3 FEBRUARY 1956, Page 12

THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE I can see exactly the plan of

campaign for the destruction of that noble building, the Imperial Institute in South Ken- sington, whose tower is the most beautiful prominent landmark on the London sky after the dome of St. Paul's. We are going to be told that so great is the need for nuclear physicists that it must be taken down. That can be implied from the remarks of Lord Chorley in the House of Lords last week. The architect is going to say that he has been ordered to take it down, for his whole scheme for rebuilding will be hampered if he leaves it standing. It was designed in 1887 by Thomas Collcutt, and makes most skilful use of different stones. The mouldings and details are scholarly. The general outline of towers and roofs is most carefully considered. It has not. so far as I know, been surveyed with a view to seeing how it could be adapted to the use of the new university to be built around it. The Kensington Society and the Royal Fine Art Commission have both recommended its preservation. Even in the University itself opinion is not unanimous for its destruc- tion. And why is the really ugly Royal College of Music (1894), also on the site to be developed, going to be left intact? If government really represents the will of the people, it is most important that it should not present us with a fait accompi' about this building, and anyhow let us never be taken in by the false logic of the argument which says that the choice before us is either more scientists or no Imperial Institute.