From the inimitably choreographed chases of ‘The Italian Job’ to the armchair antics of ‘Mr Bean’, the Mini Cooper has become an indomitable British icon. A spacious yet reliable car that, to this day, is made in the Oxford car factory where it was born. The Mini brand is, of course, now owned by BMW. But that’s not all, says historian Dominic Sandbrook in this fun paean to the teutonic motor industry: even the stalwarts of Bentley and Rolls Royce belong to German companies. And that’s just the beginning.
Starting with the Volkswagen Beetle at the end of the Second World War and leading up to the present day, the tale of the German car also serves as a handy primer on the Eurozone and, perhaps, provides some answers as to why the Germans are doing so well at the moment, while the rest of the EU flounders a bit. It also showcases some of the most beautiful automotive design around. As part of BBC2’s Germany season (which continues at 9pm on Monday 5 with a Rick Stein special), this is a great addition to the post-‘Top Gear’ slot.
Beloved pubs getting turned into blocks of flats is a depressingly common narrative in London. So it’s heartening that Borough’s The Gladstone, having been condemned to the property developer’s wrecking ball in late 2016, has reopened six months later, having been declared an asset of community value and taken on by a new team. Hooray for that. Old regulars needn’t panic – the much-loved live music offering is still intact. Elsewhere, the new-look Glad brings few surprises: a craft beer offering, a menu of small plates, reclaimed furniture and the obligatory canopy of filament lightbulbs. Even if you’ve never set foot in the place, you’ll feel like you’ve been here before. On my visit, the draught line-up was solid, if a touch conservative, with Hammerton’s punchy N7 pale ale the pick of the bunch. Given the pub’s location, it was disappointing not to see any south London brews on the taps (except the omnipresent Meantime), though Kernel, Brew by Numbers and Partizan all featured in the bottle fridge. Food lacked finesse, though: Japanese-style fried chicken ought to have come with something to dunk it in, while nicely crisp chips were in need of some seasoning. Still, most people won’t come to The Glad for two-thirds of Belgian sour and a gourmet feed – they’ll come for the cosy, friendly atmosphere, up-close live music and to bask in the fact that for once – just once – developers got told to do one.
Venue says: “Looking for somewhere to book a party or celebration drinks? Why not hire our private function room? Email or call to book now!”