|Issue 13 - June 1973|
|Why DAIS Disappeared|
is a free magazine published by students of Sunderland Polytechnic
The issue that was due to come out on Monday 21 May was withdrawn after
it had been printed at a cost of about £20, by the committee
of the Students Union. The reason for this unusual action was that
in that particular issue was an article about a Sunderland landlord
who is also a lecturer in maths at Sunderland Polytech; and the Committee
said that it was libellous. The guy who wrote it had it checked by
his solicitor, who said it wasn't but the decision stood. The article
was almost a page long which seemed a lot in which to say his flats
are bad and although possibly a little overstated and angry due to
the author's personal involvement as a tenant of Mr Metcalf, once printed,
it seems a bit of an over-reaction to withdraw the magazine.
The basic facts of the article however seem well worth a mention. So we have printed an edited version of the article (edited for reasons of space only):
It is a shame when student magazines start to have such internal censoring and one cannot help wondering if the fact that the landlord in question is a lecturer at the same place could have had something to do with it.
Dear Landlord ... begin an open letter to Charles Arthur Metcalf.
1) Fairy Tale: "Charles Arthur Metcalf is a lecturer in the Maths Department of Sunderland Polytechnic. He is also a landlord and owner of property. He happens to be, as a matter of fact, my landlord. My wife and I live in one of Charles Arthur Metcalf's luxurious palaces; let me briefly describe its splendour; ... three rooms, being bedroom and two other rooms. Also a lovely back yard and an outside toilet, the door of which is falling off. Three sheds grace the rear courtyard, 'lean to' would be a good description of their form. Where they are 'leaning' to is a matter however for pure conjecture. Bare floorboards in all rooms without carpets or linoleum provide the palace floor upon which the prince and princess must tread. Due to the filthy condition of the premises in general, bills accrued by the palace laundry are becoming simply ridiculous and on Mrs Thatcher type grants the laundry allowance can't be expected to stretch very far."
2) .............. He also owns at least five (?) other houses as far as I know ........ perhaps more.
Before we married, my wife was living in the house and decided to apply to the rent officer to assess the value of the property and to fix a fair rent. Up to this date this has still not been done, but the rent officer, after assessment, is unlikely to raise the rent much above £2.00 per week from its present £1.50.
Basically, the conditions of the premises are - no hot or cold running water inside the house; the only water supply is a tap at the end of the yard which we paid to be installed. No sink or plumbing inside the house and no means by which to cook food or to heat water, i.e. gas cooker. Thus our situation cannot be exactly interpreted as one which would inspire domestic bliss.
................... However Mr Metcalf is not alone in making vast profits out of the students at Sunderland Polytech. Others such as Mr Massey (chief Kulak for Chester Terrace) are bigger fleas upon our backs - or perhaps a more adequate description would be bloodsuckers.