3 MAY 1930, Page 21

Some ,Books of the Week

"SIR," said Dr. Johnson, referring to London, "if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing it,s,great streets and squares, but must survey the innumerable little, lanes and courts."

Mr. Beresford Chancellor has Already done this for • several districts of London, and now in London's Old Latin Quarter ,(Cape, 15s.) he does it for -Tottenham Court Road and its neighbouring thoroughfares, justifying his title by showing that this region has been the home from the eighteenth century onwards of numerous artists in paint—to say nothing of those in letters, music, the drama and fisticuffs: Newman Street, for instance, used -fairly to creep with Royal Academicians, and at the junction of Euston Road flourished the boxing establishment of the famous Figg and Broughton near the 'Adam and Eve' tavern, where once stood the manor court-house of Totenhale (Totta's• nook) that gave the thoroughfare -its name.- Mr. Chancellor mentions that right into the nineteenth century this region was charac- terized by a rural flavour, but one .eye at all events in the eighteenth saw it differently, for Charles Jermer in 1772 deplores in his Town Eclogues that :—

"In vain, alas shall city bards resort For past'ral images, to Tottenham-court . . Where'er around I cast my wand'rinF eyes Long burning rows of fetid bricks arise."

But it could not have been quite as bad as that, for Tottenham Court. Road. is on the whole a comely thoroughfare, and out of its growth and associations Mr. Chancellor has made, in page after page of delightful gossip, a very good book.