2015

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The Queen Reigns Supreme – 63 Years, 217 Days and Counting…!

Today, The Queen, or to give her her official title, Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, becomes the longest-reigning monarch in the 1,000+ year history of the British monarchy but she says it will be ‘business as usual’. Should we be celebrating?

Queen Elizabeth is about to overtake her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest reigning monarch.  Victoria reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes and Elizabeth breaks the 114 year-old record today. She is also the oldest reigning monarch in the world at 89 years-old after 90 year-old King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died in January.

Surely today is a day for celebrating such an impressive achievement? Apparently not according to the official word from the Palace.  There will be no gold coaches, no commemorative stamps, no street parties, no Red Arrows fly-bys and no Union Jack-adorned cardboard periscopes poking out from behind railings on The Mall. She will spend the day at Balmoral Castle with her family.

HM the Queen with Soldiers of the Coldstream Guards

The Royal Mint is releasing five versions of a limited edition £20 coin depicting The Queen as she has aged on our coinage but as far as we can tell, there’s not much else happening.

In the UK, there are people who love the Royal Family and what they stand for and those who consider them to be an antiquated establishment who have no place in modern society but as the longest reigning monarch of the 40 monarchs since the Norman Conquest, let’s take a moment to reflect what the royals, and the Queen in particular, have done for this country.

Buckingham Palace attracts over 15 million visitors a year; it’s estimated that the eight royal parks attracted close to 80 million visitors in 2013-14 and millions more come to Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle and St. James’s Palace. We have an incredibly rich royal heritage and their very presence is vital to draw visitors to the UK.

MORE THAN A THOUSAND SOLDIERS ON PARADE THE BIRTHDAY OF HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN TO CELEBRATE

The Queen has given her life to public service. Barely a day goes by without an official engagement, state dinner or royal occasion and if she doesn’t want a fuss made of the fact that she’s the longest serving monarch in British history then it’s something we as a nation should respect. She is, according to royal author Matthew Dennison, ‘the most popular figure in British public life, acclaimed by world leaders and admired across the globe’ and few can argue.

If you went to or saw even a few minutes of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, you’ll know how much she is adored by the British public. More than a million people with aforementioned cardboard periscopes filled The Mall with an audience of billions on TV. Whatever you’re doing today, take a minute to think about The Queen, recently described by Tobias Ellwood MP as ‘a reassuring and enduring source of stability, security and inspiration; a permanent anchor in a fast-moving world’.

If you’re one of the millions coming to London this year, don’t forget that Euracom has a fantastic choice of apartments in London to suit all budgets and when you’re here, don’t forget to pay The Queen a visit, she’ll be delighted to see you!

Just for fun, here are some surprising facts about The Queen!

  • She speaks fluent French and doesn’t use interpreters for audiences or state occasions
  • She’s the only person in Britain who can drive without a licence or number plates
  • She has sent over 175,000 telegrams and letters to people turning 100
  • The first football match she attended was the 1953 FA Cup Final
  • During her reign there’s been seven Archbishops of Canterbury, seven Popes and 12 Prime Ministers
  • She is 5’4”, or 1m 60cm
  • Her first Corgi, a gift for her 18th birthday, was called Susan
  • As a child, her nickname was Lilibet – she couldn’t pronounce Elizabeth properly
  • She is the only British monarch in history trained to change a spark plug
By Rob at 9 Sep 2015

International Students in London – You Are FANTASTIC For Britain!

It’s August. The likelihood is that you are either a) on holiday in the sun surrounded by boat parties, booze and loud music, b) volunteering on a children’s camp or preserving an ancient Inca site in deepest, darkest Peru, c) working in a pub or d) asleep, but when it’s time to get back into the lecture hall as an international student, what effect are you having on the economy? The answer may surprise a lot of people…

First, let’s start with the numbers (all from 2013-14, the most recent available figures courtesy of the UK Council for International Student Affairs – www.ukcisa.org.uk):

  • There are over 435,000 international students in the UK from all over the world including almost 273,000 ‘new’ or first year students
  • The most represented nationality is China with 87,895 students, followed by India with 19,750
  • University College London has the largest number of international students in the UK with 11,850
  • 38.7% study Business & Administration followed by Engineering & Technology (32.7%) and Law (25%)
  • The male/female split is virtually identical, with 50.9% female and 49.1% male

If you’re in that number and you’re coming to London, it’s not too late to find your perfect apartment. All you need to do is browse our selection of student accommodation in London and contact us!

Welcome to London

The fact is that the UK (and London in particular), needs international students. A report by business lobby London First and PwC, one of the world’s largest firms of auditors aimed for the first time to economically quantify the costs and benefits of non-EU international students studying at London’s universities to London’s and the UK’s economy.

There has long been an argument centered on anti-immigration rhetoric that close to half a million international students coming to the UK every year put an unnecessary – and to some, unwanted – strain on public services and housing.

That argument, while still being waged, has been proven to be redundant. The report found that non-EU international students contribute £2.8bn to the economy made up of fees (£1.32bn), consumer and subsistence spending (£1.36bn) and £121m from visiting friends and family as well as supporting over 70,000 London jobs. The cost of providing them with public services such as the NHS costs the UK £540m, a net gain of £2.26bn.

The Head of Global Immigration at PwC, Julia Onslow-Cole said: ‘While politicians recognise the importance of international students, there has been considerable debate over the economic value.’

She continued: ‘This is the first study to quantify the benefits of student migration. We need more hard data like this to inform immigration policies and targets. The £2.3bn benefit of international students illustrates there is a huge amount at stake.’

In addition to the obvious financial benefits, 60% of students surveyed suggested that they were ‘more likely’ to do business in and with the UK as a direct result of studying here and in today’s lightning fast  global economy, that is not something to be underestimated.

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While good news on one hand, the report also offers a word of warning. It’s no secret that the abovementioned anti-immigration rhetoric is gaining a modicum of traction and a third of students interviewed said that the immigration system in the UK is so complex it had a negative impact on their experience of studying here, as did the difficulty in finding employment after finishing degrees.

One of the issues is that non-EU international students are included in the government’s net migration figures and are not, like Australia and Canada, classified as ‘temporary visitors’ hence the anti-immigration rhetoric. There is a real fear that the top students who have the luxury of picking and choosing the best universities around the world will avoid the UK.

We also need to make it easier for students to stay in the UK and work after the completion of their studies. The current rules state that students need to work for a single employer and earn a minimum salary of £20,800.

These are issues the government appear to be taking seriously. The bottom line is that we have some of the finest universities in the world and we need to attract the brightest and the best by offering a far more welcoming and inclusive climate. International students are a huge boon for the UK and they make a valuable and lasting contribution.

Don’t forget, you can still find excellent student accommodation in London! Search our portfolio of properties here and then call us on 020 8420 4666 or emailinfo@euracom.co.uk

By Rob at 14 Aug 2015

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

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