Me and my home: Sir Clive Sinclair

No one thinks of Trafalgar Square as residential. Harry Phibbs talks to its number one resident
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The Independent Online

Being at the centre of things has always appealed to inventor Sir Clive Sinclair, who lives and works right in the historic heart of the capital

Being at the centre of things has always appealed to inventor Sir Clive Sinclair, who lives and works right in the historic heart of the capital

I lived in Shepherd's Market, Mayfair for 10 years, which suited me well, being very central, but I got entranced by the idea of loft living. The Manhattan Loft Company pioneered it - I almost bought their development in Clerkenwell, but then along came a magnificent building in Kings Cross, which gave me masses of space and windows all the way round. I enjoyed living there, but I missed being right in the centre: I like to go out in the West End in the evening.

Then I read about this Trafalgar Square development in a very beautiful, late Victorian Italianate-style banking building. It was going to be converted into flats so I got in touch with the developers and pestered them while it was being done. It took much longer than expected, as these things usually do.

Eventually I ended up with two adjoining flats on the front of the building, with a view of Nelson's Column. I don't need to bother getting a Christmas tree as I can just look at one out of the window.

My daughter tells me that the flat I have is called the piano nobile in Italian terms. I used to have a place in Cambridge as well as London but now this is my only one. I found it distracting having two homes and having to move between the two. I like just being here. It is great for parties and socialising but I also work here. I have worked from home for many years - it saves time commuting.

"My work has been going pretty well since I moved here. There's just me and my secretary Elaine, who works upstairs, which means I can get on with things without being distracted. I keep one room aside for business meetings so that is a sort of boardroom with a kitchen in the corner and large tables with nothing on them. It works very well having this incredible view while the meetings are going on. The product, which my firm Sinclair Research is selling at the moment, includes a wheelchair drive unit.

We work on our various projects with a firm called Daka, which is based in Hong Kong and has a factory in China. We set up a laboratory for Daka in south London. Its most recent product is Sea Scooter, which has been a tremendous success. It allows you to scooter about on the water and has been a terrific seller. Our major project, though, is the ultra-lightweight folding bicycle, for which Daka will start production next year.

Trafalgar Square is not a renowned residential area - this block houses the only flats in Trafalgar Square. As I was the first one to take a flat in the development, I was for a time the only resident in Trafalgar Square. I am pleased not to be the solitary resident anymore.

It is now fantastic for shops and restaurants. There's a Europa just across the road, and several other shops which are also open all round the clock. It is very near to Covent Garden, which has a wonderful buzzing atmosphere with plenty of restaurants and bars.

Another great advantage for me is that I enjoy going to clubs. I belong to the RAC, which is just down the road in St James's, and the National Liberal Club in Whitehall Place, so that is also very handy. I entertain people here a lot. As well as having the amazing views, which everyone loves, it is very easy for people to get to.

I'm not a very domestic creature, though. If I'm hosting a party, others do all the work. I don't cook for myself; I prefer to go out. Downstairs there is going to be a Scottish-themed restaurant, which sounds as though it's going to be very good and I'm looking forward to trying it, given my ancestry.

I changed the apartment around quite a lot before I moved in. One of the flats I had to tear apart because, although it was a new conversion, I hadn't liked the way the developers had done it. The kitchen had been walled off, so that the windows weren't as big as they are now. The drawing room was smaller too, and the light there was blocked off too. It was all rather hemmed in. It feels much better now, and I haven't put in too much furniture; I try not to have too much clutter.

The furniture I have is all very classic. I prefer traditional furniture; conservative with a small "c". It works better with the proportions of the rooms. I have traditional tastes, I suppose. I feel quite settled here now. I can't get any more central, so I can not make that an excuse for moving. I've been here for four years now. From time to time I've thought of expanding.

A flat at the back became available and I thought of buying that and I thought of putting in a gallery too, but I've rather gone off these ideas. I don't like change for change's sake. It's fine as it is.

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