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Hinduja Group to turn London’s Old War Office into luxury hotel

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Mumbai: The Hinduja Group said on Wednesday that it had acquired the heritage Old War Office in London that was once inhabited by Winston Churchill.

The Group said in a statement that it planned to restore and convert the 1,100 rooms there into a five-star hotel and luxury residences besides other facilities.

The British Ministry of Defense handed over the keys to the historic building to Hinduja Group Global Co-Chairman G.P. Hinduja, Chairman Europe P.P. Hinduja, Chairman of Villar-Mir and OHL Group Juan-Miguel Villar-Mir, at a ceremony in London on Tuesday evening.

Located at 57 Whitehall, near the British Parliament and 10 Downing Street, it is spread across 580,000 sq feet on seven floors, connected by more than three kilometers of corridors.

The heritage building has 1,100 rooms which the Hinduja Group will restore and convert into a five-star hotel and residences besides rooms for private functions, spa and fitness facilities.

“With our Spanish partners, we have a unique vision for the Old War Office — our ambitious plans will give it a new lease of life and add a glittering new jewel to London’s crown,” said G.P. Hinduja on the deal, which he described as ‘giving something back to the United Kingdom as an ode’.

P.P. Hinduja said that in keeping with the dynamic spirit of London, the Group will give the building a new lease of life, while “remaining conscious of its unique heritage”.

“We will work meticulously to restore the distinctive and historic fabric of the building and convert it into a distinguished hotel and luxury residence, bringing a further dimension to this prominent Whitehall landmark,” P.P. Hinduja added.

The building has been acquired on a 250-year lease arrangement by the Hinduja Group in partnership with the Spanish industrial company Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos (OHLD) following a competitive marketing process.

The high-profile project will also see State Bank of India entering and collaborating into the London realty markets, said SBI official Sanjiv Chadha. The SBI is funding the project.

Present on the occasion were Indian High Commissioner Navtej Singh Sarna and former Indian National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan. (IANS)

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Archaeological Sites Dating Back Thousands of Years Found Around Britain, Thanks to the Heat

The archaeologists are mapping the sites to determine the significance of the remains beneath and how best to protect them.

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A view shows parched grass from the lack of rain in Greenwich Park, backdropped by the Royal Museums Greenwich and the skyscrapers of the Canary Wharf business district, during what has been the driest summer for many years in London. VOA

Britain’s hottest summer in decades has revealed cropmarks across the country showing the archaeological sites of Iron Age settlements, Roman farms and even Neolithic monuments dating back thousands of years, archaeologists said Wednesday.

Cropmarks — patterns of shading in crops and grass seen most clearly from the air — form faster in hot weather as the fields dry out, making this summer’s heat wave ideal for discovering such sites.

Archaeologists at the public body Historic England have been making the most of the hot weather to look for patterns revealing the ancient sites buried below, from Yorkshire in the north down to Cornwall in the southwest.

Archeology , Neolithic artefacts. england
Neolithic remains (representational image). Wikimedia

“We’ve discovered hundreds of new sites this year spanning about 6,000 years of England’s history,” said Damian Grady, aerial reconnaissance manager at Historic England.

“Each new site is interesting in itself, but the fact we’re finding so many sites over such a large area is filling in a lot of gaps in knowledge about how people lived and farmed and managed the landscape in the past,” he said.

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The archaeologists are mapping the sites to determine the significance of the remains beneath and how best to protect them. While some may be significant enough to merit national protection from development, local authorities or farmers may be left to decide what to do at other sites.

“We’ll hopefully get the help of farmers to help protect some of these undesignated sites,” Grady said. (VOA)