Homeowners are more inclined to improve their current property rather than move house, research carried out by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has found.

Property: Our romance with the manse goes on

The appeal of the old rectory is as strong, if not stronger, than ever. Savills had more than 700 inquiries and 170 viewings for the Old Rectory at Sherfield English, in Hampshire. One of the features that proved most attractive was its state of disrepair. It seems buyers either want the perfect house or a dilapidated one that they can transform in their own personal style.

Boy, 4, is found hanged

A YOUNG BOY was found hanging from a tie in his bedroom just an hour after being sent upstairs for being naughty, an inquest heard yesterday.

Spring Ram warning shocks City: Start-up costs and problems in bathrooms division blamed for profit fall

SPRING RAM, the troubled bathroom and kitchen products group, shocked the City yesterday with its third profit warning in a year.

Man burns himself to death in front of shop staff: Body of stabbed woman found in bathroom of a flat near by

A MAN burnt himself to death in front of staff in a shop yesterday after apparently having killed his girlfriend.

Bottom Line: A nice line in operational gearing

TIE RACK is a classic example of how 'operational gearing' - that phrase trotted out to justify the sky-high share rating of the most deadbeat retailer - can actually deliver the goods. Strangle your costs, and you only need a modest lift in sales to deliver a monster hike in profits.

Prudential demands changes at Spring Ram

BILL ROONEY, chairman of Spring Ram, has been told by the Prudential, one of the largest shareholders with 12 per cent, that he must bring in a strong group chief executive to bolster the board of the troubled kitchens and bathrooms company.

View from City Road: In need of a strategy change

Spring Ram told a story that was too good to be true. Despite the harshest recession in the building industry in living memory Spring Ram, maker and supplier of kitchens and bathrooms, posted better and better profits.

Bottom Line: Spring Ram may not get a third chance

IT LOOKS ominous for Spring Ram and its investors. Stock market confidence in the kitchen and bathroom company, already dented, evaporated yesterday as it delayed publication of its 1992 results and asked for trading in its shares to be suspended.

TELEVISION / Greene concerns and party politics: Giles Smith on Arena's Graham Greene profile and Marti Caine's Your Best Shot

One of many good things about Arena's Graham Greene profile (BBC 2) was its preparedness to enter a few reservations about Greene's writing - no small feat when you're simultaneously trumpeting him to the heavens by alloting him a three-part hellzapoppin' biographical special (Part 2 tonight, Part 3 on Sunday). Even amid the patient and admiring attention to the details, there was still someone to speak up for those who, given Greene, see red.

City File: Spring Ram

ANGUS PHAURE of County NatWest is yet again recommending the bathroom and kitchen maker Spring Ram in terms reminiscent of the heady days of the great bull market. 'A 1992 prospective multiple of 12 and a 1993 prospective multiple of 10 are just the wrong ratings for one of the most successful companies in Europe and one of the fastest growing companies in the UK.'

PHOTOGRAPHY / The talking picture show: Andrew Palmer reviews the retrospective of the work of Duane Michals, at the Royal Photographic Society in Bath

LIKE many photographers whose work has crept into the higher echelons of the art market, Duane Michals spends a fair amount of time taking pictures of himself. There is Self Portrait as if I Were Dead, in which Michals, clothed, looks down on his own unclothed corpse, I Build a Pyramid, a sequence which portrays Michals building a triangular effigy of himself in front of the great tombs of Cairo, and Self Portrait with a Feminine Beard, in which the bald-headed Michals appears with female genitalia superimposed on his chin. The list goes on.

Caradon helped by interest fall

A SHARP cut in interest charges helped MB-Caradon, the bathroom, heating and cheque printing group, to push up taxable profits 28 per cent to pounds 61m in the first half to 30 June.

Barn accommodation forces performers to muck in together: Fifty Fringe artistes are escaping exorbitant rents charged in Edinburgh by sleeping in a cowshed

DON'T put your daughter on the Fringe, Mrs Worthington, or she might end up sleeping in a cowshed.

Carer gets life for murder

A LIVE-IN carer was jailed for life at the Old Bailey yesterday for the 'appallingly brutal' murder of a wheelchair-bound pensioner.
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