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Hatters’ Castle

Robert Morley, 4 August 1983

A Yorkshire Boyhood 
by Roy Hattersley.
Chatto, 215 pp., £8.95, June 1983, 0 7011 2613 2
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Letters to a Grandson 
by Lord Home.
Collins, 151 pp., £6.95, July 1983, 0 00 217061 2
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... which I must man whenever enemy action seems imminent.” The lynch mob apologised and slunk home and from then onwards my father fire-watched alone.’ Roy kept to himself the knowledge that the garage housed a defunct Morris Opal. If there was one thing the small happy family had set their heart on it was Roy’s studies. His mother’s eagerness for ...
Whatever Happened to the Tories: The Conservatives since 1945 
by Ian Gilmour and Mark Garnett.
Fourth Estate, 448 pp., £25, October 1997, 1 85702 475 3
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... hears. He is very ambivalent about Macmillan, whom he obviously cannot forgive for conjuring Lord Home out of a hat in 1963. Also striking is his dislike of Harold Wilson, who is, broadly speaking, depicted as having debauched British politics by an almost singular lack of principle. Indeed, in his account, not the least benign consequence of a Tory ...

Smart Alec

Peter Clarke, 17 October 1996

Alec Douglas-Home 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 540 pp., £25, October 1996, 1 85619 277 6
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... itself was not extinguished if the current peer decided to disclaim the title, the 14th Earl of Home would not have agreed to avail himself of the new procedure, even to become prime minister of the United Kingdom. There was too much at stake. The family’s old motto said it all: ‘A Home, a ...

The crocodiles gathered

Neal Ascherson: Patrice Lumumba, 4 October 2001

The Assassination of Lumumba 
by Ludo De Witte, translated by Ann Wright and Renée Fenby.
Verso, 224 pp., £17, July 2001, 1 85984 618 1
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... underestimate the ruthlessness of British gentlemen cradling endangered shares. On 19 September, Lord Home, as Foreign Secretary, met Eisenhower and discussed the Congo crisis. ‘The President expressed his wish that Lumumba would fall into a river full of crocodiles; Lord Home said regretfully that we have lost ...

Holding all the strings

Ian Gilmour, 27 July 1989

Macmillan. Vol. II: 1957-1986 
by Alistair Horne.
Macmillan, 741 pp., £18.95, June 1989, 0 333 49621 3
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... not writing for himself alone but for future historians. In the summer of 1963 Macmillan had sent Lord Hailsham to Moscow to negotiate the final stage of the treaty to ban nuclear tests. As Minister for Science, Hailsham had not been the obvious choice for such an assignment. But that same summer, when he expected to resign, Macmillan had told Hailsham that ...

Scrapbook

Edward Pearce, 26 July 1990

A Sparrow’s Flight: Memoirs 
by Lord Hailsham.
Collins, 463 pp., £17.50, July 1990, 0 00 215545 1
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... of Quintin Hogg suggest themselves. Perched upon the horsehair seat known as the Woolsack is the Lord Chancellor, hands clasped at the top of his walking-stick, tricorn hat sitting on his full-bottomed wig. On such a formal occasion he looked totally a man of the 18th century, so much did the face and manner fit the rigout. Most modern men in fancy dress ...

Grand Old Man

Robert Blake, 1 May 1980

The Last Edwardian at No 10: An Impression of Harold Macmillan 
by George Hutchinson.
Quartet, 151 pp., £6.50, February 1980, 0 7043 2232 3
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... of country houses, London clubs and Oxford and Cambridge colleges. The idea, spread by some, that Lord Butler (as he now is) was more ‘middle-class’, and therefore more acceptable to the rank and file of the Conservative Party, than Mr Macmillan with his alleged ‘grouse-moor image’ is rubbish. The difference between Marlborough and Eton means nothing ...

Lord Randolph’s Coming-Out

Paul Addison, 3 December 1981

Lord Randolph Churchill: A Political Life 
by R.F. Foster.
Oxford, 431 pp., £16, November 1981, 0 19 822679 9
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... Lord Randolph Churchill has many claims to fame and some to notoriety. His marriage to Jennie Jerome pioneered a series of matches between British aristocrats and American heiresses: the beginning of a special relationship of significance in the next century, if not in his own. He entered politics and rose to power between 1880 and 1885 as a master of opposition tactics both inside and outside the House of Commons ...

Nobbled or Not

Bernard Porter: The Central African Federation, 25 May 2006

British Documents on the End of Empire Series B Vol. 9: Central Africa: Part I: Closer Association 1945-58 
by Philip Murphy.
Stationery Office, 448 pp., £150, November 2005, 0 11 290586 2
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British Documents on the End of Empire Series B Vol. 9: Central Africa: Part II: Crisis and Dissolution 1959-65 
by Philip Murphy.
Stationery Office, 602 pp., £150, November 2005, 0 11 290587 0
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... in any case: ‘genuine’ (or ‘tribal’) Africans felt differently. Any governor of a colony, Lord Swinton wrote, ‘probably has a much truer view of the opinion and interest of millions of non-vocal Africans’ than the agitators. One needed to go into the country areas. A native commissioner did just that, with excellent results; having explained the ...

Lord Fitzcricket

P.N. Furbank: The composer’s life, 21 May 1998

Lord Berners: The Last Eccentric 
by Mark Amory.
Chatto, 274 pp., £20, March 1998, 1 85619 234 2
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... The composer Lord Berners (1883-1950), as a dozen books of memoirs remind us, was very much a name in the Twenties and Thirties, in the sphere in which fashionable society meets the arts. His father was a naval captain and his mother the daughter of an exceedingly rich ironmaster (this last a fact which, with perhaps a touch of snobbery, he does not mention in his autobiography, First Childhood ...

This Charming Man

Frank Kermode, 24 February 1994

The Collected and Recollected Marc 
Fourth Estate, 51 pp., £25, November 1993, 1 85702 164 9Show More
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... Williams is carrying a copy of the News Chronicle, or why Jimmy Hill has an Arab headdress, or why Lord Home stands bat in hand before a broken wicket. Craig Brown says that in his caricatures Boxer mixed ‘the base and the suave’, but there is not a lot of baseness here, not much of the Rowlandson; and such fluent drawing can hardly help flattering ...

Aversion Theory

Lord Goodman, 20 May 1982

Clinging to the Wreckage 
by John Mortimer.
Weidenfeld, 200 pp., £8.50, March 1982, 0 297 78010 7
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... Except for one crucial fact – that his father became blind in adult life – his upbringing and home life were wholly conventional. His father was a successful junior barrister who never took Silk – a man of great intellectual powers, with a passion for gardens and gardening, a love for the more orthodox poets and an affection for the theatre, but ...

Lord Eskgrove’s Indecent Nose

Rosalind Mitchison, 24 January 1980

Lord Cockburn: A Bicentenary Commemoration 
edited by Alan Bell.
Scottish Academic Press, 204 pp., £6, December 1980, 0 7073 0245 5
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... comments. The book ends with several long pieces of what Cockburn really wrote, which bring home the brilliance of his style, and especially his careful choice of adjectives. Lord Eskgrove with his ‘red visage, indecent nose, sly edging walk and a constant muttering of his lower lip … the very portrait of a ...

Diary

Lord Goodman: On Loving Lucian Freud, 18 July 1985

... but perhaps most remarkable of all in diet. The drawing process consisted of Lucian arriving at my home at what for me was the middle of the night, usually about 8.30 a.m. My bleary-eyed housekeeper would admit him, and the difficulties associated with bathing, shaving and dressing at that hour were summarily solved by a decision that he would draw me in bed ...

Too Obviously Cleverer

Ferdinand Mount: Harold Macmillan, 8 September 2011

Supermac: The Life of Harold Macmillan 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Pimlico, 887 pp., £16.99, September 2011, 978 1 84413 541 7
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The Macmillan Diaries Vol. II: Prime Minister and After 1957-66 
edited by Peter Catterall.
Macmillan, 758 pp., £40, May 2011, 978 1 4050 4721 0
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... for the next ten hours, alternately dosing himself with morphine and reading Aeschylus. He wrote home on 13 September 1916 that ‘the stench from the dead bodies which lie in heaps around is awful.’ Only a fortnight earlier he had told his mother: ‘do not worry about me. I am very happy; it is a great experience, psychologically so interesting as to ...

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