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Encaustic tiles (2019)

Request

  1. Please provide confirmation that offers to the categories of (1)-(4) above were made, or not.
  2. For each of (1)-(3) it would be helpful to have the letters/emails setting out the offers and replies from the institutions
  3. If such letters/emails are unavailable for (1)-(3), alternatively please could you provide confirmation that these offers were made and subsequently refused and the dates on which these took place (and ideally any reasons for refusal by the public bodies would be helpful)
  4. In the case of (4) please confirm whether architectural salvage companies were approached and if so, please provide details of how this took place (e.g. by means of an advert or individual correspondence). Please note that I am not requesting the specific correspondence between you and companies which I realise may not be appropriate for you to provide me with.
  5. Any formal minutes of meetings recording the decision to offer for sale the encaustic tiles to the public (which I believe would have been around 2018) and whether any other alternative options were considered at this point. If the institutions listed in (1)-(4) above were not approached please also provide the reason for going straight for the public sale.

 

Response

Please note that the House of Commons and House of Lords are separate public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act (2000) FOIA. However, much of the information you have requested is held on a bicameral basis between the two Houses and so our response covers both Houses of Parliament.

Regarding whether the removed tiles were offered to (1) the Victoria and Albert Museum, (2) the British Museum, (3) the Jackfield Tile Museum and (4) architectural salvage companies:

1 - Please provide confirmation that offers to the categories of (1)-(4) above were made, or not.
This information is held by the House of Commons. Offers to the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum, the British Museum and the Jackfield Tile Museum were made, but offers to salvage companies were not made.

2 - For each of (1)-(3) it would be helpful to have the letters/emails setting out the offers and replies from the institutions
This information is not held by the House of Commons, because offers were made either in face-to-face meetings or over the phone.

3 - If such letters/emails are unavailable for (1)-(3), alternatively please could you provide confirmation that these offers were made and subsequently refused and the dates on which these took place (and ideally any reasons for refusal by the public bodies would be helpful)
Some information is held by the House of Commons. No information stating exact dates on when offers were made is held by the House. Offers made to public collections listed had the following responses:

• The V&A Museum agreed to take tiles in principal but that they would have to be stored as there was no room for display at that time;
• The British Museum declined the offer as they already display some encaustic tiles from the Palace on loan from the Architectural Fabric Collection in the Strategic Estates team of the House of Commons;
• The Jackfield Tile Museum agreed to take tiles in principal.
It may interest you to know that the final decision on whether to send tiles to any of these public collections has not been made, as negotiations are still ongoing.


4 - In the case of (4) please confirm whether architectural salvage companies were approached and if so, please provide details of how this took place (e.g. by means of an advert or individual correspondence). Please note that I am not requesting the specific correspondence between you and companies which I realise may not be appropriate for you to provide me with.
This information is held by the House of Commons. Architectural salvage companies were not offered encaustic tiles.


5 - Any formal minutes of meetings recording the decision to offer for sale the encaustic tiles to the public (which I believe would have been around 2018) and whether any other alternative options were considered at this point. If the institutions listed in (1)-(4) above were not approached please also provide the reason for going straight for the public sale.
This information is held by the House of Commons. The Administration Committee of the House of Commons made the decision to instruct the Strategic Estates team to offer the tiles for sale to the public. Formal minutes of the Administration Committee meetings are publicly available on our parliamentary pages.  Minutes for a meeting about the use of encaustic tiles is also available on our parliamentary pages. No other information is held by the House.
As the information you request is reasonably accessible to you otherwise than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the House is exempting the information under the exemption set out in section 21(1) and (2)(a) of the FOIA. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.