1 OCTOBER 1948, Page 28

Lost London

London Echoing. By James Bone, with Pictures by Muirhead Bone. (Cape. 18s.) THERE were, and are, three brethren Bone. One took to the sea and is now Sir David ; one took to etching tools and is now Sir Muirhead ; one took to the Manchester Guardian (the London end ; essentially the London end) and is now Companion of Honour and the author of this singularly attractive book. Mr. Bone, with journalism in his blood, with half a lifetime spent in or about the street which for every journalist typifies everything his profession has to ask and give, ldoks back today from the peace of a Surrey village on the months and years when no day was ever uneventful, since every one of them brought some incident to be recorded, commented on, elaborated, and the result sent speeding over the wires to Lancashire, to instruct the most intelligent circle of newspaper-readers in England.

Now to Mr. Bone away in Surrey it all comes echoing back, and

from the echoes crowding in he selects this memory and that, prints again what he wrote on the night King Edward VII died or on that other night five years earlier when the Royal Mail Coach (with Mr. Bone as unlicensed cargo) made its last trip from the parcels' office by London Bridge to Brighton. It is all good reporting, and on the whole worthy of resurrection, but most of the book is full of far better things. Mr. Bone has a knowledge of his London (as his London Perambulator showed) equalled by hardly any other living man. He knows its by-ways as well as its highways, he knows its old taverns, its old inns, its old shops. He is as familiar with the hansom and the horse-bus of yesterday as with the taxi and the motor-bus of today. And about all of it he has tales to tell. His memory, or his experience, is no doubt selective. There is very little about the London clubs, a little about the London churches as fabrics but nothing about them as institutions, nothing about 2L0 in the old Savoy Hill days ; but 1922 is perhaps too recent to merit record.

Bygone London has an increasing fascination the more it is studied, and no better guide to it could be foupd than Mr. Bone. Read his catalogue of the shops in the old Panton Street ; lament with him the varied hostelries, ancient and modern, great and small (he starts rightly with Anderton's and the Tavistock in Covent Garden, but seems to have forgotten Hummum's), which London knows no more. Let him remind you that " Robert Twining of the great tea firm in the Strand was consulted by Pitt on the tea-tax " ; that " Gieve's in Bond Street made uniforms for Nelson " and that Ede and Ravens- croft in Chancery Lane made robes for Marlborough, Nelson and Wellington and the Coronation robes of Queen Anne. (What would the first Ravenscroft or Ede have made of the " Holborn o6oz " inscribed on every sheet of the firm's stationery today ?) Much of the London that Mr. Bone describes has gone. The ravages of two wars have turned fact into memory wholesale. But enough is left to start London-lovers on continuing pilgrimage. Mr. Bone will set them on their way ; and they may discover for them- selves here and there something that escaped even his eagle eye. Without leaving their (electric) fireside, indeed, they may discover much, for the book is enriched by two dozen full-page etchings showing Sir Muirhead Bone at his best. Par nobile fratrum, in good