National Museums and Art Galleries

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th March 1969.

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Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West 12:00 am, 6th March 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has for the future of the national museums and art galleries.

Photo of Miss Jennie Lee Miss Jennie Lee , Cannock

The development and improvement of our national museums and art galleries are covered by a 12-year building programme amounting to about £9 million for the period to March, 1976. This enables planning to be undertaken well ahead. Among the projects included in this programme are major extensions for the National Gallery and Tate Gallery; a new museum to be erected next to the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh; and a number of projects costing £1·25 million at the British Museum, in addition to three costing over £500,000 already completed there in 1967.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

In view of the considerable difficulty that has arisen about the proposed extension to one of the national galleries, can the right hon. Lady give us as much information as possible about all these detailed plans so that public opinion can know exactly what will happen will in advance?

Photo of Miss Jennie Lee Miss Jennie Lee , Cannock

I think that the hon. Gentleman has in mind the Tate Gallery. What happened there was that the Trustees were going ahead with the best scheme that seemed possible at the time. We now have hope that we may be able to acquire adjoining ground. So there was no delay but just a new factor entering the situation. I am a natural optimist, and I hope that it will be an answer to our problem.

Photo of Mr John Fraser Mr John Fraser , Lambeth Norwood

Can my right hon. Friend confirm that the estimates of future expenditure do not contain any offset for the sale of the Clapham Transport Museum? Can she confirm that she is keeping an open mind on its future?

Photo of Miss Jennie Lee Miss Jennie Lee , Cannock

I congratulate the defenders of the Clapham Transport Museum on their gallantry, but I think that that is one battle that is now over.