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Astragal: Weak in Westminster

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A splendid dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel on the occasion of the International Building Press journalism awards (honourable mentions to Barrie Evans, Andrew Mead and Kenneth Powell for their aj work). There were at least two architects present: the Duke of Gloucester, dishing out the prizes; and Sir Sydney Chapman, the only architect in the House of Commons. Sydney tells me he was surprised at the increase in the Architects Registration Board's annual demand for money to £50 - which is, as he pointed out, a rise of 60 per cent. The demand was not accompanied by any explanation, and if the board wishes to irritate our legislators, keen as they are to keep costs under control, this seems a certain way to succeed. I'm sure the recent lavish London reception it held was money well spent. Sydney is an expert on rising costs, of course, since he chairs the committee responsible for the new mps' building opposite

Big Ben.

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