By Sir Torquil Norman

On 1st June 2006 a Grade II indexed north London landmark reopened following large refurbishment. The rebirth of the Roundhouse was once the fruits of greater than a decade’s exertions, led through philanthropist Torquil Norman. The transformation used to be not anything wanting extraordinary, and while the Roundhouse’s creative plans comprise circuses, tune gala's, huge scale theatre, multimedia gala's, installations, talks and screenings it's the organisation's specialize in youth that makes it a pacesetter . The Roundhouse areas kids at its middle, related to them at each point from club of the Board of administrators to producing industry campaigns. Kick the Tyres, mild the Fires is the tale of Torquil Norman’s remarkable lifestyles, top as much as the purchase and the release of the Roundhouse, in addition to a sequence of reflections on how the welfare nation, taxation and criminal platforms could be reformed to offer deprived youngsters a struggling with likelihood of luck.

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So my first flight was delayed to the following day. Because of my height I found the Seafire cockpit very snug and difficult to move around in. In fact it was over a week before I discovered it had an artificial horizon which was hidden from my view by the gun sight. But wild horses couldn’t have prevented me flying it and I had been carefully briefed. There were two obvious things to look out for during take-off, the first being an alarming tendency, because of the Griffon engine’s huge torque when the throttle was opened, for the aircraft to swing hard right.

He sent me a letter back with the words “Permission granted”. During this period I remember polishing the brass on the ‘flats’ outside the Admiral’s quarters but not much else. From Devonport we were sent for three months to a small air station at Donibristle just across the Firth from Edinburgh for ground school, which was hard work and involved learning everything about aerodynamics, meteorology, navigation, air law and so on. What made it bearable were the evening ferry trips across to Edinburgh to sample the local beer and other delicacies.

Introduction My motivation for writing this book grew over the eleven years that I worked on the Roundhouse project. I bought the building in 1996 as a charitable enterprise with the idea of turning it into a major facility for encouraging young people to realise their potential – especially those often failed by this country’s education system, with few academic qualifications, but with huge, untapped creative talent. The Roundhouse would provide the necessary equipment (recording studios, media suites and so on), and all the support they needed.

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