Letter: British bastions take a vulgar turn

Sir: Is there to be no end to the humiliating vulgarities permitted, encouraged or imposed upon our cities and institutions by this Government? For instance:

A travelator is apparently to be installed in the Crown Jewels House in the Tower of London to speed up the rate of passing visitors (if you wish to pause and study a sceptre, bad luck])

Our handsome and spotlessly clean London taxis are permitted now to pollute the streets as mobile hoardings.

Our Royal Mail vans have lost their proud livery of scarlet emblazoned with the Royal Coat of Arms and now litter the streets wearing a uniform of yellow and red zig-zag stripes behind the ad-speak title of 'Parcel-Force'.

Two more almost unbelievable proposals were announced last week. The House of Commons Catering Committee - a new engine of destructive patronage - is proposing to convert Westminster Hall - the only surviving structure of the original Palace - into a combined Tudor cafeteria and souvenir shopping mall for tourists. Fittings and staff uniforms we are promised will be in keeping with the medieval architecture - ie wenches in mob-caps selling you Tudor fayre.

Last of all - so far - is the decision by the organisers to help to defray the cost of the ceremonial gates now being built in Hyde Park to honour Queen Elizabeth's many years of service to the nation by promising that everyone who gives pounds 2,000 to the appeal will have his or her name engraved somewhere on the gate.

Yours faithfully,

HUGH CASSON

London, W2

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