Shreds and Patches


Whistler, James Mcneill, Artist. Gray’s Inn Place. , . [18] Photograph.

“Time brings its revenges. Nowadays the secular world which dispossessed the monks has entered into an age where few of its own treasures are respected by an enemy. To-day a new generation of craftsmen is rebuilding the roof [on] Gray’s Inn, bombed during the war, rebuilding it to the old plan, perhaps even inwardly rebellious because, being used to the new materials, the new methods, the new tools, to them hammer beams and fretted vaults may well seem little more than dust traps. And indeed sometimes one wonders whether there is any sense in patching up old buildings when the spirit that once gave them life is lost. Yet how can do we otherwise when so many associations, so many sentiments and traditions of the past are linked up with them. Blot out a building and you blot out so much more than a building. You blot out something of the past. And however much times and methods and tools may change the past gives us back our courage and pride.”

— Charles Hayward, The Woodworker magazine, 1950

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7 Responses to Shreds and Patches

  1. Michael Rodgers says:

    This is a wonderful passage. Thanks for passing it along.


  2. novicetom says:

    Did Hayward really say “Yet how can do we otherwise”? Should “do we” be we do? Or did Hayward just. This sounds like a question for the english major.


  3. Finn Koefoed-Nielsen says:

    Back when I was a student we used to drink in Ye Old Mitre, an ancient boozer a stone’s throw from Gray’s Inn. They had Courage and (London) Pride on tap.


  4. Allen says:

    On the other hand, a Starbuck’s in that spot would be nice.


  5. Dick Wilhelm says:

    I have purchased your series, The Woolworker, Hayward Years. You put vignettes in your blog from Mr. Haywards magazine. Can copies of the magazine be purchased?


    Dick Wilhelm


Comments are closed.