Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt


King's Cross railway station was out of operation, stranding thousands, and Paddington saw badly delayed services after Network Rail engineering works overran beyond Christmas and Boxing Day. Connection with the internet for Xbox and PlayStation games consoles was disabled on Christmas Day and a group of hackers called Lizard Squad said it had interfered. Before the end of 2014, Mandy Rice-Davies, who had come to public attention during the Profumo scandal of 1963, died, aged 70; John Freeman, the journalist and interviewer on the BBC television programme, Face to Face , died, aged 99; and Jane Bown, the outstanding black-and-white photograph portraitist, died, aged 89. Sales of sherry rose 15 per cent in 2014, Marks & Spencer reported.

The 2,760 staff of City Link, the parcel delivery company, wondered what would become of them after its owners, Better Capital, an investment company, called in administrators on Christmas Day. 'I don't think we're yet at the point where we can be confident that the banking system would be entirely safe,' if there was another financial crisis, Lord King of Lothbury, the former Governor of the Bank of England, said. Sir James Dyson, the vacuum cleaner man, was said to have the largest landed estate in England, at 25,000 acres, outdoing the Queen and the Duke of Bedford.

A woman healthcare worker retuned from Sierra Leone with Ebola and was transferred to a London hospital from Glasgow. Glasgow mourned the six people killed when a dustcart careered out of control and crashed in George Square. A Virgin Atlantic aeroplane bound for Las Vegas landed safely at Gatwick Airport after turning back because of a problem with its landing gear. The Royal Mint struck 50,000 £100 coins each containing two ounces of silver and bearing an image of the Elizabeth Tower at the Palace of Westminster, which houses Big Ben.


An AirAsia aeroplane carrying 162 people from Java, bound for Singapore, disappeared, and wreckage was found in the sea. At least 11 people died when an Italian ferry from Patras in Greece bound for Ancona with 478 people on board caught fire in high seas and strong winds north-west of Corfu. The Libyan government launched air strikes on Misrata in response to an Islamist attack on the country's largest oil terminal at Sidra. …

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