Tower of London (Sunday Opening and Crown Jewels)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Works – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th December 1957.

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Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Dagenham 12:00 am, 17th December 1957

asked the Minister of Works whether he will now arrange to open the Tower of London on Sunday afternoons in winter in view of the tourist demand throughout the year.

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

No, Sir. There are considerable practical difficulties in the way of Sunday afternoon opening, and while these can be faced during the summer months when attendances throughout the week are very heavy, I do not feel that I should be justified in continuing the necessary arrangements during the winter when daily attendances drop very steeply and the days are short.

Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Dagenham

Could not the Tower be opened for two hours in the afternoon? I gather that the British Holiday Travel Association takes the view that there would be a very good response to such an opening during the week-end.

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

I do not think there would be a very good response. The number of attendances last year fell from 142,649 in September to 44,000 in October, 27,000 in November and 13,000 in December. This indicates that the Tower is nothing like as popular in the winter as it is in the summer. I do not think it would be a good thing to open the Tower of London on Sundays.

Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Dagenham

asked the Minister of Works what action he proposes to take to provide a suitable place to display the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

A scheme has been sketched out for a new Jewel House, and more detailed planning will be put in hand when there are prospects of funds being available.

Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Dagenham

Would there not be a very good return in fees from people who would crowd to see the Jewels? Would it not be a very good investment?

Photo of Mr Arthur Molson Mr Arthur Molson , High Peak

Yes, Sir. I think there would be a good return upon the investment, but, as the hon. Gentleman is aware, the Government have found it necessary to restrict investment at the present time.