Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

26-27 February


The magic and mysteries of Dolphin Square

When Dolphin Square opened in 1936, it was the height of modernity, say Simon Danczuk and Daniel Smith in The Daily Telegraph. The seven-and-a-half-acre site, slap bang in the middle of Pimlico, was the largest self-contained apartment complex in Europe. Its 1,200 flats were kitted out with soundproofed walls, and in the communal areas there was a swimming pool and a beauty parlour. Today, the building remains much the same – grand and a little odd. In the basement laundry, the washing machines still have a setting for capes.

Tomorrow’s world

The green goldmine under sacred soil

Joe Biden’s “aggressive timeline” for America’s transition to renewable energy has hit an unexpected snag, says The Economist: vast deposits of crucial minerals lie under sacred tribal lands. Thanks to net zero, the global demand for lithium, used in batteries, is expected to grow more than 40-fold by 2040. Demand for cobalt and nickel should grow by about 20 times in the same period. But by one estimate, “97% of America’s nickel reserves, 89% of copper, 79% of lithium and 68% of cobalt are found within 35 miles of Native American reservations”. Churning up land sacred to native tribes to get at valuable deposits underneath, say critics, would be “yet another example of America’s exploitation of indigenous peoples”.


quoted 26.2 masefield

“The days that make us happy make us wise.”

John Masefield, English poet


The downside of country living

Last Christmas a giant billboard went up over Finsbury Park tube station in north London, depicting the English countryside as “one big meadow”, says Vron Ware in The Guardian. It showed an idyllic grassy landscape devoid of people, buildings or roads, with the tagline “Explore the life that could be”. It was an ad for the property website Rightmove, inviting “Covid-weary commuters” to opt out of stressful city life. And it certainly caught the public mood. Estate agents have been reporting a mass exodus to the country since mid-2020, and by the end of that year “detached”, “rural” and “secluded” were the fourth, fifth and sixth most-searched terms on Zoopla, another property website.

Great escape

Oligarchs in the Alps

When Roman Abramovich first visited Courchevel, he allegedly tried to buy the whole resort. The Russian billionaire apparently viewed every chalet in town, bidding way above the asking price, thereby fixing property costs at “oligarch levels”. I rather wish he hadn’t, says Helen Kirwan-Taylor in The Daily Telegraph. For years, my family loved the small French ski resort as a “half-term destination”. Now, it’s just a playground for Russia’s super rich – Courchevelsky.


quoted 26.2 einstein

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Albert Einstein

Get The Knowledge in your inbox

signup box

We scour the world’s media sources and bring you the best – all in one place. Sign up to our five minute daily newsletter here.

On the money

The British billionaire no-one’s heard of

When the Preston-born hedge fund billionaire Michael Platt was asked by a New York taxi driver what he did for a living, he replied: “I’m the highest-earning person in the world of finance.” The 2019 exchange was recorded and went viral, says Lucy Burton in The Daily Telegraph – the usually media-shy Platt had to clarify the video was “a joke following a good bottle of wine with a friend”. But the 53-year-old investor, who’s now worth $12.5bn and is the third-wealthiest Brit, was only slightly exaggerating: he had just been ranked second in Forbes’ list of top-earning hedge fund managers.

From the archives

Blind jazz musician Ray Charles never let his handicap get in the way of a good time. Here he is careening around Utah’s salt flats in a Peugeot 306. “I done all kinds of nutty things,” Charles once told US News and World Reports. “I don’t recommend it because I don’t want other blind people to say, ‘if Ray Charles did it, I can do it’, because I don’t want to cause anybody to get themselves killed.”


The bolthole

Gingerbread Cottage is “one of the most captivating, charming and unique properties we’ve seen”, says Country Life. Positioned at the head of the Helford River in Cornwall, the Grade II listed home was once a gatehouse for one of the county’s most historic estates. It has a thatched roof, gothic arched windows and a garden. Inside, the kitchen and sitting room are connected by a double-sided wood burner, and the bedroom has a reading nook. Helston and Porthleven are under 20 minutes’ drive away. £350,000.

The townhouse

Buy the morning’s fresh catch from the fishing boats just seconds from the front door of this beachside Edwardian house in Worthing, West Sussex. Undisturbed views of the English Channel are best enjoyed from the pretty courtyard garden, the balcony off one of the five bedrooms, and the main living area. The train station is walking distance, with regular services to London taking just under two hours. £895,000.