26 DECEMBER 1947, Page 16


Sta,—One cannot but appreciate the wisdom and far-sightedness of the article by the Steward of St. John's College, Cambridge, published in your issue of December 19th. In the years 1933-1938, as an ex-student of Marburg University, I continually heard of the deaths of young German students who suffered from malnutrition in babyhood during and after the " '14-'18 " war, and one was forced to assume that their bodies, exhausted by the strain of growing to maturity and the conse- quent call upon their physical reserves, gave up the unequal struggle at the ages of twenty-one to twenty-five. But I am not a medical man. Yet the same harvest will doubtless be reaped in fifteen to twenty years' time in Europe unless nutritional help is speedily given.

However, as a fellow-Johnian, albeit an inconspicuous one with a poor degree, one could not but be offended by the Steward's slighting and unmanly reference to more modern universities as "Redbrick." The value of the practical and technical training given in these modern universities cannot be over-estimated at the present time. To speak of them as " Redbrick " recalls the offence given to hard-working pioneers in the Dominions (who now make sacrifices to feed us) when we English people in our blind self-satisfaction speak of them or to them as "Colonials." Is not St. John's College built mainly in red brick ? Finally, I remember that in my time luncheon at St. John's College was so bad that those of us who were fortunate enough to have friends there usually went to Caius for lunch. But that is doubtless a past-and- done-with situation, so that a man may now take pride in being a " Johnian swine."—Yours truly, T. W. F. SPARROW. Mapleton Vicarage, Hornsea, E. Yorkshire.