Lessons from Germany: Absent architects and the French Parthenon …
Time for reflection
During the long period of peace that followed the conclusion of the great Napoleonic struggle our industries had no Continental rivalry to struggle against for sixty or seventy years and could easily hold their own in neutral markets; but the enormous development of the United States and Germany during the past thirty years has resulted in steady pressure being directed to undermine our influence and to destroy our commercial position.
This has largely been helped by the governments and banks. In particular, the growth of Germany as a commercial power has been largely affected by the careful manner in which her industries have been fostered by her government, which has enlisted the help of science in many of them.
As an example of this, the work of analytical chemists has been utilised in the investigation of the chemical properties of dyes and the means of producing them cheaply.
But although the question of subsidising industries by direct bounties is debatable, there can be no question that the encouragement and organisation of internal means of transport is a direct benefit to a country. Even where the provincial state owns the railways, as they do in Prussia, it is considered the duty of the national government to provide cheaper methods for the carriage of goods in bulk.
Answering the call
Now that our various schools of architecture are about to open again after the summer recess we are reminded that the general social disturbance caused by the war is likely to have an unfortunate effect on education, and that special arrangements may have to be made with a view to mitigating the evil.
Indications seem to point to sadly diminished classes during the coming winter and to lines of progress that have had to be delayed or abandoned in consequence of the absence of so many students who have cheerfully given up their work and interrupted their education to answer the call of their country.
Barbarism at Reims
We regret to have to report what is described as the total destruction of Reims cathedral, an act for which there was not the slightest justification, as the cathedral was behind the French lines, and its destruction appears to be a wanton act of barbarity, as it could serve no purpose of war. It is by far the largest artistic loss that has occurred, as Reims is usually considered the most marvellous work produced by medieval builders in western Europe and is indissolubly connected to the history of the French people. Though the havoc in Belgium is far greater, no building of anything like the same exists, and it can only be compared to such works as the Parthenon.