The Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks (CAB 195/8)

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Festival of Britain: Sunday Opening

Festival of Britain: Sunday Opening

H.M. 

Some legn is inevitable because known tht. a common informer would move.
If Fun Fair not opened, not worth opening Festival Gdns. at all.  And trouble with contractors. 

P.M.   

Why?

H.M.  

They have assumed a 7 day week: justifiably because practice is common outside London.
Believe visitors will think it odd if Fun Fair closed on Sundays.
Not going to be noisy - necessarily - there isn't in Sweden.
Views of Churches.  Generally against: tho' Battersea clergy are in favour.
Fun fair will be popular: if not opened on Sundays, there will be public demand for it.

G.A.I. 

Don't let's be so kill joy in London.
Public opinion will support H.M.'s view.

J.G. 

Why do we need legn in London if places in Annex can open w'out it.

C.E. 

Because they don't charge admission.
I take opposite view.  Non-conf. opinion will be strongly opposed.
And Provinces (who also vote in H/C.) must be regarded.
Churches aren't reliable because they want to get rid of common informer as humiliating to them.
Recommend we apply ordinary law to Gardens. Legal for years to open Museums.
One thing to open Exhibn: another to promote special legn to open Fun Fair.  Bound to arouse controversy - at a time when we don't want to alienate non-C. votes.

J.G. 

Such legn wd. be linked up in Wales with movement to repeal Sunday closing of pubs., promoted by brewers. Our Party wd. be identified with brewers.  Avoid legn if at all possible.
Many Welsh members wd. vote v. it.

H.McN. 

Agree with C.E.  Wd. arouse gt. opposn in Scotland. Govt. supporters wd. be embarrassed. For many people this is a ques. of principle. Where wd. we be if Tories chose to oppose it?

W.W. 

Tremendous feeling in our Party v. encroachments on Sunday observance.
You wd. have diffy. in getting it thro' Party.

A.B. 

As an agnostic I am against Sunday opening.  If Christianity had not thought of a day of rest, it wd. have bn. necessary to invent it.

P.M. 

Arguments in memo. are pitched too high.

D.J. 

i)  Agreed Ty. subsidy £9 m. on basis of Sunday opening.
ii)  B'sea opposed Fun Fair because denied access to Park.  Worst still if they are excluded.

A. 

Fun Fair is only ¼ of Gardens.  The other ¾ could be open?

H.M. 

I think so.  Ques. wd. it be worth while?

C.E. 

Not opposed to concerts etc. in Festival Gardens.

J. 

Travel Assocn attach importce to it.

C.E.   

That wd. make non-C. opposn worse.

Att.G. 

Amendmt will be moved to include Fun Fair. Ques. really is: shd. we leave that to a free vote.

H.M. 

Will consider drafting Bill that way and allowg. a free Vote on Fun Fair item.

A.B. 

How will Govt. vote?  We shall be in trouble: eg capital punishment issue.

H.M. 

This is a rather diff. issue fr. capital punishment. 

J.  

More like Prayer Book.

A.V.A. 

Against this.

J.G. 

Settle on basis of para. 4.
Is Festival really going to break financially on Fun Fair alone.

J. 

If any legn necessary, amendmts will be moved: and we have to decide what Govt. attitude shd. be.

P.M. 

Leave this particular issue to a free Vote, includg. Ministers.
Include it in Bill, but say at once this will be left to a free Vote.

Taken from C.M. 65(50) - Meeting held on 19 October 1950.