SPB Mais haunted by the Harrow Gasometers (in 1937)

This blog’s been quiet for a while, sorry, but I have been awoken from my slumber by the excellent Mr Tregaskis. So for you my friend, this, from SPB Mais (one of the arch proto-psychogeographers / crypto-topographers) on his topographical adventure through Harrow (1937):
“I descended from this dignified, unspoilt village past Matthew Arnold’s lovely home, Byron House, into the Weald with reluctance, for I kept on running up against that nightmare of a gasometer. In the end I took a bus and drove through all the other Harrows. To my great surprise as I wandered down Oxhey Lane…I found a gloriou common of bracken and silver-birches on both sides of the road. I was on the ridge of the hill with glorious views southward over all the Harrows. At least, the view would have been glorious had it not been for my discovery that the monstrous Harrow gasometer had suddenly spawned. I had been sufficiently harassed by the sight of one. But now there were two.”
The inability to appreciate the beauty of a gasometer nestling in the landscape does make me wonder whether, rather than being a prophet, Mais was actually a bit of a phillistine. When they recently pulled down the Edwardian gasometers in High Wycombe the old people lamented their passing. The rusting gasometers on Leyton Marshes are a key feature of the areas topography(like the pylons). They are merely the modern (or not so modern) descendants of the windmills that I read in Understone today sat down on the corner of Francis Road and Newport Road. I wonder whether Daniel Defoe complained bitterly about the cursed windmills that blighted his view.

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