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Sidney Poitier was one of cinema’s most beautiful giants

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In the late 1960s, when black actors still struggled for mainstream recognition, Sidney Poitier, who has died in the Bahamas at the age of 94, managed to become the biggest star in Hollywood. It remains a remarkable accomplishment.

In 1967, two films starring Poitier – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and To Sir, With Love – secured positions on the year’s box office top 10. A third, In the Heat of the Night, won the Academy Award for best picture.

A generation before Denzel Washington and Will Smith became superstars, the mellifluous, breathtakingly handsome actor eased open the door. He had secured Hollywood fame a decade earlier in films such as The Defiant Ones and Porgy and Bess.

In 1964, winning for Lilies of the Field, he became the first black man to take the Oscar for best actor. He acted less in later years, but remained an inspiring figure to younger professionals.

In 1997, he was appointed as ambassador to Japan for his native Bahamas and also serves as the country’s representative at Unesco. Honorary awards came his way in abundance.

Sidney Poitier in 1980. Photograph: Evening Standard/Getty
Sidney Poitier in 1980. Photograph: Evening Standard/Getty

One of the greats

For all his breaking down of barriers, Poitier will, however, be first remembered as one of the great movie stars. As was the case with Clark Gable, Cary Grant and James Stewart, his talents stretched beyond the delivery of a line. He had a monumental charisma that drew attention to his corner of the screen.

In the Heat of the Night gave him countless scenes to showcase those near-supernatural gifts. Playing Virgil Tibbs, a cop from Philadelphia stuck investigating a murder with a racist cop in Mississippi, he got to offer a defiant rebuke to those everywhere who patronise with language. “What do they call you up there?” Rod Steiger’s character asks. “They call me MISTER Tibbs, ” Poitier declaimed.

Still more powerful was the scene where, struck by a local big wig, he doesn’t pause before slapping him back. In The Heat of the Night was not any sort of radical film. Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, in which he played a saintly doctor engaged to the daughter of white San Francisco liberals, now seems positively antediluvian in its cosy racial politics.

But those films still moved the conversation. Poitier was already able to change minds with his presence alone. One variation of movie stardom is the talent to shift roles while still retaining a consistent essence. With Cary Grant that essence had to do with suavity and mischievousness. With Poitier it was an intelligent integrity. If he told us something we would listen.

Route to fame

Poitier took a roundabout road to stardom. The child of Bahamian farmers, he was born, two months premature, when his parents were visiting Miami. He lived on Cat Island to the age of 10 and then moved with the family to Nassau.

Five years later he travelled back to Miami – it is probably acceptable to call him one of the great American movie stars – and then progressed towards New York City.

He was working at various low-paid service jobs when he decided to audition for the American Negro Theater company in Harlem. As long ago as 1950, he secured a decent role in the Joseph L. Mankiewicz film noir No Way Out.

Poitier continued to work steadily throughout the decade before hitting massive success in Kramer’s The Defiant Ones in 1958. Poitier played a prisoner who escapes while manacled to the unfriendly Tony Curtis. It received eight Oscar nominations, and Poitier became the first black man nominated as best actor.

Lilies of the Field, a pleasant film starring Poitier as a handyman helping out rural nuns, is not much celebrated now, but it secured its place in cinema history for providing Poitier with that Oscar win.

By the end of the 1960s there was a backlash among some critics against the allegedly unthreatening nature of Poitier’s roles. “I represent 10 million people in this country and millions more in Africa… and I’m not going to do anything they can’t be proud of,” he said at a press conference in 1968.

But he saw which way the wind was blowing. “My career as a leading man in Hollywood was nearing its end,” he wrote in his later memoir The Measure of a Man.

Sidney Poitier in 2015. Photo: Mark Davis/Getty Images
Poitier in 2015. Photograph: Mark Davis/Getty Images

Transitional figure

Poitier acted throughout the 1970s, but his energies were not those of the rougher-edged black cinema that was then emerging. One can see him as a transitional figure between “golden age” Hollywood – he was shooting uncredited roles in the late 1940s – and the new cinema that emerged in the wake of the 1960s cultural and social revolutions.

He responded to the shifts in fashion by moving towards direction and had a big hit with the comedy Stir Crazy in 1980. Ambassadorial duties increased as he passed into his later years.

He was twice married – to Juanita Hardy and to the actor Joanna Shimkus, who survives him – and had a lengthy relationship with the gifted entertainer Diahann Carroll. He received the Kennedy Center Honor and, from Barack Obama, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1974, as a representative of a Commonwealth nation, he was appointed Knight Commander by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was one of the art form’s most beautiful giants.

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Four homes for sale with swimming pools: With price tags from £1.1m to £190k

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Owning a property with a swimming pool might seem like one of life’s luxuries that is reserved for millionaires.

But, as our pick of homes for sale with swimming pools proves, you don’t have to have a multi-million pound property to have one.

That said, you may still need deep pockets for their upkeep, which can be costly, particularly if you want to keep your swimming pool heated to a comfortable temperature.

While water shortages and hosepipe bans are hitting the headlines, a pool that is already filled with water will not draw on resources but may be forbidden from being topped up by hosepipe in the case of a ban.

Our pick of four properties for sale with swimming pools are for various budgets, ranging from £1.1million to £190,000 (scroll down for more information about the house pictured)

Our pick of four properties for sale with swimming pools are for various budgets, ranging from £1.1million to £190,000 (scroll down for more information about the house pictured)

Here, we take a look at four swimming pools at properties for those with a range of different budgets.

At the top end is a six-bedroom house in Ramsgate, Kent. with an acre of land that includes an outdoor swimming pool. It has a price tag of £1.1million.

At the other end is three-bedroom property in Ashington, Northumberland, with an empty indoor swimming pool and an asking price of only £190,000.

Daniel Copley, of Zoopla, said: ‘With Britain currently experiencing a heatwave, it’s no surprise that homes with swimming pools are proving to be increasingly popular.

‘Whether your budget is more in the deep or shallow end, some homes with pools may be more affordable than you think.

‘While the rise in energy bills will have a very real impact on those wanting to heat a pool, at this time of year a refreshing dip may be just what’s needed.’

Four properties with swimming pools… 

1. Six-bed house, Ramsgate, £1.1m

The most expensive house in our list of properties with swimming pools is this £1.1million home in Ramsgate, Kent, which is being sold by Miles & Barr estate agents

The most expensive house in our list of properties with swimming pools is this £1.1million home in Ramsgate, Kent, which is being sold by Miles & Barr estate agents

The property is called Pond Cottage and it boasts a large outdoor swimming pool that has a curved slide at the side

The property is called Pond Cottage and it boasts a large outdoor swimming pool that has a curved slide at the side

Inside the property, the entertainment facilities continue - with a cinema room that has black chairs and a red carpet

Inside the property, the entertainment facilities continue – with a cinema room that has black chairs and a red carpet

The most expensive house in our list of properties with swimming pools is this £1.1million home in Ramsgate, Kent.

It boasts more than an acre of land that includes a large outdoor swimming pool, a patio and a pool area.

The property is called Pond Cottage and it is being sold by Miles & Barr estate agents.

2. Five-bed semi-detached house, Welling, £625k

This semi-detached property in Welling, Kent, may not look like it can house a swimming pool from the front aspect

This semi-detached property in Welling, Kent, may not look like it can house a swimming pool from the front aspect

A slimline swimming pool has been added to the rear of the house and it has been covered to protect it from the elements

A slimline swimming pool has been added to the rear of the house and it has been covered to protect it from the elements

The Kent property is on the market with a price tag of £625,000 and the sale is being handled by estate agents MS Estates

The Kent property is on the market with a price tag of £625,000 and the sale is being handled by estate agents MS Estates

This semi-detached property in Welling, Kent, may not look like it can house a swimming pool from the front.

But a slimline swimming pool has been added to the rear of the house. It is on the market for £625,000 via MS Estates.

3. Five-bed house, Ripon, £450k

This three-bedroom house in Ripon, North Yorkshire, was once a barn and has been converted into a family home with a swimming pool

This three-bedroom house in Ripon, North Yorkshire, was once a barn and has been converted into a family home with a swimming pool

The curved shaped indoor swimming pool sits below wooden beams and has a separate bar area for entertaining

The curved shaped indoor swimming pool sits below wooden beams and has a separate bar area for entertaining

The barn conversion has a colourful interior and is on the market for £450,000 via Solo Property Management estate agents

The barn conversion has a colourful interior and is on the market for £450,000 via Solo Property Management estate agents

This three-bedroom barn conversion in Ripon, North Yorkshire, boasts an indoor swimming pool and bar area.

It is on the market with a price tag of £450,000 and the sale is being handled by Solo Property Management.

4. Three-bed house, Ashington, £190k

This three-bedroom house in Ashington, Northumberland, is the cheapest in our list of properties for sale with swimming pools

This three-bedroom house in Ashington, Northumberland, is the cheapest in our list of properties for sale with swimming pools

The 1930s detached property has an indoor swimming pool that isn¿t currently being used because it has been left empty

The 1930s detached property has an indoor swimming pool that isn’t currently being used because it has been left empty

The three-bedroom property is currently for sale for £190,000 and is being sold via Rook Matthews Sayer estate agents

The three-bedroom property is currently for sale for £190,000 and is being sold via Rook Matthews Sayer estate agents

This three-bedroom house in Ashington, Northumberland, is the cheapest in our list of properties for sale with swimming pools.

It is a 1930s detached property with an indoor swimming pool that isn’t currently being used as it is empty.

The property is for sale for a relatively cheap £190,000 and is being sold via Rook Matthews Sayer estate agents.

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Barwood Homes invests in Woodville resi scheme (GB)

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Harworth Group plc has completed the sale of an eight-acre land parcel at Woodville, Derbyshire to Barwood Homes for the delivery of 73 new houses. This represents Harworth’s first transaction with the Northampton-based housebuilder. The land parcel forms part of a 53-acre regeneration site which is owned by Beepart Ltd, part of Dyson Group, the Sheffield-based former manufacturer of industrial materials. Harworth is promoting the site on its behalf through a Planning Promotion Agreement. In April 2022, South Derbyshire District Council granted outline consent for the creation of up to 300 homes on the site, in addition to a c.30,000ft² local center with convenience retail and leisure amenities and over 150,000ft² of employment space for a range of uses.

 

The wider site has been unlocked by the delivery of Derbyshire County Council’s Woodville to Swadlincote Regeneration Route, which opened to traffic in December 2021, providing better access to Swadlincote and traffic relief in Woodville, as well as improved connectivity across the site. Preparation works will commence shortly for the next phases of residential and employment land sales at the development.

 

Ed Catchpole, Regional Director for Yorkshire & Central at Harworth, commented: “This sale is a fantastic start to the development at Woodville and we are pleased to welcome Barwood Homes to the site, who will deliver high-quality new housing for the local community. Our focus is now on bringing forward the rest of the development, utilising our extensive experience in the remediation of complex sites, including earthworks and infrastructure, to ready the remaining residential and employment land.”

 

Luke Simmons, Managing Director of Barwood Homes, added: “We are delighted to be working alongside Harworth on this exciting development. The team is looking forward to engaging with the local community as we gear up to deliver a scheme of excellent quality in design, build and service.”

 

Gavin Rosson, Managing Director of Dyson Group, added: “This first sale of a residential portion of the site is an important step in unlocking the full development potential of the whole, something we have been trying to achieve for many years. Such development will help regenerate Woodville and the surrounding area, somewhere we have had a presence since 1967 and are delighted to participate in.”

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Mansion near village home to Premier League footballers mocked for looking like a ‘leisure centre’

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‘It looks like a leisure centre from 1994!’: House hunters mock design for new £4.8m mansion near village popular with Premier League footballers

  • The six-bed mansion in Mobberley, Cheshire has been brought to life using CGI photos
  • The property sits across from Knutsford, home to top flight stars Wayne Rooney, John Stones and Kyle Walker
  • Listed for £4.8m, the house will include a swimming pool, spa, gym, cinema room and safe room for security 

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A six-bed mansion listed for £4.8 million in a sought-after location, popular with Premier League footballers, has been compared to ‘a leisure centre from 1994’.

The three-floored house, which has not even been built yet, has been brought to life using CGI photos.

The property is set to boast an underground garage, swimming pool, sunken spa pool and gym.

There will also be a cinema, games room, music room and a safe room for added security.

However, one house hunter joked: ‘If you are searching for a dream house that looks like a medium sized market town leisure centre, from 1994…

The proposed development (not pictured) is situated close to Knutsford (above) which is popular with Premier League footballers including Wayne Rooney, John Stones and Kyle Walker

The proposed development (not pictured) is situated close to Knutsford (above) which is popular with Premier League footballers including Wayne Rooney, John Stones and Kyle Walker

‘£4.8 million and this baby’s yours.’

 Another added, ‘The multiple toilets and changing rooms just add to that feel.’ 

The house, located in Mobberley, Cheshire is just across from the village Knutsford, home to many top flight stars like Wayne Rooney, John Stones and Kyle Walker. 

The six-bed pad will be set in six acres of land amid the countryside and will have a lift linking all the floors for maximum luxury.

The house – which has just been reduced in price – is being sold by Savills and advertised through Rightmove.

The listing reads: ‘A rare opportunity to create a unique and spectacular family home offering over 22,500 sq ft of accommodation set in approx six acres of land.

‘The property when completed will offer incredibly light, airy, spacious accommodation.

‘The accommodation is thoughtfully laid out over three floors with a flexible layout that is ideal for modern family living and entertaining on a grand scale.’

Home hunters have compared the house to a council-run leisure centre due to its appearance from the outside

Home hunters have compared the house to a council-run leisure centre due to its appearance from the outside

One user added: 'The multiple toilets and changing rooms just add to that feel'

One user added: ‘The multiple toilets and changing rooms just add to that feel’

One comment read, 'Confused by this. Does the insane price tag actually include the cost of the build? 'It says it's an "opportunity to create"

One comment read, ‘Confused by this. Does the insane price tag actually include the cost of the build? ‘It says it’s an “opportunity to create” 

One comment read, ‘Confused by this. Does the insane price tag actually include the cost of the build? ‘It says it’s an “opportunity to create”.

‘Are you just getting the land and planning permission? And for that right I’d like a few more of the CGI images since you can’t actually, you know, view it.’

Another user replied: ‘I think that’s just the land.

‘Crazy eh, it’s been reduced a few times too, unsurprisingly.’

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