absurd that they should be debarred from recovering any cost in that direction under this Bill. I hope the promoters of the Bill will view it in that way.
Lastly, in regard to the Board of Architectural Education. I do think that Departments like the Admiralty, War Office, Air Force, and Office of Works, should be represented in the first Schedule. There, again, you have specialised architecture, and their architects must have difficulties that do not occur to the ordinary architect. In the case of forts, for instance, there are many technical points which the ordinary architect cannot deal with, and there you have very often peculiar sanitary conditions to deal with. It would help this Bill if representatives of those Departments were put on the Board. With those remarks, I congratulate the House on considering this Bill, and hope it will give it a Second Beading.
Anybody who has listened, as I have, to the whole of the Debate to-day must have been impressed with the fact, which is becoming more frequent on Fridays, that the division of opinion on this Bill has not taken place along party lines. Although my name: does not appear on the back of this Bill, I have been asked to speak on the Mover's behalf and have been given the pleasant task of making one or two concessions: but, before I come to the pleasant task of saying what those concessions are, I should like to say a few words about the debate generally. The real opposition to this Bill appears to have developed in two quarters, first of all from the right hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), and secondly from my hon. Friend the Member for East Islington (Mr. Tasker). The opposition of the right hon. Gentleman to this Measure appears to be because he objects to the creation of a new trade union. It is a somewhat peculiar attitude for a member of his party to adopt, and it only confirms me in the view, which many of us have held for a long time, that the right hon. Gentleman in his convictions should not belong to the Socialist party at all. He is a most profound individualist. The hon. Member for East Islington appeared to object to the whole of the Royal Institute of British Architects in general and particularly to its method of conducting examinations. I admit I cannot answer any of the questions which he related to us this afternoon, but I would ask him whether those were the sort of papers that were going to be set to the working-class boy he was talking about in his first step up the ladder. Presumably before being asked to answer a paper like that, the boy would have been able to take advantage of some of this special training under the scholarships, which it is the particular object of this Bill to promote. He made one other point which I was unable to follow about Clause 6 can celling out Clause 5. I regret that he is not in his place and that we cannot ask him to elucidate it any further. I notice that Clause 6 specifically refers to the registration of persons "other than those referred to in the preceding Clause." He may have overlooked those words.
The rest of the criticism of the Bill is not really opposition to its principles, but rather criticism of that enlightened kind which concedes the principle and seeks to improve the detail. For this reason the promoters and those of us who are interested in the Bill feel very hopeful that we shall not only get a Second Reading but that we shall get it without a division. The hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander), if I understood him aright, thought there ought to be "a close Corporation" in such professions as the medical and dental professions, and I think his colleague from Newcastle-under-Lyme agreed with him. If hon. Members opposite, and particularly hon. Members who have put down the Motion against the Second Reading of the Bill, will concede the principle that registration is necessary in certain important professions, I think I can show from the speeches which have been made from their own benches that they cannot honestly minimise the importance of architecture to such an extent as to debar it from that registration. The hon. Member opposite made a most conciliatory speech and the promoter is very grateful to him for the manner in which he referred to the previous negotiations. The speech of the hon. Member for Hillsborough really referred to two points on which I take it that he requires assurance. The first was that the avenues for the working-class man, right from the night school to the inside of the architectural profession, should be kept open and improved, and this demand is supported by the hon. Member for West Willesden (Mr. Viant). Secondly, he asked that municipalities and co-operative societies should retain the whole of their present rights regarding the employment of an architect at a salary. The hon. Member also referred to the necessity of more attention being-paid to business capacity in architects. After all it is the constructional side of the thing that really counts.
This Bill, as I see it, not only seeks to create a corporation of architects but it is also meant for the express purpose of linking up architectural study with the general education system of this country. For that reason I think the Bill will go a long way in the direction which the hon. Member opposite evidently desires, and which I am sure we all desire. My hon. Friend the Member for the Combined English Universities (Sir A. Hopkinson), after giving the Bill his blessing in principle, referred very strongly to Clauses 11 and 12, and he went so far as to say that although he supported the Second Reading, if those Clauses were not drastically altered or deleted he should find himself opposed to the Bill in its later stages. I am glad to be able to assure the hon. Member and to tell the House that the promoters of this Bill are willing to delete Clause 12, which refers to the recovery of charges, altogether. They are also willing to consider the recasting of Clause 11 with a view to meeting the objections which have been raised by the civil engineers. The promoters, however, do not wish to bind themselves at the present stage in regard to the use of the word "registered" in connection with architects but they are quite willing to recast this Clause and introduce some qualifying words which will perhaps meet the objections which have been raised.
I think the House will agree that what I have said already covers that point, which is one which must be settled in Committee. The case of Northern Ireland has been mentioned. and I have been asked to say that any alterations which are considered necessary to meet different circumstances or different nomenclature in Northern Ireland will be sympathetically considered by the promoters. My hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Hills) complained of the number of indifferent architects up and down the country, and I think probably most of us can agree with him in that respect. Surely no one wishes to protect anyone who under present circumstances has no standard qualifications of any kind whatever. The whole Bill appears to me to rest upon three propositions, first of all that the establishment and the maintenance of a high standard of architecture is a matter of public concern and importance, and I am sure no hon. Member of this House will dispute that for a moment. The second proposition is that if we are to have that high standard, architects must be trained and educated. That also pretty well goes without saying. Thirdly, it is very little use training and educating your architect, spending time and money on it, if the trained man is not to be distinguished from the untrained man.
This Board of Architectural Education is really the central feature and corner stone of the Bill. The Board has done good work, but it has been very much hampered in the past because it really has nothing to offer in return for the toil and time and expense of training. I do not think that any hon. Member will dispute the fact that this Bill will be of great benefit to future generations. The only thing which we have to consider, and which it is a very wise thing for the House to consider, is whether, for the purpose of benefiting future generations, we are to-day inflicting any injury upon the people at present in the profession. It seems to me that every possible safeguard has been inserted in the Bill. All practising architects and all architectural assistants are to be registered without entrance fee and without renewal fee, and this registration extends to a large number of other people as anybody who has read the Bill will see. Another important point is that no excessive fees are to be charged subsequently to new entrants, because it is expressly laid down that the fees which may be prescribed must be only sufficient to provide for the working of the scheme. I wish my hon. Friend for East Islington was here to hear this. The Royal Institute of British Architects are going to make nothing out of this scheme. There is also the safeguard of Privy Council control, and there is access to the Law Courts, as my hon. Friend below the gangway has mentioned.
The promoters of the Bill recognise the spirit in which they have been met, and I think,. perhaps, they are entitled to hope that- those who have put down an Amendment to reject the Bill will meet them in the same conciliatory spirit. I sincerely hope that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will give his blessing to the Bill when he gets up to speak, and, as I have already said, I trust that the Bill will not only receive its Second Reading this afternoon, but will receive it without the necessity of having a Division.
As my hon. and gallant Friend has just made, on behalf of the promoters of this Bill, a statement of a very conciliatory character, perhaps the House will permit me to say a few words as to the view that the Government take of this Bill. I congratulate my hon. and gallant Friend on the manner of the speech he had just made, which I think will do a great? deal to bring the House together to arrive at such a decision as the promoters of the Bill probably desire. To one part of the Bill, certainly, the Government give unreservedly their full support. That is the part which deals with architectural education. It is very desirable indeed that a budding architect should be brought into touch with the great educational institutions of the land, and that the highest form of architectural education should be given to a man who is going to practise architecture. In that respect I, personally, am rather tempted to divide the architectural profession in a dual way— into the scientific side of architecture and the artistic side of architecture.
There is no doubt whatever that, from the point of view of the scientific side, it is essential that proper conditions as regards stresses in steel girders and so forth be maintained in any building that is erected. It is in the highest degree desirable that there should be the fullest scientific attention to those matters, and, as I think, an examination and probably a register of all men who are going to undertake work on the scientific side of architecture. On the other hand, I am a little inclined, myself, to feel that this Bill, though I am not going to oppose it, may, perhaps, in the future, cramp the artistic side of architecture. After all, the great architects of the past were neither scientific nor registered. I suppose the greatest architect that the world has ever, I was going to say known, was the unknown architect who first built a mud hut. Clearly, he was the greatest designer and the greatest experimenter that the world had ever seen. He was not registered, and I do not suppose that he considered himself an architect at all; he had had no scientific training. And if you go down the whole history of architecture, you will find that the great buildings of the past, in whatever period you take, from Babylonian days right through the Middle Ages in this country and Europe, down to our own time, the architect was essentially almost first an artist, and it was his creative genius, not measured by rule of thumb, not measured by any scientific education of any kind, that caused him to design and build most marvellous buildings which are the wonder and admiration of the world.
I am a little afraid, though the Government are not going to oppose this Bill, lest the closing of the architects' profession—and my hon. and gallant Friend was perfectly fair and honest when he said just now that he would be prepared to call it a close corporation—will have the effect of making the architect's profession a close corporation. As the whole House knows, I have been in my time a lawyer, and, therefore, a member of a close corporation. The medical profession, also, of course, is a close corporation in a similar way. But neither law nor medicine has very much to do with art. Law is a science, though perhaps not a very exact one; and medicine is equally a science—perhaps rather an empirical science at the best of times. At any rate, they are scientific rather than artistic. Architecture, as I have said, on one of its sides, and that the most important, is artistic and not scientific; and I hope the promoters of this Bill and the Council of the Royal Institute of British Architects will very seriously consider this question, and will take the utmost possible means to prevent the stiffling of artistic genius wherever it may be found, although it may be in a member of a registered corporation.
There are a few minor points in the Bill. One was raised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Combined Universities (Sir A. Hopkinson), who suggested that the title should not be "architect," which would exclude everyone else, but "registered architect," in the same way as under the Medical Acts we have "registered medical practitioner." That is a point which I think is very well worth consideration by the promoters of the Bill. Since the House met this morning, I have had the privilege of an interview with a deputation from the Council of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and they tell me that it is not their intention and is not the intention of the Bill, and that they are prepared to make it perfectly clear in Committee that it is not their intention, to prevent anyone from building or designing, or charging for building or designing, a house or any other edifice, provided only that he does not call himself an architect and charge as such. I think that if the title were limited to "registered architect," it would go a long a way to meet the views which I have expressed, and which have been expressed by other speakers in the course of the Debate.
I think he would, provided he did not use the term, "registered architect," which would be intended to show that he was a member of this particular close corporation.
Of course, I am not the promoter of the Bill, and it is exceedingly difficult to say where the line would be drawn in these intermixed artistic occupations of sculpture, painting, architecture, and furniture designing, all of which go together to make the complete whole which we all admire in a well thought out, well built and well furnished house. I think that all these points need consideration, I am going to ask the House, however, to adopt a suggestion which has been made on both sides, namely, that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. It is not altogether a public Bill; it is a Bill promoted by a particular organisation. We have had, of course, several Bills of a similar kind before. There is, for instance, the Opticians Bill, which my right hon. colleague the Minister of Health recently asked the House to refer to a Select Committee.
It is going to be, if that should be the verdict of the Select Committee. That is a Bill promoted by a particular organisation, which, of course, offers distinct advantages to those who will be registered members of the profession. I think that, in the interests of the public as a whole, this Bill should receive that kind of consideration which a Select Committee alone can really give it. The mere sending of the Bill to a Standing Committee upstairs, where everyone would be able to make speeches from pre-conceived ideas, might not succeed in producing a good Bill; but, on the other hand, there are great advantages in careful examination by a Select Committee, before whom the Royal Institute of British Architects could themselves appear, either by counsel, if they wished, or by members of their own body, and before whom the builders, who, I understand, are strongly opposed to the Bill, could put their case. I am glad to be able to inform the House that the Council of the Royal Institute met me a few hours ago while the House has been sitting, and is quite prepared to assent, and authorises me to say that they assent, to that course. They will be quite willing that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. Under these circumstances, it would be fair to the House and to the promoters of the Bill to give it a Second Reading, and then to ask my hon. Friends, on behalf of the promoters of the Bill, to move that it be referred to a Select Committee, where all the technical matters may be fully considered, and possibly afterwards it might toe considered either by a Standing Com- mittee or by a Committee of the Whole House.
I think it is a fair assumption that this Bill will ultimately be passed and that the architects will receive the charter which they are now seeking. I would like to stress a point that has been made by the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander) in moving the rejection of the Measure, in regard to maintaining fully open the Ireest avenue possible for working men and working women. I understand that working women are not to be debarred from the profession of architecture. I want it to be made perfectly clear that it is not going to be easy to get though these special charters in the future unless these privileges are safeguarded for working men and working women. I hesitate about creating educational disadvantages which will debar the young man of 16 or 17 years of age, who may have passed the age at which matriculation becomes possible for him, from a University education. I want the avenue maintained whereby such predilections and his earlier activities shall be taken fully into account. In a private conversation which I have had with the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir G. Butler) I gather that he agrees with that point of view.
I thank the hon. Member for the assistance which he has given to me and for indicating that he agrees to my suggestion. It is a very important point of view. If, as the Home Secretary says, we are to create close corporations in the ultimate sense, we must not close them at the opening; we must leave them fairly open for the entry of all classes of the community. If it is to be a question of university or scholastic attainment, I would argue that architecture has little to do with that. The crowning glory of the Palace of Westminster is Westminster Hall, and the particular gem of that crown is the roof. It is fair to assume that the man who designed that roof was a natural artist and in his production of the roof combined aesthetics of a stupendous character with a sound judgment in craftsmanship. It is fair to assume that he would be able to pass few scholastic examinations that would admit him as a member of any Royal Society. These are the things which we must carefully safeguard. The Prime Minister is the President of an organisation which seeks to preserve in our villages some of our ancient cottage architecture. It is fair to assume that many of those splendid examples of British domestic architecture have never been evolved by architects; they were probably the outcome of the local genius of a craftsman, a member perhaps of a crafts guild, with probably little or no scholastic attainment. The chief thing to be safeguarded is not necessarily a knowledge of the dead languages but an appreciation of beauty in architecture, with fitness and utility in the thing designed. Those are the things which we must attempt to combine.
The hon. Member who seconded the Motion for the Second Reading pointed to the slums of our huge industrial towns. If I understood him aright, he pleaded for a more generous distribution in architectural beauty over the whole of our great industrial centres. It is true that far too many millions of our people are condemned to live in drab, grey, ugly surroundings and it is also true that our working people are condemned, through lack of taste which it is not their fault that they do not possess, and have been deprived of the opportunity of enjoying things of beauty which they ought to have possessed. It is strange for me to listen in this House to a pleading for beauty in our domestic architecture, when not very long ago from the opposite side of the House we had rushed through a Bill for the erection of steel houses, for which there can be claimed very little architectural beauty and in which the architect scarcely enters at all. It is simply a matter of mechanics. I objected at the time and I object now, and I only wish that the arguments which have been used now that the architects want a charter, had been brought forward at that particular time.
We must maintain and insist upon maintaining the avenues which will keep the architectural profession open to the sons and daughters of working men and working women. At least, we should provide ample opportunity for the man who approaches architecture not from the side merely of a desire to get into a profession in which there may be an ample livelihood, but a profession which calls for his artistic instincts. I prefer the man who goes to it through a growing appreciation of art and beauty and work, rather than the man who approaches it from the mere desire to obtain a fairly easy and comfortable livelihood.
I was in some of the South-Eastern States of Europe a short time ago, and I discovered a rather curious situation there. In one of the capital cities of the Balkan States I was told that there was a great desire on the part of a number of persons to enter the universities and colleges in order to educate themselves for the liberal professions. They desired to become lawyers and doctors and teachers, but when they had passed the educational curriculum necessary they found that the professions were closed to them because they were overcrowded. Naturally, they became discontented to a very acute degree, and they formed themselves into various political parties. We may easily be approaching something of that kind in this country. There is a desire to escape from the drudgery of ordinary mechanical work, towards which industry is developing to-day. The joy has been taken out of industry, and men are revolting more and more at the merely mechanical side. They want to get a job where the mechanical drudgery will be absent. We want our people to have a chance to enter these professions, and I hope if this Bill goes to the Select Committee, that an opportunity will be given for evidence as to the desire of the working people of this country to enter these learned professions; that they will not labour under the disadvantage of a small number of scholarships, given here and there as a mere inducement to them, but that they will be able to enter as a right, an educational right, preserved for every boy, man, woman and girl, who shows a desire and appreciation and the power to acquire the knowledge requisite to enter the honourable profession of architecture.
I gather from the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down that he is entirely in favour of the general principle of this Bill, and, indeed, as far as I have been able to listen to the Debate, any objection that has been taken has been more appropriate to the Committee stage than an argument on the general question. I take it we are all agreed that architecture is of sufficient importance to deserve consideration by this House. It has two prominent features. One which has occupied the speech of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Wallhead)—the artistic side. It is of the utmost importance that architecture should attract our eyes and lend colour and beauty to our days. But, apart from that, there is the utilitarian side. If there is one problem greater than any other which we have to face at the moment it is the housing problem, and it is of the highest importance that the houses which are built should be of good design and of a character to render life comfortable, so that those who inhabit them do so under conditions which are rendered as easy as possible by the scientific discoveries of the time. Both these considerations justify the view that, in order to secure an accomplished body of people to protect us in these matters, we should register a society of architects, who will then be known as people on whom reliance can be placed. If anybody chooses to ask somebody else, afterwards, who cannot properly be called an architect, to build a house for them, they do it at their own peril. It is the same situation as that which arises in connection with other learned professions.
I cannot imagine that any possible opposition could come to such an idea from the Labour benches, where craftsmanship is so carefully safeguarded, and any intrusion by one craft upon another is resented with a force which we do not find possibly in any other section of the community. I came down to the House to-day to vote for the Second Beading of the Bill in the hope that it would go through the ordinary processes of legislation and be put upon the Statute Book, but I understand that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary desires rather that it should be referred to a Select Committee, and, since I gather that that is the sense of the House, I take no exception to it. My right hon. Friend made a most refreshing speech in dealing with this question. He evidently took the view that art should be
preserved for art's sake, as apart from any utilitarian motive. He did not want anyone who had the artistic sense and was prepared to devote it to architecture to be deterred from indulging in his particular hobby because of the necessity for some examination in the scientific necessities of the support of buildings. There are obvious dangers in such a view. I personally have just taken a flat which is almost as near heaven as earth, and I am very much concerned to know that it has been built upon scientific principles, that my position on the superstructure is comparatively safe, and that it is not merely the man who has been considering the decorations of the building who has been designing also the fabric on which I have to rely. This indeed raises the old question of whether art should have any motive, whether knowledge should have any result. But I think the days have gone by when anyone would say, as did a certain Cambridge undergraduate:
I have designed a theory of anatomy, and the best of it is that it can never be of any possible use to anyone for anything.
There is the other illustration of the man who, being asked by his employer what he had put into the soup, said, "I am not your doctor, I am your cook." I think that the present age is more utilitarian than that which the Home Secretary has described. It is of the utmost importance that not only are the qualifications of people in art to be considered in the process of the examinations which this Bill would involve, but also that the people who are to build artistic buildings understand the scientific principles upon which buildings should be erected. The old architects to whom my right hon. Friend referred knew far more about the science than he gave them credit for. The knowledge of stresses and strains which was possessed by the architects of our cathedrals was based on just as scientific knowledge as people possess to-day. I accordingly would desiderate that in the examinations which are to take place the utility of our buildings should be kept in view as well as the art, and for that the Bill seems admirably to provide.
I have been asked by the Institute of Builders to put before the House their views in regard to this Bill. Those views have already been expressed by many other speakers, and, as I understand promoters of the Bill are willing to consider any reasonable proposals for amendment which are put before them when the Select Committee consider the Bill, I desire to give notice that certain Amendments will then be submitted to meet the views of those for whom I speak. As I understand that the Institute will have an opportunity of presenting their views before the Select Committee, I propose to leave it at that.
There are a few points I would like to submit to the House before this Bill goes to a vote. I was exceedingly interested in the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for East Islington (Mr. Tasker), who does not seem to be present at the moment. He delivered a rather violent attack on the Royal Institute of British Architects, and he supported that attack by quoting from certain examination papers, of which I asked him the title, and he was not very free with his information on that subject. He was good enough, however, to show me the papers afterwards, and, as I expected, the paper which excited so much of his derision was one devoted to the history of Greek and Roman architecture, in which, quite naturally and properly, there appeared questions devoted solely to that subject. I am not an architect. Such knowledge as I possess of matters scientific relates to other branches, but in every branch of knowledge we have always attached the utmost importance to a study of its historical aspects, and it is only by studying the efforts of the past that we can avoid mistakes in the future, and I cannot understand how any serious student can bring against this Bill the fact that the body which promotes it holds examinations in which it considers, quite properly, the historical aspects of the question.
The hon. and gallant Member also dealt with some scientific questions which were asked, one of which related to a monolith of certain weight and dimensions. The question was asked: "What velocity of wind would overturn it? And the hon. and gallant Member pointed out how stupid the question was, because only a wind of 400 miles an hour could do it. When he got on to that subject, he was on a subject about which I happen to know something. [An HON. MEMBER: "Wind!"] I quite agree, because I have been exposed to the blasts of so much of it at street corners when I have been speaking. Actually, the calculations of the hon. and gallant Member were quite wrong, and approximately a gale of 100 miles an hour would have overturned that column. I point this out to show how stupid were the arguments brought against this Bill on those particular lines.
The hon. Member for Inverness (Sir M. Macdonald), whom I am afraid is also missing from the House at the moment, objected rather to architects having protection unless the Institution of which he is a distinguished member was also given certain rights. The hon. Member is one of the most distinguished engineers in this country, and was a member, I think, of the Council of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and he demanded for that Institution certain rights as against the architects. I do not blame him for demanding those rights. I happen also to be a humbler member of the same Institution. [An HON. MEMBER: "Oh!"]— Humbler, I mean, in the engineering sense, but not in the political sense. The curious thing is that that Institution has a Royal Charter, under which the hon. Member for Inverness and myself are entitled, if we so desire, to describe ourselves as chartered engineers. If any architect comes along and describes himself as a chartered engineer, the Council of that body would take proceedings against him, so I really think the Institution to which the hon. Member and I belong should not be too narrow in its view and should not deny to the architects the very thing which, by Royal Charter, we have by implication gained for ourselves.
The first speech in opposition to the Bill this afternoon was that of the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander), who always speaks with knowledge and is always interesting to listen to, though I frequently find myself in some disagreement with him. He attacked the Bill because it would, he said, establish a new closed corporation. Even the Bill as drafted would not altogether add a closed corporation, having regard to the announcement that was made on behalf of the promoters that they were willing to introduce modifications in Clauses 11 and 12. It is no longer possible, therefore, to assert that the intentions of the promoters are to set up a closed corporation. I would be opposed to a rigidly closed corporation, because we must not close the road to talent, from whatever quarter it may come. I thought the hon. Member for Hillsborough introduced a certain element of class prejudice into his speech when he suggested that the boy and girl of the working class would have little chance of entering this profession if they had to pass all these examinations.
The hon. and learned Member for the Combined English Universities (Sir A. Hopkinson) made some reference to the architectural schools which exist in some of these institutions. The University of which I happen to be a graduate, that of Liverpool, has perhaps one of the most distinguished schools of architecture in this country, and under Professor Reilly very remarkable achievements have been obtained. The City of Liverpool, the Lancashire County Council, the Cheshire County Council, and all the municipal bodies round about are generous beyond praise in the provision which they make for scholarships and studentships, enabling persons of inadequate means to obtain a university education. There is no financial barrier to any boy or girl with ability who desires to obtain a university education, subject only to the one condition that their parents and these children must themselves be willing to make some sacrifice. Personally, I am of the opinion that unless there is some sacrifice associated with education, education does not give very great value.
There are many working class boys and girls who might not be able to reach the academic standard of university training, who might possibly be able to take other qualifying examinations which would enable them to practise the profession.
We are now arguing, not about the fundamental principle whether a boy or girl has home conditions which make it possible for them to go through training and pass certain examinations, but whether their capacity is such that they are likely to pass an examination of a certain standard.
I said earlier, in my speech, that some of these boys and girls are brought up under conditions in which they have no chance of preparing for the necessary examinations because of the economic circumstances of their parents.
Let us briefly examine the educational system in this country. The ordinary bright child, irrespective of the economic circumstances of its parents, to-day, in any town where there is a well organised educational system, is able to go from the elementary to the central school. The central school is, in fact, the secondary school for those between the ages of 11 and 14 years, and any child that has had a central school education, before it leaves that school, should be able to pass an examination comparable to the Oxford or Cambridge Junior Local. If they can do that, they have opportunities of obtaining scholarships at secondary schools, where they will get the education which will qualify them to matriculate, and it is not true to say that to-day poverty is a barrier to educational advancement. So long as it is the ease that those who have the ability, the energy and the determination can take advantage of education, the arguments advanced by the hon. Member for Hillsborough against the Bill are unsound.
The hon. Member for West Willesden (Mr. Viant), in criticising the Bill, suggested that if it became law it would be possible for this closed profession to establish a scale of fees which would be unfair to the outside public. I have searched the Bill from beginning to end, and, as I understand it, there is no such power in it to establish a scale of fees which would represent a disadvantage to the public at large. There is the question of the naval architects, to which reference was made by the right hon. Member for Newcastle - under - Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). He said the naval architects, of which he was one, had never desired to ask for these exclusive privileges for which the architects were asking in this Bill. There is little comparison between the two professions from the practical point of view. The naval architects are a small, aristocratic body, such as we would expect, having regard to the fact that the hon. and gallant Gentleman is a member. Their employers are few; that is to say, broadly speaking, they are the great shipbuilding companies and the State, and, to some extent, possibly, the shipping companies. Those who buy their services are few, and they are themselves reasonably skilled persons; whereas the ordinary architect has contact with the wide general public, who are not experienced buyers of those services. Because of that, it is desired to give some protection to the public by letting the public know when they obtain an architect they are obtaining the services of a man of at least certain minimum qualifications, and it is in order that the public may be protected that I support this Bill, and will support Bills of a similar character which are likely to come before this House.
As the Mover of the Amendment, perhaps I may be allowed to refer to the proposition made by the Home Secretary that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. I gather from that, that if the Bill is given a Second Reading, the Home Secretary will move that the Bill be so referred. If that course be accepted by the promoters of the Bill, I shall be very happy to withdraw the Amendment in my name.