Page 3, 15th June 1962

15th June 1962
Page 3
Page 3, 15th June 1962 — History without tears
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History without tears

By Mgr. Laurance Goulder A History of Architecture in and around London by Walter H. Godfrey (Phoenix House Ltd., London. 42s.).

°THIS is a book which you

need not be afraid of reading. When I was asked to review the new version of Walter Godfrey's "History of Architecture in and around London". I was not enthusiastic. Nothing can be so dull as the written description of buildings. However, I set to work and read it. To my surprise 1 became interested, and I now set down the reasons why this was so.

First, the author does not take for granted that you know all the technical terms. He explains them as they come up. At the same time, he does not treat you as a child and talk down to you.

Secondly, in this age of specialists, it is a treat to find somebody who is aware of the wider implications of his subject and can relate it to the larger world outside. Mr. Godfrey understands the historical and religious associations of architecture.

Thirdly, he helps you with a generous sprinkling of pictures and plans, together with lists of buildings belonging to the various periods with which he deals.

Has the book then no faults ? Of course it has. There are some slight inaccuracies, as on p. 25, where he says that the great church of Rochester is now a cathedral. it was always one. There are things here and there which could have been better expressed, as when higher on the same page-he says: " So we get the main division of the clergy into regulars (monks) and seculars (priests) . . ." Many monks are priests, and there arc others than monks in the ranks of the regulars."

But these are small things and do little harm to Mr. Godfrey's deep knowledge of the trends in the development of architecture. 'How moving is his lament on the decline of the medieval craftsman, who was so imbued with the tradition of beauty that he could create it without guidance from a professional architect ! How penetrating his identification of the latters rise with the secularization of architecture at the time of the Reformation and Renaissance!

BOOKSHELF

IF. the baby clothes are all in pink, and your Daily Miss-il has failed to give you inspiration as to a suitable name, further ideas can he sought in The Book of Girls' Names by Linwood Sleigh and Charles Johnson (Harrap, 15s.).

The history and meaning of the names is given in fa.seinating detail. But I would quarrel with at least ane of those details-the birthplace of St. Patrick (given as Dumbarton) but that is a controversy which is unlikely to be settled this side of eternity.

A few names chosen at random are Richenda (Germanic, ruling), Winona (Santee, first-horn), Wynne (Welsh, fair. blessed), Gabrielle (Hebrew, strong woman of God).

Needless to say, there is great Christian interest in this book, as the following extract will show.

" MONICA. St. Monica, who lived in the fourth century, was a model of motherly and wifely patience that turned her son, the brilliant scholar Augustine of Hippo. into one of the greatest of Christian teachers. Probably her name is a Carthaginian one, with no known explanation; it has been suggested. however, that it may cast back to the Greek word moms meaning 'alone', or to the Latin ?none°, I advise ', though it was more by her example than by words of advice that St. Monica set her son on the road to saintliness."

Crossword No. 722

Prizewint ers: First prize, one guinea. Miss A. Howard, Cheltenham, Glos. Second prize. a book, Mrs. de Chatte, Mapledurham, Oxford sh i re.




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