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Plans for Nigel

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Sad to see that Sir Nigel Broackes died last week. As chairman of Trafalgar House until a few years ago, he was not always a great supporter of fine architecture, but when it came to his own offices or home, he had different priorities. He quite fancied the idea of having his headquarters on Trafalgar Square, even if it meant building a bit of gallery space too, and commissioned abk to ensure design quality in the ill-fated project. For some years he lived in Deanery Garden in Sonning, perhaps the finest house Lutyens designed, for Country Life founder Edward Hudson. In 1982 Nigel couldn't sell it for £400,000; before the decade was out the American who had eventually bought it sold it on for more than £2 million. Nigel had lost his eye for timing and his nose for under-valued assets. I sold my Trafalgar House shares pronto.

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