24 JANUARY 1931, Page 15

The preservation of ancient cottages is one detail only of

the campaign for preservation ; but it carries a peculiar appeal. The old English cottage—and quite a number are pre-Elizabethan—has no parallel. The Royal Society of Arts did a very brave thing in purchasing the Village of West Wycombe and has adopted a wise policy. It preserves the cottages, not as a peep-show, but as habitations, and is precise to arrange that they shall be pleasant homes. Nothing is to be said for the old cottage that is leaky and unhealthy. A cottage must be a home first, therefore the costly part of the work of the Society is the reconditioning of the cottages that come under its charge, and for this most beneficent purpose much money is needed. It is interesting to remember that in one of the very charming pamphlets issued two years ago by the Society of Arts that Thomas Hardy, at the foundation of the appeal, made a plea for the cottage of mud and thatch and low roof, as contrasted with the modern County Council cottage, on the ground that it was preferred by the happy cottager on the ground of comfort ; and Hardy was architect before he was poet or author. He knew what he was talking about ; and his moral was, " repair and recondition when possible " ; and this is being done wherever the influence of the Society is felt.