London had its drawbacks but the rich don’t deserve credit for improvements

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Sir, Hugely enjoyable as Minder was, it would be as rash to suppose that it showed us the real London of its time (Letters, August 14) as it would be to imagine that the chocolate-box settings of Midsomer Murders have very much to do with the contemporary English countryside. Minder mostly depicted the seedier parts of Shepherd’s Bush and Fulham where Arthur Daley had his being — as I recall his office was a Portakabin in the middle of the used car lot he owned — and I suspect that many of the locations, used in the series and chosen for that purpose, have changed little over the years.

Turning to the larger point, my memories of London don’t go back beyond the mid-1970s, but I do know it was possible to buy a fairly sizeable (but rundown) house in Islington at the beginning of the following decade on the basis of my salary as a young lawyer without the need for any parental assistance — and without the burden of any student debt. Living in London then certainly had its drawbacks, but I doubt whether the influx of the international rich has contributed much to the big improvements in state schools and public transport that have taken place since then.

As for restaurants, we seem to have many more opportunities, it’s true — to pay for very indifferent food at grossly inflated prices.

Conor Magill

London E1, UK

Letter in response to this letter:

Houses can’t proliferate like restaurants can / From Oliver Lee

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