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LONDON:
E. & F. N. SPON, 16, BUCKLERSBURY.

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TO

CHARLES GILPIN, ESQ., M.P.

SIR, I regard your kind permission to dedicate this my second literary effort to you both a pleasure and privilege, and it affords me the opportunity of acknowledging many acts of kindness received at your hands.

Your encouragement of whatever is conducive to general utility, gives me hope that, however humble are the merits of this work, you will approve my desire to add my quota to the stock of knowledge available to the public on the important practical business of the Engineer and Architect.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your most obedient servant,

JOHN BLENKARN.

Blackheath, S.E., May, 1865.

PREFACE.

SPECIFICATIONS, agreements, forms of contract, bills of quantities, and reports, are not of a nature to attract the student in architecture, for they contain, in a dull, dry, and methodical form, the details and requirements of the sordid, the money-making, and the practical business of the profession, and they are by no means so inviting as the invention of pretty elevations and perspectives of buildings never to be executed, which form so important a part of the stock in trade of the young architect.

The student must be reminded, however, that the neglect of these practical details may not only prove embarrassing to him in his future career, in his intercourse with other professional men who have acquired a proficiency in these most important matters, but will, to a great extent, render him dependent on the advice of others much his inferior in point of education, and what may be termed the higher acquirements of the profession. It has been said, as the highest praise of Sir John Soane, that he rarely exceeded his estimates, and, to the greatest censure of other eminent men, that their estimates could never be depended on. The idea is all but universal that architects are unable to estimate the exact cost of a building, and other persons are

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