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The Euracom Guide to Monopoly! The Blues…

The Landlord’s Game, as it was originally called, was designed in 1903 by anti-monopolist Elizabeth Magie Phillips. It was one of the first board games to use what game designers call a ‘continuous path’, in that there’s no defined start and end point as well as the concept of players ‘owning’ spaces on a board where other players landing on that space pay a forfeit. One interesting aside about the development of Monopoly was the story of Charles Darrow. Read on to find out more about this controversial character…

Darrow was a heater salesman from Germantown, Pennsylvania who lost his job when the Great Depression hit in 1929. He took odd jobs where he could but when he saw friends and neighbours playing a property trading game, he decided to publish his own. There were similar variants of the game being played in the Midwest and on the East coast but the final version sold to Parker Brothers came from Darrow who secured a patent in 1935 which included almost all the recognisable graphics we know today.

MagiePatent2Page1

A year on, the company was selling 20,000 copies of Monopoly a week and it made Charles Darrow the first millionaire board game designer. By the 1970s, the notion that Darrow was the game’s only designer was folklore (it was even printed in the instructions) but since new evidence of Monopoly’s early history came to light in the 1980s, it has – finally – been acknowledged by the parent company (Hasbro, at the time of writing) that Darrow was only one of the games’ many developers and NOT it’s inventor!

Here’s the story of ‘the blues’…

The Angel Islington (£100); Rent: £6; 1 House: £30; 2 Houses: £90; 3 Houses: £270; 4 Houses: £400; Hotel £550

Where the rest of the properties are roads, the Angel is a building that sits on the corner of Islington High Street and Pentonville Road. It was the site of a famous inn (known as the Sheepcote) that dates back to the late 1500s. It has been known as the Angel since 1614 and gave its name to the tube station that opened in 1901 as well as the surrounding area.

It was rebuilt in 1638 by William Riplingham who was fined for constructing ‘a new building in the Angel’s Inn in Islington’ and it’s fame was such that it was depicted in William Hogarth’s ‘Stage Coach’ as well as getting a mention in Dickens’ Oliver Twist‘…the coach rattled away and, turning when it reached the Angel at Islington, stopped at length before a neat house in Pentonville.’

It was a major inn and post-house (a place accommodating travellers with horses) with 23 hearths and offered overnight lodgings for traders coming to London. In 1903 is was rebuilt as The Angel Hotel in a Baroque style with its defining dome and in 1921was bought by J. Lyons & Co and operated as one of their famous tea shops. The story goes that in 1935 while taking tea there, an employee of John Waddington Ltd decided to include The Angel Islington as one of the Monopoly locations.

Today, the grade II listed building is a bank and if you look closely, there’s a plaque that states it’s ‘the only site on the board named after a building’

Euston Road (£100); Rent: £6; 1 House: £30; 2 Houses: £90; 3 Houses: £270; 4 Houses: £400; Hotel £550

Originally the middle section of the New Road (a turnpike built via an act of Parliament in 1756 across the fields of the City’s northernmost boundaries), Euston Road is designated the A501 and runs west to east, from Marylebone Road to Pentonville Road.

The original purpose of the road was to get sheep and cattle to the live auctions at Smithfield Market by bypassing the increasing east-west congestion around Holborn and Oxford Street. The construction was vehemently opposed by one of the city’s major landowners, the Duke of Bedford as it literally cut off his estate (now known as Bloomsbury) from the countryside.

Another reason for the construction of the Euston Road was that it offered a much faster route for army units to get to the east coast under threat of invasion so they didn’t have to pass through the busy City of London.

A walk down the road, especially on the north side from Great Portland Street down to Euston Station (opened in 1837) and you’ll notice that many of the properties that were once houses lay behind very long gardens. This is because a clause in the 1756 act stipulated that one couldn’t construct buildings within 50 feet of the road, a clause that was increasingly ignored!

Today, the Euston Road houses the world-class UCH teaching hospital, the British Library, the George Bernard Shaw-inspired Shaw Theatre and the headquarters of the Wellcome Trust.

Pentonville Road (£120); Rent: £8; 1 House: £40; 2 Houses: £100; 3 Houses: £300; 4 Houses: £450; Hotel £600

Also designated the A501, Pentonville Road was originally constructed as the eastern third of the New Road. The area known as Pentonville named for landowner Henry Penton in 1857 was a new suburb (often regarded as London’s first ‘planned’ suburb) north of the City and became a manufacturing hub for local businesses which included musical instruments, furniture, jewellery and oddly, artificial flowers. There was also a proliferation of coffee houses and dining rooms to cater for the factory and other workers in the area.

Today, Pentonville Road is a relatively nondescript street full of shops, fast-food joints and blocks of 1950s-era flats but one of the defining buildings of the area, not technically on Pentonville Road, is HMP Prison Pentonville.

Known informally as ‘the Ville’, Pentonville nick was designed by Sir Joshua Jebb, a Royal Engineer and impressively-titled British Surveyor-General of Convict Prisons who also designed Broadmoor Hospital. It was intended for the detention of sentenced convicts and those awaiting deportation. It was completed in 1842 at a cost of £84,186 12s 2d.

The list of alumni makes for impressive reading and could well be construed as a chronology of 19th and 20th century life in London –

  • Oscar Wilde – sentenced to gross indecency (1895)
  • Dr Crippen – hanged for murdering his wife (1910)
  • Éamon de Valera – participation in the Easter Rising (1917)
  • Timothy Evans – wrongly accused of killing Christie’s wife (1950)
  • John Christie – rightly hanged for killing his wife (1953)
  • Simon Dee – served time for non-payment of rates (1974)
  • David Irving – racist Holocaust denier did time for contempt of court (1994)
  • John Alford – actor did six weeks for selling drugs to a reporter (1999)
  • Pete Docherty – singer sentenced to drug possession (2005)
  • Boy George – spent time for assault and false imprisonment (2009)
  • George Michael – drug-driving offences (2010)
By Rob at 14 Aug 2015

The Euracom Guide to Monopoly! Part 1: The Browns

Designed by a turn-of-the-century American stenographer and, ironically, anti-monopolist Elizabeth Magie (who had hoped, through a game, to explain the single tax theory of  political economist Henry George), Monopoly has sold almost 300m sets with more than six billion green houses and 2.5 billion red hotels since 1935! Since Euracom is a company with apartments all over London, here is our quirky guide to the streets we all know but maybe haven’t visited before…

Let’s start with ‘the browns’. Old Kent Road and Whitechapel are the cheapest properties on the board and they are often overlooked as ‘nuisance’ sites – the ones that don’t offer great returns but towards the end of Monopoly marathons, the £250 for a hotel on OKR could turn out to be a game-changer!

Old Kent Road (£60); Rent: £2; 1 House: £10; 2 Houses: £30; 3 Houses: £90; 4 Houses: £160; Hotel £250

The Old Kent Road is a road in south east London that was originally metalled (paving a road with broken stone) by the Romans as the main road from Dover to Londinium. Chaucer’s pilgrims traversed this route on their way to Canterbury and the Saxons called it Watling Street – the 276 mile-long road that runs from Canterbury in Kent to Wroxeter in Shropshire. In the Middle Ages it was a place renowned for the hanging, drawing and quartering of religious dissenters and it only became known as the Old Kent Road in Victorian times.

The Old Kent Road was most famous for the vast number of pubs along its length and some of them were famous city-wide, including The Dun Cow, the Henry Cooper, the Drovers Arms and the Canterbury Arms. They have all closed down now and the soul of the area has all but gone, replaced with faceless chain stores and fast-food joints.

Whitechapel Road (£60); Rent £4; 1 House: £20; 2 Houses: £60; 3 Houses: £180; 4 Houses: £360; Hotel £450

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Whitechapel Road in London’s East End is named after the 14thcentury ‘white chapel’ that sat on the site until it was destroyed in WW2. It’s another Roman road linking the City of London to Colchester and for centuries, it’s been somewhat of a run-down area. Since it was outside of the City walls, it attracted the less fragrant trades such as tanneries, breweries and foundries (the Whitechapel Bell Foundry cast Big Ben and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia).

It’s most famous (or infamous) as being the stomping ground of 60s gangsters the Kray twins (the famous Blind Beggar pub where Ronnie Kray killed George Cornell is at 337 Whitechapel Road) as well as the place of the gruesomely notorious Whitechapel Murders committed between 1888 and 1891 by Jack the Ripper, a casebook of crime that remains unsolved to this day. Today, Whitechapel Road it is a thriving, multi-cultural, creative hub with property prices going through the roof!

By Rob at 15 Jul 2015

A Sensational Summer of Spectacular Sport!

The summer of 2015 will surely go down as a sporting classic. We’ve followed the incredible fortunes of England’s women at the World Cup in Canada, we’ve seen the inaugural European Games in Baku and we’ve winced at the abject failure of England’s U21 squad in the Czech Republic, but what have you been watching this summer? Here’s a little reminder….

The story of the summer (so far) has to be the England women’s jaw-droppingly brilliant World Cup campaign. Lucy Bronze, Toni Duggan, Laura Bassett and the rest of the girls did the whole nation proud and have ignited a passion for the women’s game in this country that we last saw when Gazza cried at the 1990 World Cup. After 2-1 victories over Norway and Canada in the knock-out stages, a cruel injury-time own goal in the semi-final against favourites Japan denied our girls a first World Cup final appearance. We hope the momentum carries on and we see more exposure of women’s football. Think men’s football but without the diving, moaning, ridiculous salaries and mountain-sized egos!

The less said about the England U21 European Championships campaign the better but sticking with football, the transfer ‘silly season’ is upon us. Who’s coming? Who’s going?  Who’s being touted around as the next Ronaldo, Messi or Bobby Zamora for megabucks? All will be revealed on the first day of the season!

Wimbledon fortnight always throws up some surprises, not least Rafa Nadal getting hammered by the awesomely dreadlocked Dustin Brown! Will our Andy do it again or will we see a new name on the famous trophy?

‘Just out of short trousers’ Jordan Spieth is the new kid on the golf block. The 21 year-old from Texas has already walked away with the US Masters and the US Open pocketing a cool $3.6m! Will he complete the Grand Slam by winning the Open and the US PGA? It now looks like Rory have given Spieth a free run at the Claret Jug after busting his ankle ligaments playing football with his friends. Will he make it…?

In Formula 1, the battle between Lewis and Nico rumbles on. Not exactly best friends, the Mercedes teammates have been hitting 1-2s for the team all season but who will come out on top? A victory for Lewis Hamilton in the British Grand Prix extended his lead at the top of the championship but there’s a long way to go.

Don’t forget the Tour de France, the Ashes, Glorious Goodwood and of course the Archery World Championships from Copenhagen!

Just a word of advice – in between watching all this sport on TV, take a trip outside, it really is quite lovely out there!

By Rob at 8 Jul 2015

What A Month!

Well, what month! So much has happened since we last spoke it’s hard to know where to start!

How about with some happy Royal news? The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – aka Wills and Kate – had a baby daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana on the 2nd May. She immediately slots in fourth in the line of succession behind her old man, her uncle Harry and her brother George and she weighed 8lb 3oz.  As an aside, Charlotte was ranked 21st in the ONS list of most popular girls’ names in 2013. Who wants to bet that it will be higher in 2015?

showbiz-royal-baby-13

We also marked the 70th anniversary of VE Day on May 8th.

Here are some interesting VE Day facts for you:

  • 20,000 people gathered outside Buckingham Palace to welcome King George VI and the Royal Family, accompanied by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, on VE Day
  • On VE Day, 13,000 British POWs were brought home on 200 Lancaster bombers
  • It took 4h 19m from the time the Germans signed the official Instrument of Surrender at Allied HQ in Reims on May 7th (2.41am)  to the time Churchill was informed the war was officially over (7.00am)
  • Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force secretary Susan Hibbert took 20 hours to type the official surrender document signed by the Allied Expeditionary Force, the Soviets, the French and of course the Germans. It consisted of just 272 words but with everyone putting in their two-penneth, it took a while. When she died in February, we said goodbye to the last British witness to the German surrender

Street parties were recreated with the food, clothes, music and entertainment of the time but as we celebrated, we must spare a thought for those who perished on the battlefields, in the cities and in the concentration camps. Britain lost 450,000 in the war (with an estimated 65-80m dead worldwide) and that should never be forgotten.

ship-ve-day-party

Last week, to top off a memorable month for Britain we had the General Election. In the weeks leading up to it, it became clear that no party would get the requisite number of votes needed for a majority and a mandate to do what they liked. Would the Tories have to form another coalition with the Lib Dems? Would Labour have to join up with the Scottish Nationals? Would UKIPs Nigel Farage get the seat he was so desperate for?

The answer to all three was a resounding ‘no’.

Both the Liberal Democrats and Labour were so embarrassingly thrashed, within hours of the resounding Tory victory, both Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband resigned and then when Farage was trounced in South Thanet by the Tories (with not an inconsiderable helping hand from comedian Al Murray’s Free United Kingdom Party, aka FUKP), he also threw the towel in.

David-Cameron-politics-nick-clegg-ed-miliband-main

So there we have it, a Tory majority and a mandate to do all the things they said they are going to do. Let’s wait and see shall we…?

You know summer’s coming when the football season finishes. At the time of writing, the Champions League final will be contested by Barcelona and Juventus, bringing back the union of Luis Suarez and Giorgio Chiellini, where the latter was bitten by the former in the World Cup, and the union of Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, where the former was found guilty of racially abusing the latter. Should be a good game!

We also know when summer’s coming when our phones are ringing off the hook. As ever, our city in the summer is a fantastic place to be and we have some fantastic deals on holiday apartments in London. Whether you’re coming as a tourist for a few weeks or as a student for the year, have a look at our selection of vacation and student apartments in London.

Here at Euracom, we have been arranging student accommodation in London for a quarter-century and as well as some great apartments at great prices, we make sure that you are well taken care of. If there’s anything you need or any help we can give you while you’re in the UK, please just ask us. It’s what we’re here for!

If you are looking for outstanding accommodation in London, make Euracom your first phone call (or email!). You can get us on 020 8420 7666 or by email atinfo@euracom.co.uk

We look forward to making sure you have a fantastic summer staying in a Euracom apartment!

See you in June!

By Rob at 1 May 2015

Who Are YOU Going To Vote For? Election 2015 Is Here…

It’s that time again! Our letterboxes and increasingly so, email inboxes, are full to the brim with ‘please vote for us’ manifesto promises, political rhetoric, policy statements and photos of incumbents and hopefuls kissing babies, but who should you vote for?

Of course we’re not getting drawn into playing with that particular hot potato – we live in a democracy, vote for whoever you like! – but we thought we’d give you the runners and riders as well as a slightly irreverent look at the election rather than a serious political diatribe on who should be trusted* and who shouldn’t**.

* None of them
** All of them

Just kidding. Sort of.

Britain goes to the polls on May 7th and you and your 48,000,000 friends get to choose who will run the country for the next five years. In the 2010 General Election, voter turnout was 65.1% but analysts expect the turnout to be higher for this election.

The 2015 General Election Runners and Riders

There are 650 constituencies in the UK and we are voting to elect MPs in each of them. The party who has the most seats when all the votes have been counted will win. Or at least that’s the theory…

Alongside the main seven political parties, a number of smaller parties are contesting seats including the Elderly Persons Independent Party, Left Unity, the Christian People’s Alliance, the National Health Action Party and of course everyone’s favourite election losers, the Monster Raving Loony Party, but here are the key players:

Conservative Party – David Cameron (incumbent Prime Minister)
Liberal Democrats – Nick Clegg (incumbent Deputy Prime Minister)
Labour – Ed Miliband (Leader of the Opposition)
Scottish National Party – Nicola Sturgeon
Green Party – Natalie Bennett
Plaid Cymru – Leanne Wood
UKIP – Nigel Farage

As with every election, there are always the traditional issues that each party will campaign on – education, health, welfare, immigration, law and order, pensions, housing, environment, Europe, taxation and defence – and each one will tell you that their ideas are right for the country and their opponents’ ideas are wrong for the country.

The thing is, it’s up to you to make up your own mind by reading the manifestos, listening to the politicians speak and making your own mind up. Don’t be swayed by popular opinion or what you read on Facebook on Twitter. The decision on who you will vote for is important and if you’re registered to vote, please do.

If you don’t vote, you don’t get to moan about who ends up in Number 10 for the next half-decade!

Instead of us spouting on about our own brand of political bias, here’s an irreverent look at the election, the candidates and the parties. After reading this list, you may be clearer on whom to vote for, then again, we may have muddied the waters further…!

  1. No party has ever come back into government after one term in opposition since 1979 when Thatcher beat Jim Callaghan.  Miliband has to if he wants to be PM
  2. Ed Miliband is 5’11” and Clegg and Cameron are a shade under 6’1”
  3. The youngest Prime Minister was William Pitt the Younger who was 24 in 1783
  4. 59% of Labour MPs were educated in state schools compared to 30% of Tories and 26% of Lib Dems
  5. According to the Daily Mail in a survey of 1,000 women, 3% said they would vote for Joey Essex over Nick Clegg and if they were standing, 14% would vote for Russell Brand, 11% for Lord Sugar, 4% for David Beckham and 1% for Cheryl Cole….
  6. As of April 2015, of the 650 MPs, 148 are female and 502 are male
  7. Perhaps surprisingly, just under half (49%) of MPs represent a constituency in the region they were born
  8. 24% of MPs are Oxbridge-educated
  9. In the Tory stronghold of Wealden in East Sussex, Labour have chosen an 18 year-old Politics student called Solomon Curtis to contest the seat and to challenge Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam, UKIP picked a 21 year-old former Lib Dem activist
  10. The longest continually-serving MP was Charles Pelham Villiers who was elected in 1835 and served until he died in 1898, a period of over 62 years
  11. MPs earn £67,060, while the combined ministerial and parliamentary salary for a Cabinet minister is £134,565
  12. In a YouGov survey asking people what animal David Cameron most resembled, voters decided on a snake. Nigel Farage was seen as a weasel and a response from a focus group on Ed Miliband was ‘one of those animals that, when you go to the zoo, you’re not bothered whether you see it or not!’
  13. UKIP are being challenged in Nigel Farage’s Thanet South seat in Kent by comedian Al Murray, the Pub Landlord and his newly formed Free United Kingdom Party (FUKP)
  14. David Dimbleby will head his 51st and final election broadcast on the BBC; Jeremy Paxman has been snapped up by Channel 4 and Tom Bradby and Alistair Stewart will look after both ITV viewers
  15. In a measure of consistency, on election day Cameron will have been in charge of the Tories for 3,440 days, Miliband in charge of Labour for 1,686 days and Clegg for the Lib Dems for 2,698 days
  16. The last election not to take place on a Thursday was on Tuesday 27th October 1931 and it was also the last time a party (Baldwin’s Conservatives) took over 50% of the vote
  17. It’s said that elections take place on Thursday because traditionally, people were paid on Friday and they would have little money left to get drunk

There’s also the list of ‘Things That Will Definitely Happen in the General Election’, including:

  • A tabloid superimposing a candidate into an image of a vegetable
  • One of the campaign buses will be foreign-made or will inadvertently park in a disabled spot
  • A member of the public will throw eggs, make a rude gesture or confront a candidate in the street
  • That member of the public will get arrested and end up doing the rounds of tabloid interviews until we forget who they are
  • One of the candidates for PM will forget a mic is on and say something royally stupid, racist, sexist or plain ignorant
  • A politician visiting a school will be asked a very simple maths or spelling question and get it wrong

Whatever happens, the future of our great nation is in your hands!

Joking aside, as long as you’re a registered voter, please vote. You may not think ‘just one extra vote’ counts, but it absolutely does. It’s your country and you have a right to say who is in charge.

Have a great month and we’ll see you in May!

By Rob at 21 Apr 2015

There are 57 items on 12 pages.