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So, puss, I shall know you another time

Peter Campbell, 8 December 1988

The World through Blunted Sight 
by Patrick Trevor-Roper.
Allen Lane, 207 pp., £16.95, August 1988, 0 7139 9006 6
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Visual Fact over Verbal Fiction 
by Carl Goldstein.
Cambridge, 244 pp., £40, September 1988, 0 521 34331 3
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Hockney on Photography: Conversations with Paul Joyce 
Cape, 192 pp., £25, October 1988, 0 224 02484 1Show More
Portrait of David Hockney 
by Peter Webb.
Chatto, £17.95, November 1988, 0 7011 3401 1
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... years. So we got straight in the car. And I must have told half a dozen people, key people ... ’ Peter Webb’s ‘portrait’ is, like one of Hockney’s own coloured-pencil drawings of his friends, a mixture of the objective and the flattering. Hockney’s life, from his time at the Royal College to the present day, has been easy to publicise. His ...

Two-Faced

Peter Clarke, 21 September 1995

LSE: A History of the London School of Economics and Political Science 
by Ralf Dahrendorf.
Oxford, 584 pp., £25, May 1995, 0 19 820240 7
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... of the said Society and its Socialism’. What he could hardly have anticipated was that Sidney Webb would use his position as an executor to deflect most of the money away from the obvious political uses that had been intended. George Bernard Shaw’s indignant account of a subsequent meeting of the Fabian executive, at which ...
Founders of the Welfare State 
edited by Paul Barker.
Gower, 138 pp., £14.95, February 1985, 0 435 82060 5
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The Affluent Society 
by John Kenneth Galbraith.
Deutsch, 291 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 233 97771 6
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... policies, and pursue chiefly for reasons of efficiency, were first seen – by Beveridge and Webb – as devices for alleviating that portion of systemic poverty which derived, as Rowntree had shown, from low wages and unemployment. In his first career as reformer, Beveridge had taken up the cause of Labour Exchanges, which Churchill created at the Board ...

Cityscrape

Kathleen Burk, 9 July 1992

The Barlow Clowes Affair 
by Lawrence Lever.
Macmillan, 278 pp., £17.50, February 1992, 0 333 51377 0
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For whom the bell tolls: The Lesson of Lloyd’s of London 
by Jonathan Mantle.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 358 pp., £18, June 1992, 1 85619 152 4
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The City of London: Continuity and Change, 1850-1990 
by Ranald Michie.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £30, January 1992, 0 333 55025 0
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... one. Lawrence Lever’s book on the Barlow Clowes affair combines biography and City journalism. Peter Clowes must be at least faintly charismatic to have convinced so many people of his ability and rectitude, but Lever fails to convey this. On the other hand, had he tried, he would have been undermined by the photographs in the book: saying that Clowes ...

In Paris

Peter Campbell: ‘The Delirious Museum’, 9 February 2006

... might now have the regal expansiveness of Paris if the Whitehall Palace that Inigo Jones and John Webb drew up for Charles I had been built. Then our prime minister might be living not in the modest decency of Downing Street but in something more like the Hôtel Matignon. Passing it and other grand houses given over to government use in the rue de Varenne you ...

History’s Revenges

Peter Clarke, 5 March 1981

The Illustrated Dictionary of British History 
edited by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 319 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 500 25072 3
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Who’s Who in Modern History, 1860-1980 
by Alan Palmer.
Weidenfeld, 332 pp., £8.50, October 1980, 0 297 77642 8
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... to do pretty well, especially the women. Jane Addams is here, no doubt rightly, but not Beatrice Webb. Susan Anthony, Emily Balch, Carrie Catt, Mary Lease, Margaret Sanger – all these appear on the American side, balanced (if that is the right word) by no less than three Pankhursts (Emmeline, Christabel and Sylvia). John P. Altgeld, not perhaps a household ...

Royal Pain

Peter Campbell, 28 September 1989

A Vision of Britain: A Personal View of Architecture 
by HRH The Prince of Wales.
Doubleday, 156 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 9780385269032
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The Prince of Wales: Right or Wrong? An architect replies 
by Maxwell Hutchinson.
Faber, 203 pp., £10.99, September 1989, 0 571 14287 7
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... six little photographs superimposed on drawings of James Stirling’s building for the Mappin and Webb site in the City of London – ‘as well as their scale that makes the listed buildings so important. Look at the replacement. Is somebody supposed to jump from this tower?’ It is an easy book to mock, but at least its messages are clear. Moreover, much ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: 1920s v. 1980s, 17 March 1988

... as the First Reform Bill or the Charge of the Light Brigade. I have started by reading in parallel Peter Jenkins’s Mrs Thatcher’s Revolution and the two concluding volumes of Halévy’s magisterial History of the English People in the 19th Century, which between them take the story from 1895 to 1914. The contrast is not so much between an era of greatness ...

Scoutmaster General

Peter Clarke, 24 September 1992

Tony Benn 
by Jad Adams.
Macmillan, 576 pp., £20, July 1992, 0 333 52558 2
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The End of an Era: Diaries, 1980-1990 
by Tony Benn, edited by Ruth Winstone.
Hutchinson, 704 pp., £25, September 1992, 0 09 174857 7
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... Stansgate. The family lived at 40 Grosvenor Road, Westminster, next door to Sidney and Beatrice Webb. With his elder brother Michael, Anthony went to the local school (Westminster), and he grew up thinking that he might work locally too, just like his dad. Lady Stansgate gives another insight on the boys’ upbringing: ‘They used to pretend they were ...

Tony and Caroline

Ben Pimlott, 26 November 1987

Out of the Wilderness: Diaries 1963-67 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 592 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 09 170660 2
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... keeps one, and the function of a diary may not be the same as the rational justification. Beatrice Webb, for example, used her diary for deep introspection. Hugh Dalton used his sometimes as a private seminar, for working out new ideas, on other occasions as a kind of mirror, in order to practise a political pose, or as a psychic release, a place to express ...

Dear Prudence

Martin Daunton: The pension crisis, 19 February 2004

Banking on Death or, Investing in Life: The History and Future of Pensions 
by Robin Blackburn.
Verso, 550 pp., £15, July 2002, 9781859844090
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... pension fund and its future value. Far from creating a form of popular capitalism, or even what Peter Drucker has called ‘pension fund socialism’, modern funds are not controlled in the interests of beneficiaries, and profits and tax subsidies enrich the fund managers employed by the leading banks and finance houses. In Britain and in the US employers ...

Fanfares

Ian Sansom, 11 December 1997

The Bounty 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 78 pp., £14.99, July 1997, 0 571 19130 4
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... Walcott’s extravagance of poetic diction and tendency to verbosity off-putting in the past’ (Peter Porter); ‘I feel that the fuss and the language are not quite justified by the donné’ (Roy Fuller). Derek Walcott has suffered, perhaps more than any other contemporary poet writing in English, from accusations that his work is too showy. Some of the ...

In Walthamstow

Rosemary Hill: William Morris, 13 September 2012

... reluctant to get into a dispute with the Labour council, accepted redundancy. With the keeper Peter Cormack went thirty years’ knowledge of the collections as well as his reputation as a scholar of Morris and the Arts and Crafts. There was no one left to point out, as Cormack tried to do, that, far from being an imperialist, Morris lost much of his ...

Sightbites

Jonathan Meades: Archigram’s Ghost, 21 May 2020

Archigram: The Book 
edited by Dennis Crompton.
Circa, 300 pp., £95, November 2018, 978 1 911422 04 4
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... Archigram was an out-of-hours architectural band of six men – Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton, Michael Webb and David Greene – whose day jobs were with big commercial practices and local authorities. They formed in the early 1960s and over the next decade or so produced thousands of designs for ‘cities of the future’ that were highly original, sometimes on the money, sometimes woeful, often funny, reliably coarse ...

I want to be real

Rosemary Dinnage, 27 May 1993

Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon: Theosophy and the Emergence of the Western Guru 
by Peter Washington.
Secker, 470 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 436 56418 1
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... of a century of cults and gurus, of sincerity and fraudulence, of hopes and disappointments, Peter Washington detects the faint sound of Blavatsky’s baboon having the last laugh. Washington presents his subject as the rise of the Western guru: in fact, charisma, faith, leader and follower, have never been absent from religion or from history. In the ...

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