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Barometer

What past Buckingham Palace renovations cost (and who paid)

Also in our Barometer column: middle incomes, cryogenics and fatal selfies

26 November 2016

9:00 AM

26 November 2016

9:00 AM

Bucks for Bucks

Buckingham Palace is to be renovated at a cost of £369m, funded through an increase in the sovereign grant. How much have home improvements to the palace cost over the years?
— The original house was built by the Duke of Buckingham in 1706 for £7,000.
— In 1761, George III spent £21,000 to buy it, and £73,000 on remodelling it.
— In 1826, George IV hired John Nash to remodel the building for £450,000. He was fired in 1828, having spent £496,169.
— In 1845, Queen Victoria complained it wasn’t big enough for her growing family and added the east wing, using £53,000 raised by selling Brighton Pavilion.
— In 2010 engineering consultants Atkins estimated the cost of an energy-efficient replica at £320m.

Cool crowd

A court ruled that a girl of 14 who had died from cancer could be cryogenically preserved, in accordance with the wishes of her mother but contrary to the wishes of her estranged father. How many people are in the deep freeze awaiting reincarnation?
— Alcor, the US company in this case, says it has 148 patients in suspension.
— Its rival the Cryogenics Institute claims 145 human patients and 125 pets. It has another 1,340 living people as members, which may indicate a desire to be cryogenically preserved in future, 921 of them from the US and 92 from the UK.

Where’s the middle?


‘Just about managing’ is the latest euphemism for middle-income groups whom the government wants to reach. How much disposable income did people in the middle enjoy over the past year? Here are median income figures for the UK in 2015/16, plus how much they have increased or decreased since 2007/8:

All households £26,400 (+£400)
Retired £21,500 (+£1,700)
Non-retired £29,200 (-£400)

Source: ONS

Killer shots

US and Indian scientists said they are trying to develop an app which would disable a mobile phone’s camera when GPS indicated it was in a dangerous location. How many people have died while taking selfies?

2014 15
2015 39
2016 (first 8 months) 73

Source: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (based on news reports)


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