18 OCTOBER 1940, Page 3

Tidying Up London

Londoners have been impressed during the last week by the gathering speed with which debris in central London areas has been cleared, and damaged streets made more presentable. But there is room for much improvement, and urgent neces- sity for extending the process to badly injured suburbs, and especially to the East End. Sir Warren Fisher's decision to employ five thousand men of the Military Pioneer Corps to start at once the work of cleaning up streets littered with debris should serve to tide over the emergency. But as troops could not always be available he is arranging to recruit a large civilian force of workers who will be employed at standard rates of pay by contractors commissioned by the L.C.C. Five hundred lorries are to be allocated for the work, and mobile cranes which are on their way from America. In this connexion the valuable work that might be done by miners should not be forgotten. There are many thousands of unemployed miners, and they are just the men who are skilled in dealing with work similar to this; and, in addition, many of them are qualified to undertake the dangerous job of dealing with dud bombs, land mines, and delayed action mines. Some time ago Colonel Dale Logan, writing in The Spectator, recalled the invaluable work done in the last War by the Tunnelling Companies, which were mainly recruited from miners. If similar companies were formed now they could be used in the immediate task which Sir Warren Fisher is undertaking in London, and later, when British armies are meeting enemy armies in the field, they would be trained and ready for military work of the highest importance.