John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
  Accountability and Bathrooms
One aspect about the question of scrutiny is that the last time the House of Commons held back finance is reputed to be in 1919 when a proposed lift and bathroom at a cost of £3,800 for the Lord Chancellor was refused by a Standing Committee of the House.

I have found some references to this on the web from Punch of the era:
THE COUNTER-ORDER OF THE BATH.
[A Standing Committee of the House of Commons has refused to vote £3,800 for a lift and a second bathroom in the proposed official residence of the LORD CHANCELLOR within the precincts of the House of Lords. In a letter to Sir ALFRED MOND Lord BIRKENHEAD wrote: "I am sure both yourself and the Committee will understand that my object in writing is to make it plain that I never asked anyone to provide me with a residence, and that I am both able and willing, in a house of my own, to provide my family and myself with such bathroom and other accommodation as may be reasonably necessary."]

I did not ask for it; I never yearned
Within the Royal Court to board and bed;
Like all the other honours I have earned,
I had this greatness thrust upon my head;
But if the Precincts are to be my lair
Then for my comfort Ministers must cater;
I want a second bath inserted there,
Also an elevator.

Daily fatigued by those official cares
Which my exalted dignity assumes,
I could not ask my feet to climb the stairs
Which link that mansion's three-and-thirty rooms;
And, if the Law must have so clean a fame
That none can point to where a speck of dust is,
A single bathroom cannot meet the claim
Of equitable Justice.

My wants are modest, you will please remark;
I crave no vintage of the Champagne zone,
No stalled chargers neighing for the Park,
No 9·5 cigars (I have my own);
I do not ask, who am the flower of thrift,
For Orient-rugs or "Persian apparatus";
Nothing is lacking save a bath and lift
To fill my soul's hiatus.

And, should my plea for reasonable perks
(Barely four thousand pounds) be flatly quashed;
Should kind Sir ALF, Commissioner of Works,
Be forced to leave me liftless and half-washed;
Then for these homely needs of which I speak,
Content with my old pittance from the nation,
In Grosvenor Square (or Berkeley) I will seek
Private accommodation.
 
Comments:
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source : http://www.aqva.co.uk
 
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