12th February 1943

Warm S.W. wind.  Got out this morning to meet Matheson [Secretary of the National Trust to discuss Bourne Mill, a National Trust property].  Before I went, two American Officers came in to talk about aerodrome sites. 

Went down to Bourne Mill in a taxi.  Made Matheson walk all over the property, showed him the state of the brook and the waterlogged condition of the field.  He was really quite horrified.

Took him to lunch at Rose’s.  After lunch showed him the Balkerne Gate, which he had never seen before, and the old houses in Stockwell Streets.  Told him how much had gone from there in the last 20 years.  Then we went to see Kenn in the Town Planning Office, and had a long talk.  He was very rude, and accused me of neglecting the Town Planning Committee entirely in my efforts to persuade the Corporation to take over Bourne Mill.  Actually of course I wrote to the Town Clerk, some two years ago, and although nothing whatever was achieved I was perfectly right to do so.  Kenn considers that I ought to have approached the Borough Engineer, but this would have been quite incorrect.  The Town Clerk is the responsible official.  Matheson was anxious to keep the peace, and agreed to adopt this course at once, and ask the Borough Engineer to put before the Town Planning Committee a scheme for them to take over the mill property.  The whole thing is quite absurd, as the Town Planning Committee has no authority to do such a thing, nor any machinery to carry it out in any case.

At another point Kenn suggested that if the Bourne Mill property was taken over the pond could be used for little paddle-boats, while teas could be served in the mill itself.  The machinery of course would have to be removed.

This man’s ideas are exactly in line with those of A.G. Andrews, [a former Deputy Borough Engineer] who once showed me a scheme to “terrace” the Castle Ramparts, and build glass sided shelters on each terrace.

As far as I could make out in the welter of talk, the Town Plan is not yet approved finally, even after 10 years.

Matheson left on the 3.45 train, and I went back to the office.  Fortunately the District Officer was at Writtle today.  I am in a mood of disliking the office work intensely.  I would give anything to get out, away into the country.

Left at 5, and went to Lawford by way of Dedham.  Mrs. Sisson is very perturbed about Poulter, and thinks there is very little hope.

Moonlight tonight, and a few planes about.

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