Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Stucco and Gilt
The title to this last chapter has been chosen merely to indicate something of the vast range
of curiosities, architectural and otherwise, to be found in London. To seek them out is one
of the free entertainments offered by London. Only a few of an infinite number can be men-
tioned here, and such pleasures take all possible forms - caf├ęs, early cinemas, bits of un-
expected decoration, or enamel advertisements, for example. Things of no artistic value or
architectural significance in themselves, often enough, they are simply unconsidered trifles
which, by falling into no accepted artistic or historical category, are greatly undervalued.
It is certain that such odd and stimulating things survive only fortuitously, in London es-
pecially, beset as it is by bureaucrats, property developers who pay little regard to either
preserving the subtler qualities of London or the thoughts and feelings of those who may
prefer London to be left alone and who are mostly powerless to alter the course of events.
So the time for seeking after the curious and original is now; the London of the future
(apart from its historic monuments on whose merits all agree) will be a place of mammoth
blocks, of steel and glass hives for the production of paper work or for the accommodation
of human ants, a new and ugly Babylon. And there were no aspidistras in Babylon.
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