14 NOVEMBER 1931, Page 13

Many villages still have their slums, comparable with urban slums,

indeed sometimes in actual accommodation worse. I know places (and some in villages quoted as examples of the new housing) where men, women, children (and the third sex, lodgers) sleep in the same room without regard to age, sex or health, children sometimes alongside a consumptive patient. Health, happiness, decency are not to be expected in such places, even if all the inhabitants are robust saints. It is the existence of such hovels that creates the prejudice, the unfortunate prejudice. against the cottage that is old and lovely. Of course, a house must first be hygienic. Better pink tiles than leaky thatch, better the vulgarest brick with iron window frames than a peephole under Elizabethan rafters. But restoration is an economic art ; and it is not only a rich sentimentalist's fancy that the old is worth preserving.

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