Letter: Tradition of painted houses enriches our towns

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The Independent Online
Sir: I'm sorry that Colin Campbell (Letters, 30 April) thinks the lilac-painted house is a sad case. While understanding the attraction of clean stone houses it is a sad reflection on his taste simply to say that "you don't paint stone".

In the north-west of Cumbria, my home ground, it is the convention rather than the exception to paint stone houses. Towns like Wigton, Abbeytown and Aspatria are superb examples. There are many fine farm houses finished in fabulously imaginative colour combinations which speak volumes for the cultured taste of their owners. Wonderful sandstone houses, many of them 300 years old, painted in a wide range of colours, lilac included, not to mention pink, rich blues and every variation of cream and brown imaginable greatly enrich the quality of the town and rural scene.

This is a tradition started long before living memory records and certain to be maintained. I am profoundly grateful for it.

Our Norman forebears, the great masters of stone, were lavish painters of their cathedrals, outside as well as in. It was duller minds of perhaps more parsimonious times who stopped painting. How much more attractive would some of our great cities have been if their stone had been painted and not soot-ingrained black? If so, perhaps then they might have survived the post-war destruction. That really was a matter to be sad about.

Mike Bell