18 JANUARY 1957, Page 12

City and Suburban


T TAKE full advantage of the National Health Service, and find it very useful and thank God for it. All the same, I would like to know whether there are any hospitals which give priority to self-employed people in their out- patients departments. In many hospitals a visit to these departments is regarded as a day off in a firm's time, and patients bring sandwiches and the `kiddiz.' The people in charge of out-patients can surely tell from insurance cards who is self- employed and who is not.


Two correspondents have told me the same story about the Duke of York's column, and, as their accounts tally, I suppose there must be truth in it. One, an Oxford don, quotes the story as an illustration of the efficacy of a question in Par- liament. Some time in the Fifties an old general, descending the Duke of York's Steps, was almost ridden down by two tipsy subalterns galloping up them for a bet. A Parliamentary question fol- lowed, and to prevent a recurrence of the incident a sentry was placed there. Twenty years later, noticing that the sentry was getting wet, a soft-hearted MP asked another question and, as a result, an ironwork canopy was placed above him. Twenty years later, a retrenchment-minded MP asked a question about the waste of military manpower and the sentry was removed. Twenty years later, a tidy-minded MP asked a question about the rusting fragment of an iron canopy, and the Board of Works sent a man to saw it off. Today the rust stains remain, though the crevices have been filled with concrete. If the monument is cleaned, I hope two tipsy subalterns will ride down another general . . . long live the Constitution!

WIGS ON THE GREEN Richmond Green is adorned by fine old houses in Maids of Honour Row (built for the ladies-in- waiting of the wife of George II) on one side, by Osborne-like villas on the other, and has the Tudor brick gateway to Richmond Palace near it. It is one of the most charming parts of this still lovEly Thames-side Surrey town. Not con- tent with turning it into a traffic roundabout, the loCal authorities are proposing to put concrete lamp-posts round the Green of the maximum twenty-five-foot size. They are also going to create the same havoc in Kew Green. The inhabitants of Richmond Green have formed themselves into an association to defend their rights. No doubt Kew Green will follow suit. It seems incredible that so late in the day as this such vandalism should still be contemplated, when all enlightened authorities, as one would suppose there to be at Kew and Richmond, arc using steel columns in places where they are still lucky enough to have attractive streets and terraces left. As I have said in this column before, I do hope the lighting authorities will go and see how well and unobtrusively the main traffic roads of Brighton are lit before they wreck the famous Greens at Kew and Richmond.

SEEN ON THE TELLY Some time ago I appeared twice in one week on television and realised what a damaging effect television must have on the characters of per- formers. My face was recognised by strangers, people came up to me in hotels, blushing girls, whom normally I would have considered the acme of beauty in their Gor-ray skirts and with their snub noses and freckles, asked me for my autograph and smiled at me. I did not notice them; I was too busy being the Great Man. I found myself wondering about my appearance. Had I a nice face? Was I not quite so fat after all? I took to wearing a bow tie like literary men are supposed to do, and even found myself wondering if I was recognised. Luckily public television memory is short-lived and I realise once more that I am fat, bald, green, unshaven and none too clean. The fantasy is over. And now it is over, the more I admire Gilbert Harding, a man who is himself essentially humble and who has never been taken in by the peculiar fame tele- vision giVes one. A lot has been written about the effect of television on the public. It is time some- thing was written about the effect of television on its performers.


Mostly hoe eighteenth century, with stable block and grand seventeenth-century staircase. R ANGER'S HOUSE, FARNHAM, SURREY: Early eighteenth century, two-storcy red: brick, remarkable for its original mullions and

transomed windows with leaded lights. Owned by the UDC who wish to destroy it: is close to the Palace and Castle.

Tit E. OAKS, CARSHALTON, SURREY: Late eighteenth century, the decorations by Robert Adam.

LOWTHER CASTLE, WESTMORLAND: 1806-11, by Sir Robert Smirke for Lord Lonsdale, Gothick. To be demolished in the spring. BRANCHES PARK, NEWMARKET, SUFFOLK: )(Home of the late Miss Parsons.) Eighteenth century

and later. , The fates of Shardeloes, Bucks, and the Georgian churches of St. Margaret, Brighton, St. George, Tiverton, and All Hallows, London Wall, City of London, are still in the balance.