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[ 601 To the Editor of The New English Weekly1 The New English Weekly, 12 (17 Mar 1938) 459 Sir, – Having in mind the attention which you have recently given to the relations of Agriculture and Industry, I was struck by a note in The Evening News of March 7. Mr. Robert Holland-Martin, Chairman of the Southern Railway,hadbeenaddressingmembersoftheBritishRailwayStockholders’ Union at a lunch. He observed that his railway’s electrification policy had proved a “gold mine”; and added that the company was “fortunate in having and, possibly, in making (italics mine) a very large development of suburban London south of the Thames.”2 It would seem, therefore that the railways not only have a considerable interest in the further suburbanisation of greater Greater London, but make an overt policy of it. Other authorities, I believe, have expressed alarm at the concentration of such a large proportion of the population in south-eastern England. Mr. Holland-Martin is also a country squire in Gloucestershire, but I do not know how much interest he takes in agriculture.3 T. S. Eliot Notes 1. Under the editorial heading “Who Controls Population-Distribution?” 2. Robert Holland-Martin, CB (1872-1944), former chair of Martin’s Bank, served as chair of Southern Railway from 1935 until his death in office. Established in 1923 as a passenger line, by 1938, it had built the largest electrified railway system in the United Kingdom, serving Brighton, Bournemouth, and other southern stations. The report in the Evening News of 7 Mar, under the heading “Southern Railway’s ‘Gold Mine’ / What Electrification Has Done,” concluded: “Future profits of the company would depend to a large extent on the population trend, but he did not share the prophecies that the population of the country would suffer a heavy decline in the immediate future.” 3. Holland-Martin actually lived not in Gloucestershire but across the border in nearby Overbury Court, Tewkesbury, Worcestershire, where he had inherited the family home and 4,500-acre estate; he served as High Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1938. ...


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