Russia’s 21st-century oligarchs have nothing on their imperial predecessors. With assets of around $250-$300 billion (£190-£230 billion) in today’s money, were he alive now the last tsar – Nicholas II – would be worth more than all of contemporary Russia’s top 20 billionaires combined. And their image of unrestrained excess? Nicholas outdid them all. Among the tsar’s many extravagances were the largest super yacht the world had yet seen, dozens of diamond-encrusted Fabergé eggs, and 20ft-long, ermine-trimmed robes. Those years of giddy excess came to a halt in the cellar of a house in Yekaterinburg 100 years ago, when the Bolsheviks executed Nicholas and most of his family. It was a grim ending to an astonishing 300-year dynasty that had been consolidated at the end of the 17th century by Peter the Great, glamorised by Catherine the Great in the 18th and finally doomed by the inability of the 19th-century tsars to … [Read more...] about The last of the Tsars: on the trail of the ghosts of Romanov Russia
The amber room
Businesses on Bar Street have spoken of the issues they face in running their shops. Although online shopping is a problem for many “real” shops, some businesses in Scarborough are affected by issues that could be dealt with locally. Bar Street is a good example of this. Despite its ecletic character, footfall levels are nowhere near those recorded along the main shopping street and independent shops are asking for help to address the lack of visibility that seems to be letting them down.Splash Clothing is one of Bar Street’s latest additions.Having opened only a year ago, owner Helen Henshaw enjoyed a profitable summer but admits that there’s more that could be done to attract visitors and passers-by.She said: “I watched a programme on television about Altrincham, how that’s been revived and revamped and the town is now buzzing and really excting. Scarborough doesn’t seem to have that, there’s a lot of downbeat feelings at the … [Read more...] about Love Your High Street: The issues faced by businesses on Bar Street
Rock City's little brother, the Rescue Rooms, turns 15 this month and so to celebrate we thought we'd take a wander down memory lane and look back at the hundreds of gigs to have taken place there over the past decade and a half. From The Killers to The Libertines, the venue has hosted some seriously big bands on their journey to fame and fortune. How many of the below have you been to? If you are on a desktop computer press ctrl+f to search for your favourite act. February 2003 Sat 22 – Echoboy Sun 23 – Longwave Mon 24 – The Immortal Lee County Killers Tues 25 – The Libertines Wed 26 – Ex-models Thurs 27 – The Majesticons 15 years of the Rescue Rooms - in pictures View gallery March 2003 Sat 1 – Part Chimp Tues 4 – Hrvatski Sat 8 – Boom bip, doseone Sun 9 – The black madonnas Tues 11 – Numbers Wed 12 – Athlete Sat 15 – The Thrills Tues 18 – Tybalt Wed 19 – Antihero Wed 26 – Foreign … [Read more...] about The definitive list of every act to headline the Rescue Rooms
A gift to Russia’s Peter the Great from the King of Prussia in 1716, the Amber Room was once considered an eighth wonder of the world. Some 55 square metres (590 sq ft), it contained over six tonnes of amber resin and gold leaf, worth an estimated £225m today. In 1941 it was plundered from the Catherine Palace near St Petersburg by the Nazis and taken east to Königsberg Castle in what was then German East Prussian city of Königsberg. When the avenging Red Army swept west as the tide of war changed, Ivan, then a young sniper, was in the vanguard as Königsberg Castle was besieged. The Amber Room was last seen amid the bomb-blitzed castle ruins shortly before it was over run in 1945 by the Soviets who changed the seized city's name to Kaliningrad. Despite dozens of Indiana Jones-style searches for the treasure across Eastern Europe it has never been found. In 1998, two separate groups of treasure hunters, one German and one Lithuanian, announced they had … [Read more...] about Is the fabled £225m Russian Amber Room looted by the Nazis buried under England’s World Cup FAN ZONE?
Features William Cook 13 Jun 2018 In Chatsworth House, one of the loveliest stately homes in England, there’s a portrait by Thomas Gainsborough of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, arguably the most alluring women of the Georgian age. An ancestor of Princess Diana, she was the Diana of her day. Like Diana, she combined high living with a social conscience. Like Diana, she married a powerful man whose affections lay elsewhere. However, the most remarkable thing about this seductive portrait is that for 200 years it wasn’t here. It went missing from Chatsworth in about 1800, and reappeared in the 1830s above the fireplace of an old schoolmistress (she had cut the painting in half to make it fit). In 1841, she sold it to an art dealer for £56. In 1876, it was resold at Christie’s for 10,000 guineas, the highest price ever paid for a painting at auction. A few weeks later it was stolen by Adam Worth, known as the ‘Napoleon of crime’ and the … [Read more...] about The art that got away