25 OCTOBER 1930, Page 20


[To the Editor of the Sreerason.] SIR,—To Mr. Godlee, writing from his embattled manse (Oxon.), may I say that he can claim the distinction of being the solitary contributor to this diverting controversy who has completely missed the point of it ?

The main point, briefly, is that most people of moderate or slender means who require small but comfortable country residences are forced to take what they can find to suit their means. What they find are the " reach-me-downs " of the wholesale builder or manufacturer, not the pleasant confections of architects of repute. Those architects who so frequently cry out at the ruin of the countryside would help their cause best by getting together and putting on the market various forms of bungalow which would compete with the conventional and standard types. This they have not done and show no signs of doing. If Mr. Williams-Ellis here and there scatters a little manna on the parched sands it is lost in the immensity and aridity of the desert. Meantime we who want the perfect flower of architecture at a moderate price have to take instead just what we can get : sometimes what we get looks quite nice and almost always it is comfortable. But it is not as suitable nor as beautiful as it should be. But beggars have no choice, and the standard type wins.

Meantime let the highbrows get to work, be practical and produce the goods. As to blue slate, roughcast, crazy-paving and so forth—they all seem to me to be even to the most enlightened architects what aspidistras are to the landlady, things of accepted status and reverend charm. Mr. Williams- Ellis in his witty way suggests that I would unroof Wales, Scotland, and half England. If I could 1 would indeed : but re-roof it again with respectable material. Blue slate, like Carrara marble, is one of those things which should never have been allowed to emerge from that geological obscurity to which a prudent Nature originally consigned it.—I am, Sir, &c., STANLEY CASSON.