bygonelondon.com

Transport and tech: A history of London innovations

From today, Transport for London (TfL) has announced that a new contactless payment system will be in operation across all London transport services, allowing customers to pay their fare with bank cards, smartphones, or even wearable technology.

While some commuters may be concerned that the news marks the beginning of the end for the Oyster card, transport in the capital has never stood still when it comes to technological improvements.

The world’s first underground railway

London Underground, the mode of transport perhaps most associated with these enhancements, celebrated its 150th birthday last year, and lays claim to being the world’s first underground railway.

Related: Smart public transport

Starting off as a single route between Paddington and Farringdon Street, the “Tube” now covers 270 stations and 11 lines. In 1900, the Central Line was opened and charged a flat rate of two pence between any two stations, giving present-day fare payers another thing to get angry about.

In 1908, the Underground’s first electric ticket machine was introduced, suggesting that the recent outcry over the closure of manned ticket offices has been a long time coming.

Technical innovations were frequent during the tube’s early years, with Earl’s Court station introducing the first escalator in 1911. Presumably, the station also witnessed the first commuter to lash out in anger at those not standing on the right-hand side.

Other notable enhancements that make the daily commute a bit more bearable include the introduction of automatic doors in 1929 and dot matrix destination indicators in 1983. Perhaps the most overdue addition to the Tube system came in the form of the first air-conditioned, walk through train, which was only launched on the Metropolitan line in 2010. 

London’s iconic red buses go green

The city’s transport innovations, however, have not been restricted to the Underground.

Green technology has been embraced by London’s bus network, following the introduction of hybrid buses in 2006. The buses, which reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 40 per cent, are also set to increase in number from the 800 or so currently in service.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has also introduced wireless charging on the hybrid buses, alongside the proposal for all single decker vehicles to produce zero carbon emissions.

Articulated or “bendy” buses, which saw use between 2001 and 2011, were perhaps less successful. Aside from widespread rumours that they could burst into flames at any minutes, which lead to them being nicknamed “chariots of fire,” they did pose a genuine risk to London’s commuters. During the period when they made up five per cent of the capital’s fleet, they accounted for an estimated 20 per cent of all bus-related deaths, leading to their eventual replacement.

Related: London buses embrace “Cash on Tap” smartphone payments

There has also been a push to get more of the capital’s commuters connected, with recent Wi-Fi trials across two London bus routes adding to the 144 Underground stations already enjoying online connectivity.

Even crossing the Thames has seen its share of innovation over recent years. The Emirates Air Line (or Thames cable car) opened in 2012 and offers spectacular views of the city, for those willing to brave the 90 metre ascent.

End of the line for Oyster?

However, the biggest technological change, in recent memory at least, to the capital’s transport system may now be on the way out.

The introduction of the Oyster card in 2003, across the London transport system, has had a major impact on the way people travel in the capital. Approximately 80 per cent of all journeys are now carried out via Oyster and despite some controversies over unwarranted penalties and minor security issues, the smartcard payment system has largely been a success.

If, as expected, the introduction of a new contactless payment system means the death of the Oyster card, it will simply be the next stage of development for London’s transport system.

Getting around in the capital has come a long way since Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his father built the Thames Tunnel back in 1843, and with technology developing at rapid rate, who knows what route London transport is likely to take next? 

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Today in media history: Edward R. Murrow describes the bombing of London in …

On September 15, 1940, CBS News radio correspondent Edward R. Murrow described the bombing of London during World War II’s Battle of Britain. Murrow usually opened his broadcasts with the words “This…is London.” During the war he often broadcast from rooftops as bombs fell on the city. But he also told countless stories about the daily life that goes on during a war. They were stories about ordinary people during extraordinary times.

“Even for those of us who live on the crest of London, life is dangerous. Some of the old buildings have gone, but the ghosts, sometimes a whole company of ghosts, remain. There is a thunder of gunfire at night. As these lines were written, as the window shook, there was a candle and matches beside the typewriter just in case the light went out.”

A week later he reported:

“I’m standing again tonight on a rooftop looking out over London, feeling rather large and lonesome. In the course of the last fifteen or twenty minutes there’s been considerable action up there, but at the moment there’s an ominous silence hanging over London. But at the same time a silence that has a great deal of dignity.”

One of Murrow’s most famous broadcasts came on the night of August 24, 1940. He began his report with the words, “This…is Trafalgar Square.”

Murrow described the scene from the steps of the St. Martin-in-the Fields church with the sound of air-raid sirens in the background.

A microphone captured the sound of footsteps on the sidewalk, as people walked slowly along the street to a bomb shelter below. He said the footsteps sounded “like ghosts shod with steel shoes.”

Murrow saw a red double decker bus driving by. In the darkness, the lights from inside the tall bus reminded him of a ship passing in the night. He observed a bright search light beam reaching straight up into the sky.

His CBS radio broadcasts continued until the end of the war in 1945. During the following decade, with a new technology called television, Murrow helped create the next chapter in broadcast journalism history.

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Scottish war games haunt London elite before date with history

Less than a week before a referendum that could see Scotland ending its 307-year political bond with the United Kingdom, officials at the Bank of England and the Treasury are gaming out how they would shore up the financial system if that happens. With the result being announced ahead of a normal trading day in the U.K., among the chief risks facing officials in the first 24 hours after any “yes” vote: a flight of deposits, a run on the pound and a drying up of bank liquidity.

Panic “grows exponentially so the key thing is to not let it start in the first place,” said David Bell, professor of economics at the University of Stirling. “As soon as rumors start getting around, it seems to me that it’s very bad news.”

While polls currently suggest Scots will opt to stay with the U.K. by a narrow margin, the vote is so close that officials are girding themselves for the possibility of the biggest shock to the financial system since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008. The pound has the potential to tumble 10 percent within a month, said 61 percent of the 31 respondents in a Bloomberg News survey conducted Sept. 5-11.

Taking Action

BOE Governor Mark Carney and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne may need to act within hours, say former policy makers, economists, academics and government officials. That will then buy them enough time to start the 18-month negotiation process that would follow any Scottish secession.

“What Carney will be worried about initially is the potential flight of deposits,” said former deputy governor John Gieve, who was in charge of financial stability at the central bank during the run on Northern Rock Plc in 2007.

While Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc, Scotland’s two biggest lenders, have said they plan to move their legal base to England if the country votes for independence, investors may still fret about any turmoil created by the transition.

Carney has said assets in the Scottish-domiciled financial industry are about 10 times the country’s gross domestic product, totaling more than 1 trillion pounds ($1.62 trillion). With questions over Scotland’s currency plans and lender-of- last-resort arrangements, that’s generating uncertainty about the future of the country’s banking system.

Tallying Votes

The first results, from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, or the Western Isles council, are due around 2 a.m. local time. The urban centers of Glasgow and Edinburgh, where about a quarter of the electorate lives, may not start reporting until 5 a.m.

If the final outcome is “yes,” a team of officials will be put together at the Treasury in the early hours of Sept. 19 to deal with the fallout, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential internal matters.

Campaigning is intensifying after a YouGov Plc poll last weekend put the Yes vote ahead for the first time this year. A survey by the same company published Sept. 11 showed a reversal, with the “no” camp leading 52 percent to 48 percent. A poll by ICM released yesterday showed the “yes” vote on 49 percent and “no” on 51 percent after excluding undecided voters, making it effectively too close to call given the margin of error.

As the risk of Scotland severing its monetary, fiscal and political ties with the rest of the U.K. rises, London’s politicians have deliberately avoided using the word “contingency” in case it’s seen as preparing for defeat.

“The government has not been and will not do that type of planning,” Cameron’s spokesman, Jean-Christophe Gray, told reporters in London on Sept. 11.

Cameron Vacation

Cameron, who didn’t watch the two television debates between the leaders of the “yes” and “no” campaigns because he was on vacation in Portugal and then southwest England, made an emotional plea to Scottish voters on Sept. 10 not to break up the U.K. He’s planning another trip to Scotland on Monday.

Nationalists, led by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, say both sides should prepare for a “yes” vote after signs of increased momentum toward the independence campaign.

The need to calm financial markets may be one of the key challenges facing politicians and the BOE. Unlike the government, Carney has said publicly he has contingency plans.

He told a Sept. 10 parliamentary hearing in London that his back-up preparations involve “considerable resources.” A BOE spokesman declined to give additional details.

“They relate to specific institutions and specific situations, and from considerable experience making plans public about specific institutions and specific situations can be counterproductive,” Carney told lawmakers.

BOE Backstop

One step the BOE could take in the initial hours is to reiterate it is still the lender of last resort to all U.K. banks, including Scottish ones, until any formal separation, according to Allan Monks, an economist at JPMorgan Chase Co. in London.

Gieve, the former central banker, said officials will be talking to lenders to make sure enough banknotes are stocked in cash machines and extra resources will be in place to deal with a potential increase in demand from customers wanting to access their accounts through the Internet.

The memory of the run on Northern Rock in 2007, where a panic was fueled because depositors couldn’t access their money online, is seared into the minds of policy makers.

The central bank will also probably be coordinating with lenders to make sure they have sufficient eligible collateral ready to exchange with the BOE if they need to use its liquidity facilities, Gieve said.

Extreme Scenario

In an extreme scenario, officials could implement temporary controls such as limiting the amount bank customers could withdraw each day, or closing lenders by imposing a special so- called bank holiday, said Bell at Stirling University. Authorities could also re-capitalize institutions, restructure their liabilities and help them raise funding — though Gieve said he thought such steps would not be necessary.

“Everybody will want to do the best for Scotland whatever we decide, but at the end of the day, nobody’s going to put their own savings or their own mortgage at risk,” Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish secretary in the U.K. government, said in an interview in Edinburgh this week.

Britain’s leaders will have decisions to make in the run up to the vote and in the hours immediately after it.

Mounting Concern

Growing concern in government, which has so far refused to admit publicly it has contingency plans, was made apparent yesterday by Osborne’s decision to cancel his trip to the Sept. 20-21 Group of 20 meeting in Cairns, Australia. Had he traveled, he risked being uncontactable for hours in the air when the results were announced.

Asked yesterday about the plans officials had in place to avert a credit crunch in the event of a “Yes” vote, Osborne said his decision to not attend the G-20 was motivated by the “economic risks” surrounding the vote.

Carney will be in Cairns on Sept. 17 and leave the gathering early to get back to London in time for the referendum results, a spokesman for the BOE said separately.

The central government has plans in place should Scotland vote for independence and they’re just not formally written down, a government official said. The Scottish National Party, which runs the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, will convene its cabinet at St. Andrew’s House in the city once the result is known to figure out the next steps.

U.K. Debt

To head off investors shunning U.K. assets and unloading government bonds, the Treasury may reaffirm its commitment to service all Britain’s debt to prevent gilt yields soaring, said Maeve Johnston, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London. Banks may also want the government to reiterate it guarantees U.K. retail deposits through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

JPMorgan said in a note to clients last week the bank would expect “immediate recognition of the result by the U.K. government in the form of a commitment to begin negotiations on the exact terms of separation.”

Officials may have to continue to monitor for signs of financial distress during the period of transition toward formal independence as the negotiations between the U.K. and Scottish governments ebb and flow, Bell said.

Independence Day

The Scottish government has named March 24, 2016, as its targeted date for declaring independence. Until that date, the Bank of England will remain a backstop to Scotland’s lenders.

“I can’t see how there would be necessarily a banking crisis per se given that Scotland would still be part of the U.K.” during the negotiations, Ronald MacDonald, a political economy professor at Glasgow University, said in an interview. “It’s after independence day really that the possibility of a banking crisis could arise.”

Sterling has already suffered its worst month in more than a year, falling 5.4 percent against the dollar from a five-year high in July and touching its lowest level in 10 months this week as momentum for the nationalists increased.

Away from financial markets, Cameron may also face a crisis in his own Conservative Party.

One Tory lawmaker, who asked not to be named because of the political sensitivity of the matter, said it was impossible to know how his colleagues would react to the shock of the breakup of their country after more than three centuries. While the Tories have struggled in Scotland in recent decades and have only one Westminster lawmaker there, the party brands itself as the patriots protecting the U.K.

Confidence Vote

There is already a section of rebels that dislikes their leader so much that they would take any excuse to try to remove him, the lawmaker said. The question is whether others would join them, he said.

Under Tory rules, a vote of confidence in the leader is triggered if 46 lawmakers write to Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee comprising the party’s rank-and-file members of parliament. By convention, Brady refuses to discuss how many such letters are currently outstanding in his safe.

Were he to get close to the threshold, he would first call lawmakers who had written some time ago to check their wishes. He could also alert Cameron’s office, to give him the opportunity to avoid a vote by quitting.

Royal Highland

All will start to become clear in the small hours of Sept. 19 after residents of Scotland cast their ballots.

Scots vote in 32 council regions between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time on Sept. 18, with counting beginning at the close. Each council will report their totals to a central hub at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston near Edinburgh Airport, before declaring them once authorized by the chief counting officer, Mary Pitcaithly.

Pitcaithly will announce the final result once all the regions have reported, though the outcome may become apparent before that.

In terms of the final announcement, Pitcaithly has said the timing of Scottish results in parliamentary elections in 2010 and 2011 may serve as a guide, when the declarations came at 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. respectively. In a BBC television interview broadcast on Sept. 9, Pitcaithly said she expected the final announcement “around breakfast time.”

Privately commissioned exit polls, such as by television news broadcasters, can be released once polls close, though no organization has indicated they are doing so. There will be no official exit poll.

People will start making a call on the result while each vote gets counted and many markets wake up to discover whether or not Scotland has chosen to become Europe’s newest sovereign state and negotiate a division of the U.K’s assets and liabilities.

“Contingency suggests you’re contemplating losing which isn’t the political line,” said Grant Lewis, an economist at Daiwa Capital Markets in London and a former Treasury official. “But there will be contingency plans in place, as you’d expect for any big event.” — Bloomberg

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Weekend to mark town’s history

12 oxen and 66 Saxons will transport the holy cross.



First published


in News


Last updated





by Rebecca Cushway

A town will celebrate its history this weekend with the return of the annual Holy Cross Weekend. 

The Waltham Abbey weekend marks the bringing of the holy cross from Montacute in Somerset to Waltham Abbey by Tovi the Proud in 1035.

It is said that the cross was transported by a team of 12 oxen and 66 Saxons.

The weekend commenced today with services for local primary school children in which the legend of the Holy Cross will be told.

Tomorrow and Sunday will play host to a range of activities from Messy Abbey for young children, to organ recitals at Waltham Abbey to afternoon tea at St Thomas’ Upshire.

This year the event will also commemorate the centenary of the Diocese of Chelmsford.

You can see a full list of activities taking place here

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As Scotland stares history in the face, London’s financial guardians…

Scots War Games Haunt U.K. Elite Bracing for Referendum.

As Scotland stares history in the face, London’s financial guardians are preparing for their worst-case scenario.

Less than a week before a referendum that could see Scotland ending its 307-year political bond with the United Kingdom, officials at the Bank of England and the Treasury are gaming out how they would shore up the financial system if that happens. With the result being announced ahead of a normal trading day in the U.K., among the chief risks facing officials in the first 24 hours after any “yes” vote: a flight of deposits, a run on the pound and a drying up of bank liquidity.

Panic “grows exponentially so the key thing is to not let it start in the first place,” said David Bell, professor of economics at the University of Stirling. “As soon as rumors start getting around, it seems to me that it’s very bad news.”

The Vote for Scottish Independence

While polls currently suggest Scots will opt to stay with the U.K. by a narrow margin, the vote is so close that officials are girding themselves for the possibility of the biggest shock to the financial system since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008. The pound has the potential to tumble 10 percent within a month, said 61 percent of the 31 respondents in a Bloomberg News survey conducted Sept. 5-11.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Workers fold a hand-sewn British Union flag, left, and a Scottish St. Andrew’s or Saltire flag, the national flag of Scotland, right, after completion at the Flagmakers workshop, a unit of Specialised Canvas Services Ltd., in Chesham, U.K., on Aug. 1, 2014. Close

Workers fold a hand-sewn British Union flag, left, and a Scottish St. Andrew’s or… Read More

Close Open Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Workers fold a hand-sewn British Union flag, left, and a Scottish St. Andrew’s or Saltire flag, the national flag of Scotland, right, after completion at the Flagmakers workshop, a unit of Specialised Canvas Services Ltd., in Chesham, U.K., on Aug. 1, 2014.

Taking Action

BOE Governor Mark Carney and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne may need to act within hours, say former policy makers, economists, academics and government officials. That will then buy them enough time to start the 18-month negotiation process that would follow any Scottish secession.

“What Carney will be worried about initially is the potential flight of deposits,” said former deputy governor John Gieve, who was in charge of financial stability at the central bank during the run on Northern Rock Plc in 2007.

While Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY), Scotland’s two biggest lenders, have said they plan to move their legal base to England if the country votes for independence, investors may still fret about any turmoil created by the transition.

Carney has said assets in the Scottish-domiciled financial industry are about 10 times the country’s gross domestic product, totaling more than 1 trillion pounds ($1.62 trillion). With questions over Scotland’s currency plans and lender-of-last-resort arrangements, that’s generating uncertainty about the future of the country’s banking system.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said assets in the Scottish-domiciled financial industry are about 10 times the country’s gross domestic product, totaling more than 1 trillion pounds ($1.62 trillion). Close

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said assets in the Scottish-domiciled… Read More

Close Open Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said assets in the Scottish-domiciled financial industry are about 10 times the country’s gross domestic product, totaling more than 1 trillion pounds ($1.62 trillion).

Tallying Votes

The first results, from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, or the Western Isles council, are due around 2 a.m. local time. The urban centers of Glasgow and Edinburgh, where about a quarter of the electorate lives, may not start reporting until 5 a.m.

If the final outcome is “yes,” a team of officials will be put together at the Treasury in the early hours of Sept. 19 to deal with the fallout, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential internal matters.

Campaigning is intensifying after a YouGov Plc poll last weekend put the Yes vote ahead for the first time this year. A survey by the same company published Sept. 11 showed a reversal, with the “no” camp leading 52 percent to 48 percent. A poll by ICM released yesterday showed the “yes” vote on 49 percent and “no” on 51 percent after excluding undecided voters, making it effectively too close to call given the margin of error.

As the risk of Scotland severing its monetary, fiscal and political ties with the rest of the U.K. rises, London’s politicians have deliberately avoided using the word “contingency” in case it’s seen as preparing for defeat.

“The government has not been and will not do that type of planning,” Cameron’s spokesman, Jean-Christophe Gray, told reporters in London on Sept. 11.

Cameron Vacation

Cameron, who didn’t watch the two television debates between the leaders of the “yes” and “no” campaigns because he was on vacation in Portugal and then southwest England, made an emotional plea to Scottish voters on Sept. 10 not to break up the U.K. He’s planning another trip to Scotland on Monday.

Nationalists, led by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, say both sides should prepare for a “yes” vote after signs of increased momentum toward the independence campaign.

The need to calm financial markets may be one of the key challenges facing politicians and the BOE. Unlike the government, Carney has said publicly he has contingency plans.

He told a Sept. 10 parliamentary hearing in London that his back-up preparations involve “considerable resources.” A BOE spokesman declined to give additional details.

“They relate to specific institutions and specific situations, and from considerable experience making plans public about specific institutions and specific situations can be counterproductive,” Carney told lawmakers.

BOE Backstop

One step the BOE could take in the initial hours is to reiterate it is still the lender of last resort to all U.K. banks, including Scottish ones, until any formal separation, according to Allan Monks, an economist at JPMorgan Chase Co. in London.

Gieve, the former central banker, said officials will be talking to lenders to make sure enough banknotes are stocked in cash machines and extra resources will be in place to deal with a potential increase in demand from customers wanting to access their accounts through the Internet.

The memory of the run on Northern Rock in 2007, where a panic was fueled because depositors couldn’t access their money online, is seared into the minds of policy makers.

The central bank will also probably be coordinating with lenders to make sure they have sufficient eligible collateral ready to exchange with the BOE if they need to use its liquidity facilities, Gieve said.

Extreme Scenario

In an extreme scenario, officials could implement temporary controls such as limiting the amount bank customers could withdraw each day, or closing lenders by imposing a special so-called bank holiday, said Bell at Stirling University. Authorities could also re-capitalize institutions, restructure their liabilities and help them raise funding — though Gieve said he thought such steps would not be necessary.

“Everybody will want to do the best for Scotland whatever we decide, but at the end of the day, nobody’s going to put their own savings or their own mortgage at risk,” Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish secretary in the U.K. government, said in an interview in Edinburgh this week.

Britain’s leaders will have decisions to make in the run up to the vote and in the hours immediately after it.

Mounting Concern

Growing concern in government, which has so far refused to admit publicly it has contingency plans, was made apparent yesterday by Osborne’s decision to cancel his trip to the Sept. 20-21 Group of 20 meeting in Cairns, Australia. Had he traveled, he risked being uncontactable for hours in the air when the results were announced.

Asked yesterday about the plans officials had in place to avert a credit crunch in the event of a “Yes” vote, Osborne said his decision to not attend the G-20 was motivated by the “economic risks” surrounding the vote.

Carney will be in Cairns on Sept. 17 and leave the gathering early to get back to London in time for the referendum results, a spokesman for the BOE said separately.

The central government has plans in place should Scotland vote for independence and they’re just not formally written down, a government official said. The Scottish National Party, which runs the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, will convene its cabinet at St. Andrew’s House in the city once the result is known to figure out the next steps.

U.K. Debt

To head off investors shunning U.K. assets and unloading government bonds, the Treasury may reaffirm its commitment to service all Britain’s debt to prevent gilt yields soaring, said Maeve Johnston, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London. Banks may also want the government to reiterate it guarantees U.K. retail deposits through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

JPMorgan said in a note to clients last week the bank would expect “immediate recognition of the result by the U.K. government in the form of a commitment to begin negotiations on the exact terms of separation.”

Officials may have to continue to monitor for signs of financial distress during the period of transition toward formal independence as the negotiations between the U.K. and Scottish governments ebb and flow, Bell said.

Independence Day

The Scottish government has named March 24, 2016, as its targeted date for declaring independence. Until that date, the Bank of England will remain a backstop to Scotland’s lenders.

“I can’t see how there would be necessarily a banking crisis per se given that Scotland would still be part of the U.K.” during the negotiations, Ronald MacDonald, a political economy professor at Glasgow University, said in an interview. “It’s after independence day really that the possibility of a banking crisis could arise.”

Sterling has already suffered its worst month in more than a year, falling 5.4 percent against the dollar from a five-year high in July and touching its lowest level in 10 months this week as momentum for the nationalists increased.

Away from financial markets, Cameron may also face a crisis in his own Conservative Party.

One Tory lawmaker, who asked not to be named because of the political sensitivity of the matter, said it was impossible to know how his colleagues would react to the shock of the breakup of their country after more than three centuries. While the Tories have struggled in Scotland in recent decades and have only one Westminster lawmaker there, the party brands itself as the patriots protecting the U.K.

Confidence Vote

There is already a section of rebels that dislikes their leader so much that they would take any excuse to try to remove him, the lawmaker said. The question is whether others would join them, he said.

Under Tory rules, a vote of confidence in the leader is triggered if 46 lawmakers write to Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee comprising the party’s rank-and-file members of parliament. By convention, Brady refuses to discuss how many such letters are currently outstanding in his safe.

Were he to get close to the threshold, he would first call lawmakers who had written some time ago to check their wishes. He could also alert Cameron’s office, to give him the opportunity to avoid a vote by quitting.

Royal Highland

All will start to become clear in the small hours of Sept. 19 after residents of Scotland cast their ballots.

Scots vote in 32 council regions between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time on Sept. 18, with counting beginning at the close. Each council will report their totals to a central hub at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston near Edinburgh Airport, before declaring them once authorized by the chief counting officer, Mary Pitcaithly.

Pitcaithly will announce the final result once all the regions have reported, though the outcome may become apparent before that.

In terms of the final announcement, Pitcaithly has said the timing of Scottish results in parliamentary elections in 2010 and 2011 may serve as a guide, when the declarations came at 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. respectively. In a BBC television interview broadcast on Sept. 9, Pitcaithly said she expected the final announcement “around breakfast time.”

Privately commissioned exit polls, such as by television news broadcasters, can be released once polls close, though no organization has indicated they are doing so. There will be no official exit poll.

People will start making a call on the result while each vote gets counted and many markets wake up to discover whether or not Scotland has chosen to become Europe’s newest sovereign state and negotiate a division of the U.K’s assets and liabilities.

“Contingency suggests you’re contemplating losing which isn’t the political line,” said Grant Lewis, an economist at Daiwa Capital Markets in London and a former Treasury official. “But there will be contingency plans in place, as you’d expect for any big event.”

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This week in history: 1938

Jenny Morris, a London boarding house keeper who befriended thousands of Canadian servicemen during the First World War, visited Vancouver on this day 76 years ago to be feted by former soldiers who had never forgotten her kindness.

According to a Vancouver Sun story on Sept. 13, 1938, Morris — known as the “mother� of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry because they were her particular favourites — was met by a large crowd of veterans who had stayed in her house at 34 Bedford Street while on leave.

The story was written by Neal Murray, a Vancouver businessman and a member of the Princess Pats who was the first Canadian, as he describes it, “to stumble on her home in 1915.�

This is how he begins his story:

“The 13th of September is a great day for the returned men of Vancouver, more particularly for us of the university companies of the ‘Princess Pats.’

“For Jenny Morris who was ‘mother’ to so many of us when we were lonely and friendless in London Town during the Great War days has come to visit us …â€�

She arrived in town at the C.N.R. station and Murray, who had last seen her 20 years before, ran up to her.

“Hello Neal,� she said.

“Hello Jenny, I shouted and in a second, with Mrs. Murray looking on and not minding a bit, she kissed me right there on the platform.�

Morris was beloved by the troops because her home was a haven, with sometimes as many as 85 soldiers staying there. She mended their clothing, wrote letters of condolence, and ensured the personal effects of men killed at the front were sent safely back to their families.

As well as Canadians, she took care of soldiers from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Following the war, she kept in touch with many soldiers and their families, often writing more than 1,500 letters a year.

In 1938, to acknowledge all she had done, the PPCLI Association brought her to Canada for a two-month cross-country tour during which she was treated like royalty, dining with the Prime Minister and receiving many honours, including being granted the keys to the city of Ottawa and being created Princess Shining Star by Calgary’s Sarcee First Nation, the first white woman to be so honoured.

During the Second World War, she no longer had a boarding house, but she opened her home to Canadians on leave.

Each year from 1920 until her death in 1960, she laid a wreath on the Cenotaph at Whitehall in London, in dedication to “my boys�.

gbellett@vancouversun.com

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Scots War Games Haunt U.K. Elite Bracing for Referendum

As Scotland stares history in the face, London’s financial guardians are preparing for their worst-case scenario.

Less than a week before a referendum that could see Scotland ending its 307-year political bond with the United Kingdom, officials at the Bank of England and the Treasury are gaming out how they would shore up the financial system if that happens. With the result being announced ahead of a normal trading day in the U.K., among the chief risks facing officials in the first 24 hours after any “yes” vote: a flight of deposits, a run on the pound and a drying up of bank liquidity.

Panic “grows exponentially so the key thing is to not let it start in the first place,” said David Bell, professor of economics at the University of Stirling. “As soon as rumors start getting around, it seems to me that it’s very bad news.”

The Vote for Scottish Independence

While polls currently suggest Scots will opt to stay with the U.K. by a narrow margin, the vote is so close that officials are girding themselves for the possibility of the biggest shock to the financial system since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008. The pound has the potential to tumble 10 percent within a month, said 61 percent of the 31 respondents in a Bloomberg News survey conducted Sept. 5-11.




Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Workers fold a hand-sewn British Union flag, left, and a Scottish St. Andrew’s or Saltire flag, the national flag of Scotland, right, after completion at the Flagmakers workshop, a unit of Specialised Canvas Services Ltd., in Chesham, U.K., on Aug. 1, 2014. Close

Workers fold a hand-sewn British Union flag, left, and a Scottish St. Andrew’s or… Read More

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Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Workers fold a hand-sewn British Union flag, left, and a Scottish St. Andrew’s or Saltire flag, the national flag of Scotland, right, after completion at the Flagmakers workshop, a unit of Specialised Canvas Services Ltd., in Chesham, U.K., on Aug. 1, 2014.

Taking Action

BOE Governor Mark Carney and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne may need to act within hours, say former policy makers, economists, academics and government officials. That will then buy them enough time to start the 18-month negotiation process that would follow any Scottish secession.

“What Carney will be worried about initially is the potential flight of deposits,” said former deputy governor John Gieve, who was in charge of financial stability at the central bank during the run on Northern Rock Plc in 2007.

While Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY), Scotland’s two biggest lenders, have said they plan to move their legal base to England if the country votes for independence, investors may still fret about any turmoil created by the transition.

Carney has said assets in the Scottish-domiciled financial industry are about 10 times the country’s gross domestic product, totaling more than 1 trillion pounds ($1.62 trillion). With questions over Scotland’s currency plans and lender-of-last-resort arrangements, that’s generating uncertainty about the future of the country’s banking system.




Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said assets in the Scottish-domiciled financial industry are about 10 times the country’s gross domestic product, totaling more than 1 trillion pounds ($1.62 trillion). Close

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said assets in the Scottish-domiciled… Read More

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Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said assets in the Scottish-domiciled financial industry are about 10 times the country’s gross domestic product, totaling more than 1 trillion pounds ($1.62 trillion).

Tallying Votes

The first results, from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, or the Western Isles council, are due around 2 a.m. local time. The urban centers of Glasgow and Edinburgh, where about a quarter of the electorate lives, may not start reporting until 5 a.m.

If the final outcome is “yes,” a team of officials will be put together at the Treasury in the early hours of Sept. 19 to deal with the fallout, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential internal matters.

Campaigning is intensifying after a YouGov Plc poll last weekend put the Yes vote ahead for the first time this year. A survey by the same company published Sept. 11 showed a reversal, with the “no” camp leading 52 percent to 48 percent. A poll by ICM released yesterday showed the “yes” vote on 49 percent and “no” on 51 percent after excluding undecided voters, making it effectively too close to call given the margin of error.

As the risk of Scotland severing its monetary, fiscal and political ties with the rest of the U.K. rises, London’s politicians have deliberately avoided using the word “contingency” in case it’s seen as preparing for defeat.

“The government has not been and will not do that type of planning,” Cameron’s spokesman, Jean-Christophe Gray, told reporters in London on Sept. 11.

Cameron Vacation

Cameron, who didn’t watch the two television debates between the leaders of the “yes” and “no” campaigns because he was on vacation in Portugal and then southwest England, made an emotional plea to Scottish voters on Sept. 10 not to break up the U.K. He’s planning another trip to Scotland on Monday.

Nationalists, led by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, say both sides should prepare for a “yes” vote after signs of increased momentum toward the independence campaign.

The need to calm financial markets may be one of the key challenges facing politicians and the BOE. Unlike the government, Carney has said publicly he has contingency plans.

He told a Sept. 10 parliamentary hearing in London that his back-up preparations involve “considerable resources.” A BOE spokesman declined to give additional details.

“They relate to specific institutions and specific situations, and from considerable experience making plans public about specific institutions and specific situations can be counterproductive,” Carney told lawmakers.

BOE Backstop

One step the BOE could take in the initial hours is to reiterate it is still the lender of last resort to all U.K. banks, including Scottish ones, until any formal separation, according to Allan Monks, an economist at JPMorgan Chase Co. in London.

Gieve, the former central banker, said officials will be talking to lenders to make sure enough banknotes are stocked in cash machines and extra resources will be in place to deal with a potential increase in demand from customers wanting to access their accounts through the Internet.

The memory of the run on Northern Rock in 2007, where a panic was fueled because depositors couldn’t access their money online, is seared into the minds of policy makers.

The central bank will also probably be coordinating with lenders to make sure they have sufficient eligible collateral ready to exchange with the BOE if they need to use its liquidity facilities, Gieve said.

Extreme Scenario

In an extreme scenario, officials could implement temporary controls such as limiting the amount bank customers could withdraw each day, or closing lenders by imposing a special so-called bank holiday, said Bell at Stirling University. Authorities could also re-capitalize institutions, restructure their liabilities and help them raise funding — though Gieve said he thought such steps would not be necessary.

“Everybody will want to do the best for Scotland whatever we decide, but at the end of the day, nobody’s going to put their own savings or their own mortgage at risk,” Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish secretary in the U.K. government, said in an interview in Edinburgh this week.

Britain’s leaders will have decisions to make in the run up to the vote and in the hours immediately after it.

Mounting Concern

Growing concern in government, which has so far refused to admit publicly it has contingency plans, was made apparent yesterday by Osborne’s decision to cancel his trip to the Sept. 20-21 Group of 20 meeting in Cairns, Australia. Had he traveled, he risked being uncontactable for hours in the air when the results were announced.

Asked yesterday about the plans officials had in place to avert a credit crunch in the event of a “Yes” vote, Osborne said his decision to not attend the G-20 was motivated by the “economic risks” surrounding the vote.

Carney will be in Cairns on Sept. 17 and leave the gathering early to get back to London in time for the referendum results, a spokesman for the BOE said separately.

The central government has plans in place should Scotland vote for independence and they’re just not formally written down, a government official said. The Scottish National Party, which runs the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, will convene its cabinet at St. Andrew’s House in the city once the result is known to figure out the next steps.

U.K. Debt

To head off investors shunning U.K. assets and unloading government bonds, the Treasury may reaffirm its commitment to service all Britain’s debt to prevent gilt yields soaring, said Maeve Johnston, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London. Banks may also want the government to reiterate it guarantees U.K. retail deposits through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

JPMorgan said in a note to clients last week the bank would expect “immediate recognition of the result by the U.K. government in the form of a commitment to begin negotiations on the exact terms of separation.”

Officials may have to continue to monitor for signs of financial distress during the period of transition toward formal independence as the negotiations between the U.K. and Scottish governments ebb and flow, Bell said.

Independence Day

The Scottish government has named March 24, 2016, as its targeted date for declaring independence. Until that date, the Bank of England will remain a backstop to Scotland’s lenders.

“I can’t see how there would be necessarily a banking crisis per se given that Scotland would still be part of the U.K.” during the negotiations, Ronald MacDonald, a political economy professor at Glasgow University, said in an interview. “It’s after independence day really that the possibility of a banking crisis could arise.”

Sterling has already suffered its worst month in more than a year, falling 5.4 percent against the dollar from a five-year high in July and touching its lowest level in 10 months this week as momentum for the nationalists increased.

Away from financial markets, Cameron may also face a crisis in his own Conservative Party.

One Tory lawmaker, who asked not to be named because of the political sensitivity of the matter, said it was impossible to know how his colleagues would react to the shock of the breakup of their country after more than three centuries. While the Tories have struggled in Scotland in recent decades and have only one Westminster lawmaker there, the party brands itself as the patriots protecting the U.K.

Confidence Vote

There is already a section of rebels that dislikes their leader so much that they would take any excuse to try to remove him, the lawmaker said. The question is whether others would join them, he said.

Under Tory rules, a vote of confidence in the leader is triggered if 46 lawmakers write to Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee comprising the party’s rank-and-file members of parliament. By convention, Brady refuses to discuss how many such letters are currently outstanding in his safe.

Were he to get close to the threshold, he would first call lawmakers who had written some time ago to check their wishes. He could also alert Cameron’s office, to give him the opportunity to avoid a vote by quitting.

Royal Highland

All will start to become clear in the small hours of Sept. 19 after residents of Scotland cast their ballots.

Scots vote in 32 council regions between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time on Sept. 18, with counting beginning at the close. Each council will report their totals to a central hub at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston near Edinburgh Airport, before declaring them once authorized by the chief counting officer, Mary Pitcaithly.

Pitcaithly will announce the final result once all the regions have reported, though the outcome may become apparent before that.

In terms of the final announcement, Pitcaithly has said the timing of Scottish results in parliamentary elections in 2010 and 2011 may serve as a guide, when the declarations came at 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. respectively. In a BBC television interview broadcast on Sept. 9, Pitcaithly said she expected the final announcement “around breakfast time.”

Privately commissioned exit polls, such as by television news broadcasters, can be released once polls close, though no organization has indicated they are doing so. There will be no official exit poll.

People will start making a call on the result while each vote gets counted and many markets wake up to discover whether or not Scotland has chosen to become Europe’s newest sovereign state and negotiate a division of the U.K’s assets and liabilities.

“Contingency suggests you’re contemplating losing which isn’t the political line,” said Grant Lewis, an economist at Daiwa Capital Markets in London and a former Treasury official. “But there will be contingency plans in place, as you’d expect for any big event.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Scott Hamilton in London at shamilton8@bloomberg.net; Svenja O’Donnell in London at sodonnell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net; Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net Rodney Jefferson, Fergal O’Brien

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Lowry Park Zoo announces ‘London Frightmare,’ ZooBoo tickets

Lowry Park Zoo announced details for its annual, ZooBoo Halloween event, including a discounted “shriek peek” preview event and a new haunted attraction modeled after old London.

The “London Frightmare” lets visitors explore turn-of-the-century England and draws inspiration from “the city’s notorious sites and supernatural legends,” the zoo said.

The after-hours, Halloween-themed event features various “haunts,” as well as special music, decorations, and rides throughout the zoo. The haunts are designed to provide a startling experience, without depicting violence or gore, the zoo said.

There will be a discounted admission of $12 for the preview event on Sept. 26 and 27.

Regular ZooBoo nights run weekends, Oct. 3-4, 10-12, 17-19, 23-26, 30-31 and Nov. 1. Regular admission is $18 for adults, $14 for children 3 to11, and free for children 2 and under.

Gates open at 7 p.m. each night.

Tickets are on sale now through www.LowryParkZoo.org/ZooBoo.

Here’s a list of this year’s attractions, with descriptions from the zoo:

HAUNTS

A “skull” rating system of one to seven is assigned to each attraction to indicate the scare factor. Seven is the most intense, intended for mature audiences.

London Frightmare (7 skulls): Join us in our frightmare and become part of London’s horrifying history. Travel back in time to an age of adventure and suspense. Uncover the dark secrets that lie within and beneath the streets of the most frighteningly haunted city in England.

French Quarter Phantoms 3D (3 skulls): Haunted by phantoms and the city’s notorious past, New Orleans has been called “the most haunted city in America.” Explore the secret and sinister side of the Big Easy and discover where spirits still dwell.

Wake the Dead (6 skulls): Ghost hosts warn of the perils to come in this alarming attraction where the residents refuse to rest in peace. Venture into the graveyard darkness with the un-dead. Zombies and giant ghostly apparitions do their best to keep you as one of their permanent residents.

Tangled Terror (7 skulls): A hybridization experiment with carnivorous plants fails. The subject plants all die…but come back to life! Ravenous, they begin their terrifying hunt for food. But only one thing will devour their undying hunger…revenge on their mad scientist creators. Don’t get tangled up in their path or you might become dinner.

Pharaoh’s Tomb of Revenge (6 skulls): Far from the burial ground discovered in an Egyptian desert, a tomb full of findings, purchased and relocated by an eccentric tycoon, is being reassembled for display by all. Everything seems well, until unsettled spirits attached to the artifacts come alive and unleash the curse of the Pharaoh.

FAMILY FAVORITES

Little Beasties Bungalow: Walk into a world of dazzling lights and friendly Halloween scenes, smiling monsters and not-so-scary characters.

Spooky Fun Fair: A frightfully fun inflatables area with bounces and games of skill like Monster Basketball, Pumpkin Pitch and more.

Fun and Free Rides: Shake, rattle and roll for free! Take a spin on our one of the Zoo’s wild rides, re-named for the occasion: Batty Bumper Boats, Pumpkin Patch Express (kiddie train), Roarin’ Roller-Ghoster (family coaster), Flyin’ Boo-nanas (kiddie flying bananas ride), Flume of Fear (water flume ride), and Scary-Go-Round (carousel).

SPOOKY SPECIES

While most Zoo animals are not available for viewing during nighttime events like ZooBoo, guests can encounter a few special “spooky” species.

Flying Fox / Bat House: Fly by the Zoo’s Bat House, featuring a group of “Flying Fox,” the largest bats in the world.

Stingray Bay: Glide by our touch pool where you can feel, feed and get splashed by slippery stingrays moving like ghosts through the water.

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Jacintha Saldanha inquest: nurse had no history of psychiatric illness

A nurse found hanged after an Australian radio station made a hoax call to a hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge had no history of depression or psychiatric illness, her tearful husband told an inquest.

Jacintha Saldanha, 46, who worked at the King Edward VII hospital in London, was found dead in her nursing accommodation three days after taking the call from two DJs impersonating the Queen and the Prince of Wales and inquiring after the health of the duchess, who had been admitted for hyperemesis gravidarum – an acute form of morning sickness.

Her husband, Benedict Barboza, broke down as the coroner, Fiona Wilcox, asked whether, to his knowledge, his wife had suffered any psychiatric illnesses or depression in the past, or had made any attempt to harm herself. Wiping away tears, the accountant replied: “No.”

The inquest heard Saldanha was found hanged and with cuts to her wrists. She had been on duty at the hospital in the early hours of 4 December 2012 when Mel Greig, 32, and her colleague Michael Christian, from 2DayFM radio in Sydney rang the hospital. Saldanha took the call and transferred it to another nurse who gave details of the duchess’s condition. The call was later broadcast by the station.

Saldanha’s husband and the couple’s children, son Junal, 18, and daughter Lisha, 16, sat in the well of the court accompanied by the Labour MP Keith Vaz as the inquest was told Greig, who sat at the back of the hearing dressed in black, had attended “voluntarily” and was willing to give evidence.

Greig, who no longer works for the radio station, has previously publicly expressed her distress. She revealed she had received death threats and the incident had taken a massive toll on her family. Before the inquest she tweeted: “I made a commitment to the Saldanha family that I would answer any questions they have, on or off the stand, I’m here to uphold that promise.”

But Wilcox, sitting at London’s high court, said any evidence Greig could give about Saldanha’s demeanour during the call was not relevant. She thanked Greig for her attendance, saying: “I understand Ms Greig may feel she has been unfairly blamed for the events that followed the hoax call and for this she has my sympathy.” She added the inquiry “is not to apportion blame in any way”.

The inquest heard the radio station claimed it had rung the hospital to try to gain consent before the hoax call was broadcast. Evidence showed four calls were made to the hospital between 5.30 and 6am on the morning of the hoax call, the longest of which lasted 45 seconds.

Saldanha’s husband described his wife as a “bubbly” woman, “a caring wife and loving mother” who “touched the hearts of everyone she met”, evidenced by the number of thank you cards she received from patients.

He said the family lived in Bristol, and his wife would stay at the accommodation when working at the London hospital, but they spoke every night.

He last spoke to her on 5 December, when she appeared “normal” and he had no reason to have any concern. But he became worried when she did not answer her phone on 6 December. She was found the following day.

Vaz, who has acted as a spokesman for the family, said before the hearing that they had faced a “long road” for the inquest following repeated delays. “This inquest will finally take place after a wait of over 21 months. It has been a long road for the family, and I deeply admire the patience, humility and dignity they have shown throughout this traumatic time. It is right that they finally gain closure.”

The inquest continues.

• This article was amended on 11 September 2014. Due to an editing error it originally stated that the DJs were imitating the Queen and Prince Philip. They were imitating the Queen and the Prince of Wales. This has been corrected.

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$5-Million To LHSC Marks Largest Donation In History Of The Breast Cancer …

A generous donation to the London Health Sciences Foundation (LHSF) from the Breast Cancer Society of Canada (BCSC) will go a long way in supporting research and helping patients.

On Wednesday, the BCSC announced a $5-million donation to support the Pamela Greenaway-Kohlmeier Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit (TBCRU) at the London Health Sciences Centre’s London Regional Cancer Program.

“This gift represents the largest funding commitment ever made in our 23-year history,” says Marsha Davidson, Executive Director of BCSC.

“We are proud to fund our partners at London Health Sciences Centre and the Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit – more than $10 million cumulatively – to continue the TBCRU’s world-renowned, life-saving research.”

The relationship between the BCSC and LHSF began in 1998 and funded the creation of the TBCRU.

“I’d like to express our Hospital’s heartfelt thanks to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada,” says Dr. Ann Chambers, Director of the TBCRU.

“As partners in the community, they are part of the collaborative effort that makes health care better- by enabling innovative care and research at London Health Sciences Centre.”

The funds will go towards continued support of collaborative research teams in the TBCRU and will work towards enhancing and advancing patient-focused cancer treatment.

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