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City overture

Office design and development got the full glare of media scrutiny this week with the opening of the 'New City Architecture' exhibition at Broadgate (curated by Peter Murray), and the British Council for Offices (BCO) conference in Manchester attended by more than 600 paying delegates. The overture was held at the Mansion House, where the city's Lord Mayor, Robert Finch, hosted a dinner for the property industry. Gary Hart, the former property solicitor recently ennobled and now part of the government Department of Constitutional Affairs, was the night's wittiest speaker. He described a letter from a Scotsman suggesting he take the title 'Hart of Midlothian'. He also described how Godfrey Bradman developed the notion of 'shell-and-core' restaurants, where diners would be given a lettuce leaf and a five pound note and told to 'finish it yourself '. In a flight of fancy worthy of Eddie Izzard, Hart recounted how Margaret Thatcher had opened the first restaurant: 'Godfrey gave her a lettuce leaf as a floral bouguet.'

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