Robber needed money for polio-stricken cousin's surgery

PROPERTY / Building on friendship: Communication is vital if you want neighbours to love you, writes Jonathan Sale

THE BUILDERS are very close to me. Inches from my desk, they walk up and down the scaffolding outside the window. They avert their eyes politely, except when, by mime, they welcome me back from holiday or warn me to batten down the hatches because they are about to do something dusty.

Architecture Update: Erosion of the past

THE Government is accused of failing to respond to growing concern that England's 7,500 conservation areas are being ruined by modern alterations, especially by the replacement of traditional doors and windows. A consultation paper on the subject issued by the Department of the Environment and Department of National Heritage has been described as a 'considerable disappointment' by English Heritage, among other conservation bodies. These groups want proposed alterations to houses in such areas to face the same planning controls as exist for satellite dishes and artificial stone cladding. Under existing conservation area legislation, owners can rip out original features such as ornate arches, original brickwork and sliding sash windows. The Association of District Councils believes that 'there is no question whatsoever that there is a rising level of concern about the damage being allowed to the nation's conservation areas'.

Architecture Update: Return of the pink Pancras

WHEN St Pancras Chambers, the former Midland Hotel fronting St Pancras station, London, is fully cleaned, passengers and passers-by are in for a surprise. Not only will the walls reappear in their original salmon-pink brickwork, but the roof tiles, blackened by pea-soupers and diesel exhaust, are to be replaced by sea-green slates. The original Victorian colour scheme will come as a shock to those born this century; it will also put the new British Library - still being built alongside - very much in the shade.

BOOK REVIEW / Brick pix: Brickwork - Andrew Plumridge and Wim Meulenkamp: Studio Vista, pounds 25

It's not only Carl Andre who is bats about bricks, but it is a bit like owning up to a passion for Morris dancing. However, if you thrill to the perfect proportions even of homely London Stocks, let alone medieval herringbone nogging, honeycomb barns and crinkle-crankle walls, Romanesque basilicas, Gaudi's flights of whimsy, Raymond Hood's American Radiator Building, the Pantheon in Rome or St Basil's in Moscow, then Brickwork, by Andrew Plumridge and Wim Meulenkamp (Studio Vista pounds 25), is the book for you. Above, the ziggurat at Ur: the Mesopotamians invented the fired brick in about 2500 BC. Bless 'em.

New building rules 'will lead to waste of energy'

(First Edition)

Obituary: Claude Gill

Claude Stuart Gill, bookseller: born Worcester Park, Surrey 8 October 1902; married 1934 Madeline Marshall (died 1985; one daughter); died 31 March 1993.

Gardening Cuttings: All bricked up

A SUSSEX brick company has designed and made a brick table for garden use. It weighs more than a hundredweight, so you need to be sure you get its placing right first time. The bricks are hand-made and clamp-fired, which gives them a pleasant mellow finish. The table is about 3ft square, the centre laid in a herring-bone pattern surrounded by a border of bricks laid edge on. The top rests on a central brick plinth. It is practically indestructible and, of course, completely weatherproof. At pounds 500, it is also very expensive. Further details from: Freshfield Lane Brickworks, Danehill, Haywards Heath, Sussex (0825 790350).

Letter: Declining skills

Sir: Further to Lucinda Lambton's article on cemeteries ('To Paradise by way of Kensal Green', 3 March) the decline in the individuality of memorials can perhaps be linked to the de-skilling of production itself. Even in the 1960s, when I was serving a five-year apprenticeship, masonry yards were already in possession of stencil- based letter-cutting machines.

Appeals: The Glasite Meeting House

A section through the Glasite Meeting House, in Edinburgh, which is owned by the Cockburn Conservation Trust. An appeal to restore the building has been organised by the Glasite Meeting House Trust, which was formed by the Architectural Heritage Association of Scotland and the Cockburn Association to raise funds and then, once the restoration is completed, to manage the building. The aim is to provide Scotland with a centre for conservation.

Female bricklayer awarded pounds 15,000: Council employee suffered four years of continual sexual harassment and threats from her colleagues

A FEMALE bricklayer has won pounds 15,000 compensation from a local authority employer after suffering four years of physical and verbal harassment from male workmates.

Roman city wall and gate identified

SEVENTY YARDS of Roman city wall and the remains of a Roman city gate have been identified by archaeologists in Exeter.

Weekend work: Cuttings

LAY new turf so the grass can settle during the winter. Dig over the ground, get rid of all weeds and rake the tilth so the surface is even. Use a line to keep the turves straight and lay so the joints are staggered, like brickwork. Sift soil into any gaps and firm down the turves by banging them with a rake head.

PROPERTY / LIVING HISTORIES: Notes to Buyers: 4 The Edwardian House

GLAZING in the porch, a common 'improvement' to the Edwardian house, should never be considered. Detailing is irreversibly lost; surrounding brickwork and plaster ornament is often destroyed to facilitate fitting. Decorative wooden elements such as turned columns or brackets are sacrificed. With the recess to the front door gone, the property presents a blank, dead face to the street.
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