The British Government is the most unsuccessful architect in the
world. Its buildings are always either mean, like the National Gallery, or too small, like the British Museum, or completed at extravagant cost, like the Houses of Parliament. Mr Cochrane on Tuesday tried to prove that it was all the fault of the Board of Works, and demanded its reconstruction. His motion was absurdly vague ; Mr. Cowper proved that everybody was responsible for the public buildings except the office which ought to build them ; and the motion was nega- tived by 116 to 24. The defence explained what the attack did not, viz., the cause of the evil. There is no Minister of Public Works. If the Office of Works were united with that of Woods and Forests we might entrust both to an officer of high rank, who should be responsible for every building, and reign in his department. At present, when a building is de- termined on, everybody selects the architect except the Minis- ter, and everybody prepares the plan except the architect. Michael Angelo would be powerless under such a system.