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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 17, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta The LethbruUje Herald Third Section Lethbndge, Alberta, Tuesday, April 17, 1973 Pages 31-38 tale two cities and the fmlldozers By Fred Kennedy and Rosette Hargrove Written for NEA LONDON... PARIS... The old dfy has a new heart of glass LONDON plan- ners and demolition msn are loose in the land. And it's like being in an air raid, defense- less, year after year. After the Second World Wai- Britain's municipal govern- ments looked at their cities and v.ere overwhelmed by a sense of shams. "Clear the slums'' became a battle cry. Clear the slums, even if it meant wip- ing out the city, even if the otv is London. The inner square mile of this metropolis is the City of Lon- don, an autonomous entity the city, like Westmin- ister or Chelsea. One part of London's "renewal" is taking place here. The City of London was old before the town around at vas imagined. It was a walled city where even kings and queens asked permission before enter- ing. Yet this London, with its historic places narrow- twisting alleys, has gradually ceased to be a living city. In the blitz of 1940 a whole area of 67 acres was tated. Seldom since Nero fid- dled has such a massive rede- velopment been undertaken as has been wrought here. The government planned scheme, however, has given a glass and concrete heart to the formerly vigorous old City. During daylight hours it is still the center of the bank- ing and trading community, with more people employed in its clearing banks alone than are employed by the entire British army. But while 112.- 000 lived in the City in 1873, only about live there now, so "that nearly people trocp out of the old City every morning. Gone with most of the peo- ple is much of the character of the area. So little has escaped the in- human scale of the redevelou- rnent that even the view of St. Paul's Cathedral is cluttered; instead of seeing the master- piece as a who'e. all you can sea are fragments. Dominat- ing the eye and mind are des- truction, depression and deso- lation. Now the overplan labeled a by some critics Greater London, too. Not even Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus or Soho are sacred. For more than 300 years, Covent Garden has been what every European city has al- ways had close to its center, an area where the young can slit1 keep in touch with all the things at the center of a great town the libraries, theatres and museums. Covent Garden is also an old creative slum, a maze of nar- row, dark little streets where bookbinders, candlemak e r s and even sword makers still practice their craft. It is the Continued on Page 37 Charm but its harder to find PARIS (NEA) For the cldsr generations of Parisians, their bsloved city is slowiy but surely being raped, disfigured. Until ten years ago, the des- ecration of ancient sites was minimal, the advance of the bulldozers was not alarming. The economic drain of two world wars and a series of colonial conflicts, had protect- ed Paris from urban ''renew- al and real estate sharks. But today? Recently a member of the Academy, declared: "They have taken away my Halles CCentral Markets) there is now talk of running a motorway along the left bank of the Seir.e. Obscene skj scrapers can be observed not too far away through the Arc de Tri- omphe, ruin the proportions of the Invalides and even the Eiffel Tower. More and more green spaces are given up to sordid compromises with real estate promoters. I who never felt the need of leaving Paris am. ready to shake the dust of the city off my feet." Foreigners, too. who have not seen Paris in the last five years, are apt to exclaim: "What has They see traffic jams at all times, automobiles parked on the beautiful perspective of the Place de la Concorde, along the avenue des Champs Ely- sees. Snackbars, pizzerias, dis- cotheques have replaced many of the old cafes where one could sit for hours over a cup of coffee, watching the passing throng. But Paris remains a beauti- ful city, notwithstanding, and has retained much of her prestige and charm, although her lorr.antic spcts are harder to find. It has become a pink- washsd metropolis, with build- ings revealing a splendor which had been hidden under a thick coat of grime. Still going strong is the pup- pst theater, the which operates on the Champs Elysees and in the Luxem- bourg gardens on Thursdays and weekends to crowds of en- thusiastic toddlers. In the districts of Passy, Auteuil and Neuilly, there re- main some of olden times. The old shoemaker sits in a tiny shop, 3 feet by 3 feet, but his clientele is dv.indling. One old craftsman observed: have known several genera- tions grow up in this quarter. But the whole block of old houses is due to'be torn down. Anyway jt is time I went be- cause I don't know how to re- pair plastic shoes.'' There are perhaps two or three Itinerant knife-grinders left for the whole of Paris. Gone forever is the window re- pair man with a stock of glass panels stacked on his back .which he could cut to fit any window. Who would hear his Continued on Page 37 The Canadian Family Store 318 6th Street S. 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