Friday, January 21, 2011


A trip through London is like a trip through two different cities. On the one hand you have the homeless, the desperate and the down-at-heel individuals that scuttle around the main railway stations like King's Cross asking for your spare change, and on the other you have the undoubted opulence of the extremely rich. Here is a particularly obvious example of the latter. "The £1 billion One Hyde Park building in Knightsbridge, overlooking the park and a stone's throw from Harrods, has become the most desirable address in the world. Each square foot with its polished Breccio Paradiso marble and European Oak woods, costs at least £6,000, a new high for residential property anywhere in the world that is expected to reframe global prices for the super-rich. The average UK salary of £26,000 would pay for only the space occupied by a fitted Gaggenau coffee maker - one of the many gadgets in the high-security residences, with their bomb-proofed windows and panic rooms. The success of the scheme - the four penthouses have already changed hands for as much as £135 million - confirms London as the favoured playground and tax haven of the international elite." (Times, 20 January) RD

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