The Sport Issue / Summer 2013
boris becker The Wimbledon legend and adopted Londoner on another big summer of sport: including The Ashes; the Lions tour; Open golf â€“Plusâ€“
health & fitness in the shops and on the streets of Victoria
London’s other favourite Boris
r a l p h l au r en (C OV ER I M AG E AL S O C O U RT E SY O F R AL P H LAU R EN ); G e tty im ag e s
In 1985, an unknown German teenager won Wimbledon. Two further wins, a career as a BBC commentator and a home here have followed, and the names London and Becker go together like strawberries and cream. He tells us about his love of rugby, golf and the English summer of sport i n t e r v i e w g i l e s m i lt o n
Below B ecker become s the youngest-ever winner of t he men’s sing le s t itle at W imbledon in 1985 Opposite, top Pippa Middleton and C at her ine, D uche s s of C ambr idge in t he Royal B ox in 20 12 Opposite, bottom Boris on t he course, wit h playing par t ner T iger Woods
How important are the Wimbledon Championships in your life? It’s always the highlight of my year because, in a way, it is where I was born! I call 7 July 1985 my official birthday, as that was the day I won my first Wimbledon title. It is the most important tournament in tennis, with its history and tradition. I fell in love immediately: the green of the courts and the players in white. It has been a long love story. Did you ever dream that you would enjoy such a love affair with SW19? I didn’t know it would change my life. Watching Borg and McEnroe on TV as a child, I knew it was the tournament I wanted to win. As a serve-and-volley player, grass suited my game. The most important thing was winning the biggest prize but I never expected to win the hearts of the Wimbledon crowd. I happen to be German and I look like a German. For the first couple of games, Fleet Street wasn’t that kind to me: I was nicknamed ‘Bomber’ or ‘Blitzkrieg Boris’. But the way I approached the game wasn’t like a typical German from the movies – I have a sense of humour, not least about myself!
What makes Wimbledon so special? Players want to win the US or French Open, but you only feel you have made it when you become Wimbledon champion. The spectators are more knowledgeable: they clap at the right times. In Paris or New York, they are there to have a good time, but in London, they appreciate great players, whether you are from Britain or Timbuktu. Usually, tennis fans support the underdog against the seeded player. But, at Wimbledon, they want Federer or
Serena to defend their titles. They do support the underdog, but they also value great performances. Do you enjoy the very British traditions of the All England Club? It appeals more as a commentator than a player. When you are playing, you can’t drink Pimm’s or eat strawberries and cream. You are in the zone, concentrating on your next match. These days, I have more time on my hands and I wander the
u p d at e Welcome to the Victoria newspaper, your regular update on the transformation of Victoria. Hard on the heels of the completion of the office development 62 Buckingham Gate, Land Securities and its joint-venture partner, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, have announced the start of work on the £768m first phase of the Nova development, opposite Victoria station. Highquality retail and restaurant spaces, the ultimate in modern office accommodation and 170 luxury apartments will be housed in three architecturally striking buildings. Pedestrianised, landscaped public space will transform the area into a great place to work, live and socialise. We would also like to welcome the latest addition to Victoria’s ever-expanding selection of places to eat and drink: The Royal Quarter Café, which opens this month at Wellington House, Buckingham Gate. Sign up to the Victoria newsletter at createvictoria.com for the latest news and events
GAME TO LOVE
club and see all the angles I never saw as a player. Wimbledon has adapted to the international professionalism of sport, yet never sold out or lost its identity. With the right, subtle changes, it has remained the number-one tournament in the world. Is commentating easier than playing? It is a demanding job and I couldn’t do it every week. But I put everything else aside for the fortnight because I want to be the best I can be. I have to do my homework and know the players’ latest form – as well as recognise their girlfriends and wives! And on Centre Court before each match, there is a list of who is in the Royal Box, which you must remember. After all, broadcasting is live - you cannot afford a slip of the tongue. The BBC wants you to dress elegantly, usually in a suit and, depending on the match, a tie. Luckily I am a brand ambassador for Ralph Lauren.
How does it feel to be part of the Wimbledon furniture now? It’s like a big family – so many people contribute to what makes it special. From the groundsmen to the ballboys, we all respect each other. The locker room staff
"As commentators, we need to recognise the players’ wives and remember who is in the Royal Box" might not be famous, but they have seen Federer, Nadal and me in our underwear and know a lot about us that most people don’t! Then there are the fans. Who in the world would queue overnight to get a ticket? It’s remarkable. I drive by the club with my wife and kids the weekend before, to show them the guys sleeping in tents not knowing whether they’ll even get in. The fans are very special and I can tell you that the players appreciate it. Do you feel that you have become an honorary Brit yourself ? I am humbled to be so accepted. I have even been described as Britain’s favourite German! I live in London now and two of my four children were born here, so it is more than just Wimbledon that makes me feel at home here. I like the tradition, the architecture, your teatime… and I am a big fan of the Royals. I wish Germany had a royal family - at least we have [World Cup-winning captain] Kaiser Franz Beckenbauer! Talking of which, it was special to have my team, Bayern Munich, and Borussia Dortmund come to London to play the Champions League final at the home of football: Wembley. That final was the start of a big summer of sport in Britain, not least with The Ashes. Do you like cricket? I know Kevin Pietersen, and Shane Warne is always challenging me to a game of golf or poker. But I’d be lying if I said I understand the rules. I’ve been to Lord’s
and I love the atmosphere – it has the same vibe as Wimbledon, but as I don’t understand it, I get bored quickly! Please bear with me because I don’t know what they are playing for. Some ashes? And why is it always the same two countries?
For a great view of Wimbledon on a big screen this summer, you could sleep in a tent in SW19 in the hope of fighting for a spot on Henman Hill/Murray Mount/Robson Rise. Or
Well, we play other countries for different trophies! We’re also playing Australia in the British & Irish Lions tour. Do you enjoy rugby? I know rugby a lot better than cricket I understand the rules! I have been to many games, and I will watch the Lions on TV. It is a very manly, physical sport and I have a lot of respect for these guys, playing with no protective gear. It is so rough! I haven’t been drinking with the rugby players though - I have been warned about that. They are bad boys, right?
you could stroll up to a relaxed spot in Central London, pull up a deckchair and enjoy the big match in comfort. As part of its Great British Summer, Land Securities is hosting free outdoor Wimbledon screenings at Cardinal Place. The action will be shown on big screens installed in specially customised retro caravans. As well as a great selection of bars and restaurants in Cardinal Place, retailers will be on hand to serve you food and drink at your seat. Great British Summer screens
What other sport will you be enjoying this summer? I am an avid golfer and play whenever I can. I’ve played with some top golfers who have become friends, such as Tiger Woods and Ernie Els. But I just tee up and try to hit it straight! I always look forward to the Open Championship. It’s similar to Wimbledon, in that everyone knows it by a single word: it’s just the Open. I’m a big Formula 1 fan and have been to Silverstone. I’m happy Lewis Hamilton is driving for Mercedes. In Germany, they love his personality and edge – not to mention his girlfriend! – and they like successful drivers. Unfortunately, the British Grand Prix is in the middle weekend of Wimbledon this year, so I can’t go. And I have been to many polo matches and support the Laureus charity match, with top players from UK and Argentina, at Ham Polo Club each year before Wimbledon. It is a tough sport, being on a horse that high and hitting a little ball – I have total respect for those guys. So much sport: it’s going to be an exciting summer.
will show the big matches every day from 24 June to 7 July (excluding the middle Sunday, when there is no play), 12pm–9pm. Admission is free.
Don’t miss the other highlights of the summer ahead Rugby Union: Australia v British & Irish Lions First Test, Brisbane, 22 June Second Test, Melbourne, 29 June Third Test, Sydney, 6 July Formula 1: British Grand Prix Silverstone, 28–30 June Cricket: The Ashes First Test, Trent Bridge, 10–14 July Second Test, Lord’s, 18–22 July Third Test, Old Trafford, 1–5 August Fourth Test, Riverside, 9–13 August Fifth Test, The Oval, 21–25 August Golf: The Open Muirfield, 18–21 July
the sport issue
As a player, presumably your best moments were your three tournament wins. What have been your highlights as a commentator? I commentated on Pete Sampras’ last match on Centre Court – he was beaten by a young guy called Roger Federer. The 2008 Federer-Nadal final is the greatest match I have watched at Wimbledon. The Queen visited in 2010 and I was fortunate enough to shake her hand. I have seen a 17-year-old Maria Sharapova win and have everybody ask me how that feels. Every year there are amazing new stories. I have a feeling I will commentate on victory for Andy Murray this year…
As part of its Great British Summer, Land Securities is bringing Centre Court to the centre of the capital
out & about
wit h S T J a m e s ’ s P a r k a n d G r e e n P a r k c l os e at h a n d , a s w e l l a s p e a c e f u l b a c k str e e ts , V ictori a off e rs gr e at ro u t e s o n foot, o n two w h e e l s … a n d e v e n o n w at e r W o r d s t a m s i n c r i mm e n s
Accessing scenic routes through so many of London’s parks, Victoria is the perfect place to pound the pavement, says Runners Need’s James Lowndes, who runs every lunchtime along his favourite route. ‘Within minutes, I can be running through the trees,’ he says, ‘but still be in the middle of the city.’ His ‘tourist trail’ goes past Buckingham Palace and through Green Park, passing The Ritz, then over to Hyde Park, looping around Kensington Gardens and back down Grosvenor Place towards Palace Street. Runners Need offers gait analysis for flawlessly fitted shoes, among other advice: ‘We’re a friendly bunch in the Victoria branch. We like to share our best routes, so come in and have a chat.’ There’s a discount of 10% with this newspaper until 30 June 2013.
There’s a simple joy in messing about in boats, something most Londoners don’t often get the opportunity to do. But in Victoria, with the Thames on the doorstep and Westminster Boating Base offering kayaking and canoeing courses for all abilities, you can do just that. A great way to keep fit and enjoy nature, a paddle down the river takes in some of London’s greatest sights, including Battersea Power Station, London Eye, Houses of Parliament, the MI6 building, Tower Bridge, Tate Galleries and the numerous ‘hidden’ tributaries of the Thames. Kayaking can also be a wildlife safari –as well as over 100 species of fish, the tidal Thames is home to ducks, cormorants, moorhens, coots, dolphins, grey seals and, occasionally, a lost whale! Westminster Boating Base, 136 Grosvenor Road (opposite Dolphin Square); 020 7821 7389; westminsterboatingbase.co.uk
CycleSurgery’s Rebecca Lane, who works in its Cardinal Place branch, says cycling is a great way to commute: ‘You beat the
traffic and dodge the Tube – a five-minute cycle and you’re where you want to be.’ Whizzing down Birdcage Walk, towards the river, or along The Mall to Trafalgar Square, is convenient for experienced cyclists (and Mayor Boris is reportedly pushing for a cycle lane for the length of Victoria Embankment). There is plenty for novice riders too, with pretty streets to tootle around. CycleSurgery’s staff – including dedicated mechanic Derek, who fixes up battered bikes – are friendly and knowledgeable, and there’s a 10% discount with this newspaper until 30 June 2013. CycleSurgery, Cardinal Place; 0207 630 4959; cyclesurgery.com
Runners Need; Cardinal Place;
For advice on sharing London’s roads,
020 7630 5056; runnersneed.com
go to tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling
b o d y c l o c k : o n e H e a lt h y d ay 07:30 Kickstart your metabolism with a Power Plate session, Powerflex Studios, Victoria St. powerflexstudios.co.uk
08:30 Breakfast on hot porridge with berry compôte at EAT, Cardinal Place. cardinalplace.co.uk
08:45 Resist the lure of caffeine; grab a Green Goddess juice from Crussh, Strutton Ground. crussh.com
10:30 Dig into your bag for those almonds you bought at Marks & Spencer, Cardinal Place. cardinalplace.co.uk
12:30 Set off on a running route devised by Paula Radcliffe for the InterContinental Hotel on Broadway. ihg.com
13:15 Take away a Wagamama grilled fish ramen, to keep you bright-eyed for the afternoon. cardinalplace.co.uk
r e ta i l t h e r a pY shopping for fitness i n c a r d i n a l Pl ac e
G e tty im ag e s
They say the key to health is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, and a wander around Victoria is as much an education as good exercise. Start on Palace Street at Cardinal Place and head to Castle Lane and the little-known Westminster Chapel. Winding along Buckingham Gate towards Caxton Street, you’ll see two of Victoria’s oldest landmarks: the 18thcentury Blewcoat School and Caxton Hall where the suffragettes met. Wander through Christchurch Gardens and cross Victoria Street to Howick Place, where you’ll see the old red-brick post office. Looping around 123 Victoria Street, come to a stop at the glorious Westminster Cathedral Piazza to appreciate the early 20th-century neo-Byzantine architecture.
Omron pedometer, £26.50, Boots
Diad Jacket, £180, The North Face
It’s recommended we walk 10,000 steps a day for optimum health so you might get a shock, or a pleasant surprise, when you monitor how many you march.
Perfect for tackling serious hiking or just London’s temperamental weather. Get a 10% discount at The North Face, Cardinal Place, with this issue, until 30 June 2013.
Ice-cream earphones, £12,
Knog Boomer bicycle light set,
If the only reason you put up with the pain of a workout is to eat ice cream, give yourself a motivational reminder.
Increase your visibility on two wheels with these high-powered, 50- and 30-lumen lights, with strobe option.
iFitness Hydration Belt, from
Bracing Silverbirch Thermal Muscle
£31.99, Runners Need
Soak, £19, Molton Brown
Stay hydrated while making it clear to pavement-dawdlers, ‘I’m a serious runner, so get out of my way!’
Rest your tired muscles and soak away the day’s stresses and strains with silverbirch and cedarwood bath salts.
b o d y c l o c k : o n e H e a lt h y d ay 14:30 Take that meeting out of the office; go for a herbal at Blanche Eatery, Strutton Ground. blancheeatery.com
15:00 Pick up a Trek Oat Crunch Protein Flapjack from Holland & Barrett, Victoria St. hollandandbarrett.com
16:00 Book a treat for the team for hitting targets early: massages at Earth Spa, Eccleston St. earthspa.co.uk
18:00 Treat your body (and mind) as a temple with a Bikram yoga class at Sohot on Vandon Passage. sohotbikramyoga.co.uk
19:30 Meet friends for a vegetarian mezze platter from Kazan on Wilton Rd. kazan-restaurant.com
22:00 Head home for a relaxing soak with a bath oil from L’Occitane in Cardinal Place. loccitane.com
the sport issue
Walk This Way
The roar of the crowd
EVENTS IN VICTORIA: june
London’s musicals take to the outdoor stage in the annual West End Live spectacular, starting with a special preview in Victoria
Seasonal Market Cardinal Place Every Thursday Set aside T hursday lunchtime s for gast ronomic g lobet rot ting. Enjoy a bite to eat – any thing f rom C reole to Por tugue se food – and pick up t reat s f rom st alls such as the B ath Chee se Company to t ake home.
London’s Theatreland is the world’s leading live entertainment hub (only Broadway in New York comes anywhere close) – and if you doubt that claim, head to West End Live in association with MasterCard, at the end of June. This allsinging, all-dancing family spectacular organised by Westminster City Council and the Society of London Theatre, is an opportunity to see performances from major musicals in the heart of London – and it’s completely free. The curtain rises on festivities at a special free lunchtime preview at Cardinal Place, at 12.30pm on Wednesday 19 June
– on a special stage in the roof garden at the top of the escalators. Victoria locals can get ahead of the pack and catch the cast of Victoria theatre favourites Billy Elliot (the hit adaptation of the film about a Durham coal miner’s son who becomes
a ballet dancer) and Wicked (the story of Elphaba, Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West) as well as scenes from Spamalot and songs from ‘super-tenor’ Stuart Matthew Price of the St James Theatre. If your appetite is whetted (and it will be!), head to Trafalgar Square at 11am on Saturday 22 June or midday on Sunday 23rd for the West End Live weekend. In addition to excerpts from more than 30 musicals, there will be performances by live bands and interactive exhibits from attractions such as Madame Tussaud’s and the Science Museum. westendlive.co.uk
Grand Organ Festival Westminster Cathedral 26 June, 7.30pm The next in the series of free concerts using Henr y Willis III’s celebrated cathedral organ marks the 850th year of another great church, Notre Dame de Paris. Olivier Latry will play a selection of work s by for mer Not re Dame organist s, as well as an improvisation of his ow n .
COronation Festival Buckingham Palace Gardens 11–14 July On the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, the Royal Warrant Holders Association hosts a huge celebration of
victoria in the fashion press
six decades of UK innovation and excellence – with visitors experiencing crafts, technology, design, food and drink from over 200 exhibitors.
coronationfestival.com There is a growing buzz about Victoria, with the area featuring in a number of glossy publications: The current issue of Wallpaper* covers the Office of the Future exhibition it s editors curated at Howick Place in March
In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace Until 6 October
The Regency Café featured in a
Paintings f rom the Royal Collection
piece by supermodel David Gandy on
ex plore s the sar torial st yle s of the
Jaguar in Man About Town
16th and 17th centurie s. T he work s
GQ recently called the area
are a unique insight into a time when
a ‘contemporar y fashion hub ’
fashion was cent ral to life in cour t
The ‘ jewels in Victoria’s crown’ are fêted over five pages of July’s Vogue
and to showcasing one’s social status.
glorious goodwood 30 July to 3 August
For tickets or hospitality call: 01243 755055 or visit
2013 Fixtures May: 4, 9, 23, 24, 25, 31 June: 14, 21 July: 30, 31 August: 1, 2, 3, 23, 24, 25 September: 3, 25 October: 13
t h e big pict u r e
V i n c e n t S q ua r e w o r d s c h a r l i e t e a s d a l e P h o t o g raph y g u y s t e p h e n s
the sport issue
Victoria and the surrounding area is abundant with landmarks. The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Cathedral and, of course, Buckingham Palace. However, nestled away behind Vauxhall Bridge Road, is one of the area’s lesser known spots:Vincent Square. Before Westminster and Victoria were built up, the area was just a marshy plain that stretched from Millbank to Westminster Abbey. According to records of London history, during the Middle Ages, residents of the few houses of Tothill Fields, as it was known, would have had an interesting view – it was a place where public punishments were carried out, particularly those reserved for necromancers and sorcerers. Boys from Westminster School, founded in 1179, traditionally used these fields for outdoor pursuits,
including golf and cricket, but also for public-school pastimes that have generally fallen out of favour, such as ditch leaping and snipe shooting. As the area became increasingly developed toward the end of the 18th century, the space for the boys diminished and it looked as though their sporting activities would be forced to a complete halt by the encroaching buildings. In 1810, William Vincent, Dean of Westminster and a former headmaster of the school, took it upon himself to preserve some of the land as a playing field. He paid a man with a horse and plough to drive a furrow around 10 acres; the following year, he erected railings and gates; and, in 1828, the cricket pavilion was built. Ever since, barring intermissions during the wars, Vincent Square has been used as
Westminster School’s playing fields. Today it is a tranquil sporting haven among the bustling streets of Victoria. The square is home to tennis courts, netball courts, football pitches, cricket nets and, of course, the beautifully maintained cricket pitch itself. Cricket has always been one of the predominant sports at Westminster School, with the first mention of it appearing in a letter from Lord Chesterfield to his son, a pupil, in 1745. An annual match between the King’s Scholars and the Town Boys of the school dates back to the 1700s, and was played every year until the mid-20th century. Although that particular fixture is no longer played, Westminster School’s rivalry with Charterhouse is alive and well, and 2013 will mark the 150th anniversary of the historic annual match.
tat e b r i ta i n a r t i c o n s , N o . 4
The Football Match
Lady Lucy French on the st james theatre’s summer programmE
by LS Lowry
1949 (oil on canvas); from the exhibition Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life (26 June to 20 October 2013) Words amy r aphael
July highlight Kit & McConnel in a folk spoof
I have that summer feeling: the sunshine renews my energy levels and I contemplate a healthier, more vital lifestyle. After a run or cycle in the park, I arrive at the St James Theatre raring to go. The lighter evenings make me want to stay up late and I am so excited about what we have on both stages at the St James. I guarantee there will not be a dull moment! One of the National Theatre’s ‘100 Plays of the Century’, Githa Sowerby’s
Rutherford & Son , directed by Jonathan Miller, is at the St James until 29 June. I thoroughly recommend this story of family dynamics set in a glassworks in 1912 – few dramas are as deeply human, uncompromising and immediately rewarding. Our Play Festival, 10–16 June, is a heptathlon of drama! Theatrical
© C h risti e s I m ag e s/ T h ee B ridg em a n a rt l ibr a ry
Jessica Ennises should watch out for
In 1951, ‘The Football Match’ was bought for £250 by a Cambridgeshire farmer and future Labour life peer, Harry Walston. Two years ago, the oil painting, which measures 28ins x 26ins, was put up for auction at Christie’s with a guide price of £2.5m to £4.5m. It confounded the art world by selling for £5.6m to an unknown bidder and is now Lowry’s most expensive painting. ‘The Football Match’ is, according to Christie’s, ‘a modern masterpiece.’ It is a stunning combination of Lowry’s celebrated industrial landscapes and his beloved football – he famously supported Manchester City. Black smoke billows out of factories as people crowd around the football pitch. The players are barely visible; to Lowry it’s the fans that really
matter. Their excitement is tangible even though they are represented only as a mass of black figures. Lowry’s work has often been dismissed as bleak, but ‘The Football Match’ is a vibrant celebration of a Northern city relaxing on a Saturday afternoon. A brutally honest artist, he wanted to show everyday rituals set against the lasting effect of the industrial revolution. Some critics dismiss him as a ‘Sunday painter’, but Lowry’s work undeniably provides a vital visual history of working-class life in the 20th century. Lowry was a rather odd and solitary character. Born in Stretford, Lancashire, in 1887, he worked as a rent collector until his retirement in 1952. He studied at the Salford School of Art in the
evenings and painted only in his spare time. He was nevertheless phenomenally successful in his lifetime. He was appointed official artist at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and elected to the Royal Academy in 1962 and 1967. The General Post Office even issued a stamp reproducing one of his paintings. Before his death in 1976, Lowry is said to have played up to his image as an artist who was as dour as his work. He never had a car, never went abroad and always had a suitcase by the door so he could pretend he was just leaving if someone called unexpectedly. In some ways, he was the ultimate anti-celebrity artist, turning down an OBE, a CBE and knighthood, hiding away and refusing to luxuriate in his success.
Austen’s Women , which has had great reviews; Guy Masterson’s awardwinning one-man show, Shylock ; and Stephen Berkoff’s collaborator Linda Marlowe in Berkoff’s Women . I wouldn’t be surprised if by now you feel exhausted by this creative workout, so why not unwind with the brilliant classical pianist Chisato Kusunoki on 23 June. Or join the remarkable Barb Jungr in the St James Studio each Friday in July as she brings her amazing voice to themes including the Great American Songbook and Bob Dylan’s repertoire. And my final fixture before I disappear for a week or two to rest? Satirical cabaret royalty, Kit & McConnel on 21 July.
Ahead of the pack If you think you might have spotted Lord Coe or a Lions rugby legend heading into a building on Victoria Street, you probably did. That office houses Fast Track – one of the most innovative and forward-thinking sport events agencies out there w o r d s A m y R apha e l
Michelle Dite joined Fast Track in 1998 as its first graduate trainee. Fifteen years later, she is on the company’s board. Fast Track, part of the CSM Sport & Entertainment Group, ‘drives business through sport’ by working with major brands, including Land Rover and Lucozade, and governing bodies from Sainsbury’s UK School Games to the Lawn Tennis Association. Her progress, she says, is typical of a modern company, defined by forward thinking, which employs plenty of highly capable young women who forge new partnerships and pitch for business on a regular basis. Dite acknowleges that sport remains a male-dominated environment, but says that things are moving in the right direction. ‘Since I started working for Fast Track, I’ve watched women taking more and more senior jobs in sports marketing agencies. I’m involved in a networking group of 25 senior women involved in sport – a mixture of independent consultants and sports agencies – and we get together every couple of months to share industry knowledge and experiences.’ Dite points out that it’s not just the women who are helping one another. CSM chairman, Lord Sebastian Coe,
the sport issue
G e tty im ag e s
From top: S am War bur ton , c apt ain of t he L ion s, in t he shir t spon sored by Fa st Track client HSBC; the group’s ch air m an Lord Coe (de scr ibed by st af f a s ‘an in spirat ion’ ) is a regular visitor to t he V ictor ia St reet of f ice; t he agency ar ranged for football and r ug by st ars to h and out Lucozade Sport to runners in t he V irgin London Marat hon
was proactive in the recruitment of women for London 2012 while Lord Davies, chairman of the CSM parent company Chime, recently delivered the latest edition of his report, Women on Boards. ‘I have amazing support at Fast Track,’ says Dite. ‘It’s a very inclusive company. But sport is a competitive world. I have played hockey to international standard, I’ve cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End and I’ll be doing RideLondon this year. In other words, I enjoy competing. I’m valued for my hard work, but I have to earn my place like any man would.’ Dite, who oversees live events across Fast Track’s portfolio in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Australasia, as well as being involved in business development, is enthusiastic about the company’s location in Victoria. The offices, above House of Fraser, were even transformed into a hospitality area for Lucozade during the Virgin London Marathon, with massage tables in the boardroom. Another client, HSBC, is a sponsor of the Lions tour and fan activities will take place in Victoria on the eve of the first Test. ‘We do as many events around here as we possibly can. We launched the Hero Ride, Help for Heroes’ latest fundraising initiative, which took place on 2 June, on Horse Guards Parade.’ CSM’s reception area regularly doubles as a social hub. ‘We had an event where the staff could meet Lord Coe in an informal setting and get to know him better. He has invested time in the group to help us grow. And, as a legend in the sporting world, he’s an inspiration for everyone.’ Best of all, perhaps, the ongoing transformation of Victoria has encouraged the staff to socialise. ‘The diversity of restaurants and bars is fantastic. Now, we often go out together as a team after work whereas, before the regeneration began, everyone tended to drift off in different directions. We’re also all ridiculously excited about Little Waitrose opening over the road!’ When Fast Track’s staff members aren’t running in St James’s Park at lunchtime, they can be seen entertaining various celebrities in the restaurants around Victoria. It’s not, admits Dite, a bad working life. ‘We have a regular flow of famous sportspeople and others coming through our revolving doors. It’s great being an expanding company in a thriving area where we can entertain our clients and their ambassadors. We are always proud to welcome the likes of Jason Robinson, Gavin Hastings and Brian O’Driscoll to Victoria.’
Work / Life i n t e rv i e w s c h a r l i e t e a s d a l e ph o t o g raph y c h r i s fl o y d w o rk i n g i n v i c t o r i a
living in victoria
K at e P e r c i v a l
Ya s i n ALI Z A B EH
F o u n d e r, G r a c e B e l g r a v i a
Tr a i n e e , C i r c l e S p o r t s
Grace is a new concept in health and fitness. How does it work? Grace is a women-only health, wellbeing and lifestyle club. We have a Matt Roberts gym, a spa and a wonderful healthy restaurant. But in addition to that, we have a medical practice for traditional and complementary medicine, and we also run lectures and seminars. It’s all about mind, body and soul. What inspired the idea? I was doing a Masters five years ago and wrote a thesis on the convergence of medicine and the global spa industry. We keep being told we’re going to live to 100, so we may as well do it in as healthy a way as possible. Our philosophy is about healthy lifestyle and truly integrated healthcare. Women often put themselves last in the queue – we’re usually running families, jobs, children, husbands, homes and we feel guilty about taking time out, actually taking a breath, looking after ourselves. For a lot of busy women, having the best-of-the-best experts available to you under one roof is hugely time-saving. Was the location important? Yes, because we want Grace to be a place for women to be nurtured and looked after, but also somewhere they can use
as a hub to connect with like-minded women, in business or as friends. We want Grace to be a home for the voice of women. With that in mind, I found this amazing 11,500sq ft space on West Halkin Street off Belgrave Square. It is on the first and mezzanine floors, flooded with light and has a great spirit. Of course, being close to Victoria, I’m on the cusp of Chelsea and Westminster, so that’s appealing. I can walk to the shops on Elizabeth Street or Motcomb Street, and we’re surrounded by parks – it’s a very uplifting part of the world to work in. How do you feel Victoria has changed in recent times? Victoria Street was never my favourite street, to be honest – it always felt very impersonal – but I feel the developers are listening to how people want to shop and what they want out of their local area. Are there any favourite hidden gems you can recommend? Well, I’m rather rooted here at Grace – but what some don’t know is that on Tuesday and Friday evenings and at Sunday brunch, members can bring male friends to the Grace café and Apothecary bar. gracebelgravia.com
How long have you lived in Victoria? Close to two-and-a-half years – I moved here from Holloway. I like it because there’s a lot of space – that’s essential for me – and it’s a peaceful place to live. I enjoy running around here – the streets are pretty quiet, so it’s good for training. Is Victoria a good area for sports enthusiasts, whatever their level? Yeah – especially because of the Queen Mother Sports Centre. I’m lucky: it’s right by my house. I use the pool there, as well as the gym. Actually I teach kickboxing and I was thinking of running classes at the centre, but they already have someone teaching there, so I’ll probably go there for training instead. I’ve been kickboxing for 10 years. It really builds your confidence and keeps you fit and healthy – I don’t remember when I last needed to go to the doctor! You’re involved with Circle Sports, the charity that trains young people in skills needed to start a career, as well as bringing sport to the community. How did you find the organisation? I dropped out of university and was looking for a job. I talked to someone at Westminster Sports & Leisure and because Westminster Council’s a partner
of Circle Sports, I was introduced to them. It’s been really helpful so far. What does the course involve? I work in the sportswear shop, just off Edgware Road. It gives me experience in customer relations, marketing and business management – and there’s a VQ accreditation at the end of the course. What are you hoping to get out of it? Well, the charity has such good links with the Victoria area that they know all about the vacancies around. I had two interviews the first week I joined. Land Securities is one of the sponsors of Circle Sports and I have had discussions with them. I’m also taking a closeprotection course, so I’m planning to apply for a job as a guard there. Of course, Land Securities is behind a lot of the changes going on in Victoria at the moment. What do you think of the redevelopment? I used to study architecture, so I’m looking forward to seeing all the new buildings once they’re completed. This is a beautiful part of London already, and it can only get better – I’m planning on staying here a long time. circlesports.org
t h e k n o w l e dg e
T e s t y o u r l o c a l s a vv y – a n d i f y o u n e e d s o m e c l u e s , y o u ’ l l f i n d t h e m o n t h e w e b s i t e at c r e at e v i c t o r i a . c o m W o r d s c h r i s m a d i g a n i l l u s t ra t i o n t o b y t r i u m p h
4. Which building in Westminster was used as the temporary home of Parliament in WWII, served as the venue for the first meeting of the UN Security Council in 1946, and now hosts meetings of the CofE’s General Synod? A. Church House B. Westminster Abbey C. Methodist Central Hall
5. The Gates Foundation is based in Victoria… Where was Bill born? A. San Francisco B. Portland C. Seattle
8. Who is the creative director of Burberry, the headquarters of which are on Horseferry Road? A. Matthew Williamson B. Christopher Bailey C. Hussein Chalayan 3. In the 15th century, William Caxton ran his printing press from his house in Tothill Street. After his death, his work was continued by his assistant. What was his name? A. Wynkyn de Worde B. Andreas von Päpakut C. Manolio Pressi
6. Which member of the Royal Family is the Patron and ‘Twelfth Man’ of the Lord’s Taverners cricket charity, whose HQ is on Buckingham Place? A. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh B. HRH The Prince of Wales C. HRH The Duke of Cambridge
9. Why is half of Victoria Station made of Portland Stone and half made of brick? A. Because it is actually two different stations built next door to each other B. Queen Victoria preferred the stone, but her husband Prince
10. Which artist bequeathed 180 oil paintings and 19,000 drawings to the nation that are now housed in the Tate Britain? A. William Hogarth B. JMW Turner C. John Constable 1. Minimax Fire Extinguisher Co. (which was the previous occupant). 2. The Mall – the original London Marathon finishing line was on neighbouring Constitution Hill. 3. Wynkyn de Worde, originally named Jan van Wynkyn. 4. Church House. 5. Seattle. 6. The Duke Of Edinburgh (although all three have been President). 7. It was a This Is Your Life ambush. 8. Christopher Bailey. 9. Victoria station incorporated two railway companies: the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway and the London, Chatham & Dover Railway. 10. JMW Turner – hence the Turner Prize
2. The Virgin London Marathon has had its finishing line on which Westminster street since 1994? A. Victoria Street B. Constitution Hill C. The Mall
Albert owned a brick factory, so she compromised C. Because in 1861, there was a strike by quarrymen, which led to a shortage of stone and the building had to be completed in time for the Silver Jubilee the following year
the sport issue
1. From 1924 to 1966, MI6 had its HQ at 54 Broadway. However, what did the sign on the door say was inside? A. HM Govt. Department of Administrative Affairs B. Minimax Fire Extinguisher Co C. Universal Exports
7. In 1977, England cricket captain Tony Greig, who died in December 2012, was surprised to be ambushed at Victoria station. By whom? A. Fans celebrating him leading England to the first Test series victory in India for 15 years B. Jamaicans taking the mick out of him for saying he would make the West Indies ‘grovel’ the previous summer – before losing every Test to the visitors C. Eamonn Andrews with the red book of This Is Your Life
The Lord’s Taverners Over 60 years ago, a group of cricket-loving actors –with the support of players and royalty – formed one of the country’s best-loved charities W o r d s M i c h a e l H o g a n p o r t ra i t t r e n t m c m i n n
What do Eric Morecambe, David Frost, Ronnie Corbett, Terry Wogan, and Princes Philip, Charles and Edward have in common? They’ve all been Presidents of The Lord’s Taverners, the thriving charity based in Buckingham Place. Britain’s leading charity for youth cricket and disability sport began life literally sketched on a beer mat. Current President Chris Cowdrey picks up the story: ‘In 1950, a group of cricket-loving actors regularly found themselves at Lord’s Tavern at the end of the day’s play. They eventually hatched a plan. Rather than just going to the pub and drinking too much, why not raise a bit of money for people less fortunate? It grew from there. Players got involved and it became cricket’s charity.’ The Taverners retains the clubby feel of its roots and now has 4,500 members. It raises funds from social and sporting events, donations and the odd high-profile sponsorship. ‘Andrew Strauss ran the London Marathon for us recently with his wife Ruth – who’s Australian, by the way. Goodness knows how Straussy captained England to two Ashes wins with an Aussie wife,’ grins Cowdrey. ‘We had 38 runners in the race and threw a big party in The Phoenix pub on Palace Street near our office, with 200 people cheering them on.’ Next up, another Ashes legend will be working up a sweat. ‘Mike Gatting, who’s a former President, is off on a big cycle ride – well, if he can find a bike strong enough to take his weight,’ chuckles Cowdrey. ‘Gatt sets off on 13 July on a 340-mile trip round all five Ashes grounds, arriving at Lord’s in time for the first Test, and he’s hoping to raise £200,000 from the cycle ride.’ The Taverners’ money helps the disabled and disadvantaged at home and abroad. The most recognisable symbol of their work is their green minibuses – specially adapted, wheelchair-accessible
and given to schools, clubs and youth organisations across the country. ‘Last summer we delivered our 1,000th minibus,’ says Cowdrey proudly. ‘It’s very moving. The buses genuinely transform kids’ lives, enabling them to get around. Our slogan is “Giving young people a sporting chance” and that really is what we do.’ The iconic minibuses are just one aspect of their work. Cowdrey explains: ‘We’ve put £3m into non-turf cricket pitches. Cricket’s a nightmare game if it rains, as it did all last summer, and lots of teams don’t have covers, so non-turf pitches really help youngsters play more. Girls’ cricket has been transformed by our work too – 75,000 girls have taken part in our Lady Taverners competitions. We also ran an appeal last year that raised over £1m to help propel young people into wheelchair sport. And our Kit Aid scheme recycles equipment to disadvantaged kids.’ Cowdrey has been a Taverners member for three decades and was named President last year. ‘I was so honoured to be asked. Barry Norman was before me, Chris Tarrant before him. We’ve had huge names, going back to Prince Philip himself. He was
Clockwise from top: Chris Cowdrey, the Taverners President, with a portrait of the ‘Twelfth Man’; football manager Brian Clough turning out for the Taverners in 1975; former England captain Andrew Strauss and wife Ruth at the Virgin London Marathon in April
President 50 years ago, still holds us very dear and is our Patron. We call him our Twelfth Man - although I’ve never seen him bringing the drinks on!’ The Taverners have been based in Victoria for 15 years. ‘We’re in a beautiful old building, with a boardroom called the Long Room. The area’s improved no
end and it works perfectly for us. It’s central, great for transport, a prestigious address – and, of course, we’re just round the corner from our Twelfth Man’s house.’ Former Kent and England captain Cowdrey is part of a cricketing dynasty – his father Colin, another former Taverners President, was the first cricketer to play 100 Tests. His brother Graham played for Kent, as does Chris’s son Fabian. There’s just time for a quick reminisce about all-rounder Chris’s own Test debut in Bombay back in 1984. ‘We were in real trouble. India were smashing us all over the place. I’d been fielding at short leg for a day-and-a-half, covered in dust and bruises. Our skipper David Gower said, “Right, Chris. Come and have a bowl.” I said, “Thanks very much. I’ll just take these shin pads off.’ But David went, “Oh don’t worry about that, you won’t be on long enough.” So I bowled still in shin pads and a box. Dad was listening on the car radio and got so excited that I was being given a bowl, he drove the wrong way down a one-way street and was stopped by the cops. When I got the great Kapil Dev out in my first over, the police let him off his ticket. Gower still took me off, though.’
the sport issue
Nova is new. New to Victoria, new to London, new to Europe. It is an architecturally daring development on a grand scale, creating a vibrant new link between Victoria Station, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Parks – definitively crowning our recent reinvention of Victoria.
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