IN DEFENCE OF BRISTOL.
[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,-I think the reviewer of Mr. Salmon's Bristol in the Spectator of December 30th, 1922, must have based his criticisms on a superficial glance from the train before it enters Temple Mead station. For twenty-five years my work has made me intimate with the poorest streets of London, Dundee, Bir- mingham and other big cities in the provinces, and though it is classed by your reviewer as a " sick city " I know that few places offer so happy a life as Bristol to its poorer citizens. The atmosphere is clear and wonderfully smoke-free for so large a manufacturing centre. Looking across the city, the trees on the hills above Bath ten miles away are quite visible any fine day. The city has many small, well-kept open spaces near the workers' homes, besides the grand " Downs " with their sea air and ample space for every kind of recreation. Lovely open country may be reached in fifteen minutes by bus from the heart of the town, and cheap steamer trips give access all summer to the sea. Over 16,000 allotments around Bristol provide occupation and interest to the working men.
The ordinary houses in the " poor streets " despised by your reviewer contain five rooms, back kitchen and yard, rental 8s.-9s. per week, and contrast favourably with the tenement rooms of London, Glasgow and Dundee, or the back-to-back courts of Birmingham and other Northern towns. More houses are needed, as elsewhere. There are patches of decayed house property awaiting clearance, but not so many as in places of far more recent growth. These condemned houses will be dealt with as early as possible. In no place where my work has taken me into the homes of the people have I found greater courtesy or less class bitterness, which I attribute to the many social activities carried on by earnest citizens, and I am proud to be a Bristolian.—I am,