Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population

gross
that’s gross

Research by author reveals corporations and aristocrats are the biggest landowners

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of its population, according to new data shared with the Guardian that seeks to penetrate the secrecy that has traditionally surrounded land ownership.

The findings, described as “astonishingly unequal”, suggest that about 25,000 landowners – typically members of the aristocracy and corporations – have control of half of the country.

The figures show that if the land were distributed evenly across the entire population, each person would have almost an acre – an area roughly the size of Parliament Square in central London.

Major owners include the Duke of Buccleuch, the Queen, several large grouse moor estates, and the entrepreneur James Dyson. [ . . . ]

Continue reading at THE GUARDIAN: Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population

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The 6 cheapest pubs for sale in Scotland

If you’re looking for a commercial opportunity but don’t think you’ve got the money, then take a look at these budget businesses for sale now all for under £100,000.

1. Mac Clures Bar, Dunoon

This bar, which is on the market for 20,000, has been run by the current owners since 2004. Listed with Bruce & Co, it enjoys much repeat custom, particularly due to its excellent location in the centre of Dunoon.
This bar, which is on the market for 20,000, has been run by the current owners since 2004. Listed with Bruce & Co, it enjoys much repeat custom, particularly due to its excellent location in the centre of Dunoon.

Continue at THE SCOTSMAN: The 6 cheapest pubs for sale in Scotland

Rock Island Line: The Song That Made Britain Rock, BBC Four review – the early dawn of Britpop

Billy Bragg travels back through the primeval swamps of skiffle and beyond. TV review by James Woodall

If you were a fan of “Rock Island Line” when it became a pop hit, you’d have to be at least in your mid-70s now. In 1956, Paul McCartney heard Lonnie Donegan perform it live in Liverpool, and Paul’s rising 77. How many below that age know it is moot, though that doesn’t necessarily disqualify it from the hour-long documentary treatment. For blues lovers, it’s a benchmark. “Rock Island Line” dates from the late 1920s and was first recorded in 1934.

Billy Bragg dependably and articulately fronted up this BBC Four history of the song, a protest paean to, or (as it might once have been called) a Negro spiritual about, a railroad network begun in the mid-19th century. Trains eventually steamed to many points west, south and north of Chicago – Rock Island sits west of Chicago, on the east bank of the Mississippi.

Lonnie Donegan album sleeve

Those first recorded voices of the song belonged to black prisoners in Arkansas, way to the south. Key here was that another erstwhile convict, Huddie William Ledbetter – aka Lead Belly, who was violent but musically hugely influential on the 1950s and 1960s: Dylan references him on his first album – was present at the recording, clocked the performance and made the song his own. He died in 1949. Continue reading

Tales from the bartop at the Aberdeenshire ‘Local Hero’ pub

Bill Forsyth’s international hit film Local Hero put Aberdeenshire firmly on the map in the 1980s.

Nearly 40 years after the movie premiere, Local Hero has been adapted for the stage by an award-winning creative team. Bill Forsyth and Mark Knopfler have teamed up with David Greig and John Crowley to create the brand new musical stage production, which is currently enjoying its world premiere at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh until May 4.

Fans of the movie will have fond memories of the MacAskill Arms – a traditional pub in the fictional village of Ferness. Run by Gordon and his partner Stella, the pub was the beating heart of the local community.

The Aberdeenshire village of Pennan was the home of Ferness and visitors from all over the world have made the pilgrimage to the sleepy seaside village to retrace the steps of the big Hollywood names and home grown Scottish talent that starred in the film.

What many don’t know is that whilst Pennan was the exterior setting for the MacAskill Arms, the interior scenes were actually shot in The Ship Inn – 11 miles away in Banff! Continue reading