Diary – Wednesday 13 July 1994


I HAVE bad news for Prince Charles: a bad odour is threatening an architectural project in east London with which he has been closely involved. The prince attended a meeting before Christmas to discuss the development of Silvertown, an urban village in the Newham district, and was said to have been enthusiastic about its progress. Now, however, that progress appears to have been blighted because of obnoxious smells wafting in from nearby factories. Local residents say that the odours – which include those from a soap factory which boils down animal bones, as well as those from a paint factory, make life unbearable.

‘It depends upon which direction the wind is blowing,’ says a spokesman for Newham council, currently assessing the situation, while the local Environment Trust is suggesting moving the development, which will house 5,000 people, to the north of Victoria Royal Dock, where the smells are not so obvious. Meanwhile Docklands Development Corporation, which owns the site, is optimistic that, with new environmental health laws, the odours will become less offensive as time goes on. And as for Prince Charles? According to a spokeswoman, he is still ignorant of the situation.

IT’S HARD work on the till at upmarket gentlemen’s outfitter T M Lewin & Sons, in Jermyn Street, these days. According to director Costa Procopi, 47, they have at least one bogus visitor a week, pretending to be an officer from the SAS and eligible, therefore for the SAS tie – a winged dagger on a blue background.

Procopi’s team is well prepared, however. ‘If they can’t pay by credit card we just won’t serve them,’ he admitted under his breath at a party on Tuesday night to celebrate the shop’s refurbishment.

ONE INSTITUTION¬†unable to cope with Tuesday’s hot weather was Amnesty International, whose British section (Middle East and South America proved rather tougher) staged an impromptu walk-out, feebly muttering something about no air-conditioning. NB you lot. . .the denizens of City Road are made of far sterner stuff.

PUNTERS in the car business are rightly rubbing their chins over the Department of Transport’s choice of area for piloting their new car dealer self-regulation scheme. The project, widely

predicted to be successful, gives car dealers the right to issue their own tax discs and documents without referring to the DVLA. The pilot scheme, it was mooted however, should be as near to the DVLA in Swansea as possible. Cardiff, one would suppose. . .but, instead, Roads Minister Robert Key has opted for Bristol. Now call it coincidence, but close to Bristol is Weston-super-Mare. . .and in Weston-super-Mare there is a car dealership named Anthony Ince Ltd. . .and a shareholder in Anthony Ince Ltd is the company’s former owner: one Steven Norris MP, Minister for Transport. . .hmmm.

A WARNING to those in possession of a raffle ticket for today’s Bastille Day celebratory draw in Soho’s The French House. The winner will have the dubious

pleasure of dubbing eponymously, what is, I believe, termed the ‘drink cell’ in Vine Street police station. So, will future lonely soirees be spent in the the Jeffrey Bernard suite or the John Hurt Room? My bet is on Jeffrey. . .

SHOCKWAVES among Scottish lairds: Loretto School, headed by the Queen’s Chapel Master, the Rev Norman Drummond, and the nurturing ground of MPs Norman Lamont and Nicholas Fairbairn, is to go fully co-educational in September. Drummond, once tipped to replace Eric Anderson as Eton’s headmaster, insists that the decision is merely an answer to a plea from parents of former pupils at nearby girls school Oxenfoord Castle, forced to close last summer. Alterations, inevitably, are being made to the boarding facilities – but I confess I am bewildered by their logic. While 13-year-olds upwards all share the main building – the ‘nippers’ – 12 and under – are separated.

SHOWING most stamina at Tuesday night’s premiere of Sirens was Paula Yates, presenter of Channel 4’s Big Breakfast. The clock said 12.45pm and Ms Yates was still going. ‘I’ve got to be up at 4am,’ she said blithely. . .before taking another swig.