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We must judge each building by its merits

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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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