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We must judge each building by its merits


Having wrongly assumed that someone of greater authority than me might well have reacted in the letter columns to Andrew Mead's excellent account of conservation of 1930s properties (AJ 7.6.01), I now feel I should comment.

Fundamentally, the article highlights the John Winter philosophy - the need for a judicious degree of flexibility in conservation, avoiding over-adulation for the period, particularly when this is at the owner's expense.

As a junior assistant to Herbert Rowse of Liverpool when I was feeling my way into the profession before the war, I recall him saying: 'These Modernist chaps are breaking new ice. They are brave indeed - they are doing a good job producing works of art, pointing the way to the future. But take my advice: if you respect your client, move cautiously from the traditional.'

He cited Maxwell Fry as a Modernist with traditional authority. 'Our buildings must last, ' he added.

I sometimes get the feeling that some 1930s listed buildings are not really worth the trouble.

Richard Brown, Poole, Dorset

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