Corporation gets a toe in door of Keats House

People & Business

The Corporation of London is taking over the ownership of Keats House in Hampstead, an early 19th century Grade I listed building closely associated with the work of English poet John Keats.

You may have thought the Corporation would have its hands full running the City of London, but it also has a good record in maintaining historic properties outside the Square Mile.

These include Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge in Epping Forest. It also owns and manages a number of public spaces such as Hampstead Heath.

It was the London Borough of Camden, in fact, which approached the Corporation two years ago with a proposal to transfer ownership of the Keats House to secure its future. The house comes along with books and artifacts in the Keats collection and seven staff.

John Keats himself had strong connections with the Square Mile. He was born in the City in 1795 at a livery and alehouse called the "Swan and Hoop" (now known as the "John Keats at The Moorgate") in Moorfields (now Moorgate). He also spent some time living in lodgings with his brothers at number 76 Cheapside.

It was at the house in Hampstead, however, which Keats moved to in 1816, where he composed his famous Ode to a Nightingale in the garden.

Barrie Pearson is not only the founding chairman of corporate finance boutique Livingstone Guarantee. He is also a food guide inspector who tirelessly patrols the eateries of the UK, dividing the good grub from the bad.

His finest accolade, however, must be that he has just assisted internationally renowned chef Raymond Blanc with the latter's yuletide tome, A Blanc Christmas. The in-house catering at Livingstone Guarantee must be something to savour.

As if the Christmas and new Year celebrations weren't enough, a survey from IFA Promotion is seeking to hound us over worrying about toasting the Millennium. According to the campaigning body for independent financial advice, "just 6 per cent of Britons have made plans to celebrate the eve of the millennium 1999".

No doubt the other 93 per cent are, like me, still recovering from this New Year's Eve.

Of those who have planned ahead, IFA Promotion tell us, 26 per cent, or 694,000 adults, plan to "go abroad." (Presumably to get away from pesky surveys like this). Another 21 per cent plan to hold a family get-together, 16 per cent want to hold a party and 14 per cent intend to "go out with friends".

Personally I'll be staying in and watching re-runs of Only Fools and Horses.

If the post-festivity blues are setting in, a new national campaign seeks to show people how to defeat depression. According to a self-help programme from The Royal College of Psychiatrists, stress today is largely down to changes in the work environment.

Does any of this sound familiar? "The pressures on people have increased and companies are expecting more from their employees. They can work them too hard and expect too much from them."

The programme also warns that some workers push themselves too hard. "They have a little terrorist in their brain saying 'Keep Going', who just flogs them on day in, day out. That is not the company's fault, that is their personality."

And there I was thinking it was fear of redundancy. Silly me.

Yorkshire Building Society has just appointed a new chairman, Derek Roberts, who retired as the society's chief executive last April.

Mr Roberts, 54, joined the Yorkshire in 1972 and became chief executive in 1987. He is also a director of Yorkshire Water and is on the board of Bradford City Challenge.

I see Mercury is advertising its Smartcall and UK Call services at the moment with the slogan: "Should old aquaintance be forgot?" All Mercury has forgotten is the missing "c".

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