13 DECEMBER 1963, Page 16

Ilk a , Letters Starting at the 'Spectator' E. T. Deacon The

Australian Election Evan Williams No. Competition Stephen Garvin, Paul A. Hamilton Fair Weather Forecast Sir Graham Sutton The Split Society R. B. Cook.

Sparing the Name Peter Cook, Christopher Booker Below the Bread Line Douglas Houghton, MP Press Lords Lord Boathby The Cuban Hurricane Kenneth Tynan


SIR,—As one of the few remaining people, who can remember, perhaps more vividly than Mr. Hutchin- son, his early days at the Spectator, I cannot allow his article in last week's paper to pass unchallenged.

Mr. Hutchinson suggests there. was a possibility that he might have been overpaid. I cannot disagree with this, for by his standards, I was considerably underpaid. But there I was light of heart, with £1 in my pocket, and the certain knowledge that 1924 was not a vintage year for the workers.

To describe Harry as an office boy is a rank heresy; to me, Harry was the management, with an unquenchable thirst for Sunripe cigarettes and the finest sandwiches money could buy (from Shortlands, 6d.). I would also correct him with regard to the Dundee cake. It was Madeira cake that whetted St. Loe Strachey's appetite, and as such a distinguished person could not possibly be presented with stale cake, a fresh one was bought each day from Lyons for Is., and after St. Loe had been pre- sented with his delicate slice the remainder was voraciously devoured by the starving underlings from the basement.

With regard to the wrapping of subscription copies; by the time I arrived on the scene in early March, Mr. Hutchinson must have developed the bloody- mindedness to which he refers, because I cannot remember him taking part in this weekly • battle against time and the GPO, with Harry leading his troops into battle with a song and waving a paste brush. I can well imagine Harry's amazement at the suggestion of a payment of 3s. 6d. for dinner. After all, we weren't working for Lloyds or the Bank of England. All I ever received was Is., and a free ride in a taxicab, full almost to the roof with mailbags, with me perched on the top, from York Street to Mount Pleasant Post Office. Needless to say, I walked back.

, I was very happy to learn of Mr. Hutchinson's efforts on the editorial side. From my very humble position I was unaware of this, and for years after- wards I often wondered how he was able to occupy himself all the week by doing the 'print order' on a Thursday morning.

In conclusion could he possibly have forgotten the 'housekeeper' who, if you rang twice on the bell, kept you waiting until someone else arrived, and in her spare time had the strange hobby of taming rats in the kitchen?

New Malden, Surrey