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ferable" and "non-transferable." Alits narrow and confined dimensions. transferable ticket may be used by any in front of it and overlooking the member of the staff of the newspaper chamber, are twenty-nine boxes, each for whom it is issued; but the non- just affording sitting room for one pertransferable ticket can be used only by son. Behind, against the carved oak the journalist whose name it contains. screen running right round the gallery, The non-transferable tickets are this and separated from the boxes by a nar

row gangway only, is a raised bench

with a ledge in front for the purposes REPORTERS' GALLERY,

of writing. Not more than eighty jourHOUSE OF COMMONS.

nalists can be accommodated in the Not Transferable.

gallery, between the boxes, the bench

and some standing room in the corners, SESSION 1895.

so that on nights of interest and imMR. WILLIAM GOVAN,

portance the gallery becomes, indeed, The Daily Mercury.

“a congested district.” H. D. ERSKINE.

The boxes which, of course, are betWell, armed with this piece of card- ter situated than the bench behind for board, we are allowed to pass through seeing and hearing what is going on the outer gates of Palace Yard by the below on the floor of the House, are vigilant policemen on duty there; and allotted to the exclusive use of certain from the cloisters of Palace Yard we London and provincial journals and ascend by a spiral staircase to the wing news agencies. The Times has got of the Houses of Parliament set apart three of the boxes in the very centre, for the accommodation of the mem- and therefore in the best position in bers of the reporters' gallery.

the gallery. One is for the use of its

reporting staff, another for the chief of Until this session access to the gal- the staff, and the third for the writer lery was to be had only by one door, of its Parliamentary summary. The which was in the centre. Last session other London morning papers, the a strong representation as to the diffi- Daily Chronicle, the Standard, the culties of entrance and exit on busy Daily News, the Morning Post, the nights was made by the committee of Morning Advertiser, the Daily Telethe gallery to the first commissioner of graph, have each a box for the reworks, and as a result the centre door porters, and another each for their was built up, and two doors — one at summary-writers or the chiefs of their each end were opened in the gallery staffs. Two of the metropolitan evenduring the recess. Inside the gallery ing papers, and two only, enjoy a sits Mr. Woodcraft, the principal gal- share, but only a share, in a box. The lery attendant, whose easy duty it is to Pall Mall Gazette has the use of a box preserve order and decorum amongst till six o'clock, when Reuter, the forits occupants. He is in evening dress eign news agency, gets possession, and and wears across his breast the badge the Globe divides in like manner the which distinguishes all the attendants accommodation of a box with the sumin the House - a brass chain with a mary-writer of the Morning Alvertiser. figure of Mercury attached. If it be The Press Association and the Central our first appearance for the session, News, the two chief news agencies, our credentials from the serjeant-at- have each got two boxes for their rearms must be produced for inspection porting staffs and summary-writers ; by Mr. Woodcraft. But you are rarely and there is also a box for the Parliaasked again during the session to show mentary debates' staff. Amongst the your credentials if you are the holder provincial papers, the Scotsman (Edlinof a non-transferable ticket. The first burgh), the Glasgow Herald, the Freeimpression one gets of the gallery is ' man's Journal (Dublin), and the


Manchester Guardian alone have the lit must be also borne in mind that a exclusive use of boxes. Important pro- speech by a local member on a local vincial papers like the Yorkshire Post, matter frequently transcends in interthe Liverpool Courier, the Liverpool est and importance to local readers Post, the Birmingham Daily Post, the even the most eloquent pronouncement Manchester Courier, the Leeds Mercury, on some subject of imperial concern by the Bradford Observer, the Dundee Ad- a prime minister. The London jourvertiser, the Irish Times, the Glasijow nals are in a different position They Duily Mail, the South Wales Daily have no “local members ” to look News, the Newcastle Chronicle, etc., after. They are indifferent to the have to share between them the few representative of Bow and Bromley, or remaining boses. This is done by two of Kensington, as such ; and in reportor three of the Liberal papers, or two ing Parliament they are guided solely or three of the Conservative papers, by the space at their command, and combining together and employing a the nature of the proceedings. special staff to report “local members”

members sitting for constituencies It is a common complaint of the prowithin the district covered by each vincial press that undue representation paper - special attention, of course, has been given to the London journals being given to Liberal members by the in the distribution of boxes and seats in Liberal papers, and to Conservative the reporters' gallery. It is said " Why members by Conservative papers, the should the Times have three boxes, and remainder of the report being supplied why should the other London papers by the Press Association or the Central | have two boxes each, when not one of News.

the daily newspapers of important pro

vincial centres like Liverpool, BirmingThe provincial morning papers who ham, Leeds, Newcastle, Cardiff, has a have not special representatives in the box for its own exclusive use ?The gallery get their reports from one or existing allotment of seats took place other of the news agencies. These re- many years ago, when perhaps the ports are of three classes — the “sum- provincial press lagged far behind the mary," a continuous but summarized London press. Now, however, the report of the proceedings; "specials," Kaily newspapers of our large provinconsisting of full and first-person re-cial towns occupy, by right of their ports of ministers, and ex-ministers of enterprise and ability, positions not importance; and “locals,” or reports inferior to the metropolitan journals ; of local members done specially for and they report Parliament at as great local papers. These three separate and length as any of the London papers, distinct reports of the proceedings in save the Times, while they have to Parliament are often delivered, by tele- bear the heavy expense, from which graphı, of course, to a newspaper in the the metropolitan papers are free, of provinces during the night, and with nightly telegraphing these reports to the aid of scissors and paste are ar- their publishing offices in the country. ranged in orrier, as one coherent and The foreign press correspondents in complete report by the sub-editor. London also complain — and, I think, The length at which the Parliamentary complain with great justice — of their speeches of local members, particularly total exclusion from the gallery, thougla on local matters, are given in provincial the correspondents of London news. journals, while distinguished statesmen papers are afforded the fullest fac ties like Sir William Harcourt and Mr. for the discharge of their functions in Balfour are often put into a few lines all the legislative assemblies on the in the same report, must have occa- Continent. The only representative of sionally puzzled newspaper reailers. the foreign press in the gallery of the The arrangement I have described will House of Commons is Reuter's agency. throw some light on the mystery. But! But the truth is, the authorities of the




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House, Mr. Speaker, and the serjeant- | members of the staff in regular rotaat-arms, are naturally reluctant to make tion. Here is a specimen : any innovation which would either

Staff. disturb long-existing privileges, or in- Mr. Ponsonby

3 crease the already undue pressure on


3.15 the accommodation in the gallery ; and


3.30 until the House itself deems it a matter


3.45 Macauley

4 in which it might becomingly interest


4.15 itself and passes a “Redistribution of


4.30 Seats Bill ” for the gallery, the present


4.45 condition of things will probably be


5 allowed to continue.


5.15 Jones

5.30 The seats on the back bench, which,


5.45 as I have already said, do not command


6 a full view of the House, are not re


6.15 Clarke

6.30 served. They are used, as a rule, by


6.45 descriptive writers, London spondents, and leader-writers, who take Mr. Ponsonby is due again at 7 o'clock, notes of the salient points of impor- Mr. Robinson at 7.15, and so on, so tant speeches, or watch for interesting that each member of the staff gets incidents or material of any kind for more than three clear hours to trangraphic and spicy paragraphs; and by scribe his quarter of an hour of shortartists and caricaturists on the lookout hand notes into long-hand, unless some for characteristic attitudles and facial of the reporters are required in the expressions of the leading Parliamen- Lords, when, of course, the time betarians. In the normal condition of tween turns is not so long. If the things there is no difficulty in getting a debate is not of any great interest, a seat on this bench ; but on interesting “turn” will occupy in transcription occasions, when a big bill is about to be only an hour, or in some instances two introduced, or an important speech to hours, according to the standing of the be delivered, you have to come down speaker. But even if the member be early to secure a place there.

Mr. Balfour, Mr. Asquith, Mr. Cham

berlain, Sir William Harcourt, or any Let us see, now, how the reporters of the other party leaders, who are work. We will take the Times staff for usually given verbatim and in the first the

purposes of illustration. The staff person, the writing out of his notes formerly consisted of at least thirteen will not take the reporter much more reporters and the chief, but as the than two hours. Mr. Ponsonby's third Times has now undertaken to supply “lurn " comes at eleven o'clock. At the report to Messrs. Waterlow, the ten o'clock the “turns” are shortened printers and publishers of the Parlia- to ten minutes, at eleven to seven and mentary debates popularly known as a half minutes, and at midnight to five ** Hansard,” the staff has been in- minutes, in order that the “copy creased by three additional reporters. may be written up with all possible The average strength of the staffs of the speed and despatched to the composother Loudon papers is eight men. As ing-room in Printing House Square. a rule, they report the proceedings at Mr. Ponsonby will, probably, have a only about half the length the Times fourth turn of seven and a half or of gives to its splendid record, but they five minutes before the House adjourns Work on the same principles. At the between twelve and one o'clock ; but opening of every sitting the chief of the members of the staff towarıls the the staff who superintends the work bottom of the list will have only three

list of quarter-hour turns each. They make up for coming ** turns,” which is followed by the on late by getting off carly. The list,

draws up



however, is changed every week. By | which “copy » tucked into carriers ” a natural process of rotation, Mr. Rob- is transmitted to the provincial instruinson, who is second on the list this ment-room at the Central Telegraph week, will next week open the pro- Office, a distance of two miles and a ceedings, and be followed by Mr. Row- half from Westminster, in five minutes, land and the others in the same order, and thence telegraphed all over the while Mr. Ponsonby goes to the bot-country. The compartment behind the tom of the list.

gallery, and two rooms to the right and

left, and another large compartment There is just one more point to ex- connected with the first by a short pasplain in connection with the list of sage, resound with the bustle of mesturns. As each man writes out his senger boys, in the uniforms of the turn he puts on every slip a number, news agencies, and several London “1” or “2” or “3,” to indicate that it and provincial papers, carrying to and is his first, or second, or third turn. fro“ copy” and writing materials for Thus Mr. Ponsonby writes on the top the reporters ; the click, click of sevof his slips “1,” “2," " 3,” etc. ; and eral “ sounder” telegraph instruments, at the end of the turn writes, “Robin- over which reports of the proceedings son follows." Mr. Robinson in like in the House are being transmitted to manner uses for his first turn the nu- some of the London evening papers meral “1” on his slips. As further or to the London offices of provincial guides to the compositors in “ making papers connected with the gallery by up" the report when it is put into special wires ; and the shouting of type, Mr. Robinson begins his turn by messages to other newspaper offices stating that he has relieved Mr. Pon- through telephones. sonby, thus : “Robinson follows Ponsonby," and by also indicating who is Leaving this scene of bustle and exaddressing the House, thus : “Balfour citement, we mount a staircase and speaking.” This is done right through find ourselves in a suite of apartments the report. It may seem to the outsider overlooking Palace Yard, and devoted an elaborate system of precaution ; to the exclusive use of members of but such is the hurry and excitement the gallery as writing-out rooms and that prevail in the composing-room, recreation rooms. Two of the comespecially towards the hour when the mittee rooms overlooking the terrace paper has to be “put to bed," that and river are also appropriated to the this exceeding care is very needful to use of the journalists. All the rooms prevent “mixes " - such as portions are lighted with electric lights, and of Sir Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett's speech most of them are airy, commodious, being attributed to Mr. Labouchere, and comfortable. The four and vice versa — which, however amus- used for writing are supplied with ing they may be lo the newspaper «esks, chairs, and ink, pens, and blotreader, do not, to say the least, tend to ting paper. One of them also contains the gaiety of the printing-office. a useful library, consisting of works

of reference, volumes of the ParliaWhen a reporter is relieved by a col- mentary debates, blue-books, bills, and league at the end of his quarter of another Parliamentary papers ; and in hour, he leaves the gallery and goes to another lovers of the weed may smoke one of the writing-out rooms to tran- while they are at work. These writscribe his notes. We will accompanying-rooms crowderl during the him thither. Immediately outside the night with reporters transcribing their gallery is a large compartment contain- notes, and leader-writers, London coring a telegraph-office where press and respondents and writers of Parliamenprivate messages are received. This tary sketches spinning from their office is connected with St. Martin's-le- fertile and imaginative brains criticisms Grand by a pneumatic tube, through of speeches and policies, and descrip



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lions of scenes and incidents in the in style and manner. Statesmen like House. Well, in one of these rooms Bright and Disraeli and Gladstone – the reporter who has just been relieved to mention three who were masters of writes out his quarter of an hour's turn different styles of the fine art of oraat note-taking. If some obscure or tory - always spoke slowly, deliberunimportant “ honorable gentleman" ately and impressively, and the average spoke during the turn the task is very reporter never had any difficulty in easily and quickly discharged. But if taking them. But the style of speakit were Sir William Harcourt, Mr. Bal- ing popular nowadays in Parliament is four, Mr. Chamberlain, or any of the what is called “the conversational other great men of Parliament who are style” – a free and rapid fow of usually reported fully, the transcription words, which not infrequently taxes of the short-hand notes will, as I have all the reporter's skill and dexterity in already said, occupy an arduous and the use of “the winged art” to get trying hour, or an hour and a half them down on his note-book. But at least. In the case of an important speed does not frighten the reporter so speech four or six reporters who have much as muddled and incoherent ideas been “on” during the same quarter of indistinctly expressed. an hour write out together in order to ensure absolute accuracy. One of the Of all our leading Parliamentarians group reads out his notes as he tran- Mr. Chamberlain is the easiest to rescribes, and all the others, as they port. His average rate of speaking is write, practically, from bis dictation, one hundred and forty words a minute, follow the narrative on their own notes, and, besides, he possesses, in the highand correct errors into which the reader est degree perhaps, the qualities of may have fallen, from one cause or lucidity of thought and distinctness of another. This practice is necessary for utterance. Mr. John Morley, Sir several reasons. For instance, some- George Trevelyan, Mr. Campbell-Bantimes it is difficult for all the reporters nerman, Mr. Goschen in the Commons, to hear a speaker distinctly. It may Lord Rosebery, Lord Salisbury, Lord be because of the right honorable Ashbourne, the Duke of Devonshire in member's imperfect articulation, or of the Loris, never present any difficulties the situation of the bench from which to the reporter, though none of them, he addresses the House. But though with perhaps the exception of Mr. all the reporters may not succeed in Campbell-Bannerman, is quite so easy transferring every word of the right to "take" as Mr. Chamberlain. Lori honorable gentleman to their note- Herschell and Lord Halsbury in the books, a group of four or six are Lords, Sir R. Webster, Mr. Matthews, certain - unless the speaker was ex- and Mr. Fletcher Moulton in the Comceptionally indistinct — to have, be- mons, are, like most lawyers, unpleastween them, a full and complete record ant speakers from the reporter's point of his ullerance, and so by writing out of view. But comparing the occutogether and comparing each others' pants of the Treasury Bench, as notes they can turu out a veritable pho- whole, with the occupants of the front tographic reproduction of the speech Opposition Bench, as a whole, it must exactly as it was spoken.

be said that the members of the gov

ernment give the reporters the more The two qualities in a speaker which trouble and worry, both on account most delight the reporter are lucid of rapidity and indistinctness of exthinking anı distinct utterance; and, pression. Mr. II. H. Fowler, introwhatever else they may lack, most of Kucing the Franchise Bill and the the great Parliamentarians of the day Parish Councils Bill in the session of possess these two qualities. Old re- 1892, gave the reporters an exceedporters will tell you that public speak-ingly hard time of it. That, lowever, ing has undergone a complete revolution was due largely to the mass of statis

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