Tuesday 5 May 2009

Prisons and Banks

Just had time yesterday before catching the jolly Ryanair flight back to visit the grand Brno fortress and Prison (you may spot a prison theme emerging in the blog now!) It sits astride a mountain top at a strategic crossing point and has been a fortress since the 13th century. It was used as a prison and you an visit the cells -the architecture is most agreeable and an improvement on Brixton methinks, though a matter of taste that was perhaps not of paramount importance to inmates. Indeed in 1783 the supposedly enlightenment Emperor Joseph 11 decided that the most wicked criminals were to be incarcerated in the "deepest and most squalid casements" where they were chained to the beams. Hope Jack Straw doesn't get wind of this wizzo scheme.

There is an interesting exhibition which takes you up to mid 20th century and manages to avoid its role as a prison for the Nazis and then for the Communists.

But perhaps the most interesting fact was that the good citizens of Brno were able to watch the Battle of Austerlitz from the ramparts. For the less historically minded this battle was a decisive defeat of the Austrian and Russian Emperors by Napoleon in 1805.

And before I left the Conference; another key contact sorted. Dr Maritta Koch-Wesser is the CEO of the Global Exchange for Social Investment. I arrange to meet her in my office on Monday with Jonathan Lewis our Futurebuilders CEO. Strike while the iron is hot. Building a European Social Investment Bank. Let's get this project well and truly on the road.

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