News Fireman Christian McClean comforts colleague Alex Badcock (right) after they both finished the last ever shift at Clerkenwell fire station in London.

There were emotional scenes as firestations across the capital closed their doors

Birdman perfects art of inner peace on marshes

The Independent Archive: 22 September 1990; In the lonely marshes of Essex, a hippy survivor of the Sixties has at last found the serenity in which to carve out his livelihood. Oliver Gillie reports

Obituary: Len Lowe

ALTHOUGH LEN Lowe will always be recalled by variety lovers as one half of that once highly popular double act, Len and Bill Lowe, he had a lone solo career either side of that particular high point in hilarity. The talented brothers were in fact but two-thirds of a trio, the other brother going under the double stage names of Chester Ladd and, latterly, Don Smoothey. All three were soloists in laughter and were, at one time or another, partners in doubled-up acts of traditional crosstalk comedy.

Philippa Gail

PHILIPPA GAIL was one of the most beautiful women of her generation, and it was hardly surprising that, not long after leaving the Webber-Douglas School of Drama, she should make such an impact on Sixties television in The Troubleshooters, in which she played the much-desired Jane.

Yes, gays `deserve' to be parents

Gay and lesbian people who become adoptive parents could never, ever, take children for granted

The Information On: `A Funny Thing Happened...'

What Is It?

Historical Notes: A long, long way from a cappuccino

BETWEEN 1858 and 1876 George Eliot wrote seven novels recreating the English countryside for an increasingly suburban constituency. Hot and dusty readers in Edgware, Clifton and Edgbaston plunged into Adam Bede and Silas Marner as if taking a deep walk into a cool, fresh forest they had heard about from their grandparents. People who rode the smutty train to work, or spent the day listless in a villa, immersed themselves each evening in Eliot's landscape of pleasant fields and farm cottages.

A good idea from ... zoos

PEOPLE LOOK at you strangely if you make a trip to the zoo without a child. You should have a gang of them, really, and evidence of dribbled ice-cream and balloons as well. Which is a pity, because zoos are in truth far more interesting for adults.

Theatre: Smiles of a summer night

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, TWELFTH NIGHT

Books: When a stag ran through WC1

The London Rich by Peter Thorold Viking pounds 25

Ladbroke to take Hilton name

Ladbroke to take Hilton name

Brixton Bombing: Horror of the Nail Bomb

THOUGH THE nail bomb has been used fairly regularly by terrorist groups and individuals overseas, cases on the British mainland have been rare.

Brixton Bombing: Nail Bomb Horrors

BRITAIN'S WORST nail-bomb atrocity was the IRA attack on the Household Cavalry in London's Hyde Park, which left four soldiers and seven horses dead. The bomb, containing 25lb (11kg) of gelignite surrounded by four- and six-inch nails and hidden in a car, was detonated by remote control on 20 July 1982.

Me And My Partner: Michael Wolff and Piers Schmidt

The designer Michael Wolff and the entrepreneur Piers Schmidt bonded while strolling round Regent's Park in London. In 1997 they founded The Fourth Room, an innovative consultancy that helps companies to plan future strategy

THE SITTER'S TALE: JOHN MORTIMER

New faces at the National Portrait Gallery: the creator of `Rumpole' advocates his portrait - though posing for it nearly froze him to death

Theatre: Laugh if you believe in fairies

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM RSC STRATFORD
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'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk