Forte Group plc was a British hotel and restaurant company. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index until it was acquired by Granada plc, its head office was in the London Borough of Camden. Charles Forte was a British/Italian caterer and hotelier who founded the leisure and hotels conglomerate that became Forte Group. Charles Forte, funded by his two business partners, Eric Hartwell and Sidney Hartwell set up his first "milk bar" on Regent Street in London in 1935 as Strand Milk Bar Ltd when he was 26. Soon he began expanding into hotel businesses. After the Second World War, his company became Forte Holdings Ltd, bought The Café Royal in 1954. Forte was a major caterer at the Festival of Britain sites in 1951 and operated the restaurants and bars at London Airport known as London Heathrow airport. Forte opened the first full motorway service station for cars at Newport Pagnell in 1960. Trust Houses Group Ltd and Forte Holdings merged in 1970 to become Trust Houses Forte or THF.
The name was simplified to Trusthouse Forte in 1979. Through mergers and expansion, the Forte Group expanded into a multibillion-pound business, it included the Little Chef and Happy Eater roadside restaurants, Forte Grand and Posthouse hotels, Harvester restaurants, contract catering firm Gardner Merchant, the Summerland leisure complex on the Isle of Man, the wine merchant Grierson-Blumenthal, sporting goods retailer Lillywhites and a majority stake in the Savoy Hotel. Happy Eater and the five Welcome Break service areas were bought from Hanson Trust on 1 August 1986; the group for a time started to resemble a conglomerate with interests spanning the Sidgwick & Jackson publishing house, the Terry's chocolate company, Puritan Maid and a stake in Thomas Cook travel agents. Forte was the CEO from 1971 and chairman upon the retirement of Eric Hartwell from 1983. In the early 1990s, the company was rebranded as Forte and the crown logo was adopted at the same time; this rebranding heralded the introduction of sub brand groups for all the hotels.
Lord Forte passed full control to Rocco in 1993, but soon the Forte Group was faced with a hostile takeover bid from Granada. Granada succeeded with a £3.9 billion tender offer in January 1996, which left the family with around £350 million in cash. In 2001, following the de-merger of Compass plc from Granada's media interests, the use of the Forte trademark was returned to Sir Rocco Forte in a gesture intended to dispel the bitter legacy of the takeover. Rocco now owns the Rocco Forte Hotels group. Most of the hotels used the following brands: Travelodge The Forte group acquired this US brand and rolled it out in the UK; these no frills hotels were sited alongside the group's Little Chef roadside cafes. The signage and general get up colour of Travelodges was navy blue; the office building, the former Forte Group corporate headquarters at 166 High Holborn, has many years after the Forte Group was taken over and broken up, been turned into a Travelodge. Forte Posthouse Hotels were three-star hotels for business travellers.
They were located in city centres or near major trunk roads. Some of these were sold to Holiday Inn; the signage and general get up colour of Posthouses was red. Forte Heritage Hotels ranged from smaller country house style hotels, e.g. The Old England Hotel in Windermere, the Berystede in Ascot and Leeming House in Ullswater, to former coaching inns such as the Burford Bridge Hotel at Box Hill, the Swan at Lavenham and the Bull at Long Melford. In addition, the brand included some larger resort type hotels such as the Grand Atlantic at Weston Super Mare, the Marine Hotel at North Berwick and the Imperial Hotel, Exmouth; some of these were sold to Macdonald Hotels, others are now operated by Mercure Hotels, others are owned by small groups or independently. The signage and general get up colour of Forte Heritage hotels was dark green. Forte Crest Hotels were more upmarket business hotels than Forte Posthouse, they were located in cities and were four-star. The naming convention was Forte Crest + the name of the city or locality, e.g. Forte Crest Sheffield or Forte Crest Gatwick Airport.
The most high-profile hotel was the huge Forte Crest Heathrow, now a Holiday Inn. The signage and general get up colour of Crest hotels was light blue/aquamarine. Forte Grand Hotels were a collection of high-end international hotels including the Waldorf Hotel, Westbury Hotel and Hotel Russell in London, the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, the Bath Spa Hotel in Bath, Leeming House in Ullswater, the Randolph Hotel in Oxford, The Majestic Hotel in Harrogate, the Compleat Angler in Marlow, the Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews and the famous Imperial Hotel at Torquay. There were a number of hotels which used Forte Grand as their sole name, for example the Forte Grand, Abu Dhabi hotel. Following the acquisition of Le Méridien, the Fore Grand brand was cut back, with the urban hotels being transferred to the Le Méridien brand, all the regional UK Forte Grand hotels being demoted to the Forte Heritage brand; the Balmoral Hotel was the first hotel reacquired by Rocco Forte following the takeover and after an extensive refurbishment it forms part of The Rocco Forte Collection.
The signage of Forte Grand hotels was bronze and the general get up colour was
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is the world's largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design, as well as sculpture, housing a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects. It was named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; the V&A is located in the Brompton district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in an area that has become known as "Albertopolis" because of its association with Prince Albert, the Albert Memorial and the major cultural institutions with which he was associated. These include the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Royal Albert Hall and Imperial College London; the museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture and Sport. As with other national British museums, entrance is free; the V&A covers 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America and North Africa. However, the art of antiquity in most areas is not collected.
The holdings of ceramics, textiles, silver, jewellery, medieval objects, sculpture and printmaking, drawings and photographs are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world. The museum owns the world's largest collection of post-classical sculpture, with the holdings of Italian Renaissance items being the largest outside Italy; the departments of Asia include art from South Asia, Japan and the Islamic world. The East Asian collections are among the best in Europe, with particular strengths in ceramics and metalwork, while the Islamic collection is amongst the largest in the Western world. Overall, it is one of the largest museums in the world. Since 2001 the museum has embarked on a major £150m renovation programme. New 17th- and 18th-century European galleries were opened on 9 December 2015; these restored the original Aston Webb interiors and host the European collections 1600–1815. The V&A Museum of Childhood in East London is a branch of the museum, a new branch in London is being planned.
The Victoria and Albert Museum has its origins in the Great Exhibition of 1851, with which Henry Cole, the museum's first director, was involved in planning. It was known as the Museum of Manufactures, first opening in May 1852 at Marlborough House, but by September had been transferred to Somerset House. At this stage the collections covered both applied science. Several of the exhibits from the Exhibition were purchased to form the nucleus of the collection. By February 1854 discussions were underway to transfer the museum to the current site and it was renamed South Kensington Museum. In 1855 the German architect Gottfried Semper, at the request of Cole, produced a design for the museum, but it was rejected by the Board of Trade as too expensive; the site was occupied by Brompton Park House. The official opening by Queen Victoria was on 20 June 1857. In the following year, late night openings were introduced, made possible by the use of gas lighting; this was to enable in the words of Cole "to ascertain what hours are most convenient to the working classes"—this was linked to the use of the collections of both applied art and science as educational resources to help boost productive industry.
In these early years the practical use of the collection was much emphasised as opposed to that of "High Art" at the National Gallery and scholarship at the British Museum. George Wallis, the first Keeper of Fine Art Collection, passionately promoted the idea of wide art education through the museum collections; this led to the transfer to the museum of the School of Design, founded in 1837 at Somerset House. From the 1860s to the 1880s the scientific collections had been moved from the main museum site to various improvised galleries to the west of Exhibition Road. In 1893 the "Science Museum" had come into existence when a separate director was appointed; the laying of the foundation stone of the Aston Webb building on 17 May 1899 was the last official public appearance by Queen Victoria. It was during this ceremony that the change of name from the South Kensington Museum to the Victoria and Albert Museum was made public. Queen Victoria's address during the ceremony, as recorded in The London Gazette, ended: "I trust that it will remain for ages a Monument of discerning Liberality and a Source of Refinement and Progress."The exhibition which the museum organised to celebrate the centennial of the 1899 renaming, "A Grand Design", first toured in North America from 1997, returning to London in 1999.
To accompany and support the exhibition, the museum published a book, Grand Design, which it has made available for reading online on its website. The opening ceremony for the Aston Webb building by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra took place on 26 June 1909. In 1914 the construction commenced of the Science Museum, signalling the final split of the science and art collections. In 1939 on the outbreak of World War II, most of the collection was sent to a quarry in Wiltshire, to Montacute House in Somerset, or to a tunnel near Aldwych tube station, with larger items remaining in situ, sand-bagged and bricked in. Between 1941 and 1944 some galleries were used as a school for chil
Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, jewelry, cars, movie theatres, ocean liners, everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners, it took its name, short for Arts Décoratifs, from the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes held in Paris in 1925. It combined modern styles with rich materials. During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour and faith in social and technological progress. Art Deco was a pastiche of many different styles, sometimes contradictory, united by a desire to be modern. From its outset, Art Deco was influenced by the bold geometric forms of Cubism, it featured rare and expensive materials, such as ebony and ivory, exquisite craftsmanship. The Chrysler Building and other skyscrapers of New York built during the 1920s and 1930s are monuments of the Art Deco style. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the Art Deco style became more subdued.
New materials arrived, including chrome plating, stainless steel, plastic. A sleeker form of the style, called Streamline Moderne, appeared in the 1930s. Art Deco is one of the first international styles, but its dominance ended with the beginning of World War II and the rise of the functional and unadorned styles of modern architecture and the International Style of architecture that followed. Art Deco took its name, short for Arts Décoratifs, from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, though the diverse styles that characterize Art Deco had appeared in Paris and Brussels before World War I; the term arts décoratifs was first used in France in 1858. In 1868, Le Figaro newspaper used the term objets d'art décoratifs with respect to objects for stage scenery created for the Théâtre de l'Opéra. In 1875, furniture designers, textile and glass designers, other craftsmen were given the status of artists by the French government. In response to this, the École royale gratuite de dessin founded in 1766 under King Louis XVI to train artists and artisans in crafts relating to the fine arts, was renamed the National School of Decorative Arts.
It took its present name of ENSAD in 1927. During the 1925 Exposition the architect Le Corbusier wrote a series of articles about the exhibition for his magazine L'Esprit Nouveau under the title, "1925 EXPO. ARTS. DÉCO." which were combined into a book, "L'art décoratif d'aujourd'hui". The book was a spirited attack on the excesses of the lavish objects at the Exposition; the actual phrase "Art déco" did not appear in print until 1966, when it featured in the title of the first modern exhibit on the subject, called Les Années 25: Art déco, Stijl, Esprit nouveau, which covered the variety of major styles in the 1920s and 1930s. The term Art déco was used in a 1966 newspaper article by Hillary Gelson in the Times, describing the different styles at the exhibit. Art Deco gained currency as a broadly applied stylistic label in 1968 when historian Bevis Hillier published the first major academic book on the style: Art Deco of the 20s and 30s. Hillier noted that the term was being used by art dealers and cites The Times and an essay named "Les Arts Déco" in Elle magazine as examples of prior usage.
In 1971, Hillier organized an exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which he details in his book about it, The World of Art Deco. The emergence of Art Deco was connected with the rise in status of decorative artists, who until late in the 19th century had been considered as artisans; the term "arts décoratifs" had been invented in 1875, giving the designers of furniture and other decoration official status. The Société des artistes décorateurs, or SAD, was founded in 1901, decorative artists were given the same rights of authorship as painters and sculptors. A similar movement developed in Italy; the first international exhibition devoted to the decorative arts, the Esposizione international d'Arte decorative moderna, was held in Turin in 1902. Several new magazines devoted to decorative arts were founded in Paris, including Arts et décoration and L'Art décoratif moderne. Decorative arts sections were introduced into the annual salons of the Sociéte des artistes français, in the Salon d'automne.
French nationalism played a part in the resurgence of decorative arts. In 1911, the SAD proposed the holding of a major new international exposition of decorative arts in 1912. No copies of old styles were to be permitted; the exhibit was postponed until 1914 because of the war, postponed until 1925, when it gave its name to the whole family of styles known as Déco. Parisian department stores and fashion designers played an important
The River Thames, known alternatively in parts as the Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At 215 miles, it is the longest river in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom, after the River Severn, it flows through Oxford, Henley-on-Thames and Windsor. The lower reaches of the river are called the Tideway, derived from its long tidal reach up to Teddington Lock, it rises at Thames Head in Gloucestershire, flows into the North Sea via the Thames Estuary. The Thames drains the whole of Greater London, its tidal section, reaching up to Teddington Lock, includes most of its London stretch and has a rise and fall of 23 feet. Running through some of the driest parts of mainland Britain and abstracted for drinking water, the Thames' discharge is low considering its length and breadth: the Severn has a discharge twice as large on average despite having a smaller drainage basin. In Scotland, the Tay achieves more than double the Thames' average discharge from a drainage basin, 60% smaller.
Along its course are 45 navigation locks with accompanying weirs. Its catchment area covers a small part of western England; the river contains over 80 islands. With its waters varying from freshwater to seawater, the Thames supports a variety of wildlife and has a number of adjoining Sites of Special Scientific Interest, with the largest being in the remaining parts of the North Kent Marshes and covering 5,449 hectares; the Thames, from Middle English Temese, is derived from the Brittonic Celtic name for the river, recorded in Latin as Tamesis and yielding modern Welsh Tafwys "Thames". The name may have meant "dark" and can be compared to other cognates such as Russian темно, Lithuanian tamsi "dark", Latvian tumsa "darkness", Sanskrit tamas and Welsh tywyll "darkness" and Middle Irish teimen "dark grey"; the same origin is shared by countless other river names, spread across Britain, such as the River Tamar at the border of Devon and Cornwall, several rivers named Tame in the Midlands and North Yorkshire, the Tavy on Dartmoor, the Team of the North East, the Teifi and Teme of Wales, the Teviot in the Scottish Borders, as well as one of the Thames' tributaries called the Thame.
Kenneth H. Jackson has proposed that the name of the Thames is not Indo-European, while Peter Kitson suggested that it is Indo-European but originated before the Celts and has a name indicating "muddiness" from a root *tā-,'melt'. Indirect evidence for the antiquity of the name'Thames' is provided by a Roman potsherd found at Oxford, bearing the inscription Tamesubugus fecit, it is believed. Tamese was referred to as a place, not a river in the Ravenna Cosmography; the river's name has always been pronounced with a simple t /t/. A similar spelling from 1210, "Tamisiam", is found in the Magna Carta; the Thames through Oxford is sometimes called the Isis. And in Victorian times and cartographers insisted that the entire river was named the Isis from its source down to Dorchester on Thames and that only from this point, where the river meets the Thame and becomes the "Thame-isis" should it be so called. Ordnance Survey maps still label the Thames as "River Isis" down to Dorchester. However, since the early 20th century this distinction has been lost in common usage outside of Oxford, some historians suggest the name Isis is nothing more than a truncation of Tamesis, the Latin name for the Thames.
Sculptures titled Tamesis and Isis by Anne Seymour Damer can be found on the bridge at Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Richard Coates suggests that while the river was as a whole called the Thames, part of it, where it was too wide to ford, was called *lowonida; this gave the name to a settlement on its banks, which became known as Londinium, from the Indo-European roots *pleu- "flow" and *-nedi "river" meaning something like the flowing river or the wide flowing unfordable river. For merchant seamen, the Thames has long been just the "London River". Londoners refer to it as "the river" in expressions such as "south of the river"; the river gives its name to three informal areas: the Thames Valley, a region of England around the river between Oxford and West London. Thames Valley Police is a formal body. In non-administrative use, the river's name is used in those of Thames Valley University, Thames Water, Thames Television, publishing company Thames & Hudson and South Thames College. An example of its use in the names of historic entities is the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company.
The administrative powers of the Thames Conservancy have been taken on with modifications by the Environment Agency and, in respect of the Tideway part of the river, such powers are split between the agency and the Port of London Authority. The marks of human activity, in some cases dating back to Pre-Roman Britain, are visible at various points along the river; these include a variety of structure
Strand is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster, Central London. It runs just over 3⁄4 mile from Trafalgar Square eastwards to Temple Bar, where the road becomes Fleet Street inside the City of London, is part of the A4, a main road running west from inner London; the road's name comes from the Old English strond, meaning the edge of a river, as it ran alongside the north bank of the River Thames. The street was popular with the British upper classes between the 12th and 17th centuries, with many important mansions being built between the Strand and the river; these included Essex House, Arundel House, Somerset House, Savoy Palace, Durham House and Cecil House. The aristocracy moved to the West End over the 17th century, following which the Strand became well known for coffee shops and taverns; the street was a centre point for theatre and music hall during the 19th century, several venues remain on the Strand. At the east end of the street are two historic churches: St Mary le Strand and St Clement Danes.
This easternmost stretch of the Strand is home to King's College, one of the two founding colleges of the University of London. Several authors and philosophers have lived on or near the Strand, including Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Virginia Woolf; the street has been commemorated in the song "Let's All Go Down the Strand", now recognised as a typical piece of Cockney music hall. The street is the main link between the two cities of London, it runs eastward from Trafalgar Square, parallel to the River Thames, to Temple Bar, the boundary between the two cities at this point. Traffic travelling eastbound follows a short crescent around Aldwych, connected at both ends to the Strand; the road marks the southern boundary of the Covent Garden district and forms part of the Northbank business improvement district. The name was first recorded in 1002 as strondway in 1185 as Stronde and in 1220 as la Stranda, it is formed from the Old English word ` strond'. It referred to the shallow bank of the once much wider Thames, before the construction of the Victoria Embankment.
The name was applied to the road itself. In the 13th century it was known as'Densemanestret' or'street of the Danes', referring to the community of Danes in the area. Two London Underground stations were once named Strand: a Piccadilly line station that operated between 1907 and 1994 and a former Northern line station which today forms part of Charing Cross station.'Strand Bridge' was the name given to Waterloo Bridge during its construction. London Bus routes 6, 23, 139 and 176 all run along the Strand. During Roman Britain, what is now the Strand was part of the route to Silchester, known as "Iter VIII" on the Antonine Itinerary, which became known by the name Akeman Street, it was part of a trading town called Lundenwic that developed around 600 AD, stretched from Trafalgar Square to Aldwych. Alfred the Great moved the settlement into the old Roman town of Londinium from around 886 AD onwards, leaving no mark of the old town, the area returned to fields. In the Middle Ages, the Strand became the principal route between the separate settlements of the City of London and the royal Palace of Westminster.
In the archaeological record, there is considerable evidence of occupation to the north of Aldwych, but much along the former foreshore has been covered by rubble from the demolition of the Tudor Somerset Place, a former royal residence, to create a large platform for the building of the first Somerset House, in the 17th century. The landmark Eleanor's Cross was built in the 13th century at the western end of the Strand at Charing Cross by Edward I commemorating his wife Eleanor of Castile, it was demolished in 1647 by the request of Parliament during the First English Civil War, but reconstructed in 1865. The west part of the Strand was in the parish of St Martin in the Fields and in the east it extended into the parishes of St Clement Danes and St Mary le Strand. Most of its length was in the Liberty of Westminster, although part of the eastern section in St Clement Danes was in the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex; the Strand was the northern boundary of the precinct of the Savoy, where the approach to Waterloo Bridge is now.
All of these parishes and places became part of the Strand District in 1855, except St Martin in the Fields, governed separately. The Strand District Board of Works was based at No. 22, Tavistock Street. Strand District was abolished in October 1900 and became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster. From the 12th century onwards, large mansions lined the Strand including several palaces and townhouses inhabited by bishops and royal courtiers on the south side, with their own river gates and landings directly on the Thames; the road was poorly maintained, with many pits and sloughs, a paving order was issued in 1532 to improve traffic. What became Essex House on the Strand was an Outer Temple of the Knights Templar in the 11th century. In 1313, ownership passed to the Knights of St John. Henry VIII gave the house to William, Baron Paget in the early 16th century. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, rebuilt the house in 1563 calling it Leicester House, it was renamed Essex House after being inherited by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, in 1588.
It was demolished around 1674 and Essex Street, leading up to the Strand, was built o
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
J. Lyons and Co.
J. Lyons & Co. was a British restaurant chain, food manufacturing, hotel conglomerate founded in 1884. The company began as collaboration between the professional artist Joseph Lyons and his brothers in law and Montague Gluckstein, as a spin off from the Salmon & Gluckstein tobacco company. In 1894 the company started a teashop in Piccadilly and from 1909 developed this into a chain of teashops known as Lyons' Corner Houses; the company ran high class restaurants, founding the Trocadero in 1895, hotels including the Strand Palace, opened in 1909, the Regent Palace, opened in 1915, the Cumberland Hotel, opened in 1933, all in London. From the 1930s Lyons began to develop a pioneering range of teas and cakes that were sold in grocery stores across the world. Lyons was appointed to run the company, it was named after him. J. Lyons & Co. was a pioneer in introducing computers to business. Between 1951 and 1963, the company sold a range of LEO computers; the company was a substantial food manufacturer, with factories at Cadby Hall in Hammersmith, from 1921 at Greenford, producing bread, pies, tea and ice cream.
To the public, J. Lyons & Co. were best known for their chain of tea shops which opened from 1894 and closed in 1981, for the Lyons Corner Houses in the West End of London. The tea shops were more up market than their ABC counterparts, they were notable for their interior design, from the 1920s Oliver P. Bernard being consultant artistic director; until the 1940s they had a certain working-class chic, but by the 1950s and'60s they were quick stops for busy shoppers where one could drink a cup of tea and eat a snack or an inexpensive meal. The tea shops always had a bakery counter at the front, their signs, art nouveau gold lettering on white, were a familiar landmark. Before the Second World War service was to the table by uniformed waitresses, known as'Nippies', after the War the tea shops converted to cafeteria service. Lyons' Corner Houses, which first appeared in 1909 and remained until 1977, were noted for their art deco style. Situated on or near the corners of Coventry Street and Tottenham Court Road and the Maison Lyonses at Marble Arch and in Shaftesbury Avenue were large buildings on four or five floors, the ground floor of, a food hall with counters for delicatessen and chocolates, fruit and other products.
In addition, they possessed hairdressing salons, telephone booths, theatre booking agencies and at one period a twice-a-day food delivery service. On the other floors were several restaurants, each with a different theme and all with their own musicians. For a time the Corner Houses were open 24 hours a day, at their peak each branch employed around 400 staff, they featured window displays, and, in the post-war period, the Corner Houses were smarter and grander than the local tea shops. Between 1896 and 1965 Lyons owned the Trocadero, similar in size and style to the Corner Houses; as well as the tea shops and Corner Houses, Lyons ran other large restaurants such as the Angel Cafe Restaurant in Islington and the Throgmorton in Throgmorton Street. Its chains have included Wimpy Bars, Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts; the artist Kay Lipton designed all the windows for the Corner Houses under the jurisdiction of Norman Joseph, the director post-war. The Regent Palace Hotel, Glasshouse Street, London was operated by Strand Hotels Limited, a subsidiary of J. Lyons and Company and opened on 16 May 1915.
Strand Hotels operated the Cumberland Hotel, Kingsley Hotel, Park Court Hotel, Windsor Hotel, White's Hotel and the Strand Palace Hotel after the inception of Strand Hotels Limited. The last London hotel that they operated until the demise of the group in the mid-70s was the Tower Hotel situated by Tower Bridge in London. In 1938, Lyons purchased the Bee Bee Biscuit Company, which manufactured biscuits from its factories in Blackpool. Six years Lyons changed the company's name to Symbol Biscuits Ltd. and began selling biscuits under the Symbol and Lyons brand names: one of their innovations was Maryland Cookies in 1956. In 1990, Lyons changed the Symbol Biscuits name to Lyons Biscuits Ltd; the rearmament period just before World War II saw a big expansion in the number of Royal Ordnance Factories, which were British government-owned. However, due to shortages of management resources some ROFs were run as agency factories; the management and stock control systems needed in the ROFs, in respect of control of raw materials and "perishable" finished products, were somewhat similar to those used in the catering business.
They do not appear to have any involvement in managing these after 1945, when the ROFs started to run down. The top management of Lyons, with its background in the use of mechanical adding machines, saw the necessity of new electrical computers for organising the distribution of cakes and other perishable goods. They, therefore financed the University of Cambridge's Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator, the second electronic digital stored-program computer to go into regular service, built their own programmable digital computers and became the first user of these in businesses, with the LEO I digital computer: the Lyons Electronic Office I, designed and built by Dr John Pinkerton under the able leadership of John Simmons, it handled logistics. Lyons included the weather forecast to ensure goods carried by their "fresh produce" delivery vans were not wasted in large quantities