The Spectator

Barometer | 5 January 2017

Also in our Barometer column: honours, cities of culture and scorpions

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Village people

The government announced plans for 14 ‘garden villages’. The concept of a garden city or village is attributed to Ebenezer Howard, who founded the Garden City Association in 1899 and Letchworth Garden City in 1903. But he was inspired by his time in Chicago, which had already been nicknamed ‘Garden City’.

— The term ‘garden village’, however, was coined by Alexander Turney Stewart, a Northern Irish Protestant who emigrated to the US with a suitcase full of linen and went on to found the world’s biggest department store, on Broadway, New York.

— In 1869, looking for new ventures, he purchased 10,000 acres of Long Island. The result was a community still called Garden Village, centred around the Cathedral of the Incarnation, where Stewart is buried.

Knight after knight

How many people have received honours in recent years?

New Year

2017

1197

2016

1196

2015

1164

2014

1195

2013

1223

2012

984

2011

997

Queen's birthday

2017

n/a

2016

1149

2015

1163

2014

1149

2013

1180

2012

1201

2011

965

The figures suggest that around 1 in 300 of us can expect an honour at some point.

Culture club

Hull marked the beginning of its year as UK City of Culture with a firework display. What does being a city of culture mean for the economy?

— According to a study by John Moores University of Liverpool’s year as European City of Culture in 2008, the city claimed an additional 9.7m visits, an extra 1.14m hotel nights and £753m spending.

— The 830 listed events attracted a total audience of 9.8m, and 66% of residents said they had attended at least one.

— But of the £38.7m Liverpool Culture Company spent in the year, only £2.58m was earned income. The council put in £23.9m, sponsors £4.4m, government £539,000 and the EU £809,000.

Day of the scorpion

A London-to-Edinburgh train was halted so that an escaped pet scorpion could be caught. How dangerous are scorpions?

— A 2008 study estimated that 1.2m humans are stung by scorpions annually, with 3,250 stings (0.27%) proving fatal.

— Snakebites, by comparison, are thought to kill 46,000 a year in India alone.

Source: Medscape.com