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UK riots day four: Regional unrest

Violent disturbances spread across regional cities last night on the fourth day of UK rioting as architects began to evaluate the damage done

Looting and arson attacks were reported in Manchester, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Liverpool last night.

In Manchester a branch of Miss Selfridges was set alight as youths wearing masks and hoodies looted stores on Market Street.

In Birmingham, shops on Corporation Street were raided while a vehicle was set alight in Moor Street and a murder inquiry was launched into the deaths of threemen who were hit by a car.

The presence of 16,000 police officers in London helped to quell the possibility of a fourth night of rioting in the capital.

Gavin Orton, President of the Birmingham Architectural Association and architect at Bryant Priest Newman, said his company and ‘a number of other architectural practices’ closed office early yesterday to allow staff to return home in safety.

From early afternoon yesterday in the city’s Jewellery Quarter there was a ‘significant police presence’ while later in the night mobs targeted West Bromwich, he said.

He added: ‘This morning I drove by the Barton Arms pub which appeared to have most of it’s ground floor window smashed and boarded up. One of our early buildings, The Drum, is across the road from the pub and one of the windows had been smashed.’ 

Philip Singleton of Facilitate Urban had a bird’s eye view of the disturbances from his apartment in Birmingham city centre’s Rotunda building.

He said he saw ‘highly mobile clusters of youngsters’ creating damage on Monday night but events ‘flared up’ last night and police were deployed with riot gear and dogs.

He added: ‘There is a feeling of sadness here among the business communities but [this is] firmly balanced by a resolve to see beyond it – Brummie style – to more settled times.’

Jonathan Brown of Urbed said that in Toxteth, Liverpool, there had been ‘copy-cat burning and looting’ but not on the scale of the riots which took place there in 1981.

He said: ‘To be honest I saw more TV satellite trucks than burning barricades as I went round L8 [the area] this morning at 9am.’

He added: ‘It shouldn’t surprise us to see such disaffection when even university graduates can only find work in call centres, and the prospect of a decent job and home life has diminished for a whole generation.’

In London, the launch of the The Architect: What Now? exhibition and debate was called off as the capital prepared for an expected fourth night of rioting.

Putney-based Part 1 graduate Nick Varey took to the streets of Clapham Junction in London to help with the clear-up operation yesterday.

He said: ‘The image that everyone received is going to be the damage and burning of buildings.

‘If architects can get in on the ground for the re-build that would be a massive public relations coup for us, because we got such a bashing in the recent past.’

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