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12 October 2020

What is the Post for we sometimes ask ourselves? (And maybe you ask yourself.) Well, it's a celebration of the kind of thing a Persephone reader might be assumed to love. It helps to revive the forgotten, the neglected. But it's also a reminder, a word in your ear, a cautionary tale. Never is this more true than where Bath is concerned and Adam Fergusson's The Sack of Bath, first published in 1973 and reprinted by us in 2010. Just to flip through its pages is enough to make one weep.Schubert may have died forgotten but at least his music survived; Evelyn Dunbar was not well known in her lifetime but we still have her paintings and drawings; but many of Bath's buildings went for ever. They were wantonly demolished, murdered. Some of us can never really get over this. Yes, Bath is still beautiful, it still retains its magic. But it nearly lost it. And so much went. This week on the Post: pictures of the horror that Bath City Council condoned, indeed encouraged in the 1960s. And if it hadn't been for Adam Fergusson's book goodness knows how much more would have been lost. We at Persephone Books honour and revere Adam for what he did and really, when Bath statues are moved or demolished, then one of Adam should be put in its place. (He is very modest and would hate that.) Today's horror picture: 'The Technical College, centre left, was designed by a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission' (caption on page 23). There was nothing more to be said. (In fact this is a modern picture, the photographs are black and white in the book itself. In colour it's even more horrific.)

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