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In 1931, signs that something was afoot in the normally peaceable world of British

architecture began to be seen in the pages of the architectural press. In March, The

Architect and Building News reported the careful defence of the ‘new architecture’

which had been presented by Frederick Etchells at a debate entitled ‘Tradition in Rela-

tion to Modern Architecture’.1 Acknowledging that this was an ‘admittedly immature

movement’, he nevertheless noted that a growing number of architects saw in it ‘a new

hope for their art’. Concluding, he rejected the claims of his fellow speakers that this

new architecture, in its adherence to function, was therefore ‘purely utilitarian engineer-

ing’, and merely a ‘stunt’, and declared his conviction that

There could be no doubt that there was growing up, through a thousand

crude and doubtful forms, through a thousand immature experiments, a

common state of mind in architecture, and this was the birth of a style, and

therefore of a living tradition.