Knocking Through

Bernard Williams

  • Rubbish Theory by Michael Thompson
    Oxford, 229 pp, £7.50, July 1979, ISBN 0 19 217658 7

The author of this book was once a builder, working particularly for the ‘knockers through’, as he calls them, who turn two rooms into one in terrace houses and make other well-known changes to convert a collapsing slum into a thing of pride and a joy for ever. Thompson’s sharp descriptions of these operations, and of the contrasts between the attitudes of those who own these gentrified residences and their working-class neighbours, who regard few of their possessions as things of pride or joy, and certainly not for ever, offer some of the few enjoyable passages in the book. They also contain one of the main ideas for it.

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