The letter from Peter Atherton regarding the lack of skilled labour (3 September, page 35) brings to mind some information I read in Peter Nicholson’s Encyclopedia of Architecture.

Dictionary of the Science and Practice of Architecture. My copy dates back to a 1920 reprint and states:

“Bricklayers form a very numerous body of artisans in this country. A good workman can lay 1500 bricks daily in walls. The immense demand for bricklayers caused by extensive works connected with the railways, and the great increase of building operations in the past few years, have enabled good workmen to command almost any amount of wages.”

Does this suggest that the industry should have addressed skills shortage a little before the 1990s?

Peter Johnston, chairman, William Anelay, York, by email