6 NOVEMBER 1999, Page 36

Paddington patriot

From Sir Kenneth Warren Sir: Paul Webb's fascinating biography of Ivor Novello, reviewed by Jonathan Cecil (Books, 23 October), attributes the writing of 'Keep the Home Fires Burning' to Nov- ello. When I lived in Paddington many years ago I knew a local builder, a Mr Bar- rett, who proudly claimed he had written the words, which he had sent to Novello as a patriotic wartime gesture, hoping he could turn them into a song.

Mr Barrett, who became a distinguished alderman in the borough, said he was proud the song had given so much pleasure and encouragement during the war, and was delighted that it had been one of the foundations of Ivor Novello's success. Kenneth Warren Woodfield House, Goudhurst, Kent