William Morris

Restoration of Westminster Abbey

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings ventures to ask you to publish the accompanying correspondence between it and the Dean of Westminster relative to the proposed restoration of Westminster Abbey. The society considers it the duty of all cultured Englishmen to watch carefully any such proposals, both because it is a difficult and delicate task to put modern work into an ancient and traditional work of art, and because the consequences of a mistake in dealing with this peerless national monument would be so disastrous and so irreparable. The society thought itself bound to seek information in the most direct way from those who are responsible to the nation for the treatment of one of its most precious possessions, wishing above all to have authoritative information in view of disquieting rumours that are abroad. Nevertheless, that information has been wholly refused, and the public are still in the dark as to what is going to be done in this most important matter. The society feels compelled to ask (and will press the question by every means in its power), is the public to have no opportunity of a forming a judgement on the proposals of the Dean and Chapter before the work is actually done? The society ventures to think, Sir, that if this is to be the case the Dean and Chapter misconceive the duties which their position as guardians of one of our noblest buildings imposes upon them.

Letter to the Pall Mall Gazette, 27 October 1891.