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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 6 (October 1, 1930)

Passing of Historic London Inn

Passing of Historic London Inn.

Three hundred years of London history is associated with the Golden Cross Hotel, which has just closed its doors, a victim to the modernisation of the metropolis. Made famous by Dickens, through Copperfield and Pickwick, the Golden Cross yet cannot live upon its past. Something even more golden must be done with the old site; and the inn, like the coaches that called at it, will be a memory. It happens that this year they are making further commemoration in the Old Country of Sir James Wolfe, the chivalrous conqueror of the Heights of Abraham, and already, with Montcalm, the subject of a famous monument at Quebec. Now, it was Wolfe who declared, on the eve of the battle, that he deemed it greater glory to have written “Gray's Elegy” than even to conquer Canada. What, then, would Wolfe say if he returned from beyond the veil to see the invasion of Stoke Poges village by modern factories and buildings, depriving the churchyard, immortalised by the “Elegy,” of its seclusion and environment? Modern menaces to literary relics throw a new light on whether the pen is mightier than the sword. The Stoke Poges Defence Committee asks for £30,000.

It is not to be supposed, of course, that the changing of the old order is not progress. Reconstruction is probably at least 90 per cent. good. In ten years a quarter of a million new buildings have been erected in London, and “the appearance of the capital has been changed.” To realise the immensity of it, reflect that quarter of a million new dwellings in New Zealand would practically re-house the population. British official wireless declares that the building boom of the last decade shows no sign of decreasing, and that it “is expected to continue and extend under the encouragement of the new Housing Acts.” At the same time, it is also recorded that British unemployment is moving farther and farther above the two million mark. “Punch” has a cartoon showing the Australian kangaroo about to dive into the “Waters of Retrenchment.” To the British Lion (looking on and smoking a cigar) the kangaroo says “It won't be long before you'll have to do the same?” It is a cartoon by Sir Bernard Partridge, who may not be an economist. But it reveals a certain trend of thought.