17th February 1944

Still raining.  Woke to the sound of its pattering on the roof.  Felt a little better though cough still painful.  Poulter phoned this morning to say that the Borough Engineer intends to destroy the little 18th century summerhouse on the Castle Ramparts.  This charming little “temple”, with stucco plaques and Doric columns, is shown on Morant’s plan of Colchester, and was undoubtedly put up by Charles Gray.  During recent years it has become rather dilapidated, and only a few months ago I was thinking that I should like to advise on its restoration.  Now, without the slightest reason, the Engineer announces that he is going to destroy it – and offers the Museum any “timber” they may like to take.  ‘Phoned Sisson this evening, and told him.  He has never really believed my stories about the Borough Engineer, but he could only say, “Well, it really does take one’s breath away, doesn’t it?”  He promised to get in touch with Duncan Clark and the Engineer at once, and I think he has got a very good chance to stop this particular piece of petty, spiteful vandalism.

The building is not worth very much, but it is a charming little link with Charles Gray, but naturally the Engineer does not want to lag behind the American bombers.  He has no Monte Cassino to destroy, but at least he can smash the little “garden-house” which itself so narrowly escaped a bomb.

Poulter showed me some of the Carylon Hughes MSS from Harwich – wonderful stuff.  He has the whole lot, and proposes to keep it in the Museum on trust for Harwich, so that should the town ever require to have it, they may do so.

He tells me that the Colchester volume of William Wire’s “Morant” has been found in the Castle, but the whole of the Colchester prints and drawings are still missing.  Hull has not been seen for days.

This afternoon, when I was looking out of the window, saw Grubb riding slowly past in the rain, on a stout little roan cob.  She told me yesterday, when I met her in the street, that old Blackie is to be put down today.  This is the old black cob which Tweed had in a baker’s van for many years.  He is probably about 40 years old.  Poor Grubb was very upset.  I remember the old pony well when I was at school.

Showers of rain and sleet all day.  When I got to Higham, there was no light, although this was the night to expect it, but the men were busy round it, hammering away by torchlight.  Apparently it has broken down.

Decided not to allow Benham to print the journal extracts, and wrote to him to that effect tonight.  This is no time to publish such material, and in any case the little which is not either libellious or censorable is not worth either printing or reading.

Made up a roaring fire tonight, and settled down in the arm-chair, wrapped in blankets.  The stars were glittering coldly early in the evening, but now thick clouds have rolled over from the east, and a few flakes of snow are falling.

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