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Unspeaking American comedian Harpo Marx is an unlikely character to be associated with Isokon architect Wells Coates, but he pops up in a book by Coates' daughter Laura Cohn, called The Door to a Secret Room. A Hollywood girlfriend of Coates sent him a letter signed 'h.r.h. The Princess Lily' claiming that Harpo was really interested in buying one of Coates' 'minimum flats' at Isokon. Minimum, she claims, 'means ten chorus girls' and in a ps she adds, 'Mr Marx says if you are busy never mind the flat but send the girls. ' Other recollections of the architect, who himslef resembled a matinee idol, include Coates' development of oversized trousers to 'post' potatoes down for planting while working on Lubetkin's farm during the war, as well as his strained relationships with clients Jack and Molly Pritchard when developing the Lawn Road flats.

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