2015

There are 15 items on 3 pages.

The Euracom Guide to Monopoly – The Reds!

We’re at the top of the Monopoly board where the properties start to get interesting.  What we’re really referring to are the financial rewards and the reds of Strand, Fleet Street and Trafalgar Square are some of the most landed-upon squares on the whole board.

Read on to find out the fascinating story of the Reds!

There’s no getting away from it, Christmas is coming! You’ll buy enough food to feed a small army, presents to keep under the tree and hideous jumpers with reindeers on but after lunch what to do? Monopoly of course, it’s almost the law, but aside from being the world’s most popular board game that turns 80 this year, there are lots of facts about the game you may not know…

  • Of the 16 Community Chest cards, 10 will give you cash
  • In 1941, the British Secret Service commissioned games that included real money, maps and compasses to be sent to POWs to aid their escape
  • The total cash count in every game is £13,190
  • The only property on the board south of the Thames is Old Kent Road
  • The Monopoly Man, aka Rich Uncle Pennybags is supposed to have been modelled on US financier JP Morgan

Strand (£220); Rent £18; 1 House £90; 2 Houses £250; 3 Houses £700; 4 Houses £875; Hotel £1,050

It hasn’t always been called Strand. In fact, in 1002, it was known as Strondway, in 1185 as Stronde and in 1220, la Stranda. It’s a derivative of the old English word ‘strand’ meaning ‘shore’ and formed part of a shallow bank of the Thames before the Victoria Embankment was built.

Today the Strand runs from Trafalgar Square to Temple Bar where it continues into Fleet Street (hence the grouping on the game board) and in the 13th century it was known as Densemanestret or ‘street of the Danes’ because of the Danish community that settled in the area in the 9th century and who built the famous church of St Clement Danes.

The art deco splendour of the Savoy Hotel sits on the Strand as does the entrance to the magnificent Somerset House and the road was popularised in the famous music hall song ‘Let’s All Go Down the Strand’. In the 19th century it was the centre of Victorian theatre although almost all of the most popular venues of the day are long gone.

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Savoy Hotel, Strand, London © Nick Garrod

Today, the Strand is noted for its connections to travel, with hotels, luggage and tourists agents lining its length as well as famous stamp dealers including Stanley Gibbons.

Fleet Street (£220); Rent £18; 1 House £90; 2 Houses £250; 3 Houses £700; 4 Houses £875; Hotel £1,050

Say Fleet Street to anyone in the UK and the immediate association is with the newspaper industry since William Caxton’s apprentice, the perfectly named Wynkyn de Worde set up a printing shop near Shoe Lane around 1500. Even though most of them moved out in the 1980s, the evocative image of hacks hunkering down in pubs and drinking holes looking for the scoop remains.

Daily Courant

Fleet Street, Daily Courant © Matt Brown

Fleet Street was named after the River Fleet, the largest underground river in London and was the road that linked the City to the political hub at Westminster in the 13thcentury. Perhaps a natural extension of this was the development of the legal quarter. Temple, formerly the property of the Knights Templar, includes two of the four Inns of Court and the Royal Courts of Justice and the Old Bailey are a few minutes’ walk away.

Today the association is predominantly with high finance. Banking behemoth Goldman Sachs is in the old Daily Telegraph building; England’s oldest private bank C. Hoare & Co have been there since 1690 and the much-maligned Royal Bank of Scotland has been there since 1580.

Trafalgar Square (£240); Rent £20; 1 House £100; 2 Houses £300; 3 Houses £750; 4 Houses £925; Hotel £1,100

Initially laid out by architect John Nash in the 1820s, Trafalgar Square is one of London’s most famous tourist destinations and up until 2001 it was also the home to what seemed like most of London’s pigeons.

Named after the Battle of Trafalgar, perhaps Britain’s most famous naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars, the centrepiece of the magnificent square is Nelson’s Column. A Corinthian column designed by William Railton a little over 169ft in height, it is guarded on all corners by four bronze lions designed by Sir Edwin Landseer.

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Trafalgar Square, London © Sathish J

Now pedestrianised, Trafalgar Square is bordered by the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, the church of St Martin-in-the-Field and a giant Waterstone’s bookstore and if you’re in London over Christmas and New Year, Trafalgar Square is a great place to be to join in the revelling!

By Rob at 21 Dec 2015

Euracom Comes To West Hampstead!

Where are the coolest, hippest areas of London? Vox pops on the streets will give you Shoreditch, Hoxton and the staple on any list, Camden, but there’s a new sheriff in town! Actually it’s not that new as you’ll see when you read the blog on the website but we have acquired a fantastic new property in West Hampstead and you, our lucky readers, are the very first people in the whole world to get the chance to book your stay! Read on to find out more about London’s newest-oldest coolest area!

West Hampstead is, as the name suggests, west of Hampstead, one of London’s most exclusive (and expensive) residential areas and you should expect no change from £10m if you want a five-bedroom family home there. However just a mile or so away is West Hampstead. Bordered by Childs Hill to the north, Swiss Cottage to the east, South Hampstead to, yes correct, the south and Kilburn and Cricklewood to the west-ish, the area is a thriving, friendly community with a real, old-school Bohemian vibe. Some say it’s a yuppie stronghold and while that’s true to a certain extent, you’ll find all sorts of people buzzing around, from City-types to aged hippies to families, young urbanites and the newly crowned millennials.

By and large, West Hampstead in the London Borough of Camden can be defined by one street, West End Lane, the main drag that dissects the area and it’s one of the very best high streets in London. While the whole world is fixated with massive, sprawling shopping malls with hundreds of shops, dozens of food chains and ample parking, West Hampstead has stayed a proper, classic English high street, but it wasn’t always like that…

In the 13th century, the area was known as ‘le Rudyng’, an old English term meaning ‘woodland clearing’ and it’s believed there was a dwelling of some sort on the land at that time. It stayed ostensibly rural for another 200 years but by the mid-1500s the village was called West End, a freehold estate belonging to Kilburn Priory, a small monastic community of nuns. There was an estate house extant by the mid-1600s and it was around this time that West End Lane was so named.

If you’ve ever driven the length of West End Lane from Finchley Road to Swiss Cottage, you notice a hard left-to-right kink. It’s been there for the best part of 500 years because it was used to delineate the individual estates from each other but as time passed, more and more houses were built by London’s merchants and it turned in to a proper, working village.

From the start of the 1800s, there were three major residences in the village – West End House, West End Hall and Lauriston Lodge and interestingly, when the railways arrived 50 years later the estates were sold off to redevelop the area into a thriving commuter town. In 1879 when the railway board called the stations West Hampstead, the area became so called as well, presumably to distinguish it from the more well-known West End further into central London although this was challenged by a local estate agent who claimed he coined the name – they really don’t change, do they?!

As the 19th century turned the corner into the 20th, public amenities like street lights, gas and electricity were provided and the frontages of West End Lane started to take shape as shops.

In 1952, when celebrated German-born British architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, best known for his 46-volume county-by-county guides The Buildings of England came to West Hampstead, he wrote that the area was only worth visiting to see the great collection of Victorian churches, going as far as saying ‘the houses and streets require no notice…’

He was right about a lot of the country but he was most certainly wrong about that!

West Hampstead is a friendly, safe, down-to-earth sort of place and somewhat of a social hub. It retains a village feel with a Bohemian vibe and if you take a stroll down West End Lane, you’ll find some excellent restaurants, cafés, cosy pubs and bars from all over the world, quirky boutiques, delicatessens and bakeries and some very cool shops selling all sorts, including art, furniture, clothes and books. You are also minutes away from the vast expanse of Hampstead Heath, a big draw for any visitor to London.

west-end-lane

For these reason (and many others), we have acquired a fantastic property within walking distance of the Jubilee Line at West Hampstead as well as the overground station of the same name that will take you into central London in 10-15 minutes. Clickhere for the full details of these fantastic, newly-refurbished apartments, all furnished with fully fitted kitchens, large double beds and luxury bathrooms. They are perfect for tourists, corporate travellers, couples and families coming to London looking for a perfectly located apartment from where to explore our fantastic city!

west-hampstead

Call us TODAY on 020 8420 7666 or email info@euracom.co.uk to book your apartment in London for Christmas!

By Rob at 10 Dec 2015

The World’s Most Popular Tourist Destinations

If money was no object, what’s the number one place on your ‘must see’ list? We’re sure you have your own thoughts and ideas but what about the billion or so tourists who travel every year? Where do they all go? Google ‘world’s top tourist destinations’ and you’ll find list after list, but would you be surprised not to see one British tourist site or even the Eiffel Tower?  Of course you would, and we bet you’ll NEVER guess what’s at number one!

Every year, dozens of tourist websites publish lists of the world’s most popular and most visited tourist destinations and you’d think that places like the British Museum (6.7m annual visitors), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (6.3m) and the Colosseum in Rome (5.1m) would be way up the list but they don’t even make the top 50.

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Colosseum in Rome © Gary Ullah

Not surprisingly, there are four Disney parks in the top 20 (Orlando, California, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea) as well as 15 other theme parks in the top 50 and the list we are referring to was published by tourism site Travel + Leisure.

The numbers are based on data supplied by various government agencies and industry reports such as the Global Attractions Attendance Report. The report came hot on the heels of the annual ‘state of global tourism’ report by the World Tourist Organisation which (for 2013) said that there was a 5% y-o-y growth (an additional 52m tourists) bringing the total up to a staggering 1.087bn – around 1 in 7 of the world’s population.

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Disney World Magic Kingdom © Joe Penniston

The report said that the biggest growth in international tourism came from Asia, Africa and Europe but not surprisingly the most visited region in the world is Europe with 563m visitors in 2013 (52% of the world’s tourist market) followed by the Americas with 169m visitors and Africa with 56m.

There are a few caveats. Travel + Leisure define tourist attractions as ‘cultural and historical sites, natural landmarks, and officially designated spaces’ so whilst specific areas such as the Las Vegas Strip make the list, shopping malls, beaches, bridges and sites that attract almost exclusively religious pilgrims such as Mecca for the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage and Sabarimala for the Ayyappan Saranam Hindu pilgrimage to Kerala, India were omitted despite welcoming many tens of millions of annual visitors.

Some sites are naturally restricted by their accessibility. Yellowstone National Park (3.2m) takes a special effort to get to, as does the Terracotta Army in Xi’an, China (4.8m) and Machu Picchu in Peru which has a restriction of 2,500 entries a day, or 912,500 annually.

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Machu Picchu © Dennis Jarvis

From 50 to 25, you’ll find the usual suspects of the Taj Mahal (7-8m); Bourbon Street in New Orleans (7.47m); the Sydney Opera House (8.2m); the Louvre in Paris (9.33m) and the Great Wall of China (10.7m), but what sites make the coveted Top 25? How many have you been to? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

25. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City – 11m
24.  Epcot, Disney World, Florida, USA – 11.2m
23. San Antonio River Walk, Texas, USA – 11.5m
22. South Street Seaport, New York, USA – 12m
21. Balboa Park, San Diego, USA – 12-14m
20. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, USA – 13m
19. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France – 14m
18. Tokyo DisneySea, Tokyo, Japan – 14.1m
17. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, USA – 14.28m
16. Forbidden City, Beijing, China – 15.3m
15. Disneyland, Anaheim, USA – 16.2m
14. Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo, Japan – 17.2m
13. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, USA – 18m
12. Disney World, Orlando, USA – 18.5m
11. Basilica of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, Mexico City, Mexico – 20m
10. Grand Central Terminal, New York, USA – 21.6m
9. Niagara Falls, New York, USA & Ontario, Canada – 22m
=7. Sensoji Temple, Tokyo, Japan – 30m
=7. Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo, Japan – 30m
6. Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, USA – 30.5m
=4. Union Station, Washington DC, USA – 40m
=4. Central Park, New York, USA – 40m
3. Times Square, New York, USA – 50m
2. The Zócalo, Mexico City, Mexico – 85m
1. Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey – 91.2m

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Grand Bazaar Istanbul © Pedro Szekely

See, we told you you’d never guess what was at number one! The Grand Bazaar is a 15th century market famous the world over for hand-painted ceramics, beautifully intricate carpets, Byzantine jewellery, copperware and of course Turkey’s famous coffee. A drink so important to the country it has been designated a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Turkey, described as ‘the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage’.

By Rob at 15 Oct 2015

The Euracom Guide to Monopoly – The Oranges!

As we move around the Monopoly board, it seems that some of the sets were put together at random and some were chosen by association. As we come to the end of the second side, the oranges have a clear link; they are all connected by the law. Bow Street is most famous for the Magistrate’s Court; Marlborough Street also had a Magistrate’s Court and Vine Street had a police station, once one of the busiest in the world.

Millions and millions of people play Monopoly in all its various guises and we all have our favourite sets – a straw poll in the Euracom office suggested that Rob likes the four stations, Richard likes the ‘greens’ of Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, Joe likes the blues because they’re close to his beloved Arsenal and Kelly likes the purples of Park Lane and Mayfair. However, if winning the game is your sole aim, the oranges are statistically your best bet. Why? Well, the ‘jail’ corner (including Just Visiting) is the single most visited square and the most frequently thrown dice scores are 6, 7, 8 and 9. You can see where we’re going with this…

Bow Street (£180); Rent: £14; 1 House £70; 2 Houses £200; 3 Houses £550; 4 Houses £750; Hotel £950

Bow Street in Covent Garden was constructed in 1633 by Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford and was given the name ‘bow’ purely because of the shape of the road. The most notable resident around this time was ‘Roundhead’ Oliver Cromwell and in the 18th century, Bow Street was associated with the pornography trade but the most famous building on the short thoroughfare was the Bow Street Magistrates’ Court, established in 1740.

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Bow Street Magistrates Court © Matt Brown

The most well-known magistrates’ court in England for most of its 266-year existence, one of the first ‘habitual’ disorders they sought to stop was crime as a result of gin consumption. In order to tackle these crimes, magistrate Henry Fielding brought together eight reliable constables to make arrests and serve writs. Known initially as ‘Mr Fielding’s People’ their reputation for honesty and efficiency earned them the famous moniker the ‘Bow Street Runners’.

This group, the first uniformed police unit in Britain, soon became more organised and was the precursor to the Metropolitan Police.

A series of famous names passed through Bow Street Magistrates’ Court including playwright Oscar Wilde (who ordered tea, toast and eggs from the Tavistock Hotel to be delivered to his cell), murderer Dr Crippen, suffragettes Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, Chilean dictator General Pinochet, 60s crime bosses Ronnie & Reggie Kray and most recently, radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza.

The court closed for good in 2006 and was converted in to a boutique hotel and today, Bow Street is most famous as the location of the Royal Opera House.

Marlborough Street (£180); Rent: £14; 1 House £70; 2 Houses £200; 3 Houses £550; 4 Houses £750; Hotel £950

Marlborough Street is in Soho running west to east from the junction of Regent Street at its western end. At the eastern end it becomes Noel Street.

It was developed in the early years of the 18th century as Great Marlborough Street and was so named for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, the commander of the English Army. At first, the street was a very fashionable place to live but as the 19thcentury came around, it became, as it remains, a commercial street with perhaps its most famous resident being the instantly recognisable black and white Tudor beams of Liberty.

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Great Marlborough Street © Stig Nygaard

Like Bow Street, Marlborough Street was well known for its magistrates’ court where famous defendants in cases heard there include The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones and Beatle John Lennon.

The musical connection continues with the HQ of Sony Music and well-known classical and jazz record store Harold Moores Records but early in the 20th century it was a hub for the automotive industry.

Vine Street (£200); Rent £16; 1 House £80; 2 Houses £220; 3 Houses £600; 4 Houses £800; Hotel £1,000

Even though today Vine Street is a 70-ft long dead end, it also has a fascinating crime-based history. We know for sure that the street was named after an 18th century pub called The Vine but further to that, it’s thought that there may have been a vineyard in or around the locale in Roman times but try as we might, we can’t verify that factoid.

Around 1750, a court house was built at the western end but closed in 1836 when the court system in Westminster was overhauled and in about 1767, Vine Street Police Station was built. Originally intended as a watch-house, a school operated on the first floor and there were two cells in the basement.

It went on to become one of London’s major police stations and one of the busiest in the world in the 19th century and it closed in 1940. As foot traffic in the area increased, it was re-opened in 1966 but closed for good as recently as 1997.

De Dion-Bouton, once the largest car manufacturer in the world had a showroom at number 10 and at 45, residents included United Motor Industries and Charles Jarrott & Letts, concessionaires for de Dietrich, Oldsmobile and Napier cars.

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Vine Street London © Howard Lake

The most famous activity at the Vine Street Police Station occurred in 1895 and it involved John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensbury, the man who gave his name to the rules that form the basis of boxing, and Oscar Wilde.

Angered by an apparent homosexual relationship between Wilde and his son Alfred, Queensbury referred to Wilde as a ‘Sodomite’ and Wilde then sued him for criminal libel. During the court case, Queensbury’s barrister portrayed Wilde as a vicious older man who preyed on young boys and Wilde quickly dropped the case when he was informed that Queensbury’s legal team intended to call on several male prostitutes to testify that he was indeed promiscuous.

Queensbury then issued a counterclaim against Wilde for the huge amounts of money incurred in organising a defence and appointing a legal team which he won, leaving Wilde bankrupt. He was subsequently sentenced to two years’ ‘hard labour, hard fare and a hard bed’ first in Pentonville Prison and then in Wandsworth Prison after being charged and convicted of gross indecency.

With his health and reputation in tatters, he exiled himself to France and died at the Hotel d’Alsace in Paris in November 1900.

Back to Vine Street and today, it is nothing more than a nondescript dead-end populated predominantly with the rear facades of properties facing other streets.

By Rob at 15 Oct 2015

The Euracom Guide to Monopoly – The Pinks!

As an avid reader of our newsletter, you’ll know by now that Monopoly, perhaps the best-known board game of all time, was introduced in the 1930s. It has endured the evolution of computer games and smart phones and is a Christmas Day, post-lunch staple and while you will know many of the streets, stations and roads, there’s quite a few that won’t be at the top of a tourist’s itinerary…

Here’s the story of ‘the pinks’…

Pall Mall (£140); Rent: £10; 1 House: £50; 2 Houses: £150; 3 Houses: £450; 4 Houses: £625; Hotel £750

The first street in London to be illuminated by gaslight on June 4th 1807, Pall Mall was so named for a seventeenth century French precursor to croquet that was played in St. James’s Park called palle-maille by the likes of the Duke of York and King Charles II.

Pall Mall runs parallel to The Mall, from St. James’s Street to Haymarket and is designated the A4. A road was present during Saxon times but the earliest recorded mention was from the 12th century in connection with St. James’s Hospital, a leper colony. Pall Mall as we know it today was opened to the public in September 1661 and was originally called Catherine Street after Queen Catherine of Braganza, the wife of King Charles II.

Pall Mall

Under the auspices of the Streets, London and Westminster Act 1662, Pall Mall was one of a number of important London streets ‘thought fitt (sic) immediately to be repaired, new paved or otherwise amended’ and in the next five years, the area that became known as St. James’s was extensively developed, intended for the moneyed classes, including royalty. A number of prominent buildings were constructed including St. James’s Palace, Marlborough House and Buckingham House (which isn’t to be confused with the Buckingham House that became Buckingham Palace).

Pall Mall also had a strong, albeit very brief, art scene. The Royal Academy, the National Gallery and auction house Christie’s were located on the street but none lasted very long.

Today, Pall Mall, even though it is a major London thoroughfare, remains a relatively quiet bastion of great British conservatism and is home to a number of famous ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ including The Athenaeum, the Army & Navy Club, the Oxford & Cambridge Club, the Royal Automobile Club and the Reform Club. The latter was from where Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg set out on his ‘around the world in 80 days’ journey.

Whitehall (£140); Rent: £10; 1 House: £50; 2 Houses: £150; 3 Houses: £450; 4 Houses: £625; Hotel £750

Named for the Palace of Whitehall before it was gutted by fire in 1698, Whitehall has become synonymous as the location of a number of government ministries and departments including the Admiralty Buildings, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Health, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Downing Street, the home of the Prime Minister.

It was originally a very wide road leading to the front of the palace and Trafalgar Square was developed at its northern end at the start of the nineteenth century. The Whitehall we see today was developed around the same time and the only surviving section of the palace is Banqueting House which was built by noted architect Inigo Jones in 1622.

horseguards_parade

Scotland Yard was originally located at the north-eastern end of the street before relocating to the Embankment in 1890 and twice a day, the Changing of the Guard takes place at Horse Guards Parade in front of the magnificent, grade I listed Palladian-style building where, interestingly, the reigning monarch is the only person allowed to drive though the central archway.

Because of its long association with government and especially the various branches of the armed forces, Whitehall is lined with memorials to war heroes and politicians including the Cenotaph, Britain’s primary war memorial.

Alongside the pomp and circumstance of government, towards the Trafalgar Square there is the usual proliferation of pubs, eateries and shops aimed squarely at passing tourists fresh from the Changing of the Guard!

Northumberland Avenue (£160); Rent: £12; 1 House: £60; 2 Houses: £180; 3 Houses: £500; 4 Houses: £700; Hotel £900

In the early seventeenth century, the Earl of Northampton built Northumberland House on the site of what was the Chapel and Hospital of St. Mary Rounceval at Charing Cross. It was an extensive property running down to the Thames but in 1768 it was damaged during the Wilkes’ Election Riots. John Wilkes, radical, libertine, sometime pornographic poet and the first elected MP in 1757 was expelled from parliament on the grounds he was an outlaw (he was tried and found guilty in absentia of obscene libel and seditious libel in 1764) and this prompted violent scenes.

Imprisoned soon after his election in the King’s Bench Prison in Southwark, his supporters appeared in court chanting ‘no liberty, no King’ and troops opened fire, killing seven unarmed men in what became known as the St George’s Field Massacre.

During the ensuing riots, part of Northumberland House was damaged and to funnel rioters away from the house, the Duke quickly built the Ship Ale House!

Northumberland Avenue is a wide carriageway which is made to look even wider by a clever architectural trompe l’oeil whereby planning permissions forbade buildings from being taller than the road is wide.

The famous Playhouse Theatre opened in 1882 and it was here where Sir Alec Guinness (Colonel Nicholson in Bridge on the River Kwai if you’re old enough, Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars if you’re young enough) first trod the boards. The Beatles recorded a number of sessions at the Playhouse in the early 60s.

PLayhouse Theatre: La Cage Aux Folles, London

By the 1930s, Northumberland Avenue was playing second-fiddle to Park Lane and Piccadilly as the tourists’ hotel destination of choice and the buildings were sold on to other businesses. Today, it’s a street full of faceless corporate buildings, retail HQs and events locations.

By Rob at 15 Sep 2015

There are 15 items on 3 pages.