Peter Day

Peter Day Global business correspondent

Welcome to the space where I gaze just over the horizon and pick up significant things affecting business, work and life as a whole just before they become common knowledge and jump into the daily headlines.

Turning Midland Bank's former headquarters into a hotel

  • 23 February 2015
  • From the section Business
former Midland Bank head office
27 Poultry, once a bank, soon to be a hotel

Something is happening deep inside one of the City of London's most distinguished 20th Century buildings. After being disquietingly empty for some eight year, the builders have just moved in to turn No 27 Poultry into a very expensive hotel, brandishing (it is said) six stars.

Close to the Guildhall and the Bank of England, this building is better known as the former head office of Midland Bank, for some decades from 1918 the largest bank in the world.

The grade one exterior and the fine banking hall were designed in the early 1920s by the eminent architect of empire Sir Edwin Lutyens, who went on to create much of New Delhi.

Look hard and you may discover something slightly strange about the splendid Midland Bank facade, now propped up with steel supports as the interior redesigners get to work.

On the narrow street Poultry (named after the produce once sold there), Lutyens designed the distinguished head office to look its best from the side, not full frontally. (A glance across from the Mansion House will confirm this).

Read full article Turning Midland Bank's former headquarters into a hotel

Why Ellen MacArthur is still going round in circles

  • 23 January 2015
  • From the section Business
Ellen MacArthur
Ellen MacArthur has successfully switched from the world of sailing to that of business

For 200 years of the industrial revolution, much of human kind has prospered as a result of one particular business model.

We dig up finite raw materials, turn them into products, and after they have brought utility to the consumers who buy them, the things are thrown away as waste.

Read full article Why Ellen MacArthur is still going round in circles

Why stock market crashes happen in the autumn

  • 18 January 2015
  • From the section Business
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on 16 September 2008
History shows that stock market crashes invariably start in the autumn

Why do financial markets so often get conniptions in September? Why do so many market collapses happen in October?

Lily Fang, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has turned her attention to this nagging subject.

Read full article Why stock market crashes happen in the autumn

The business of cathedrals: Mixing finance with worship

  • 24 December 2014
  • From the section Business
Lincoln Cathedral
Building work on Lincoln Cathedral started in 1088

Just sometimes there are moments when a reporter escapes the confusion of the here and now, when the present merges with the past in a numinous concurrence. Even when you are reporting on business.

It happened the other day, in Lincoln. I grew up in Lincolnshire; I can remember first visiting Lincoln Cathedral when I was eight: 60 years ago.

Read full article The business of cathedrals: Mixing finance with worship

The firm hoping to make economy flights more comfortable

  • 10 December 2014
  • From the section Business
Acro seats
These seats, designed by Acro, use a thin, sculpted shape to maximise possible legroom

Chris Brady is 6ft 2in (1.9m) tall. So he really dislikes the experience of flying economy class in a plane.

So he decided to do something about it.

Read full article The firm hoping to make economy flights more comfortable

The rise of new economies

  • 26 November 2014
  • From the section Business
The La Geode at Parc de la Villette in Paris
The Parc de la Villette is home to museums and the Geode cinema

The Parc de la Villette is where the Paris slaughterhouses used to be. It is now the third largest park in the whole city.

Transformed unrecognisably, it has become the home of a huge science museum and many cultural activities.

Read full article The rise of new economies

The 'infosphere': Where philosophy meets technology

  • 12 November 2014
  • From the section Business
Luciano Floridi

Luciano Floridi is an Oxford University academic with an intriguing title: professor of philosophy and ethics of information. He works at the Oxford Internet Institute.

Prof Floridi has just written a book which takes a wide view of the great connectivity disruption of our times.

Read full article The 'infosphere': Where philosophy meets technology

Heating buildings using computers

  • 8 October 2014
  • From the section Business
The Chinese character for "house"
The Chinese character for "house"

Look closely at the Chinese character for "house".

Yes, it's obviously got a roof, but what's that under the roof? Rather stylised these days, it is, of course, a pig.

Read full article Heating buildings using computers

Why Vanity Fair covers business stories

  • 24 September 2014
  • From the section Business
Vanity Fair magazine

The glossy pages of the relentlessly celebrity-driven magazine Vanity Fair are a strange place to find really excellent reporting about business, but that is how it is.

In the October edition the editor Graydon Carter discloses at least one reason for this odd phenomenon.

Read full article Why Vanity Fair covers business stories

How Dundee became a computer games centre

  • 10 September 2014
  • From the section Business
Dundee
The city of Dundee has been home to a number of economic clusters

How do you create a cluster: a town, city, or region where businesses of a particular kind root, grow and may - eventually - become globally significant?

Many countries would love to know. Does this Silicon Valley kind of process happen by accident or design?

Read full article How Dundee became a computer games centre

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About Peter

Peter Day started broadcasting about business for BBC News in 1975, and has been doing it ever since. In 1987 he took over as presenter of In Business, running for half the year on BBC Radio 4, and in 2000 he added the weekly BBC World Service programme Global Business.

Both programmes are pitched at listeners who did not realise they were interested in business... until they listened in. Both have a relentless common theme: change.

Peter grew up in rural Lincolnshire, went to Lincoln School, and then read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He never expected to have anything whatsoever to do with finance, economics or business life. He still tries to stand at a slight tangent to the world of commerce.

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