17 MAY 1924, Page 14


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] Sra,—Very late in the day, but not too late I hope, we are remembering that " In the beginning, God said, Let There be Light." The protests of John Ruskin, so long ago, against the " plague cloud," are found to understate the truth. Smoke and slums and brick and even window-glass--opaque to ultra-violet rays—are seen to immure and stifle, to bleach whilst they blacken, the children whom Heaven meant to be children of light. The lifelong arguments of some few of us have been verified by the laboratories of a dozen countries during the last few years. Everywhere medical men are ordering lamps of various types for the practice of artificial phototherapy upon patients who cannot go to Switzerland, New discoveries, certainly epoch-making, have already been made by the Committee on Light, the first in the world, appointed by the Medical Research Council, at my suggestion, early in 1922.

The sunlight is our common heritage and our common need. The nation's children, our future, all need it even more than the fortunate few who can repair to their villas on the Riviera when the " November particulars " return. The restoration of sunlight to our malurbanized millions is the next great task of public health in our country.

The Sunlight League has been formed to point to the light of day, to advocate its use for the cure of disease—" helio- therapy " ; and, immeasurably better, for preventive medicine and constructive health, the building of whole and happy bodies from the cradle and before it, which we may call helio-hygiene. Many distinguished persons have joined the movement, which is being inaugurated at Carnegie House this week. It is national, and aimed against no party nor class, nor interests but such as rob us of our sunlight, turn our cities in winter into cold hells, and call the process industry, or imprison children in shadow and call the process education. We ask you, Sir, and your readers, to support a campaign for sunlight and for education about it. We have not forgotten, in our zeal for the light of the sun and our hatred of the diseases of darkness, that Shakespeare said "There is no darkness but ignorance."—I am, Sir, &c., C. W. SALEEBY The Sunlight League, Temporary Office, 20 Park Crescent, London, W.