Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 7 September 2016


Time uploaded in London: 19-54



Post No.3132


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.



A former grammar school where novelist Lawrence Durrell was a pupil is to be turned into a £350-a-night luxury Indian hotel.

The new owners of the Grade II listed Victorian building on the South Bank near Tower Bridge say they plan to bring Indian hospitality to the capital for the first time.

The £50 million hotel, in the erstwhile St Olave’s Grammar School,  is the first overseas venture for family-owned Lalit hotel group and is due to open later this month.

Innovations will include an Indian bread bar — known as the Naanery — serving only breads from the subcontinent such as roti and kulcha matched with wines.

The traditional English afternoon tea will be given an Indian twist with options such as Cutting Chai tea and samosas and kathi rolls.

A restaurant in the vaulted former Great Hall where pupils once ate school dinners will showcase dishes from around India.

The basement spa will offer traditional Indian ayurvedic therapies alongside yoga.

All staff will give the traditional Hindu namaste welcome — a respectful small bow made with palms held together — to guests. Fixtures and fittings and decorations will use Indian materials such as mother of pearl and silk.

Managing director Dr Jyotsna Suri, widow of the anglophile founder of the company, Lalit Suri, said: “There has never before been an Indian brand that has come to Britain and flown its own flag under its own brand.”

She said the experience at the 70-room hotel would be as authentic as possible without being too “jarring”. “We will not be offering anglicised Indian food, it will be genuine Indian food.” -Evening Standard




A Chinese airline today caused outrage after an inflight magazine told passengers to the UK to avoid ethnic minority areas in London.

A passage in the current edition of Wings of China, the publication distributed on Air China, Asia’s third largest airline, warns “London is generally a safe place to travel, however precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people.

“We advise tourists not to go out alone at night, and females always to be accompanied by another person when travelling.”

The phrase is repeated in both Mandarin and English in the magazine’s feature on the capital.

The “racist” article shocked one Chinese journalist, Haze Fan, on a flight in China so much she tweeted a picture of it to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan asking him what he thought.

She said her Londoner fiancée “felt its rather insulting”.

An excerpt from the magazine’s feature on visiting London

Now politicians are demanding an apology and that the phrase is removed from the publication by the airline, which flies twice daily between London and Beijing.

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Labour MP for Tooting, which has one of the largest Indian and Pakistani populations in London, said: “My initial thoughts were that the comments were outrageous.

“I think that it is offensive to Londoners and I would like to see it removed. I would also like to ask the airline why they thought these precautions needed to be taken.

“Why they feel they needed to warn people of something that is not reflective of London at all?

Journalist Haze Fan sent this tweet to the Mayor asking for his view

“I think it is offensive to all Londoners, not just the ethnic minorities mentioned.

“We pride ourselves on having a wonderfully diverse community, and this may mean people come here with a different idea, it is worrying that some may arrive concerned.

“I am going to be writing to the Chinese Ambassador to invite him to visit Tooting in London, where all races live side by side. Then they can see how we live and our wonderfully diverse community.”

Lambeth and Southwark London assembly member Florence Eshalomi told the Standard that “you couldn’t make up these outdated and near-on racist views”. (Evening Standard)


Wasp Service!

Instead of rush hour rail chaos being caused by leaves on the line and wet weather, commuters have now been left stranded due to an infestation of wasps in a carriage.

South West Trains cancelled the early service between Teddington and London Waterloo due to wasps invading the carriage on Wednesday.

Passengers were alerted to the incident when they took to social media asking what had happened to the service.

In a tweet SouthWest Trains said the 5.51am service from Norbiton was cancelled due to an infestation of wasps.

It wrote: “I’m sorry, we’ve had to cancel this service due to reports of wasps setting up home on board the train overnight.” (Telegraph)



Top of the Rapes!

More than 1,000 rapes and sexual assaults have taken place at schools and nurseries across London in the past four years, it can be revealed.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show 83 rapes alleged to have taken place in schools or nurseries in London were reported to police.

This was coupled with 921 other sexual assaults that were also reported as taking place in schools and nurseries – meaning 1,004 sex attacks in total were recorded by police. (Evening Standard)



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1 Comment

  1. It is o.k. if genuine ethnic Indian food (and not the anglicised version ) is to be served in London. But is it not a little odd that a grand Victorian building is chosen to serve Indian food! And it makes one sad to think that it is a former grammar school and it is converted into a hotel for this purpose. The grammar schools have had a glorious role in providing quality education. And now, it is reduced to the status of a place to stuff your belly, and starve or stifle your mind!
    Our Tiruvalluvar sang:

    செவிக்குணவு இல்லாதபோழ்து சிறிது
    வயிற்றுக்கும் ஈயப் படும்.

    Even unto the stomach some food will be offered
    When there is none for the time being for the ear.

    Now in modern London, a place of learning is reduced to an eating joint Snuffing out a place of learning to cloy the hungry edge of physical appetite ! Oh, what a fall in the land of Shakespeare and Milton!

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