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Friendly bombs


Cowan's dictionary's greatest achievement is in not allowing the contents to become an exceptionally dry list. While always remaining informative, it's witty in some parts and even hilarious in others.

Among the more entertaining entries are those for: 'There goes the neighbourhood'; 'Terry and June'; the self-explanatory 'Barrattification'; and 'Betjeman, John'. Under this entry you find a brief description of how, when working for the Ministry of Information during the Second World War, Betjeman apparently considered penning a book called Information of Use to the Enemy, in which he would publish directions intended to guide the Luftwaffe's bombers to some of Britain's ugliest buildings. A forerunner to RIBA president George Ferguson's contentious X-listing, it would seem.

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