Page 4, 9th March 1945

9th March 1945
Page 4
Page 4, 9th March 1945 — Earth and Ourselves

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Organisations: House of Commons
Locations: London


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"Hearts of Oak"

1ha5 been estimated that 30,000 cubic feet of oak will be required for the rebuilding of the House of Commons, and while we would all wish SO See the new Chamber built of English oak, a feeling of disquiet does arise In the minds of those who watch with growing concern the cutting down of so many of our decIduoirs trees and the planting of such large numbers of conifers in certain parts of the countryside. One hopes that carefully considered action will soon be taken about the afforestation of this country, for there is no doubt that British Oak is one of the finest and most durable of woods.

Old London Bridge was built on huge Piles of timber which lasted over six hundred years and when they were finally taken up they were found to be of the oak that was largely used in those days because of its proven durability. That our ships had hearts of oak ria.5 a .vell-substantlwed boast in Elizabethan days when this was preferred above all other woods for the building of men-o'-war, as oak does not splinter and so the holes made by cannon balls could be readily repaired.

IN spite, however, of the excel' knee of its wood, the oak owes its original popularity— and cer tainly, tire fact that it was so largely planted in this country—. to the liking that pigs have for its fruit. In Domesday Book we are told that these magnificent trees were valued " for the food they afforded to swine." and having one day last Autumn spent an absorbing half-hour feeding acorns to a friend's pig. I can well believe this. The pig was in a state of rapture. So was the small girl who had to he lifted up so that she could see into its sty and follow with rounded eyes of half-fearful astonishment its snuffles and roodings. Watching Film. I found it very easy to believe that " a peck of acorns a day with a little bran will make a hog increase a pound weight . per diem fur two months together." So it is not only for aesthetic reasons that one views with trepidation the widespread invasion of pine and fir over our countryside, threatening as it does to alter She whole tone of our English landscape which, in April and May, is surely tire greenest hr the 11'7orld?, Anyone who has returned to this country from Africa in the late Spring will know the wonder and delight with which eyes that are thirsty for English green can drink In the myriad .shades that are offered to them by garden, field and woodland.

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