Who's in the house?: Keep it in the family

The woman who gave the world `Adrian Mole' shares an eclectic Leicester workspace with relatives and friends

Sue Townsend's trendy warehouse is not in London's Soho or Clerkenwell, it's in a quiet, terraced street in Leicester. It's a real family operation: her husband, Colin Broadway, runs his outdoor adventure canoe business from the ground floor, while her son and her sister work upstairs. Everyone seems to get on well - perhaps because they all use the building at different times so they don't get under each other's feet.

The building is an old Twenties dairy, and horse and carts used to come in through the big front entrance - you can still see one of the original stable doors. Up until the Eighties it was used as a painters' and decorators' warehouse. Colin Broadway set up his business here in 1983, and knocked down internal walls and put up new ones. Since then the warehouse has expanded to incorporate a chill- out room, a kitchen, offices, a marriage guidance counselling centre, a women's refuge and a recording studio. Colin's daughter chose bright green for the exterior of the warehouse. Colin says that "the neighbours hated it originally but they're coming round, they like it now."

Parvez, record producer/artist

The recording studio

Worked here since 1993

"I do a lot of pre-production at home. I tend to have very heavy bass- lines, fat drum beats, and my reggae often has plenty of melodies in it. The modules are normal industry-based ones, like the JV1080, that's a DAT machine, and the Yamaha NS10 speakers. It's a sound-proofed room, the floor's got sand in it, the doors have got metal bits on them. It's a family business and we all get on great." Parvez' new album, Asian Rockers, will be released in the New Year on ISHQ Records.

Sue Townsend, author

The chill-out room

Worked here since 1987

"When everybody's here, this is where people have lunch. I come here to see people and sort things out. It's just a general chill-out room if you like. My mother gave that chequerboard table to me, it was made by one of the Great Train Robbers in prison. The leather sofas are from my house. I think of this room as a repository of things you are tired of in your own house but don't want to throw away." Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole, the Cappuccino Years, is published by Michael Joseph.

Kate Boldey, Sue's sister and PA

The administration office

Worked here since 1985

"It's the office end but it's a very personal space. I get a lot of calls that have been fended off from the agent to me. Sue does all her own fan mail. I chose the colour blue on the walls, I've got a fixation about blue. Sue's not around so much in this part of the building, so it's been a bit neglected. We've got all the machinery here, computers and faxes and the endless paper that's associated with them. I love the idea of the paperless office but it's certainly not hit me yet."

Colin Broadway, MD

Mobile Adventure canoe workshop Worked here since 1983

"You come in through the shop door, past the accessories to the open workshop, which is filled with display racks full of built boats and lots of half-built boats. Along the right-hand side are canoe parts, seats, rails while the tools hang on the other side. There are 25 built boats in this room." Colin is pictured working on a polyethylene canoe, which is riveted and bolted together. Hanging from the ceiling, out of view, are three wooden canoes: Colin built one and found the other two in skips.

Who's in your house?

If you are a group of people who live, or work, within the same building and would like to be featured on this page, write to Who's in the House?, The Independent Magazine, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, giving a contact phone number, your address, and details of the type of building you occupy. Please also include recent photographs (which you do not want returned) of your homes or offices.

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