Philistines are oblivious to their Philistine actions

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Though Sheffield University have ‘lovingly preserved and restored the Victorian wing’ (July 16) they seem to have assumed both that the later wing must inevitably be ‘significantly’ less important than the earlier one, and the retention of the one irreplaceable artefact absolves them from responsibility for the other.

As everyone who knows anything about the history of architecture will confirm, under the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, architects began to eschew the over-decoration and fussiness that tended to impair late Victorian buildings, and the best Edwardian architecture is now regarded as manifesting the apotheosis of earlier styles.

Philistines are always oblivious to their philistinism.

Here is the 18th century Cantor of St Mary’s, Lubeck, Germany, revealing the method of and justification for his destruction of the many manuscripts of Buxtehude (greatest composer of organ music before Bach) that he’d inherited from his predecessor:

He said: “Much has gone into the stove for kindling, and much given to people who can use scrap paper in their shops... nothing is more useless than old music.”

I feel sure that posterity will in due course excoriate Sheffield University in terms that will make Howard Greaves’ comments seem almost benign.

Robin Dow

Stocksbridge, S36