2010年5月29日 星期六

Treasury Minister David Laws resigns over expenses

Treasury Minister David Laws resigns over expenses

Page last updated at 22:19 GMT, Saturday, 29 May 2010 23:19 UK

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David Laws: "I cannot escape the conclusion that what I have done was in some way wrong"

Liberal Democrat David Laws has resigned as Chief Secretary to the Treasury after admitting he claimed expenses to pay rent to his partner.

He said he could not carry on with the "crucial work" on the Budget while dealing with the implications of the revelations in the Daily Telegraph.

He had earlier apologised and said he would pay back the £40,000 he claimed.

Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg paid tribute to Mr Laws saying they hoped he would return.

The Yeovil MP said he wanted to keep his relationship with James Lundie private.

'Did wrong'

Mr Laws is the first resignation to hit the coalition government, just three weeks after it was formed.

He was one of the Liberal Democrat negotiators who hammered out the deal before joining the cabinet as a key member of Chancellor George Osborne's team.

Mr Laws said he had informed both David Cameron and Nick Clegg, but it had been "his decision alone".

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Nick Clegg: "I have great respect for the dignity with which David has acted"

In his resignation letter to Mr Cameron, he wrote: "The last 24 hours have been very difficult and distressing for me, and I have been thinking carefully about what action I should take in the interests of the government, my constituents and - most important of all - those whom I love.

"I am grateful for the strong support which I have received from my friends, family, and from you, the deputy prime minister and the chancellor. This support has been incredibly important, but nonetheless, I have decided that it is right to tender my resignation as chief secretary to the Treasury."

Explaining his decision, he said: "I do not see how I can carry out my crucial work on the Budget and spending review while I have to deal with the private and public implications of recent revelations.

"I cannot now escape the conclusion that what I have done was in some way wrong, even though I did not gain any financial benefit from keeping my relationship secret in this way."

He added: "Most importantly, I have an overriding responsibility to those I love most, and who I feel I have exposed to scrutiny in this way.

"I have pursued a political career because of my sense of public duty, but I have too often put this before the interests of those I love most. It is time to redress the balance."

Lib Dem Scottish Secretary Danny Alexander will take over the post, Downing Street has announced.


Responding to Mr Laws' resignation letter, Mr Cameron said he was an "honourable man", adding: "I hope that, in time, you will be able to serve again."

Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he had always admired Mr Laws' integrity and he hoped he would one day be able to return to government.

He said Mr Laws' privacy had now been "cruelly shattered".

Mr Cameron wrote: "The last 24 hours must have been extraordinarily difficult and painful for you.

"You are a good and honourable man. I am sure that, throughout, you have been motivated by wanting to protect your privacy rather than anything else.


He is not only exceptionally abled, but a principled man

Vince Cable Business Secretary Cable honours 'personal' decision Profile: David Laws PM response to Laws resignation Laws' resignation letter to PM

"Your decision to resign from the government demonstrates the importance you attach to your integrity.

"In your short time at the Treasury, you have made a real difference, setting the government on the right path to tackle the deficit which poses such a risk to our economy."

Mr Clegg said: "I very much hope that when those questions are answered there will be an opportunity for him to rejoin the government because, as everyone has seen in recent weeks, he has so much to contribute to national life.

"When all is said and done, this has come about because of David's intense desire to keep his own private life private. His privacy has now been cruelly shattered.

"I'm sure I speak on behalf of all fair-minded people when I say that I hope that David, and all those people close to him, will now be granted the privacy which he has always craved."

The chancellor said he was "very sorry" to lose Mr Laws from the Treasury.

Mr Osborne said: "It was as if he had been put on earth to do the job that was asked of him.

"I spoke to David several times over the last 24 hours and I have a huge admiration for the way he has conducted himself in the most difficult circumstances.

"I completely understand and respect his decision to step down. Public life should have a future place for such an honourable, talented person."

Former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik who is a friend of David Laws, said he was the victim of a "witch hunt".

He said: "I think this is a national tragedy, not least because it suggests that - on matters which are nothing to do with a person's personal competence to do a job - they can still be pushed out of Parliament."

2010年5月26日 星期三

London Olympics 2012: Meet Wenlock and Mandeville,

London Olympics 2012: Meet Wenlock and Mandeville, drips off the old block

Organisers have unveiled their mascots – creatures supposedly fashioned from droplets of steel used to build the stadium

London Olympics 2012: Meet Wenlock and Mandeville, drips off the old block

Organisers have unveiled their mascots – creatures supposedly fashioned from droplets of steel used to build the stadium

Link to this video

In the end they were neither animal, vegetable nor mineral. Nor, as some cynics had predicted, did they resemble white elephants.

Instead, Wenlock and Mandeville, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots, elicited mostly baffled reactions as to just what they were at their unveiling today.

With a metallic finish, a single large eye made out of a camera lens, a London taxi light on their heads and the Olympic rings represented as friendship bracelets on their wrists, they resemble characters dreamed up for a Pixar animation.

But London 2012 organisers, for whom the launch of the mascots marks the start of a crucial period in which the games will become public property, pointed to the delighted reaction of a hall full of primary school children at today's launch as evidence that they would connect with their target audience.

"They remind you of aliens, which is really weird and cool," said 10-year-old Ali. "It reminds you of the Olympics, which is worldwide so it's something you'll want to remember forever," added 11-year-old Zanyab as they cavorted with life-size mascots for the cameras.

The pair are based on a short story by children's author Michael Morpurgo that tells how they were fashioned from droplets of the steel used to build the Olympic stadium. They will be crucial in raising funds and spreading messages about the games.

Wenlock, named after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock that helped inspire Pierre de Coubertin to launch the modern Olympics, and Mandeville, inspired by the Buckinghamshire town of Stoke Mandeville, where the Paralympics were founded, will become very familiar in the next two years. The chairman of the London organising committee of the Olympic games (Locog), Lord Coe, said the mascots were aimed squarely at children and designed with the digital age in mind. He said they had the most positive reaction in workshops to road test them.

Among the designs rejected at the start of an open pitch process were anthropomorphic pigeons, an animated tea pot and a Big Ben with arms and legs.

Children will be encouraged to interact with the characters, inviting them via Facebook, Twitter and the web to visit their school and, said Coe, inspiring them to take up different sports.

"The story itself is very rooted in the nations and regions. Young people will be able to decide where they go, what sports they pick up. There is a real interactivity there, it is a language and a flexibility that is driven by young people," he said.

The pair were introduced in an animated film that followed their story from the Bolton steelworks where the frame of the Olympic stadium was made. They will become a range of up to 30 cuddly toys, including versions based on celebrities and sports stars, as well as adorning badges, T-shirts, mugs and more.

Organisers hope Wenlock and Mandeville will rank alongside the more fondly remembered mascots, such as Waldi the dachshund from the 1972 Munich games and Misha the bear from the 1980 Moscow Olympics – rather than the much maligned Izzy of Atlanta 1996. "The games have got a few stupendous assets – the mascot, tickets, the volunteers, the torch relay – and you have got to really use those to bring home your key messages," said Locog's chief executive, Paul Deighton.

"If you link them together you begin to have a really powerful story that people will respond to."

The unveiling of the bold London Olympics logo in 2007 was controversial, with many criticising its graffiti-like design. Organisers, who hired Wolff Olins at a cost of £400,000 to design it, stood firm, arguing that it was supremely adaptable and perfect for the digital age. But they were forced to withdraw a launch film after it emerged that it had the potential to trigger epileptic seizures.

The mascots, conceived by London design agency Iris and costing, said Deighton, just "a few thousand pounds", are an important staging post from a financial and marketing point of view. They will pour up to £15m into the coffers of the organising committee via dozens of licensing deals, part of an overall licensing target of £70m to £80m towards Locog's £2bn privately raised budget.

In 1984, the Los Angeles games ushered in the money-spinning Olympic era. The event was the first to use its Disney-designed mascot to raise funds, since when they have become a cash cow for organisers.

But the story behind the mascots is also designed to help make the Olympics relevant to the whole nation. That will be crucial if organisers are to maintain support for a project that is also costing the public £9.3bn, particularly as cuts in public services begin to bite.

After a spell of behind-the-scenes work devoted to raising £700m in sponsorship revenues, Locog is entering a more public phase when everything it does, from the unveiling of the mascot to its ticket pricing policy, will come under scrutiny.


【明 報專訊】2012年倫敦奧運吉祥物Wenlock(左)和Mandeville(右)公開露面。他們由主場館的最後兩滴鋼熔液做成,他倆都是單眼體有如變 色龍,能隨四周環境改變。Wenlock的名字源自1850年舉行的Wenlock Games,比賽被視為現代奧運會的雛型。Mandeville則來源自1948年在英國舉行的Stoke Mandeville Games,Stoke Mandeville Games鼓勵脊髓受傷的士兵參賽,普遍認為是殘疾人士比賽的先驅。

Wenlock和 Mandeville小故事﹕http://www.london2012.com

2010年5月25日 星期二

納爾遜戰艦勝利號(HMS Victory)

這件藝術品是生於倫敦,在尼日利亞首都拉各斯長大的藝術家殷卡·紹尼巴爾為倫敦特拉法加第四基座特別製作的。 這個巨大的玻璃瓶藝術品從歐洲運到倫敦瓶中擺放著納爾遜戰艦勝利號(HMS Victory)的精美複製品。 殷卡·紹尼巴爾是作品登上第四基座的第一位黑人藝術家。 ...

2010年5月20日 星期四


2010-05-20 05:13:00

(本 報訊)最新調查顯示,英國2000多條街道的平均房價都超過100萬鎊,比十年前增長了6倍,增幅達到本世紀最高水平。 2000年時,只有322條街道的平均房價超過百萬鎊。之後英國房價升高迅速,尤其是倫敦房價超過百萬鎊的街道飆升。

僅去年一年,平均房價超過百萬鎊的街 道就增加了524條,且70%都在倫敦。其中,房價最昂貴的是倫敦肯盛頓地區的Kensington Palace Gardens。 在倫敦以外地區的高房價街道僅577條,例如薩里(Surrey)的三個小鎮:Guildford、Leatherhead和Richmond。

房地產網 站zoopla.co.uk的調查顯示,房地產投資仍是很多房屋擁有者的最佳投資方式。 不過,調查也指出,英國無力購買房屋的年輕人也高達百萬人之多,除非他們獲得家長的幫助。Zoopla的商務主管Nick Leeming說:「英國是房價最高的國家之一。很多人無法負擔昂貴的房價水平。」 英國現在平均房價為167,802鎊,而Kensington Palace Gardens的平均房價高達1820萬鎊,幾乎是英國平均房價的110倍。

2010年5月19日 星期三


 [ロンドン 18日 ロイター] 英国放送協会(BBC)は18日、地方のラジオ局のパーソナリティが放送中、ジョークのつもりで「エリザベス女王が死 去した」などと発言したことを謝罪した。エリザベス女王は現在84歳。

 現地メディアによると、イングランド中部のラジオ局「BBC  WM」で午後の番組を担当するダニー・ケリー氏は、放送中にリスナーに重大な知らせがあると切り出した後「女王エリザベス2世が亡くなった」と発言して国 歌を流した。

 BBCの広報担当者は、ケリー氏の発言はまったく不適当なものであり同協会として陳謝するとした上で、「悪意はなかった。 処分を行う」と明かした。


戲稱英女王去世 BBC說抱歉

http://www.cdnews.com.tw 2010-05-19 09:41:54

 法新社倫敦18日電,在一名節目主持人開玩笑宣稱英國女王伊麗莎白二世(Queen Elizabeth II)去世的消息後,英國廣播公司(BBC)今天「毫無保留」的表示道歉之意。

 39歲的音樂節目主持人凱利(Danny Kelly),在播放英國國歌「天佑女王」(God Save The Queen)後,告訴聽眾他有一項重要宣布:「女王伊麗莎白二世已去世。」

 這個玩笑發生在昨天BBC WM地區電台。這是提供英國第二大城伯明罕 (Birmingham)和鄰近西密德蘭(West Midlands)地區服務的一個電台。

 BBC發言人說:「我們證實,凱利在他的電台節目中,對女王做出不恰當的言論。」「雖然是對社會媒體朋友的一種隨便態度,並立即做了實況更正, 但這種言論完全不恰當,BBC為此毫不保留的表示道歉。」


 他表示,BBC WM電台嚴肅看待此事,並將採取行動。但他沒有說明會採取何種行動。

 凱利在BBC網站上的簡介,形容他是一名合格的廚師,曾擔任二手車銷售員,為人「蠻橫、直言、時常讓人發噱」。BBC WM網站則稱他具有「獨特幽默」。


2010年5月17日 星期一


不用走路上學 英國學童多不知家住何方 20100517 15:31:38

倫敦「每日郵報」(Daily Mail)網站今天報導,一項調查發現,由於每天被父母開車載來載去,這些兒童已喪失在地意識與認知。







英國起亞汽車(Kia Motors UK)委託、在2000名小學生當中進行這項調查。起亞的吉特森(SteveKitson)說:「就像正確吃早餐一樣,要開始新的一天,走路上學也是好方 法。」


他說:「英國超過3/4學童(78%)住在距離學校2英哩內的地方,因此父母大可捨棄不必要的接送,讓孩子走路上學。」(譯者:中央社戴雅 真)990517

2010年5月13日 星期四

David Cameron

寧街首相官邸週四證實﹐英國新成立的聯合政府在週四的首 次內閣會議上同意﹐內閣成員均減薪5%﹐此舉可能預示著英國將大福削減公共部門支出。

英國首相卡梅倫(David Cameron)新聯合政府第一次內閣會議紀要顯示﹐內閣同意所有新內閣成員減薪5%。

Conservative David Cameron was virtually unknown outside Westminster when he was elected Tory leader in December 2005 at the age of 39.

The Old Etonian had dazzled that year's party conference with his youthful dynamism and charisma, reportedly telling journalists he was the "heir to Blair".

He has sought to match the former PM by putting the Conservatives at the centre ground of British politics.

Before becoming leader, he was the Conservatives' campaign co-ordinator at the 2005 general election and shadow education secretary.

He was special adviser to Home Secretary Michael Howard and Chancellor Norman Lamont in the 1990s before spending seven years as a public relations executive with commercial broadcaster Carlton.

2010年5月10日 星期一

Gordon Brown 將辭首相

國首相布朗(Gordon Brown)說﹐他將在幾個月內辭去首相和工黨領袖的職務。儘管工黨在上週的非決定性選舉中位列第二﹐卻開始就組建政府進行談判﹐英國動盪的政局隨之被拋 入更加混亂的局面。

布朗是在唐寧街10號首相府外宣佈將辭職的消息的。他的聲明成為政治形勢頗具戲劇性的一天中的焦點﹔在這一天中﹐工黨 和保守黨陷入激烈的公開爭奪戰﹐雙方都在爭取獲得英國第三大政黨自由民主黨的支持。

布朗宣佈辭職的同時﹐還宣佈了工黨已經與自由民主黨及 其領袖克萊格(Nick Clegg)就分權聯盟進入正式談判。

實際上﹐他把自己作為了犧牲品﹐這一巧妙選擇的時機是為了提振工黨不可能 實現的繼續執政的努力﹐同時阻撓對手保守黨掌權。自由民主黨的很多高級成員明確表示﹐他們不太願意與仍由布朗領導的工黨達成協議。

保守黨 在上週的投票中獲得了最多席位﹐但不是多數席位。該黨及其領袖卡梅倫(David Cameron)過去幾天一直在試圖與自由民主黨達成協議﹔根據協議﹐保守黨將與和其在關鍵問題上立場很少相同的自由民主黨組成聯合政府。

在 布朗做出即將辭職的聲明後﹐保守黨向自由民主黨提出一個全新的、看起來也是最後的提議。保守黨高級官員海格(William Hague)說﹐保守黨將提議進行一場全民投票﹐以便改革英國的投票制度﹐這對自由民主黨來說是一個關鍵問題﹐不過很多保守黨人都對此強烈反對。

不 斷加劇的政治不確定性迅速動搖了市場﹐英鎊和英國國債在布朗的辭職聲明後雙雙下跌。

Alistair MacDonald


(綜合報道)(星島日報報道)世界最負盛名的倫敦Harrods百貨公司的老闆埃 及富商阿法耶茲,以超過十五億英鎊(逾一百七十二億港元)天價,把Harrods出售予卡塔爾皇室。他的財務顧問透露,現年七十七歲 的阿法耶茲決定退休。 擔任阿法耶茲財務顧問的投資銀行Lazard ...
香港人遊倫敦 必到購物勝地
Harrods位於倫敦的騎士橋(Knightsbridge),在西敏寺和肯辛 頓之間,擁有超過330個部門,涵蓋超過9萬平方米的樓層地板面積,是百貨宮殿,冠蓋滿堂,購物人次每年達1500萬,也是港人遊倫敦必到的「朝聖」之地。 名店與名人密不可分,光顧過哈羅德的名人有十九世紀喜劇作家 ...

Harrods is a luxury department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London, UK. The Harrods brand also applies to other enterprises undertaken by the Harrods group of companies including Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Aviation and Air Harrods.

The store occupies a 4.5-acre (18,000 m2) site and has over one million square feet (90,000 m2) of selling space in over 330 departments. The UK's second-biggest shop, Oxford Street's Selfridges, is a little over half the size with 540,000-square-foot (50,000 m2) of selling space.[1]

The Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique—All Things for All People, Everywhere. Several of its departments, including the seasonal Christmas department and the Food Hall, are world famous.

Since 8 May 2010, Harrods Knightsbridge has been owned by Qatar Holdings, after the previous owner Mohamed Al-Fayed sold the store for a sum of £1.5 billion.[2]

Contents [hide]


Fashion plate of 1909 shows upper-class Londoners walking in front of Harrods

Harrods was established in 1834 in London's East End, when founder Charles Henry Harrod set up a wholesale grocery in Stepney, with a special interest in tea. In 1849, to escape the vice of the inner city and to capitalise on trade to the Great Exhibition of 1851 in nearby Hyde Park, Harrod took over a small shop in the district of Knightsbridge, on the site of the current store. Beginning in a single room employing two assistants and a messenger boy, Harrod's son Charles Digby Harrod built the business into a thriving retail operation selling medicines, perfumes, stationery, fruit, and vegetables. Harrods rapidly expanded, acquired the adjoining buildings, and employed one hundred people by 1880.

However, the store's booming fortunes were reversed in early December 1883, when it burnt to the ground. Remarkably, in view of this calamity, Charles Harrod fulfilled all of his commitments to his customers to make Christmas deliveries that year—and made a record profit in the process. In short order, a new building was raised on the same site, and soon Harrods extended credit for the first time to its best customers, among them Oscar Wilde, legendary actresses Lillie Langtry and Ellen Terry, Noël Coward, Sigmund Freud, A. A. Milne, and many members of the British Royal Family.

On Wednesday, 16 November 1898, Harrods debuted England's first "moving staircase" (escalator) in their Brompton road stores; the device was actually a woven leather conveyor belt-like unit with a mahogany and "silver plate-glass" balustrade.[3] Nervous customers were offered brandy at the top to revive them after their 'ordeal'.

On 8 May 2010, Mohammed Al Fayed sold Harrods Knightsbridge to Qatar Holdings, for a price of £1.5 billion.[4] Al Fayed decided to sell Harrods as he wanted to retire and spend more time with his family. He will become an honorary chairman of the store.[4] Qatar Holdings is a subsidiary of the Qatar Investment Authority which is the emirate's sovereign wealth fund.

Significant events in Harrods' history

  • 1834: Charles Henry Harrod (1799–1885) founds a wholesale grocery in Stepney, East London
  • 1849: Harrods moves to the Knightsbridge area of London, near Hyde Park
  • 1861: Harrods undergoes a transformation when it was taken over by Harrod's son, Charles Digby Harrod (1841–1905)
  • 1883: On 6 December, fire guts the shop buildings, giving the family the opportunity to rebuild on a grander scale
  • 1889: Charles Digby Harrod retires, and Harrods shares are floated on the London Stock Exchange under the name Harrod's Stores Limited
  • 1905: Begun in 1894, the present building is completed to the design of architect Charles William Stephens.
  • 1914: Harrods opens its first and only foreign branch in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It became independent of Harrods in the late 1940s but still traded under the Harrods name usable only in Argentina Harrods Buenos Aires.
  • 1914: Harrods buys the Regent Street department store Dickins & Jones.
  • 1919: Harrods buys the Manchester department store, Kendals; it took on the Harrods name for a short time in the 1920s, but the name was changed back to Kendals following protests from staff and customers.
  • 1959: The British department store holding company, House of Fraser, buys Harrods.
  • 1969: Christian the lion was bought by John Rendall and Anthony 'Ace' Bourke. The lion was set free in Kenya after reaching maturity.
  • 1983: A terrorist attack by the Provisional IRA outside the Knightsbridge store kills six people.
  • 1985: The Fayed brothers buy the store for £615 million.[4]
  • 1986: The small town of Otorohanga in New Zealand briefly changed its name to Harrodsville in response to legal threats made by Mohamed Al Fayed against a person with the surname of Harrod, who had used the name "Harrod's" for his shop. Other town businesses changed their store name to Harrod's in support, and the resultant lampooning in the British press led to Al Fayed dropping the legal action.[citation needed]
  • 1990: A Harrods shop opens onboard the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, which was then owned by the Walt Disney Company. Harrods gives right to Duty Free International for a license to operate a Harrods Signature Shop at Toronto Pearson International Airport's Terminal 3 (closed shortly after)[5]
  • 1994: The relationship between House of Fraser and Harrods is severed. Harrods remains under the ownership of the Fayed family, and House of Fraser is floated on the stock exchange.
  • 1997: The British court issues an injunction to restrain the Buenos Aires Harrods store from trading under the Harrods name.
  • 2000: A Harrods shop opens onboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, owned by the Cunard Line.
  • 2006: The Harrods "102" store opens opposite the main store on Brompton Road; it features concessions like Krispy Kreme and Yo! Sushi, as well as florists, a herbalist, a masseur, and an oxygen spa.
  • 2006: Omar Fayed, Mohamed's youngest son, joins the Harrods board.
  • 2010: Qatar Holdings become the new owners of Harrods, after Al Fayed announces he has sold the store. It had been reported that Qatar Holdings paid £1.5 billion for the Knightsbridge store, in a deal signed in the early hours of 8 May, 2010.[4]

Products and services

Food products at Harrods

The store's 330 departments offer a wide range of products and services. Products on offer include clothing for every sort of customer (women, men, children, and infants), electronics, jewellery, sporting gear, bridal trousseau, pets and pet accessories, toys, food and drink, health and beauty items, packaged gifts, stationery, housewares, home appliances, furniture, and much more.

A representative sample of store services includes 28 restaurants, serving everything from high tea to tapas to pub food to haute cuisine; a personal shopping-assistance programme known as "By Appointment"; a watch repair service; a tailor; a dispensing pharmacy; a beauty spa and salon; a barbers shop; Harrods Financial Services; Harrods Bank; Ella Jade Bathroom Planning and Design Service; private events planning and catering; food delivery; a wine steward; bespoke "picnic" hampers and gift boxes; bespoke cakes; and bespoke fragrance formulations.

Up to 300,000 customers visit the store on peak days, comprising the highest proportion of customers from non-English speaking countries of any department store in London. More than five thousand staff from over fifty different countries work at Harrods.

There are also a number of concessions opposite the main store on Brompton Road in 'Harrods 102' such as Turnbull & Asser, HMV, Waterstones, Krispy Kreme and David Clulow Opticians.

As of the 15 October 2009, Harrods Bank has started selling gold bars and coins that customers can buy "off the shelf". The gold products range from 1 g to 12.5 kg, and can be purchased within Harrods Bank. They also offer storage services, as well as the ability to sell back gold to Harrods in the future.[6]


Harrods and Mohamed Al Fayed have been criticised for selling real animal fur with regular protests organised outside Harrods.[7] Harrods is the only department store in the UK that has continued to sell fur.[8] Harrods was sharply criticized in 2004 by the Hindu community for marketing a line of feminine underwear (designed by Roberto Cavalli) which featured the images of South-Asian goddesses. The line was eventually withdrawn and formal apologies were made.[9]

Royal warrants

The opulent Egyptian-style clothing department at Harrods, London. Many places in the store's interior have an Ancient Egyptian theme.

Harrods was the holder of royal warrants from:

Harrods had held The Duke of Edinburgh's warrant since 1956, but it was rescinded by Prince Philip on 21 December 2001 because of a "significant decline in the trading relationship" between the duke and the store.

Al Fayed then pre-emptively removed all the royal coats of arms that had been prominently displayed by the business, even though other warrants were yet to expire or be withdrawn. None of the royal grantors of warrants had spent any money at Harrods since 1997, the year Diana, Princess of Wales, died.[citation needed]

Egyptian cobra

On 10 September 2002, Harrods hired a live Egyptian cobra to protect the shoe counter, guarding a £62,000 (€84,880) pair of haute couture ruby-, sapphire- and diamond-encrusted sandals launched by designer Rene Caovilla.[10]


"Innocent Victims", the second of two memorials in Harrods

Since the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed, Mohamed Al Fayed's son, two memorials commissioned by Al Fayed have been erected inside Harrods to the couple. The first, unveiled on 12 April 1998, consists of photographs of the two behind a pyramid-shaped display that holds a wine glass smudged with lipstick from Diana's last dinner as well as what is described as an engagement ring Dodi purchased the day before they died.[11]

The second memorial, unveiled in 2005 and located by the Egyptian escalator at door three is titled "Innocent Victims", is a bronze statue of the two dancing on a beach beneath the wings of an albatross. The albatross is a bird that is said to symbolise the "Holy Spirit".[12] The sculpture was created by 80 year old Bill Mitchell who is a close friend of Al Fayed and has been the artistic design advisor to Harrods for 40 years. Mr. Al Fayed said he wanted to keep the pair's "spirit alive" through the statue.[13]

After the death of Michael Jackson, Al-Fayed announced that they had already been discussing plans to build a memorial statue of the singer.[14]

2010 sale

Harrods was sold to the Qatar royal family for £1.5 billion with chief executive Al Fayed planning to retire.[15] Al Fayed will be given the role of "honorary chairman" though will have little day-to-day involvement with the store. The sale was concluded in the early hours of 8 May and Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani was sent to London to finalise the deal, saying that the acquisition of Harrods would add "much value" to the investment portfolio of Qatar Holdings while his deputy, Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla, called it a "landmark transaction".[15] A spokesman for Fayed said "in reaching the decision to retire, [Fayed] wished to ensure that the legacy and traditions that he has built up in Harrods would be continued."[15]

Further reading

  • Chris Bennett and Colin Cameron (2000-02-07). Behind the Scenes at Harrods. Andre Deutsch. ISBN 0-233-99617-6.
  • Tim Dale (November 1986). Harrods: The Store and the Legend. Pan. ISBN 0-330-29800-3.

See also



  1. ^ Clegg, Alicia (13 December 2005). "Hot Shops: Retail Revamps". Businessweek.com. http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/dec2005/id20051213_744054.htm. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  2. ^ FACTBOX-previous Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed
  3. ^ "The First Moving Staircase in England." The Drapers' Record, 19 Nov. 1898: 465.
  4. ^ a b c d "Mohammed Al Fayed sells Harrods store to Qatar Holdings". BBC News (BBC). 8 May 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8669657.stm. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
  5. ^ http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-8083788.html
  6. ^ "Harrods Starts Selling Gold Bars". The London Insider. 16 October 2008. http://www.london-insider.co.uk/2009/10/harrods-starts-selling-gold-bars-ingots-coins/. Retrieved 16 October 2009.
  7. ^ "Harrods fur protests". Vegies.org.uk. 27 June 2009. http://www.veggies.org.uk/event.php?ref=782. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  8. ^ "The Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade". Caft.org.uk. http://www.caft.org.uk/harrods/harrods.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
  9. ^ "Harrods apology over Hindu bikinis". BBC News (BBC). 9 June 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3790315.stm. Retrieved 9 June 2004.
  10. ^ "London's Harrods hires cobra to guard £62,000 shoes". Rawstory.com. 10 September 2007. http://rawstory.com/news/afp/London_x92_s_Harrods_hires_cobra_to_09102007.html. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  11. ^ Rick Steves, Getting Up To Snuff In London, /www.ricksteves.com.
  12. ^ Harrods unveils Diana, Dodi statue, CNN.com, 1 September 2005.
  13. ^ "Diana bronze unveiled at Harrods". BBC News (BBC). 1 September 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4204364.stm. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
  14. ^ "Michael Jackson memorial statue planned for Harrods, says Mohamed Fayed". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). 29 June 2009. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/michael-jackson/5651456/Michael-Jackson-memorial-statue-planned-for-Harrods-says-Mohamed-Fayed.html. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  15. ^ a b c "Mohammed Al Fayed sells Harrods store to Qatar Holdings". BBC News (BBC). 8 May 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8669657.stm. Retrieved 8 May 2010.


External links

2010年5月9日 星期日

A Baedeker Tour, 100 Years Later


A Baedeker Tour, 100 Years Later

Kieran Dodds for The New York Times

A rail trip from Glasgow to Mallaig in the Scottish Highlands passes the Glenfinnan Viaduct, familiar to many from its role in the Harry Potter films.

Published: May 9, 2010

IT was a cold and overcast afternoon, and the Alexandra Hotel looked like a stern and gray matron. Close by the banks of Loch Linnhe on the west coast of Scotland, the traditional hotel had two steep gables, a brooding stone facade and 93 rooms, some of which looked out onto a grassy parade where bundled-up locals were negotiating the path beneath the town’s war memorial.

Of the 10 hotels in Fort William recommended by my aged and yellowed guidebook, only 4 were still in business. And the Alexandra, with its promise of an open fire and a history running back to 1876, seemed the most traditional.

But inside, the Alexandra looked nothing like the 19th-century time capsule I had envisioned. The wooden reception desk was topped with a slab of shiny new stone, the dining room was fitted with wall-to-wall floral-patterned carpet, and the rooms themselves felt like a generic motel with undistinguished furniture and tartan-patterned bed covers.

So much for relying on a travel guidebook published 100 years ago.

In 1910, the German publisher Baedeker brought out a new edition of its Handbook to Great Britain. The volume was the last Baedeker guide to Britain to be published before World War I. And although earlier versions were replaced every few years, the 1910 edition would not be updated for almost two decades. The next one came out in 1927. As such, it shaped the experience of a generation of travelers to England, Scotland and Wales.

Baedeker, which began producing travel books in 1835, helped pioneer the modern concept of a travel guide. Unlike many earlier guides, in which writers spun narratives about their own journeys and experiences, Baedekers were informational and service-oriented — listing steamboat fares and passport requirements, recommending suitable clothing and suggesting how much to tip.

The guide was not universally embraced. An unsigned review in The New York Times, dated Nov. 12, 1910, lambasted Baedeker’s “Great Britain,” saying that the use of a guidebook denies the traveler the delight of the unexpected, and remarking icily, “Why has the Lake District received extraordinary honors and not the scenery of Wales?”

Baedeker guides also gained a measure of notoriety in World War II. In 1942, after the Royal Air Force devastated the German port of Lübeck, the Nazis reputedly worked their way through the Britain guidebook, and bombed Exeter, Bath, York, Norwich and then Canterbury. The event is known as the Baedeker Raids.

I bought my well-preserved 1910 edition of Baedeker’s “Great Britain” from an antiquarian bookseller in New York City, the Complete Traveller, for $50. And so, with the book turning 100 this year, I decided to retrace one of the 78 routes that it recommends for exploring Britain.

First, a word about the guide itself. With little in the way of flowery prose or colorful exposition, much of the Baedeker reads more like a dictionary than a Lonely Planet guide.

While the volume is bound in Baedeker’s trademark claret red cloth, its 624 Bible-thin pages are largely written in an encyclopedic and staccato prose, thick with opaque abbreviations and clinical details. And, in an age when travel was mostly confined to steam train and horse-drawn coaches, great emphasis is placed on logistics, which are not always self-explanatory.

After considering several possibilities, I settled on route No. 71, a train trip from Glasgow to the town of Fort William and the village of Mallaig along the West Highland Railway. Today, the route is greatly feted — a poll in Wanderlust Magazine, based in Britain, calls it the most scenic railway journey in the world. But in 1910, this route was in its infancy; the railway route was completed only nine years earlier.

The journey began before dawn at Glasgow’s Queen Street Station. There, under the Victorian latticework of the roof, a little train drew up in blue and red livery. As we slipped out of Glasgow, I cracked open my Baedeker to Page 555, “From Glasgow to Fort William to Mallaig,” as a reader might have done in a world when Britain still ruled India and automobiles were a novelty.

Baedeker offered a running list of the physical markers that zipped past the train’s broad windows: Dumbarton Castle, “strikingly situated on a precipitous rocky hill”; Craigendoran Pier, “an important starting point for steamers”; Helensburgh, “a favourite watering-place with extensive steamboat connections”; and Shandon, “with a large hydropathic establishment.”

On and on it went, pointing out the glinting lochs on the left, the snowcapped mountains on the right. There were few passengers on the early morning train — an American couple consulting a modern guidebook, and a pair of Scottish women too preoccupied with their knitting to notice the breathtaking views outside.

Baedeker estimated the journey to Fort William at four to four and a half hours; today’s train runs only a little faster, and we arrived in town in about 3 hours 45 minutes. The town’s history and features were dispatched in two swift sentences: “Fort William ... formerly the key of the highlands and now a convenient tourist-centre. The Fort, originally erected by General Monk, was rebuilt under William III.”

Today, with a population of around 10,000, Fort William is the largest town in the western Scottish Highlands, and is dominated by its fine setting on Loch Linnhe, a long sea inlet banked with high hills. High Street, the main thoroughfare, is lined with tall old houses containing boutiques stocked with tartans and shortbread; the ruins of the eponymous fort still stand above the waters of the loch.

But elsewhere, it was clear that the last 100 years have not always been kind. Ill-conceived highway building and unsightly developments have done much damage to the town’s charm. The waterfront, despite its spectacular setting, is sterile, edged by a busy road, devoid of both historic character and the bustle of a lively port.

At the end of a cold day in January, the sun slipped down behind the mountains at about 4 p.m., leaving Fort William shuttered against the weather and the high-latitude darkness. That night, the dining room at the Alexandra Hotel was mostly quiet, save for a handful of guests.

The next day, I caught the 12:12 p.m. departure to Mallaig. The train rolled along the pebbled shores of Loch Linnhe, and entered the “wild and picturesque” landscape of russet-colored hills, described in my guide. The two cars were busier than they had been the day before, although the passengers were the same mix of tourists — striving to snap cameras through the small openings in the windows — and locals thoroughly indifferent to the views.

About 30 minutes into the trip, the train crossed the Finnan River by means of a majestic viaduct, which the guidebook points out is “said to be the first viaduct ever built out of concrete,” a quarter-mile long and 100 feet high. A young generation of filmgoers know its 21 arches better today from the Harry Potter films, as part of the Hogwarts Express route between London and the school of wizards.

“After a short ascent the railway descends to skirt the S. Shore of Loch Eilt,” the guide continues. The train then crosses a humbler-looking viaduct over the Borrodale Burn before rolling past the village of Arisaig and the River Morar, which flows from Loch Morar, one of the deepest freshwater lakes in Britain.

Over all, although this leg of the journey was shorter than the previous day’s, there was no shortage of variety in the scenery. When the train ran along the sea, the views opened up and stretched toward the peaks of the Isle of Skye.

Finally, after about 80 minutes, the train rolled into Mallaig, where the tiny station, equipped with a framed timetable and little else, marked the end of the line.

The sun was shining brightly, and the village appeared to have endured fewer depredations than Fort William. A cluster of winding streets rose above a tight cove. Down by the water, fishing boats and a bright orange lifeboat were moored to a pier, and across the bay, ranks of white houses rose above the water.

In summer Mallaig is a popular spot. Between mid-May and the end of October, a steam train makes the trip between Fort William and Mallaig, adding to the allure.

Baedeker, however, had little to say about Mallaig itself, devoting a mere sentence to the village: “Mallaig ... with a large pier, the prettily situated little terminus of the railway, is a good centre for excursion.”

Despite the ubiquity of cars, and the advent of airlines that allow travelers to crisscross the planet with relative ease, one thing about travel doesn’t seem to have changed much during the last 100 years. It’s about the journey, as much as the destination.


The West Highland Railway departs from Glasgow Queen Street Station (Hanover Street); the journey to Mallaig takes five and a quarter hours. The train is operated by Scotrail (44-845-601-5929; scotrail.co.uk). A round-trip adult ticket is £49.30, or $74 at $1.50 to £1. Tickets are sold at the station and online.

The Jacobite, a special steam train operated by West Coast Railways, runs between Fort William and Mallaig in summer (www.westcoastrailways.co.uk); round-trip fare for the two-hour trip is £31.


In Fort William, the 93-room Alexandra Hotel (The Parade; 44-1397-702-241; strathmorehotels.com) has been in operation since 1876, and offers simple rooms in the heart of town. Rooms start at £69.

In Mallaig, the West Highland Hotel (Davies Brae; 44-1687-462-210; westhighlandhotel.co.uk) was first built in the early 20th century with the coming of the railway, then rebuilt after a fire in 1927. It has 40 basic, clean rooms that start at £45.