10 MARCH 1928, Page 12



[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]

Sia,—The Birmingham Section of the British Industries Fair has run its brief span, and the great buildings at Castle Brom- wich have closed their doors until February, 1929. In the Spectator of February 25th the Birmingham Section was described as a " subsidiary exhibition " ; the section at Castle Bromwich is complement, not subsidiary, to the London Section. The White City and Castle Bromwich Exhibitions have their respective provinces ; at Birmingham are shown the products of the hardware and engineering industries; while at London are assembled the manufactures of prac- tically every industry not possible of inclusion in those elastic definitions.

Naturally enough, Birmingham products have been well represented and the industrial life of the city is - looking forward to a period of prosperity as a consequence of the orders its manufacturers have secured. It is reliably estimated that the total business resulting from the Birmingham Section will ultimately exceed £25,000,000. There is, even in a. com- munity universally noted for its severe practicality, a con- viction that the burden of depression in industry is consider- ably lighter, and it is conceded that business might be infinitely worse. The Birmingham Section has this year been honoured by a visit from their Majesties the King and Queen, a precedent which, it is hoped, will become an annual event.

The opening of the Birmingham to Wolverhampton Road- by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, in November last, marked the beginning of a new era in the transport facilities of the indus• trial areas served by the road. The new highway, which is 9j miles in length and cost approximately £600,000, forms a vital link between the traffic routes from the North-West to the South and South-West, and is one of the most important ol the British post-War road schemes.

The Civie Centre scheme has taken a more definite shape in the minds of Birmingham people since the approved design for the lay-out was exhibited in the City Art Gallery. The statutory formalities connected • with the incorporation into the City of Birmingham of a portion of the Perry Barr area are now fulfilled, and the extension, which comes into operation in April, will have the effect of increasing the area of the city to nearly 50,000 acres and an (estimated) population to 976,000. Progress in housing matters has been well main- tained, and up: to the time of writing the municipality has erected 18,779 dwellings under the 1919 and 1923-24 Schemes.

During the past few months many generous gifts have been made to the Museum and Art Gallery. The city suffered a severe loss in the death of Sir Whitworth Wallis, the Keeper of the Gallery, to whose efforts is chiefly due the existence of an art collection which enjoys the reputation of being the best outside London. Among other gifts to the city are included tracts of land for use as playing fields in central and outlying areas.

The closing of the Town Hall for redecoration during the whole of the 1926-27 season hampered to some extent the full enjoyment of last winter's musical amenities. While the modernized interior of the building has evoked some local criticism, it is generally agreed that the rearrangements and extensions in the seating accommodation and the redecoration of the hall have considerably enhanced- the usefulness and appearance of the building.

Dr. Adrian Boult, the conductor of the City of Birmingham Orchestra, has recently returned from abroad, and that pro- gressive organization is nearing the end- of a very successful season. The theatrical life of the city, after its post-Christmas lapse into pantomime and musical comedy, is now directing its attention to less frothy fare. The Repertory Theatre, which austerely forswears herd instincts, has introduced several new- or hitherto unknown plays to Birmingham and revived Yellow' Sands. Luigi Chiarelli's comedy, The Mask and the Face, has just completed a short run, and -Doctor Knock, by Jules Romaine, is now holding the boards.--,1 aril; Sir; &c.,