26 DECEMBER 1931, Page 3

Lord Jesse! assured the Westminster City Council last week that

" a good deal too much nonsense was talked about 'basements." The Council had been asked by the London Council of Social Service and its kindred body, the Mansion House Council -on Health and Housing, whether any special efforts had been made in WcstminSter to close underground dwellings condemned as unfit • for human occupation. By way of reply the chairman, Lord Jessel; entered upon a defence of the basements which abound in Westminster and which " in the vast majority of eases," he said, were just as healthy :is any other dwellings. Si Edgar Bonham-Carter, in reply, has very appositely cited the L.C.C. Medical Officer of Health in flat contradiction of that thesis. The Spectator has often called attention to the minority— small perhaps • but very noxious—of basements that are obviously and admittedly unhealthy. It is depressing to find Westminster hanging well behind provincial cities like Manchester and Birmingham in this respect.