THE current furore over the proposed demolition of terraced homes in Chapel Street and Argyle Street, St Helens, struck a chord with reader Lynne Phelan who kindly forwards a poem written almost quarter-of-a-century ago. This provides a 'mirror image' in verse of what seems about to happen right now!

Lynne, from Baxters Lane, Sutton writes: "I thought the present residents would appreciate this poem, written by my mother, Beatrice Stirrup, and published in Whalley's World in 1980".

She discovered a cutting from the Star containing the poem, which is uniquely written from a condemned house's point of view. It came to light while sorting out the effects of Mrs Stirrup who died last year, aged 75. And, adds Lynne: "It just goes to show that even now, nearly 25 years later, not much has changed".

Entitled 'Condemned', it refers to an earlier clearance scheme in Boundary Road, and goes as follows:

I know that I'm fit to be lived in,

I know that my walls are all sound,

I know that my roof is quite leak-proof,

My inhabitants never would drown.

My window frames fit me snugly,

My doors fill my frames to a tee,

My chimneybreast is really healthy,

So why have THEY condemned me?

My owners have spent on me freely,

They plastered and papered my walls,

Painted my ceilings, considered my feelings,

Saw, too, that my arches don't fall.

So what gives with this guy with the Biro?

Inspecting from cellar to loft,

Ticking-off my worst points,

As he leans on my joints,

Then saying: 'Sorry, you won't be any loss'.

Just who is this 'God over Buildings'?

Disguised as an ordinary man?

He said I must go, as he tested my floor,

Who's HE to pronounce my lifespan?

Is there a Man-God over this one?

A one who bureaucracy rules?

A brother in tune with bulldozers,

A devil who's fiendishly cruel.

Well they came and pronounced judgement on me,

They said 'Guilty!' in spite of my rave,

So now I stand here broken-hearted,

Naked, empty and awaiting my grave,

So come now, the trial is over,

Reduce me to rubble and ash,

Let my soul ascend high, give me freedom,

Escape from this vandalised trash.

H NOW, two more close-knit terraced communities await a similar fate, unless there's a last-minute reprieve, which seems increasingly unlikely.