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Architects miss out on Covent Garden's great fire

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Forward Architects is looking back with a sigh of relief after escaping a major London fire last week by perfectly timing an office move - 333 years to the day after the Great Fire of London.

The 12-strong practice had cleared out of its office in Earlham Street, Covent Garden and moved around 3km to a studio in Old Street last Thursday morning. By evening fire had torn through the 100-year-old former banana warehouse, converted into trendy media offices.

'We handed in the keys in the morning and by evening fire had swept through the building,' said Graham Howard, one of the partners. 'We are big users of it and have £50,000 worth of gear. If the fire had reached it, we would have been out of action for a very long time.' Much of the practice's interior work for the five-storey building was gutted in the blaze.

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