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the most remarkable feature of the month was the fortnight's hot weather from the 7th to the 21st, when, on every day, the thermometer reached or exceeded 80°. This spell of exceptionally fine weather enabled the harvest in the south of England and in the Midlands to be completed in a very short time and at very little expense.
As the harvest was practically concluded in August, there is no necessity to refer to the weather of September, which is generally a very important harvest month.
In the article by Mr. LAWES and Dr. GILBERT on "Our "Climate and our Wheat Crop,"* in the Royal Agricultural Society's "Journal" for 1880, a number of good and bad harvests are taken, and the weather in the year preceding these harvests is carefully compared, with the result that it was found that the good crops "have generally had less "favourable conditions for winter root development and for early growth in spring, but have been developed under "the influence of considerably higher than average summer "temperature, with, at the same time, deficiency of rain "almost throughout, and a considerable deficiency during "the summer months.
"The seasons of unusually deficient wheat crops, on the "other hand, have been characterised by severe or, at any rate, very changeable winter and spring conditions, with, "at the same time, generally an excess of rain during these periods. But the more striking characteristic of the bad seasons is a great deficiency of average temperature, and especially a great excess of rain from the period of active above-ground growth until harvest."
How, then, is it that, with the conditions apparently all so favourable, judged by past experience, the result has been one of the worst yielding crops, as regards quality, of the last thirty years?
* R.A.S.E." Journal," vol. xvi., second series, pp. 173 et seq.
The temperature was certainly above the average from March to August, and, with the exception of July, there was a very considerable deficiency of rain. Is it possible that the apparently favourable conditions can have been too pronounced ?
The wheat was put in in October, and came up fairly well, and up to the end of February the plant looked healthy and strong, and, although during the next two or three months the plants, on heavy land, made fair progress, and gave early promise of a good yield, still, on the lighter lands, they lost colour, and did not progress as they should.
Sir JOHN LAWES thinks that the failure in the crop may be due to the severing of the plants from the lower roots by the action of sudden changes in the temperature in March, when hot summer-like days were succeeded by cold and frosty nights, and, consequently, the plant, through its roots, was not able to take advantage of the manure applied either as a top dressing or previously present in the soil. This may have been partly the case, but in the north of England and in Scotland, where the drought was not so severe, but where there was the same sudden changes in the temperature in March, the yield was quite, if not more than, an average one.
It is a well-known fact, as shown in the drainage experiments at Rothamsted, that in a wet autumn a large amount of nitrogen is washed away by the rain into the drains in the form of nitrates which, in a dry autumn, is available for plant food. The latter part of September and the month of October 1892 were both very wet. Is it not possible that much of the available plant food was then washed out of the reach of the young wheat plant? It was unable, in consequence, to make a full root development, so necessary for the future success of the crop, and, in consequence of the defective root growth, the plant was unable to take advantage of the hot weather afterwards, because the roots were not
sufficiently developed, and, consequently, the plant was unable to assimilate a sufficient amount of mineral food necessary for a full and abundant subsequent yield.
T. A. DICKSON, Fellow.
The London County Council (General Powers) Bill, 1893, and Low-lying Lands.
The effect of the proposed legislative restrictions upon building on low-lying lands within the Metropolis is more far-reaching than is generally perceived, and in the recent Institution discussions the subject appears to have escaped criticism.
Attention was focussed upon the proposed compulsory forfeiture of freehold by setting back old building lines, &c., as "confiscatory," "predatory," and so on, but this is forfeiture on a retail scale-although it certainly affects the manywhilst the exclusion of low-lying lands from building is forfeiture on a wholesale scale, but affecting comparatively the few.
Most of the lands bordering on the Thames, whether in the old covered districts or in the remaining open low levels, are less than 12 ft. 6 in. above Ordnance datum-that being the limit of Trinity high-water mark. The effect, therefore, of the proposed building prohibitions will be to exclude large tracts comprising hundreds of acres, or, as the Bill itself said, "considerable areas," from development, the few lines of Section 102 in the new Bill extracting from the unfortunate landowners' pockets the difference between building land and "prairie" value--say £300-upon every acre. Many have long forfeited rents owing to the competition of country and foreign supplies with London market gardeners, and it is hard,
even upon an old inheritance, to be now deprived of the usual increment in town lands: for those who have bought in late years, trusting to the usual expansion and to latent building value, it threatens complete disaster.
The proposed restrictions upon low-level lands were first broached in the London County Council's (General Powers) Bill of last year, an "omnibus" Bill of 18 pages, the first 7 whereof dealt with the Council's proposed representation on the Thames Conservancy, whilst the last 9 pages dealt with sky-signs, park bands, and such minor matters. The lowlying lands clause occurred at Section 8, and, as originally drafted, it was most drastic and of grave consequence to nearly every riverside parish in London.
Compared with the bulk of the Bill this sandwiched clause was as a lion harnessed between lambs, and neither endorsement nor preamble gave any key to its real bearing, but were strangely inconsistent with the text of the section.
The endorsement and preamble of the 1893 Bill, both as first drafted and as amended in Committee, contained these words in its 17 lines of printed matter:
"To empower the Council to prohibit or regulate the
"erection of dwelling houses on low lands subject "to floods."
If these words expressed the purpose of the Council no exception could be taken, as our river walls and defences have long made every low level floodproof and have stood the test of many years. If the powers efficiently exercised by the old Metropolitan Board of Works and the Thames Conservators did not suffice, and the Council wished their hands strengthened, no objection could be made. The words in the section of the Bill of 1893, and repeated in the Bill of 1894, embodied, however, a far wider purpose.
The section (8) in the 1893 Bill, which was repeated in the amended Bill, with one exception hereafter referred
to, and which is, I understand, repeated in the 1894 Bill, was as follows::
"It shall not be lawful for any person to erect on land "in the county of which the surface is below the "level of Trinity high-water mark, or which is
subject to flooding, or which is so situate as not "to admit of being drained by gravitation into "the existing main sewerage system, any building "intended to be used wholly or in part as a "dwelling house, otherwise than subject to and in "accordance with such regulations as the Council "shall from time to time prescribe with reference "to the erection of buildings on such land."
The section opens, therefore, with a practical total prohibition of dwellings on low-lying lands, entirely apart from any question of floods, which is coupled up as only a second ground for prohibition; any owner escaping this double net was subject to the third provision threatening all lands lacking a fall into the present main sewers.
The aim of the proposed law, therefore, appears to be not so much to guard against flood, or exception would be made for such depressed inland areas as are remote from rivers and all source of flood.
Under this law not only would house building be for ever barred on lands one inch below 12 ft. 6 in. above Ordnance datum, but, as abnormal tides overflow that limit, levels. several feet higher might have been held "subject to floods."
The revised section, by the introduction of the word "and" in place of "or" preceding the sentence "which is so situated "as not to admit of being drained by gravitation into an "existing sewer," frees from the general anathema upon lowlying lands such areas as are now capable of being
But why should other and equal lands which have