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Robber needed money for polio-stricken cousin's surgery

Freemason sues leaders for £23m to save hospital

Courts/ 'Brothers' at odds

Masons may be forced into open

Freemasons face the threat of having to lift their traditional secrecy before the Nolan inquiry into standards of public life and an all-party committee of MPs.

Book divides churchgoers

THE VICAR of Enoch Powell's local church said yesterday that Mr Powell was following an 'impossible' route by disregarding all previous theological thought, writes Glenda Cooper.

PROPERTY / Houses in the Landscape: Great feats of clay: Brick: From Tudor times until the 19th century, bricks were an art form. Dug from the earth, baked and stacked to create highly-textured finishes, they glowed with local character until mechanisation reduced them to bland uniformity. Caroline McGhie reports

ELEONORA Knowland recalls the time she first saw her prospective marital home. She was stunned. First the sky-scraping avenue of oaks raised her expectations; then the never-ending brick walling of the long barn worked its charms; finally she was confronted with the house itself. A towering mille-feuille of wafer-thin, patterned Elizabethan bricks presented itself - in duplicate, because the walls plunged straight to the edge of the moat and were reflected in the water.

PROPERTY / Houses in the Landscape: Houses for sale: Brick

THE earliest example of herringbone brickwork in Dorset appears on the facade of Abbey House, on the edge of Witchampton village. The main house had a new front added in 1890 but the early Elizabethan brickwork remains intact and has been much admired by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments. The house warrants a Grade II rating. Set in seven acres of grounds with river frontage between Bournemouth and Salisbury, Abbey House has nine bedrooms, gym and sauna, stabling and a coach house. Savills and Knight Frank & Rutley have priced it at pounds 700,000.

Unknown killer

A verdict of unlawful killing was returned on Andrew Birjukov, 37, a bricklayer shot by a contract killer in a pub in Catford, south-east London, last September.

Travel: The things I've seen: The Crooked House

THERE was extensive coal mining for many years on the Black Country estates of the Earl of Dudley. There were brickworks too, and a network of goods railways, now dismantled. An underground tunnel from Baggeridge Colliery passed very close to a licensed beer shop near Dudley known as The Siden House, because of its proximity to the railway sidings.

Wild things down in the cornfields: Reg Presley thinks that somebody out there is trying to tell us something. Martin Whittaker meets the Trogg turned crop-watcher

In a field near Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, a new formation of crop circles recently appeared. Small groups of walkers tramp past in the driving rain, barely acknowledging the odd patterns in the corn. A few years ago, says Reg Presley, a veteran rock star turned crop-watcher, these hedgerows would have been lined with tourists, the press and television crews.

Letter: TECs means to match local needs

THE Government set up Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs) to match local needs ('You just can't get the staff nowadays', 24 April). This appears to have suggested to employers that the Government will provide. It is no good the Ben Barrett brickwork contractors whingeing it can't get bricklayers. Surely it has enough expertise to see the recovery coming and provide for it?

You just can't get the staff nowadays: Devastated by recession, Britain's building industry now faces a severe skills shortage as it attempts to exploit the nascent recovery

BEN BARRETT, one of the biggest - and, after the recession, one of the last - skilled brickwork contractors in the country, has a problem. It is being forced to consider turning down work - because it cannot find the bricklayers it needs to put in credible bids for contracts.

Obituary: James Begg

James Begg, master plasterer and building conservationist: born Bo'ness 23 March 1911; married 1936 Helen Clydesdale (two sons, one daughter); died Livingston 2 April 1994.

Flat Earth: Kangaroo court

THEY don't speak with the same accent. Say after me: Crosby Stills and Nash. If you are an Australian, it will be Crosby Steels and Nash. A New Zealander will get the 'Stills' bit right, but it will come across as a gutteral mumble.

Leading Article: Talking to a brick wall on training

BRITISH bricklayers have been shamefully misled, the Daily Mirror gleefully reported last week. Responsibility for a 'cruel job con' lay with its rival tabloid, the Sun. The paper had reported that, after fire had swept the Malibu area of California, bricklayers, painters and carpenters could make fortunes rebuilding homes. More than a hundred readers flew out, some sinking their savings into the air fare, only to find that there were no jobs available. Now, some men are stranded, sleeping on the beaches.

Church appeals

Door into the Chapter at Rochester Cathedral, Kent - the cover illustration to Inside Churches, a guide to church furnishings and decoration, published by the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies and Capability Publishing ( pounds 9.95)
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
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