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MAGAZINE AUTUMN 2010 / ISSUE 9

CHURCHILL AS WARLORD by Max Hastings

VIRAGO MODERN CLASSICS

Donna Coonan on the art of rediscovering lost literary gems

SLEEPERS IN THE STACKS

Andrew Lycett on the Library’s espionage collection

£3.50


THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE / ISSUE 9

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The cartoonist and songwriter Peter Blegvad has an addiction that is only satisfied among the bookstacks...

CONTENTS 5 EDITORIAL LETTER 6 CONTRIBUTORS 9 OVER MY SHOULDER Peter Blegvad describes, in words and pictures, his eccentric enjoyment of the Library’s tomes

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Max Hastings analyses Churchill’s role as a war leader, and argues that, despite the criticisms that have been levelled at him, Churchill’s overwhelming strengths merit his position as the country’s finest warlord

10 READING LIST Bestselling novelist Sarah Waters on the titles that she found inspiring while researching The Little Stranger

12 ANNUAL LECTURE ‘Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord, 1940–1945’ by Max Hastings

15 VIRAGO MODERN CLASSICS Donna Coonan and Lennie Goodings offer a glimpse behind the scenes at this enduringly successful publishing list

Courtesy of St Stephens Club SW1

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Donna Coonan describes the literary detective approach she adopts when tracking down forgotten gems for Virago Modern Classics, and Lennie Goodings recounts the list's early successes

18 DE GAULLE AND ST JAMES’S Jonathan Fenby on the surprising level of French political and social activity around St James’s during the Second World War

22 HIDDEN CORNERS Andrew Lycett traces the history of the espionage novel, and reveals the highlights of the Library’s collection

25 THE TRADESMAN’S TALE Johnny de Falbe describes a typical day at the John Sandoe bookshop

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26 MEMBERS’ NEWS 31 RESTAURANT LISTINGS

Charles de Gaulle set up the Free French headquarters in Carlton Gardens in 1940. The vibrant community in exile also established other local bases, from dazzling jazz nights in the French Club to more sinister interrogation centres, as Jonathan Fenby reveals.

THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 3


EDITORIAL LETTER

FROM THE CHAIRMAN The boxes of earplugs have gone, and so too the partitions, hard hats and strange banging noises. We can rejoice at having our lovely Library back and, more than that, in its most spectacular form for many a year. I hope, however, that very soon we will take our new Issue Hall, lightwell, Art Room and all the rest for granted, for above all the purpose of the Library is as a home for the book, for creativity and contemplation, for the generation of ideas and inspiration. That, as reflected in Peter Blegvad’s cover illustration, is very much the theme of this issue. Mankind has evolved with books but also, as our illustrator writes in his Over My Shoulder, with the smell of them, which develops with age rather as with fine wines. Sarah Waters tells us of the books she used while researching The Little Stranger, her supernatural novel published last year, while from her publisher, Virago, Donna Coonan writes of what it is like to be an editor of a modern classics list. A different sort of spooky connection is made by Andrew Lycett in his piece about spy books in the Library, while Jonathan Fenby tells us of his surprise at the breadth and depth of material he found here while researching his new biography of General Charles de Gaulle.

Cover Image Homo Lector by Peter Blegvad, 2010. © Peter Blegvad.

Do enjoy all of those articles, as well as Max Hastings’s London Library Lecture on Churchill’s war years, which he gave at the Hay Festival at the beginning of June. But as you are doing so, and letting ideas and inspirations take flight, I hope you might also find time to look at the Library’s Annual Report, which has come to you with this magazine, and at my comments about our finances and membership trends in the Members’ News section on pages 26–30. As you will see, the loss of Gift Aid relief on subscriptions has persuaded the trustees to end the freeze on fees introduced last year and to propose an increase of £40 in the annual fee (to £435), an extra £3.30 per month (to £36.25) if you pay monthly. We are working hard to find new sources of revenue to make fee rises less necessary in future, two of which are announced on pages 28 and 29, as well as keeping costs under tight control. Do help us in this effort, if you can, by finding new members, for each of whom we are offering a £50 discount on your annual subscription. Finally, I hope to see many of you at the Library’s AGM on 4 November, when we can discuss finances, memberships and of course books.

Bill Emmott Chairman New Library opening hours from 1 November 2010, see page 30 for details Published on behalf of The London Library by Royal Academy Enterprises Ltd. Colour reproduction by adtec. Printed by Tradewinds London. Published 28 September 2010 © 2010 The London Library. The opinions in this particular publication do not necessarily reflect the views of The London Library. All reasonable attempts have been made to clear copyright before publication.

Editorial Publishers Jane Grylls and Kim Jenner Editor Mary Scott Design Joyce Mason Production Catherine Cartwright Researcher Emily Pierce

Editorial Committee David Breuer Harry Mount Peter Parker Erica Wagner

Advertising Jane Grylls 020 7300 5661 Kim Jenner 020 7300 5658 Emily Pierce 020 7300 5675 Development Office, The London Library Lottie Cole 020 7766 4716 Aimee Heuzenroeder 020 7766 4734

Magazine feedback and editorial enquiries should be addressed to development@londonlibrary.co.uk

THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 5


CONTRIBUTORS

Peter Blegvad

Max Hastings

JOINED THE LIBRARY IN 1992

Peter is a writer, illustrator, songwriter, broadcaster and teacher, born in New York City, living in London. His comic strip The Book of Leviathan is published by Sort Of Books. He is the president of the London Institute of ‘Pataphysics and cohosts the Amateur Enterprises website (amateur.org.uk) with Simon Lucas.

Donna Coonan

Lennie Goodings

JOINED THE LIBRARY IN 2004

JOINED THE LIBRARY IN 1994

Donna Coonan is Commissioning Editor of the Virago Modern Classics, and is always on the lookout for forgotten gems for this wellestablished, much-loved part of Virago Press. Donna lives in Kent.

Lennie Goodings is the Publisher of Virago Press. She is the editor of, among others, Sarah Waters, Sarah Dunant, Gillian Slovo, Linda Grant and Natasha Walters. She oversaw the publicity and marketing for Virago for ten years, became Editorial Director in the 1990s, and has been Editorial Director and Publisher since 1996.

John de Falbe

Andrew Lycett

John de Falbe started working at John Sandoe in 1986 and became a director in 1989. The bookshop, opened in 1957, is now one of very few independents in central London. Clients include many London Library members. He has written three novels, and reviews for the Spectator.

Andrew Lycett is a biographer and critic. After an early career as a journalist, specialising in foreign affairs, he has written the lives of several leading literary figures, including Ian Fleming, Rudyard Kipling, Dylan Thomas and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Jonathan Fenby

Sarah Waters

JOINED THE LIBRARY IN 2004

© Charlie Hopkinson

THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE

JOINED THE LIBRARY IN 1988

© Susan Greenhill

Jonathan Fenby has edited the Observer and South China Morning Post as well as working for the Economist, Guardian and Independent. He has written 14 books, most recently a biography of Charles de Gaulle.

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JOINED THE LIBRARY IN 1975

Max Hastings is the author of 20 books, most recently Churchill as Warlord (HarperCollins). As a journalist he reported conflicts around the world, experiences recounted in his memoir Going To The Wars. He was editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph for nearly ten years, and spent a further six as editor of the Evening Standard.

JOINED THE LIBRARY IN 2010

Sarah Waters was born in Pembrokeshire in 1966. She is the author of Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, Fingersmith, The Night Watch and The Little Stranger. Three of her novels have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and two have been shortlisted for the Orange Prize. She lives in London.


OVER MY SHOULDER Peter Blegvad, cartoonist, songwriter, amateur, celebrates the olfactory delights of the Library’s stock All illustrations © Peter Blegvad 2010.

Big smeller.

How frequently do you use the Library? If I don’t satisfy my craving at least twice a year I become more than usually petulant. The screen of my e-book reader is meant to ‘read like paper, even in bright sunlight’. But it doesn’t smell like paper. Even spritzed with the fragrance called ‘Smell of Books’,™ a connoisseur, an addict, like me isn’t fooled. Small wonder when you consider that real book odour is a mixture of dozens of volatiles exhaled by a book’s constituent materials. Factor in the subtle scents imparted over the years by greasy handling, etc., and you’re dealing with a very complex bouquet.

Sweetly fragrant vanillin, aromatic anisol and fruity almond-like benzaldehyde ... terpene compounds, deriving from rosin ... contribute to the camphorous woody smell of books. A mushroom odour is caused by other, intensely fragrant aliphatic alcohols.

(thenakedscientists.com) Is there a Library neighbour you dread? Grunters, coughers? (No names!) Library members tend to be tolerant of eccentricity. No one has yet commented when I sit down (right) in the Reading Room and don a blindfold to enhance my enjoyment of a stack of great-smelling tomes.

What do you think is special about the Library? What does it mean to you? Book-sniffing has points in common with wine-tasting. One can speak of the ‘lingering note of gunsmoke’ in the smell of a book, for instance, or describe the aroma of another as having ‘a core of sea-wrack fading to new-mown hay at the edges’, terms that a wine-taster might recognise. I think of the London Library as having an exceptionally fine cellar, only of books rather than bottles. Interviewed in the Paris Review, Ray Bradbury says, ‘A computer does not smell. There are two Small smeller. perfumes to a book. If a book is new it smells great. If a book is old, it smells even better. It smells like ancient Egypt. A book has got to smell.’ Amen to that. Have you smelt a book today?

Formal sniffer.

What distracts you from your work? I try to be discreet about my vice. I find a quiet spot among the stacks to indulge. But I’ve seen others at it; I’m not the only one. This book-sniffer (right) looks like he might be reading, until he swoons face down into his monograph.

Book-sniffer. Blindfolded sniffer.


READING LIST

BEHIND THE

BOOK The novelist Sarah Waters, whose most recent book The Little Stranger was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, describes the books she found useful in her research

© Charlie Hopkinson

The Little Stranger (2009) is the second of my novels to be set in the 1940s. But where The Night Watch (2006) looked at London life in wartime, The Little Stranger is set just after the war, in a decaying Warwickshire country house whose gentry owners, the Ayreses, are undermined by social changes – and by sinister supernatural forces in their own home. The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey (London 1948). Fiction. This novel provided the inspiration for mine, though The Little Stranger quickly morphed into a very different kind of book from the one I’d planned. Tey’s tale of a working-class girl who claims to have been abducted and held captive by a middle-class mother and daughter is compellingly told, and offers a fascinating – if rather repellent – glimpse of conservative British anxieties in the face of post-war transformation. Private Enterprise by Angela Thirkell (London 1947). Fiction. From the 1930s to the 1960s Angela Thirkell published almost a novel a year, most of them light social comedies, and each one – as Thirkell herself cheerfully acknowledged – almost identical to the other. Like Tey’s, her books are insanely readable but chillingly conservative in outlook, and gave me an insight into mid-century middle-class fantasies and fears. Private Enterprise sees the county families of ‘Barsetshire’ battling against increased rationing, the new Labour government and uppity workers. Everything to Lose: Diaries 1945 to 1960 by Frances Partridge (London 1985). Biog. Partridge. A welcome, liberal antidote to the snobberies of Thirkell. Partridge, a member of the Bloomsbury Group, was one of the great diarists of the twentieth century. Along with her husband, Ralph, she also 10 THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE

had a genius for friendship, and her sensitive, lyrical accounts of their hospitable post-war life at their Wiltshire home, Ham Spray, are a marvellous, informative read. Caves of Ice: Diaries 1946–1947 by James Lees-Milne (London 1983). Biog. Lees-Milne. More wonderful diaries, this time detailing Lees-Milne’s travels around the UK examining the various crumbling stately piles being offered by their owners to the newly formed National Trust. Lees-Milne’s frequently sniffy assessments of the houses and their inhabitants are fabulously gossipy – and form a snapshot of an extraordinary point in British social history. England’s Lost Houses: From the Archives of Country Life by Giles Worsley (London 2002). T. England, Castles &c., 4to. This collection of photographs from the archives of Country Life magazine is full of beautiful, poignant images of some of the most elaborate of the country’s lost, grand houses. Sweeping staircases, cavernous salons, walled gardens: the rooms and structures on display here are like so many ghosts, perpetually gesturing backwards to a vanished cultural moment. Worsley’s text offers a great overview and analysis of the houses’ decline. The Night Side of Nature by Catherine Crowe (London 1854). R. Spiritualism. I read many books about the paranormal in my research for The Little Stranger,

and this early, alluringly titled study was one of the most engaging. It’s a collection of reports and anecdotes about ‘prophetic dreams, presentiments, second-sight, and apparitions’ – all of which, to their respectful compiler Crowe, provided evidence of a spiritual realm that contemporary Victorian science was just on the thrilling brink of uncovering. Poltergeist Over England: Three Centuries of Mischievous Ghosts by Harry Price (London 1945). S. Occult Sciences. Crowe devotes a chapter of her book to ‘The Poltergeist of the Germans’, but by 1945 psychic investigator Harry Price was patriotically locating ‘the world's most convincing Poltergeists’ very firmly in the UK. Price was a great showman, and this lively survey of three centuries’ worth of poltergeist activity – including the Stockwell Poltergeist, the Battersea Poltergeist and the disturbances at Borley Rectory, ‘the most haunted house in England’ – is hard to resist. A Warning to the Curious and Other Ghost Stories by M.R. James (London 1925). Fiction. As well as books about the paranormal, I read a lot of ghost stories, and M.R. James’s economical, understated tales are about as good – and as unsettling – as ghost stories get. In the title story of this collection, an antiquarian gets more than he bargained for when he attempts to pinch a holy crown from an AngloSaxon grave ...


FINEST YEARS CHURCHILL AS WARLORD, 1940–1945 LONDON LIBRARY ANNUAL LECTURE, HAY FESTIVAL, 5.6.10 MAX HASTINGS Winston Churchill is a man whom most of that the Allied forces in France faced us feel we know almost as well as our defeat. General Ironside, head of the own families, who possesses the most Army, told Secretary for War Anthony instantly recognisable voice in history. Eden: ‘This is the end of the British To a remarkable degree, even in 2010 the Empire.’ Eden noted: ‘Militarily, I did not period of Winston Churchill’s war see how he could be gainsaid.’ Yet it was leadership continues to define many hard to succumb to despair, when their British people’s view of our own leader marvellously sustained his wit. country. He was not only the greatest That same bleak Sunday, the Prime Englishman but one of the greatest Minister said wryly to Eden: ‘About time Anglo-Saxons of the twentieth century, number 17 turned up, isn’t it?’ The two of of all time. Thousands of people of many them, at Cannes casino’s roulette wheel nations have recorded encounters. in 1938, had backed the number and Yet much remains opaque, because won twice. he wished it thus. Always mindful of his Some aspects of the 1940 story are Winston Churchill gives the V for Victory sign. © IWM. role as a stellar performer upon the still scarcely recognised by historians, stage of history, he became supremely so after being elected never mind the public. Consider, for instance, the second Britain’s Prime Minister on 10 May 1940. He kept no diary Dunkirk, no less miraculous than the first. Churchill’s biggest because, he observed, to do so would be to expose his follies and misjudgement of that period was his decision to send more inconsistencies to posterity. His war memoirs are imperfect troops to France in June after the rescue of nine divisions from history, if often peerless prose. We shall never know with complete the beaches. When it was suggested that British units should confidence what he thought about many personalities – for instance embark slowly for Cherbourg, since the campaign was obviously Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Field Marshal Alan lost, the Prime Minister said: ‘Certainly not. It would look very Brooke, the King, his cabinet colleagues – because he took care bad in history if we were to do any such thing.’ At every turn, not to tell us. he perceived his own words and actions through the prism of As early as 1914, the historian A.G. Gardiner wrote a shrewd posterity. He was determined that history should say: ‘He nothing and admiring assessment of the then First Sea Lord. This concluded common did or mean upon that memorable scene.’ Indeed, in equivocally: ‘“Keep your eye on Churchill” should be the watchword those days Andrew Marvell’s lines on King Charles I’s execution of these days. Remember, he is a soldier first, last and always. were much on his lips. Seldom has a great actor on the stage of He will write his name big on our future. Let us take care he does human affairs been so mindful of the verdict of future ages. not write it in blood.’ As for the British and Canadian troops sent to France after By the time Churchill became Prime Minister, hours after Dunkirk, only the stubborn insistence of their commander, Hitler launched his blitzkrieg in France, few contemporaries Alan Brooke, overcame the rash impulsiveness of the Prime doubted his genius. He achieved office because even his political Minister, and made possible the evacuation of almost 200,000 enemies recognised him as a warrior to the roots of his soul. But men who would otherwise have been lost. A key point of that colleagues retained deep fears about his erratic and often reckless story, and indeed of the whole history of Churchill’s conduct of conduct. That he would draw his sword to lead a charge was not in the war, is that he possessed an exaggerated faith in the virtue of doubt. But whether the outcome would be a triumph to match boldness. He believed this alone could determine battlefield Blenheim and Waterloo, or instead a catastrophe, seemed much outcomes. Himself a hero, he perceived British history as a pageant less assured. in which again and again British pluck had prevailed against odds. By Sunday, 19 May, nine days after he took office, it was plain It was a source of despair to his commanders, that he sought to resurrect the spirit of Crécy and Agincourt against Hitler’s 12 THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE


resurrect the spirit of Crécy and Agincourt against Hitler’s Wehrmacht, probably the most formidable fighting force the world has ever seen. This was more than his Army could accomplish. The image of British unity and staunchness in 1940 is broadly valid. It is not diminished by recognising that more than a few of the traditional ruling class thought the only rational option after Dunkirk was to make peace. There was also some defeatism lower in the social scale. Consider this extract from the diary of a woman named Muriel Green, who worked at her family’s Norfolk garage. At a local tennis match on 23 May with a grocer’s deliveryman and a schoolmaster, the deliveryman said: ‘I think they’re going to beat us, don’t you?’ ‘Yes,’ said the schoolmaster. He added that as the Nazis were very keen on sport, he expected ‘we’d still be able to play tennis if they did win’. Muriel Green wrote: ‘J said Mr M was saying we should paint a swastika under the door knocker ready. We all agreed we shouldn’t know what to do if they invade. After that we played tennis, very hard exciting play for 2 hrs, and forgot all about the war.’ It was fortunate that, while the horror of Britain’s predicament was apparent to those in high places, Churchill was visibly exalted by it. At Chequers on the warm summer night of 15 June 1940, Jock Colville described how, as tidings of gloom were constantly received, the Prime Minister displayed the highest spirits, ‘repeating poetry, dilating on the drama … offering everybody cigars, and spasmodically murmuring: “Bang, bang, bang, goes the farmer’s gun, run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run”.’ In the early hours of morning when US ambassador Joseph Kennedy telephoned, the Prime Minister unleashed a torrent of rhetoric about America’s opportunity to save civilisation. Then he held forth to his staff about Britain’s growing fighter strength, ‘told one or two dirty stories’, and departed for bed at 1.30 am, saying to his staff, ‘Goodnight, my children’. At least some of this must have been masquerade. But it was a masquerade of awesome nobility. Nineteen-forty was a bad year for telling the truth. That is to say, it was hard for even good, brave and honourable British people to know whether they better served their country by voicing private thoughts, allowing their brains to function, or by keeping silent. Logic decreed that Britain had not the smallest chance of winning the war in the absence of American participation, which remained unlikely. Churchill knew this as well as any man. Yet he and his supporters believed that the consequences of accepting defeat were so dreadful, so absolute, that it was essential to fight on regardless. Posterity has heaped admiration upon the grandeur of this commitment. Yet, at the time, it demanded from intelligent men and women a suspension of reason that some rejected. Captain Ralph Edwards, director of Naval operations at the Admiralty, wrote in his diary on 23 June: ‘Our cabinet with that idiot Winston in charge changes its mind every 24 hours … I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that we’re so inept we don’t deserve to win & indeed are almost certain to be defeated. We never do anything right.’ Churchill’s sublime achievement was to rouse the most ordinary people to extraordinary perceptions of their destiny. For instance, Eleanor Silsby, an elderly psychology lecturer living in south

London, wrote to a friend in America on 23 July 1940: ‘I won’t go on about the war. But I just want to say that we are proud to have the honour of fighting alone for the things that matter much more than life and death. It makes me hold my chin high to think, not just of being English, but of having been chosen to come at this hour for this express purpose of saving the world … I should never have thought that I could approve of war … There is surprisingly little anger or hate in this business – it is just a job that has to be done … This is Armageddon.’ One morning at Downing Street, private secretary John Martin opened the door to a woman caller who wished to offer a $300,000 pearl necklace to the Exchequer. Told of this, Churchill quoted the poetry of Macaulay: ‘Romans in Rome’s quarrel,/ Spared neither land nor gold.’ After the fall of France in June 1940, circumstances favoured Britain more than is sometimes recognised. Defence of the home island was the one contingency for which the country was well fitted. The British were fantastically lucky to have got their Army out of France with only 11,000 dead, against at least 50,000 French soldiers. The speed of Hitler’s triumph perversely worked in Britain’s favour. The longer the French campaign had continued, the heavier must have been the losses – for the same inevitable outcome. Thereafter, the RAF was well equipped and organised to meet a bomber assault. It’s amazing that so many people, including the chiefs of staff, were in such panicky mood that they expected Hitler to launch an invasion without notice. This would almost certainly have proved suicidal in the face of a Royal Navy, which was immensely powerful, outnumbering the Germans by ten to one. More even than the RAF, the Home Fleet offered a decisive deterrent to invasion. Churchill himself, of course, bestrides the story in all his joyous splendour. It is hard for us, as it was for his contemporaries, to conceive what it was like to carry the burden of sole responsibility for preserving European civilisation. MP Harold Nicolson wrote of the Prime Minister’s remoteness from ordinary mortals. His eyes were ‘glaucous, vigilant, angry, combative, visionary and tragic … the eyes of a man who is much preoccupied and is unable to rivet his attention on minor things … But in another sense they are the eyes of a man faced by an ordeal or tragedy, and combining vision, truculence, resolution and great unhappiness.’ There were moments when Churchill was oppressed by loneliness that only his old friend Max Beaverbrook seemed able to assuage. But the exaltation of playing out his role gave way, at times, to a despondency that required all his powers to overcome. In 1940, he sustained his spirit wonderfully well, but in the later war years he became prone to outbursts of self-pity, often accompanied by tears. Acute awareness of the Prime Minister’s load caused his staff to forgive his outbursts of intemperance. In small things as in great, he won their hearts. ‘What a beautiful handwriting,’ he told Jock Colville when the young private secretary showed him a dictated telegram, ‘but, my dear boy, when I say stop you must write stop and not just put a blob.’ One day in his car he saw a queue outside a shop and told his detective to get out and discover what people were waiting for. When the inspector returned and reported that they hoped to buy seed for their pet birds, his private THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 13


reported that they hoped to buy seed for their pet birds, his private secretary recorded: ‘Winston wept.’ Most great men, including Roosevelt, are essentially cold figures, even if they possess a capacity to simulate warmth. In this as in so much else, Churchill was most unusual. Though he was a supreme egoist capable of extraordinary ruthlessness, he also possessed a humanity that extended even to the people of Germany, although he endorsed the policy of area bombing. If he had been a less profoundly lovable man, some of his mistaken enthusiasms and strategic follies might have been more harshly judged by posterity, as well by his colleagues. Churchill never doubted his own genius – subordinates often wished that he would. He believed that destiny had marked him to enter history as the saviour of Western civilisation, and this conviction coloured his smallest words and deeds. When a Dover workman said to his mates as Churchill passed, ‘There goes the bloody British Empire,’ the Prime Minister was enchanted. ‘Very nice,’ he lisped to Jock Colville, his face wreathed in smiles. But he preserved an awareness of himself as mortal clay that touched the hearts of those who served him, just as the brilliance of his conversation won their veneration. The Victorian statesman Benjamin Disraeli said: ‘Men should always be difficult. I can’t bear men who come and dine with you when you want them.’ He meant ‘great men’, of course, and Churchill with his tempestuous moods and unsocial hours certainly fulfilled this requirement. Alan Brooke was once outraged when Churchill shouted down the telephone to him: ‘Get off, you fool!’ It required intercession by the staff to soothe the General’s ruffled feathers with the explanation that the Prime Minister was in bed when he called Brooke, and had been telling Smokey the black cat to stop biting his toes. The most damaging criticism of Churchill was that he was intolerant of evidence unless this conformed to his own instinct, and was sometimes wilfully irrational. Displays of supreme wisdom were interspersed with outbursts of childish petulance. Yet when the arguments were over, the shouting done, on important matters he almost invariably deferred to reason. In much the same way, subordinates exasperated by his excesses in ‘normal’ times – insofar as war admitted any – marvelled at the manner in which he rose to crisis. Disasters inspired responses that compelled recognition of his greatness. One of his staff wrote of ‘the ferment of ideas, the persistence in flogging proposals, the goading of commanders to attack – these were all expressions of that blazing, explosive energy without which the vast machine, civilian as well as military, could not have been moved forward so steadily or steered through so many setbacks and difficulties’. Once the Battle of Britain was won, the foremost challenge was to find another field upon which to fight. Thus Churchill owed a perverse debt to Mussolini, for bringing Italy into the war. The Italian Army confronted the British on the borders of its African empire. It would be wrong to suggest that the Italians were bound to be a pushover for the much smaller British forces in the Middle East, but they were not remotely in the same class as the Germans. If the Italian Army had not been available to play 45 minutes each 14 THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE

Subordinates exasperated by Churchill’s excesses in “normal” times marvelled at the manner in which he rose to crisis

way on the other side, how else could the British Army have been employed? As it was, in 1940–1 British morale and prestige briefly soared, amid a succession of striking victories in Libya and Abyssinia. But then, of course, the Germans and Japanese entered the reckoning. From April 1941 onwards, the British Army suffered a run of defeats – in Libya, Greece, Crete, in Malaya and Burma and then at Tobruk – which continued until November 1942. Churchill found himself reduced almost to despair by the sense that it would avail Britain little if he himself was a hero, if the civilian population kept its nerve and the Royal Navy held open the sea lanes, if Britain’s soldiers could not deliver. To prevail over the Germans, for the rest of the war British – and American – forces required a handsome superiority of men, tanks and air support. The Army’s institutional weakness was overcome only because vastly superior allied resources became available, and the Red Army killed two million German soldiers. The British and American peoples owe a large debt to Churchill for persuading President Roosevelt to join the Mediterranean campaign in November 1942, and delaying D-Day until it could be launched on overwhelmingly favourable terms in June 1944. But in consequence it became one of the cruel ironies of the war, that most of the bloody business of destroying the tyranny of Hitler was done by the tyranny of Stalin, with only late and limited assistance from the armies of the democracies. By 1944–5, with Russian and American dominance of the Grand Alliance painfully explicit, Churchill seemed to many of his colleagues old, exhausted and often wrong-headed. He had wielded more power than any other British Prime Minister had known, or would know again. In 1938, he seemed a man out of his time, a patrician imperialist whose vision was rooted in Britain’s Victorian past. By 1945, while this remained true, and goes far to explain his own disappointments, it had not prevented him from becoming the greatest war leader his country had ever known. Himself believing Britain great, for a last brief season he was able to make her so. This is an abridged version of the lecture. The full transcript is available from the Magazine section of the Library's website. Thanks to the Imperial War Museum for their kind permission to use the photo of Winston Churchill. Their Churchill Lecture Series runs until March 2011, and the exhibition Undercover: Life in Churchill’s Bunker until the end of 2013 (iwm.org.uk/churchill).


VIRAGO

MODERN CLASSICS Donna Coonan describes her work at Virago Modern Classics, an imprint now in its fourth decade and still dedicated to rediscovering lost literary gems

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ince the Virago Modern Classics list was founded in not quite the same as being the editor of a list publishing 1978, its aims have been to celebrate women’s lives, contemporary books. Instead of being sent hoards of submissions literature and history, and to challenge the sometimes by literary agents, I usually have to discover books in other ways. narrow definition of a classic. This has led to a broad The Virago Modern Classics list is very collaborative – titles are spectrum of books that we are proud to publish: from often recommended by authors, colleagues or by our readers who the best of twentieth-century fiction to wonderful volumes of regularly contact us with suggestions. That has been the case comedy, letter-writing and memoir, to popular novels that were ever since the list began. I think of my job as a little like being the bestsellers of their day. a literary detective: I keep my ear to the ground for writers or Our list includes the stylish social satire of Edith Wharton, books that are out of print but well regarded, then I have to find the pyrotechnic imagination of Angela Carter, the atmospheric, the book. Once read, if I think it will be enjoyed by a modern murderous stories of Daphne du Maurier, audience and successfully published by and the elegiac beauty of Willa Cather. us, I attempt to track down the author, Other favourites include Elizabeth agent or estate to find out who holds Taylor, a writer of great subtlety and the rights. So there is a fair amount of humour, who is a genius at capturing sleuthing involved, both before and turbulent emotions that run beneath after the book is read. I also spend a lot a calm façade; Zora Neale Hurston’s of time considering who might be a good Their Eyes Were Watching God (first introducer for the work, as that can be published 1937), a beautiful, traila very effective way of relaunching the blazing book that is one of the most book: a reader might not have heard of important in the canon of African– Elizabeth Taylor or Mary McCarthy, American literature; Marilyn French’s but if a popular author like Hilary The Women’s Room (1977), a landmark Mantel or Candace Bushnell writes in feminist literature; and Vera Brittain’s the introduction, it serves as a great Testament of Youth (1933), a searing personal recommendation. After that, account of the devastation of the First my role is much like that of any other World War from a woman’s point of editor – negotiating an advance, making view. Jacqueline Susann’s The Valley of an offer, working with the design team to the Dolls (1966) might not be what create the right cover, liaising with the traditionalists would call a classic, but publicity and sales departments, etc. It is it is an era-defining book that hailed a the act of discovering ‘lost’ books and new genre of mass-market fiction and is giving them a new life that makes my still often referred to as the bestselling job feel unique. novel of all time. Its continued appeal A question I am often asked by cannot be denied. readers is why we changed the beloved Antonia White’s Frost in May, 1978 Virago edition. Being the editor of a classics list is green jackets. I look back on them fondly, but we have to keep in mind a contemporary audience THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 15


Left to right Elizabeth Taylor’s In a Summer Season (1961), 2006 edition; Mary McCarthy’s The Group (1963), 2009 edition; Muriel Spark’s Memento Mori (1959), 2010 edition. All new editions by Virago Modern Classics.

fondly, but we have to keep in mind a contemporary audience and we’d be doing the books a disservice if we didn’t. More books are published every year, and there has never been as much competition to make a title stand out. Therefore we have to look at what design will attract the most readers – we simply cannot keep a book in print if it doesn’t sell. The green jackets were once fresh and exciting and were integral to establishing the list’s identity, but we have to move with the times, and so the decision was taken to create a distinctive look to complement each individual author’s style rather than following a generic design. The great majority of the list is from the twentieth century, so these books are accessible, enjoyable and relevant to readers today, not dreary, earnest old tomes – they are modern classics, after all, and need to look vibrant. In addition, our titles are usually placed in the main fiction department of a bookshop, classics sections having become more scarce, so they have to hold their own not only against other classics, but against front-list titles. Recent notable successes have included Mary McCarthy’s seminal novel The Group (1963); Barbara Pym, whose modern champions have included Alexander McCall Smith, Jilly Cooper and Salley Vickers, all three of whom have contributed new introductions; and Janet Frame’s An Angel at My Table (1984), which Hilary Mantel hailed as ‘one of the classics of autobiography’. Muriel Spark, a dark, comic genius, has also joined the list in the last few years. I am constantly looking for lost gems to add to the list, and many of those books I’ve found in the London Library. The Library has always been an invaluable resource for the Virago Modern Classics. When Carmen Callil needed books for her newly founded list – and there were a hundred titles published within the first four years – she turned to the Library. 16 THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE

As she explains: ‘Some hundreds of Virago Modern Classics would never have seen the light of day without the London Library. When I started publishing them, I spent many hours, week after week, month after month, looking at every novel on the Library’s shelves, taking stacks home, reading them into the night, and then, coming back for more. The writers whose books are on those shelves owe a great debt to the London Library, as do we all.’ It is a pleasing discovery that some VMC authors themselves were members: Rebecca West was Vice-President from 1967–83; Vita Sackville-West was a member; and there are descriptions of Rose Macaulay risking her life by using the unsafe ladders between floors (no longer there!) to get to books more speedily – and once demanding that all her own works written before the First World War be removed from the shelves. A few months after I started my job at Virago I read about a memoir that sounded as if it could be a possible contender for publication. However, locating a reading copy was driving me to distraction. Up until then, I’d managed to buy what I wanted fairly easily and cheaply online, but this book completely eluded me. If it wasn’t for a copy I’d found from an American seller on the internet for the sum of $400 I would have doubted the book existed at all, but it was too expensive to buy on a whim. I could have tried the British Library, but I’d have had to read the book

I am constantly looking for lost gems to add to the list


on the premises, which I didn’t have time to do, so I considered that my last resort. I called the London Library to enquire, and a copy of the book was located and couriered to me that very day. As easy as that. On that occasion, the book wasn’t worth the effort of the chase but, since then, my first port of call has been the London Library. There are very few titles I haven’t been able to find there and amazingly, considering it is a lending library after all, there has never been an occasion when the book I required was unavailable. A couple of years ago I gave myself the task of putting together the best possible collection of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s work in one volume. There are a number of editions of her short fiction on the market as she is out of copyright, but they all contain very similar material. I wanted to have both short stories, including, of course, her masterpiece The Yellow Wallpaper, and extracts from her fascinating autobiography, which isn’t available in this country. When I borrowed the London Library’s copy of it, I was delighted to see that it had been donated by another Virago author, Elaine Showalter. It was as if my project was fated. Many people think that being an editor is a dream job because you get paid to read all day. The first part of that sentence is true, but the second isn’t: most editors will agree that the majority of reading is done out of work hours. Therefore, I don’t get the opportunity to spend as much time at the Library as I’d like. This is probably a blessing (I say this reluctantly) as otherwise I’d never get any books published at all. The real joy of the London Library is actually getting to visit it – willingly getting lost in the labyrinthine rooms as time seems to stand still. Who would have imagined that such a serene bibliophile’s haven could

Early days

be found so close to Trafalgar Square; that such an important institute of culture could exist only streets away from the home of The Phantom of the Opera? Raymond Mortimer summed it up well: ‘The building is not beautiful, and must have been the first, I suppose, to disfigure the Georgian elegance of St James’s Square. But looking upwards and downwards through the half-transparent floors of the book stack, I feel inside the brain of mankind.’ A few times a year I allow myself the treat of visiting the Library. I arrive without any idea what I might take home with me, and that’s a large part of the pleasure. The book stacks are where I spend my time, wandering up and down, fingering spines, pulling out books at random and reading a few lines, hoping I might find a forgotten gem to add to the VMC list. They aren’t the most resplendent rooms, but they have their own appeal. And I love the musty smell. Although the walls above the main stairways are hung with paintings, my favourite images are stencilled on the walls of the book stacks: the chipped hands pointing which way to go. On my visit last week, which I spent in the biography section, I brought home three volumes of a south-east London memoir set before and during the Second World War, the autobiography of an early twentieth-century singer, actress and descendant of slaves, who spent her childhood in poverty, and the autobiography of a woman who escaped Russian-occupied East Germany, where she was trying to bring up her child alone in a defeated nation. Not one of these books is currently in print but, thanks to them being available and accessible on the shelves of the London Library, perhaps they’ll get a second life – it’s been the beginning of many a Virago Modern Classic.

was delighted to be resurrected); Rebecca West (stern but pleased); Storm Jameson (bemused, surprised to be alive still); and Antonia

When the Virago Modern Classics were founded, I was working

White (our first classic) among so many others. The Virago Modern

part time for Virago, doing publicity one day a week. I clearly

Classics very quickly became important. Readers looked out for

remember the excitement over the green cover design, the cover

the new ones, coming almost monthly at that time; we soon had

images and the ideas behind the list, but what was thrilling was

special sections in bookshops; and we had fans throughout the

the sheer number of writers waiting to be rediscovered. It was as if

media. Men told me it was cool to have a Virago Modern Classic

a treasure chest – a Pandora’s Box even – had been opened. And

on their beside table, students carried them around as a badge

what was also wonderful, was that many of the writers were still

of honour, literary men and women enjoyed them and wrote

living. Out of the box spilled Rosamond Lehmann (who said she

suggesting other writers. Women readers were staggered to be able to find and trace a female literary tradition. Today – decades later – we keep the flame burning. The Classics may not have quite the same ooh, ahh discovery impact, but we continue to refresh our back list with new introductions and covers, reaching each new generation of readers, and we still do discover books that should not be out of print and writers who deserve their place in the Classics: Daphne du Maurier, Mary McCarthy, Barbara Pym, Muriel Spark, Bessie Head, Jane Rule are just some of the authors who have recently joined the list. The Virago Modern Classics remain the flagship of Virago.

The Virago team, 1979. Left to right: Harriet Spicer, Carmen Callil, Ursula Owen. © Virago Press.

Lennie Goodings

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DE GAULLE AND ST JAMES’S

St James’s was the backdrop for the activities of a vibrant French community in exile with the General at its centre, as Jonathan Fenby discovered while preparing his recent biography

Above Poster of de Gaulle’s historic call to resistance of 18 June 1840. Left De Gaulle broadcast regularly on the BBC, using the radio as a potent weapon in his struggle with Vichy France. © Corbis.

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hether or not they were aware of it, members who braved the Blitz to use the Library were living through Britain’s ‘finest hour’ cheek-byjowl with a vibrant foreign community in exile, which gave birth to a political movement that has shaped its country to this day. Though no record of such a sighting exists, a member looking out from the Reading Room might, quite possibly, have spotted Charles de Gaulle crossing St James’s Square on his way to a meeting, or returning to his room at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair where he stayed before moving to Hampstead with his family in 1942. At 6’5” tall, kitted out in uniform, highly polished boots, and a képi military hat adorned with two stars, he would have made a striking figure. However stormy his relations with the British government, de Gaulle paid tribute in his memoirs to the kindness of the British 18 THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE

people towards him. Women sent jewels to help him fund the movement. One early Gaullist recalled how, when the General walked through the streets of London, men stood to attention or raised their hats. A Frenchman, who ran the London branch of Cartier, put his limousine at the General’s disposal and sometimes acted as his chauffeur. The General (the capital letter is inescapable) had flown to England on 17 June 1940 as France collapsed in the face of the German military onslaught, and soon established himself in an office building just across Pall Mall, at No. 4 Carlton Gardens. The block was a new one, but the location had a historical resonance – it had once been the site of the London home of that diehard Francophone, Lord Palmerston. As if to ram home the lessons of history, the cul-de-sac opposite was called Waterloo Place, and it was not lost on de Gaulle’s hosts that the day on which he made his celebrated appeal to the French to resists the


he made his celebrated appeal to the French to resists the invaders, 18 June, was also the anniversary of Wellington’s victory over Napoleon. De Gaulle’s offices have been partially preserved, including a great clock set into wood panelling, against which he had his leading Free French colleagues photographed. On the seventieth anniversary of his broadcast this June, President Sarkozy visited the Free French headquarters during a trip to London to commemorate the Gaullist heritage, which French presidents have sought to incarnate as part of the core of the Fifth Republic that de Gaulle founded in 1958. Those who joined the General in London in the summer of 1940 included the future Prime Minister, René Pleven; the eminent jurist, René Cassin; and a flamboyant admiral, Émile Muselier, who staged several revolts against the General and was eventually banished. Other eminent Frenchmen in London at the time of the Fall of France, such as André Maurois and Jean Monnet, preferred to go on to cross the Atlantic rather than remain with the nascent Gaullist group. The General did not forget; he devoted a page of his memoirs to listing those who declined to join him. On his first day in London after flying out of Bordeaux, where Marshal Pétain had just taken office and was seeking an armistice with the Germans, de Gaulle lunched in Pall Mall at the RAC Club as the guest of the British Major-General, Edward Spears, who had accompanied him from France. He continued to eat there from time to time, sipping claret, finishing his meal with a brandy and smoking a cigar. Alternatively, he patronised the Savoy, the Cavalry Club, the Ritz or the smart restaurant, L’Écu de France, in Jermyn Street. There were plenty of other local associations. On the other side of the square facing the Library was the French Club, where the Free French socialised, relaxed and listened to musicians including the jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli; he and his musical partner, guitarist Django Reinhardt, had been playing in London at the time France fell (Grappelli stayed while Reinhardt went home). On St James’s Street, to the west of the square, de Gaulle’s office bought its wine at Berry Bros. In Duke Street, an early Gaullist, André Dewavrin, who took the pseudonym ‘Colonel Passy’ from the underground railway station near his home in Paris, ran the Free French intelligence and security service. He fought a running battle with the British to try to keep from them information that his agents extracted from France. His interrogators detained French exiles suspected of working with the Pétain regime, which moved from Bordeaux to Vichy later in 1940. They were accused of imprisoning suspects in cellars and beating them up, depriving them of food and water and interrogating them under bright lights. One such case came to light just before D-Day, when a Frenchman brought a case against de Gaulle for torture; the British government bought the man off at the last moment. The St James’s connection with de Gaulle continues in the shelves of the London Library, as I discovered when working on my recent biography of the man I would class as the greatest Frenchman of modern times. When I went up to Biography on

The blue plaque at No. 4 Carlton Gardens, SW1, de Gaulle’s headquarters during the Second World War.

the fourth floor of the central stack at the start of my research in 2008, I was confronted by an unexpectedly rich array of material by and about de Gaulle, running along three shelves. What was striking was the quantity of books in French on top of the half-dozen Englishlanguage accounts of the General’s life. To begin with, there were 21 volumes of the General’s own writings; or rather, 20 of the 21 published by Plon (volume 8 of his collected letters and notes covering the key years May 1958–January 1961 is missing). Then there were the biographies, starting with the first, written in French by his early follower, Philippe Barrès, and published by the London branch of Hachette in 1941, followed by the multi-volume works by Jean Lacouture and Eric Roussel (Lacouture, de Gaulle, 3 vols, 1984–90, English translation, 2 vols, 1993; Roussel, Charles de Gaulle, 2 vols, 2002–7) and the threevolume accumulation of notes by the General’s former minister, Alain Peyrefitte (C’était de Gaulle, Paris, 1994–2000), as well as the rolling series of works by the political journalist, Jean-Raymond Tournoux (among them Secrets d’État, 1965; La Tragédie du Général, 1967; Jamais dit, 1971), which assembled quotations from the great man and from those who visited him over the decades, and included de Gaulle’s observation about the impossibility of governing a country with 265 different varieties of cheese. But there were also much lesser known works, each offering a fresh perspective on the man who sought to keep himself above the fray, ruling with ‘cold dignity’ and incarnating his nation and its Republic. Further afield on the third and fourth floors were the memoirs of French politicians who had worked with or against him; Free French fighters who saw him in a mythical mode; and Socialists who distrusted him as a quasi-dictator. There was also a wealth of material on France during the General’s long lifetime in both languages, from political and economic texts to accounts by participants of the debacle of 1940, as well as references in the memoirs of foreign statesman who

General de Gaulle and Winston Churchill in 1943. © AFP/Getty Images.

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The Cross of Lorraine above Colombey-les-deux-Églises, north-eastern France.

met de Gaulle. In As I Saw It: A Secretary of State’s Memoirs (1991), US Secretary of State Dean Rusk described meeting him as being like ‘crawling up a mountainside on your knees, opening a little portal at the top, and waiting for the oracle to speak … There was never any give-and-take – de Gaulle gave pronouncements from on high, but never any real discussion; he was there, he would listen – “je vous écoute” – and would then bid you goodbye.’ While the Library houses a treasure trove of books, most of my research was, of course, done in Paris and at de Gaulle’s home village of Colombey-les-deux-Églises in north-eastern France, where a large Cross of Lorraine looms on the hillside and an excellent museum retraces his life. The Institut Charles de Gaulle, in rue de Solférino, on Paris’s Left Bank not only has a complete collection of works by and about the General, but also allows researchers to work in the room where he held weekly meetings of his political party in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Sitting at the huge rectangular table there, I imagined the days when de Gaulle, apparently cast out by the French, outlined his vision for the nation in grand terms – or the more visceral occasion when he stalked down from his first-floor office to upbraid one of his followers for having dared to talk to the President of the (Fourth) Republic about forming a government, practically reducing the poor man to tears. Not even the London Library can offer such moments to a biographer.

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MEMBERS’ OFFER AND NEWS Established in 1698, Britain’s oldest wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd continues to trade from the same shop today at 3 St James’s Street, and remains family owned and run. During the past three centuries many famous visitors have passed through Berry’s historic doors to experience fine wines coupled with expert advice. Now London Library Members can receive 15% off all purchases over £100 until the end of 2010. Berry Bros. & Rudd, 3 St James’s Street, London SW1A 1EG; tel. 0800 280 2440 (bbr.com/london). If you are in the area on 28 October 2010, Sotheby’s is holding the sale The Library of an English Bibliophile Part I, the first in a series of sales from one of the finest collections of first editions ever assembled. The 3,000 books in the collection are worth £8–10 million. The inaugural sale includes a fine presentation copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, inscribed by the author to his close friend William Macready on New Year’s Day 1844. The collection also features a copy of the first collection of T.S. Eliot’s poems inscribed to Virginia Woolf; a pre-publication, limited edition of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited; a copy of Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone in its original cloth; and older works such as the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s poems, dating from 1640. Sotheby’s, 34–35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA; tel. 020 7293 5295 (sothebys.com).


HIDDEN CORNERS

SLEEPERS IN THE STACKS Andrew Lycett reveals the results of a detailed surveillance of the Library’s espionage collection

I

f the London Library has not already been used as the setting for a spy novel, it should have been. One can imagine all sorts of clandestine goings-on within its walls: an exchange of secret documents downstairs at the far end of the Topography section; a dead drop (or secret hiding place) behind a copy of the Annual Register in the main reading room; a cipher based on a page from a 1848 edition of Dombey and Son; and, since libraries are inherently sexy (all that opportunity for leisurely eyeing up across a room), a passionate encounter with a sultry honey-pot agent from Mossad somewhere among the stacks. (Mossad is Hebrew for the Institute – not quite the Library, but that would be a good name for a spy service.) One of the most memorable characters in John le Carré’s Smiley stories was Connie Sachs, who had the invaluable job of looking after the collection of files known as the Registry or, otherwise, the institutional library.

The London Library is also rather good for books – and, for the purposes of this article, books about espionage – a genre that has been slightly out of fashion of late. It enjoyed a golden age during the last quarter of the twentieth century – roughly, from the publication in 1974 of F.W. Winterbotham’s The Ultra Secret, whose revelations about the feats of decryption by boffins at Bletchley Park during the Second World War opened the door to an avalanche of books about secret intelligence, to a few years after the collapse of communism in 1989, and the subsequent drying up of routine cold-war memoirs and formulaic would-be Le Carré novels. Over this period, authors and academics took the opportunity to focus on two stories of domestic treachery – one real (following up revelations about Guy Burgess, Kim Philby and Donald Maclean in an effort to identify the fourth and even fifth men in their ring of ‘Cambridge spies’), and the other imagined (about how the head of MI5, Roger Hollis, had been a KGB agent – the stuff of Peter Wright’s lively ‘whistle-blowing’ memoir Spycatcher in 1987). They were helped by nudges towards the ideal of freedom of information, epitomised by the Waldegrave initiative on open government in 1992, which encouraged the systematic release of thousands of official documents previously withheld on grounds of national security. By the turn of the millennium, external realities had changed and this period of Guy Burgess (1910–63), a diplomat recruited by the Russians as an agent. Keystone/Getty Images.

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Hut 6 Machine Room, Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, during the Second World War. © The Bletchley Park Trust.

intellectual glasnost was drawing to a close. Despite the popularity of television programmes such as the BBC drama series Spooks, the post 9/11 world has not spawned a similar flourishing of informed literature about the clandestine war against al-Qaeda. The secrets are still held too closely. These developments are reflected in the Library’s holdings, where spy literature has its dedicated classification, S. Spies &c., stuck between S. Spectrum Analysis and S. Sports &c. in the Science and Miscellaneous section. On these ten shelves you find the


One can imagine clandestine goingsonwithin the Library walls: an exchange of secret documents at the far end of Topography

section. On these ten shelves you find the workaday histories and memoirs of the main intelligence services, MI5 and MI6. For more esoteric material, however, you often have to look elsewhere, particularly to the sections devoted to Biography and to various wars. Workaday does not mean boring. One of the most fascinating recent books in any field has been The Defence of the Realm (2009), the authorised history of MI5 by Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew. The catalogue shows that the Library’s two copies have a long waiting list, but will eventually find their way back to these

Spies shelves. With a fine eye for the ridiculous, this book brings life to a potentially turgid institutional history, as it skilfully recounts the Secret Service’s efforts to protect the state from political, terrorist and other threats. Andrew’s earlier Secret Service (1985) is also recommended, its panoptic approach made clear in its subtitle, The Makings of the British Intelligence Community. It sits well with the many works of Nigel West, who is neither an official nor an authorised historian but a former MP (under his real name Rupert Allason), who clearly has excellent contacts in the security services, as well as a terrier-like determination to uncover the truth. In the 1980s, his histories MI6: British Secret Intelligence Service Operations, 1909–45 (1983) and A Matter of Trust: MI5, 1945–72 (1982) were remarkable for the new ground they broke. Even today their revelations take one’s breath away. Over the intervening years West has maintained his output of readable intelligence history, notably in Venona: The Greatest Secret of the Cold War (1999), which, drawing on thousands of decrypted Soviet messages, meticulously teased out the story of Russian spying in the West, particularly in relation to the American atomic energy programme. West’s Faber Book of Espionage (1993) is the best modern anthology of spy writing – well informed and full of riveting material. Strangely, the only book to rival it as an intelligence taster, The Spy’s Bedside Book (1957), by the brothers Greene, Hugh and Graham (yes, that one) is not in the stacks. This generic Spies category also includes books by other specialist spy writers, such as Chapman Pincher, whose Their Trade is Treachery (1981) was much exercised by the Roger Hollis allegations, as well as some unusual titles with garish covers in Cyrillic, one of which I made out as KGB protiv MI-6 by Rem Krasilnikov (2000). I don’t imagine that these Russian books are found in many other libraries. (One, I note, is the gift of Francis Greene, who I suspect is the son of Graham, as above.) More to my liking is Michael Miller’s sparkling history of feuding spies in the Francophone world between the wars, which goes under the evocative title Shanghai on the Metro (1994) – one can see it as a nouvelle vague film – and James Bamford’s definitive account of American signals intelligence, The Puzzle Palace (1983).

In my continuing determination to unearth a state secret through a subtle reading of some textual change or dedications, I can only record the handwritten inscription in the Library’s copy of this book – presumably to journalist Linda Melvern who is acknowledged as one of the author’s collaborators. Dated 8 May 1983, it runs: ‘To Linda, with fond memories of Cheltenham. Just as with the American edition, this British one benefited from the tremendous help of the best journalist in London. All my thanks – again! Love, Jim.’ I am keen on such histories of lesserknown branches of the secret services. Having written a life of Ian Fleming (1995), I am interested in naval intelligence, which employed James Bond’s creator during the Second World War. When researching that book, I was drawn to the work of one of his wartime colleagues, Patrick Beesly, who took advantage of access to Ultra, the raw information gained from decrypted German radio messages, to write three fine books about this field, which, true to form, are found in three different sections of the Library. The best is Room 40 (1982), his history of the Naval Intelligence Division (NID) during the First World War when, under its legendary chief Admiral Reginald ‘Blinker’ Hall, it took the lead in decrypting secret German radio traffic, including the notorious Zimmerman telegram, which instructed the German ambassador to Mexico to offer that country an alliance that

Hugh and Graham Greene’s The Spy’s Bedside Book (1957), 2007 edition. Used by permission of The Random House Group.

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Above, left to right Ewen Montagu’s The Man Who Never Was (1953), 1964 edition (used by permission of The Random House Group); Frances Stonor Saunders’ Who Paid the Piper? (1999).

would allow it to regain its lost territories, north of the Rio Grande. Duly leaked to Washington, this had the effect of bringing an outraged United States into the war on Britain’s side. This is in the H. European War I section, while two of Beesly’s other books, a biography of Admiral John Godfrey (1980), the forceful head of NID during the Second World War, is in Biography, and Very Special Intelligence (1977), a history of the Operational Intelligence Centre, where the Admiralty tracked German naval communications, is in H. European War II. There is no published official history of naval intelligence. But in its Topography section, the Library holds a series of extraordinarily comprehensive country guides put together by NID. I recommend the four volumes relating to Spain and Portugal, published between 1941 and 1945, a period when the Iberian peninsula was of great importance to Britain regarding the Battle of the Atlantic. Note the statement in the prelims: ‘This book is for the use of persons in HM Service only and must not be shown, or made available, to the Press, or to any member of the public.’ These volumes doubtless proved useful to Operation Mincemeat, a breathtaking feat of deception in which the Allies convinced the Germans that their invasion of Europe from North Africa in 1943 would take place through Greece and Sardinia rather than Sicily. The ruse was masterminded by an NID officer called 24 THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE

Ewen Montagu, whose account The Man Who Never Was (1953) is found in H. European War II. (This followed Operation Heartbreak, a fictional take on the incident published in 1950 by Duff Cooper, Lord Norwich, a wartime minister.) For a gripping, up-to-date version of events, which shows there is still mileage in this genre, try Operation Mincemeat (2010) by Ben Macintyre. Montagu’s own story might have been placed in the Biography section, along with most lives of spies. Out of many contenders there, I shall mention a handful. Never Judge A Man by his Umbrella (1991) is the delightful memoir from former MI6 man, Nicholas Elliott, who wrote a more capricious sequel, With My Little Eye: Observations Along the Way (1993), with its section of aphorisms, such as Groucho Marx’s ‘Time wounds all heels’ – meaningful words for the 007 fraternity, no doubt. Then there are the lives of the spymasters, notably The Secret Servant (1988), Anthony Cave Brown’s painstaking study of MI6 chief Sir Stewart Menzies, and, even better, The Perfect English Spy (1995), Tom Bower’s impeccable biography of Sir Dick White, who headed both M15 and MI6 through some of their most embarrassing midtwentieth-century years. Also worth the detour is Open Secret (2001), the autobiography by former MI5 head Stella Rimington. The fact that this is the only book I have included by or about a woman is significant: while women have often been prominent in spying, particularly

in the wartime Special Operations Executive, they are under-represented in the literature. Rimington’s novels featuring the MI5 intelligent officer Liz Carlyle are not in the Library. Other espionage material is dotted throughout the collections: books on Ultra in H. European War II; on signals intelligence in S. Telegraphy; on surveillance in S. Police; and on covert media operations in S. Propaganda. (Here Frances Stonor Saunders’s Who Paid the Piper?, published in 1999, is an eye-opening account of the CIA’s funding of culture during the Cold War.) An unexpected description of secret service work is found in H. European War 1, where Compton Mackenzie’s Greek Memories (1932) led its author to be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act as the first person to reveal the existence of MI6, for which he had worked during the First World War. The following year Mackenzie turned this unwanted experience into a fine satirical novel about clandestine activities, Water on the Brain (1933). Another such entertainment is The Sixth Column: A Singular Tale of Our Times (1951), in which Peter Fleming anticipated his brother Ian as a spy writer, albeit in a farce about the bureaucracy of the intelligence services. Come to think of it, a decent contemporary spoof about espionage is overdue. Predictably the Library’s Fiction shelves are well stocked with novels about spies, from the now faintly ridiculous efforts of William Le Queux and E. Phillips Oppenheim, through the more realistic material of Somerset Maugham (whose Ashenden of 1928 remains a classic), to the engaging romances of Ian Fleming and the brilliant state-of-the-nation thrillers of John le Carré. For up-to-date stuff try Typhoon by Charles Cumming (2009) or anything by the excellent Henry Porter, starting with A Spy’s Life (2001). Increasingly, modern spy fiction tries to say something about the existential condition of spying, stressing the loneliness, duplicity and often brutality involved. For a final word, we might turn to L. English Drama and Single Spies (1989), where, particularly in A Question of Attribution, about the traitor Anthony Blunt, Alan Bennett ingeniously plays with the idea that, in espionage as in art, appearances are not all they seem.


THE TRADESMAN’S

TALE

The writer John de Falbe, a director of independent London bookseller John Sandoe, describes his working day When people ask why I don’t cycle in London, I answer tiresomely that it seems inadvisable to read while on a bike. I take the tube to the shop. Although conditions aren’t ideal, I’m used to elbows jabbing me or my book, and thankful for the time. This week it was Nicholas Shakespeare’s new novel Inheritance, which obligingly name-checks the shop; and, by bizarre coincidence, an old novel by J.P. Donleavy called The Lady Who Liked Clean Rest Rooms (1995), whose premise Inheritance shares, although Shakespeare says Murray Bail gave him the idea. My former boss, John Sandoe, told me that he enjoyed coming into the shop every morning of his 32 years there. I’ve been in situ for 24 years so far, and I feel the same way. The sight and smell of the books is immediately cheering, and the sense of suspended activity – an oiled machine ready to resume its business – is exciting. About 24,000 books are crammed into the tiny premises. Newcomers sometimes suppose that it is a second-hand shop, seeing no influence from trends in contemporary retail design. It is not. The books are new, or – since some treasures have to wait rather longer for their customer – newish. My partner, Dan Fenton, usually arrives before me. Lights and computers are on, dehumidifiers emptied. In summer he has often – to my shame – already watered the splendid window boxes, which are provided by our other partner, Stewart Grimshaw. Straight to emails, then, perhaps a publisher’s catalogue or a little attention to figures. My aim is to be ready for the shop floor, where I like it best, when Paul and Marzena, my other colleagues, arrive in time for opening at 9.30 a.m. Not that we presume on an immediate rush of customers but, with luck, DHL will already have made our largest delivery of the day, which includes yesterday’s orders from wholesalers. There may be only six boxes; in December, there could be forty. They have to be unpacked, booked in electronically to our stock-control system, and put away. Because of the constricted space, this can be a bit hectic if there are lots of books or customers. The printer will spit out slips for special orders, then customers must be telephoned or – according to instructions – the book made ready for posting. Packing them goes on throughout the day, whenever there’s a moment. Meanwhile, the phone rings or customers come in. Often people know what they want, but exchanges like this are common: ‘Have you got that book about the Civil War?’ ‘Which civil war?’ ‘You know, that book

The John Sandoe bookshop in Blacklands Terrace, Chelsea.

about the Civil War.’ ‘There are lots of books about lots of civil wars.’ ‘Someone told me about it when I was on holiday.’ ‘Recently?’ ‘In the summer. Oh, you must know it!’ ‘Hmm. Last summer? Blair Worden? The summer before? John Adamson?’ ‘We were in Barcelona with the Finzi-Continis, I’m sure they buy their books here …’ ‘Oh! You mean the Spanish Civil War? Antony Beevor?’ ‘No, no …’ ‘Was it Paul Preston’s We Saw Spain Die?’ We hope to get there in the end. Certain customers will want a straightforward steer, but we know that others will wish to be left in peace to browse. It is here that our role as booksellers is most useful, and most rewarding, for it’s up to us to make the shop an interesting place to visit. This partly depends on atmosphere but, above all, on our selection of books. On any day we might get visits from publishers’ reps, our essential links to forthcoming books. Looking through their folders – or the laptop equivalent – I might order one, two, five, ten copies of a book; most often, none at all, rarely more than twenty. But while our stock represents our own tastes, it also derives from what we have learnt from customers about books that they have read, but we have not. They may be obscure from a trade point of view. A recent case in point is The Hongs of Canton: Western Merchants in South China 1700–1900, by Patrick Conner (2009), a magnificent history of the European trading houses in China illustrated with numerous contemporary paintings. Not cheap, but good. It is easier, and more satisfying, to sell something good that may be expensive, than to sell something trashy that may be cheap. Most important, it makes people think that we have interesting books not widely stocked by other shops, so they will come again. We should have nothing on our shelves whose value, to someone, we do not understand. Lunch is a sandwich in the office upstairs, eaten while reading. Afterwards there will be more deliveries, more sorting, more phone calls and emails, more buying and more customers – satisfied ones, I hope. For supplying books to people who care about what they read is a privilege, and it is fun.

RICHMOND UPON THAMES LITERATURE FESTIVAL The London Library is delighted to announce that it will be partnering with this year’s Richmond upon Thames Literature Festival (formerly ‘Book Now’), which runs throughout November. With a brilliant line-up of participants including Clive James, John Simpson, Peter Snow and Andrew Graham Dixon, as well as a

series of three events programmed by the Library and featuring members Daisy Goodwin, Amanda Foreman and Harriet Evans, there's something to cater for all literary tastes. For more information and tickets visit richmond.gov.uk/literature_festival

THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 25


MEMBERS’ NEWS UNDERSTANDING THE LIBRARY’S FINANCES AT THE END OF HIS FIRST FULL YEAR IN OFFICE, OUR CHAIRMAN BILL EMMOTT LOOKS AHEAD TO THE AGM In the nature of things, most of our members will not be able to attend the Annual General Meeting on 4 November. We would love to see you, but it is of course true that, if all our nearly 7,000 members decided to come, we would have a bit of a problem in fitting you all in, even in the beautifully refurbished Library. So, given that this is also the time when our annual report and accounts land through your letterboxes, I thought it might be useful if I were to anticipate some of the questions you might think of asking if you were to come to the AGM. With several months still to go, this is at least to anticipate in the correct sense of the word, rather than its ugly common form as a synonym for expect. Why have the Trustees decided to propose a 10% increase in annual membership fees? We made this decision at our meeting in July, with a heavy heart. As I reported in my letter to members in May, HMRC’s abrupt decision to remove Gift Aid relief on our subscriptions left a hole in our revenues of £275,000–300,000 a year, which is about 10% of the total. We – and more particularly the Library staff – are working hard to try to make up that shortfall by cutting costs and by finding new sources of revenue. If we were to cover the loss by a fee rise alone, the annual fee would have had to go up by £52, or 13%. If we were to make up for it simply by slashing costs, the Library’s services would inevitably suffer. Moreover, neither new sources of revenue nor cuts in costs would solve the problem quickly. So we decided that the prudent course, bearing in mind our responsibilities under charity law, would be to use a substantial fee rise to plug the gap now, and work hard on the other solutions with the aim of limiting any fee rise in the next and subsequent years. You said last year that ‘future fees will be set to keep our income in line with necessary increases in core costs’. Is that still the policy? Yes it is. In 2009, the trustees froze the annual membership fee as an exceptional recognition of the recession and the disruption caused by the building works. Nevertheless, costs continued to rise, which is why our budget predicted a small deficit, even before the Gift Aid decision. As the chart shows, in 2009–10 we had to make up a loss of £134,480 from our reserves, and in the current year and next year the deficits promise to be even bigger. Averaged over the two years, the new rise is equivalent to roughly 5% a year. If we had raised the fee in 2009 in line with our underlying costs – two-thirds of which come from staff 26 THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE

salaries, which are tied to university pay scales – the rise would have been 5%. This year, ‘Library inflation’ would have implied a further rise of 2%. Taking that into account, our current proposal represents two years’ worth of such inflation, plus just 3% to make up for the loss of Gift Aid relief. We know this will be unwelcome to many members. But I hope that you will continue to support us and enjoy the Library’s services, and that you will consider compensating for the fee rise by recruiting one or more new members and thus benefiting from the £50 discount. If, as I very much hope and intend, we succeed in recruiting more members as well as in finding more other revenues and controlling costs, then next year’s rise will stand a good chance of being a modest one, reducing the three-year average. How is the membership drive going? A lot better, but it is early days. It was only in May that we began to offer members a £50 discount off their annual membership fee for every new member they help us to recruit – more than neutralising the proposed fee rise. It was only in June and July that Phase 2 of the building works was completed, allowing us to re-open the Issue Hall and the St James’s Square entrance, and then to show off the wonderful new Library to existing and potential members. It was thus also only in those summer months when we were able to promote the Library extensively in the press, with splendid coverage in The Times, the Financial Times, the Evening Standard and an editorial ‘In praise of’ us in the Guardian. There was also a lot of coverage in the architectural media, and a nice item on Radio Four’s Today programme. Nevertheless, June brought us 104 new members, a net gain of 62 after deducting withdrawals. We introduced an online joining facility at the end of May and nearly half of those who joined in June did so via our website. July was another strong month, with 97 new members, a net gain of 44. As the graph shows, our total membership numbers have begun to increase again for the first time since 2007. An important contributor to that trend is the decline in the rate of withdrawals. As with any organisation, some people will leave as members every year, as projects come to an end or circumstances change: a withdrawal rate of about 500–600 a year, or about 8% of the membership, seems to be the long-term trend, but the exceptional fee rise of 2008, the building works, and then the recession, raised the rate to about double that at its worst. It is thus extremely good news that we have now returned to more or less normal, but it means that we have to find new


Membership 31 December 2005–June 2010 (new, withdrawals, net)

New annual, reinstated, representative and life members Withdrawals Net

to more or less normal, but it means that we have to find new members all the time just to stand still, let alone to expand. Net growth of 500 new members would add £217,500 to annual revenues at the new fee level. Have you thought of offering a greater variety of membership categories in order to attract more members? Yes, but two things have restrained us in the past: HMRC’s Gift Aid rules, which limited the discounts we could offer to spouses, for example; and the administrative costs that greater complexity would impose. The second of these remains a restraint, of course, though if we can encourage more people to join online that could in future be partially overcome. But now that we have been declared ineligible for Gift Aid relief on subscriptions, we are free to think more creatively. During the coming year, we will be reviewing our membership arrangements as broadly and as imaginatively as we can. Your ideas and proposals would be welcome. Has the building programme taken money from the normal income of the Library? As the Librarian and the previous chairman have often said, the answer is no. A separate capital account was set up for the building project, funds have been raised especially and solely for the project, and the costs of the fundraising team that was set up for this purpose (headed by Lottie Cole) have been paid for out of

2010 Core Funding Sources (Total income £3,047,843)

Investment income £183,910 6%

Deficit funded from reserves £134,480 4%

Why not do so now? That is exactly what we are doing. With Phase 2 complete and the building mercifully free of dust and drilling, we are starting a new effort to raise more annual revenue from donations. The pie chart of our sources of income in 2010 (below left) shows that 10% already comes from donations and from legacies. The new Founders’ Circle, announced in this magazine and to be launched at the end of September, is one of the ways in which we intend to increase that contribution substantially. What about earning money by hiring out the Library for dinners and receptions, as the National Gallery and other venues do? Naturally, we couldn’t do this while the building work was under way. In July, however, we started to show off the Library to potential customers and produced a marketing brochure to send out. I am pleased to report that we have already begun to take bookings for the autumn. Don’t worry, we are not going to turn the Library into a commercial fairground. But if, by letting out our lovely rooms in the evenings, we can earn money to support

2009 Core Funding Sources (Total income £3,077,242) Investment income £296,077 9%

Deficit funded from reserves £44,502 1%

Membership income (excluding Gift Aid) £2,257,165 71%

Gift Aid on membership income £277,196 9%

2008 Core Funding Sources (Total income £2,659,373)

Investment income £331,553 12%

Deficit funded from reserves £134,726 5%

Revenue donations and legacies £474,722 17%

Revenue donations and legacies £265,762 9%

Revenue donations and legacies £323,286 10%

Gift Aid on membership income £283,482 9%

that separate budget. As I hope is well known, Lottie and her team have raised a phenomenal £15m, from a standing start in 2004. Our very generous donors typically (and rightly) stipulate that their money must only be used for the capital project, so we cannot shuffle money between the two accounts. There have, however, been two indirect effects on the Library’s main budget. The first is that, at the outset of the project, the Library contributed £5m out of its reserves to pay for the purchase of T.S. Eliot House (thus, the total project spending so far has been £20m). This was a rare opportunity for the Library to obtain vital extra space and it had to be seized, but it meant that investment income on the money used was no longer available to the main budget. Along with very poor returns on our investments for several years, especially 2008–9, this reduced our annual income from this source. The second is that the fundraising team’s focus on finding donations for the building has meant that they were unable to devote much time or many resources to seeking donations to support our annual budget. As the team did not exist before the building project was begun, this does not represent a loss of previous income. But I suppose one could say that, if we had not been working on the building, we might have decided to launch a drive to seek further philanthropic support for our operations.

Membership income (excluding Gift Aid) £2,238,207 72%

Gift Aid on membership income £195,951 7%

Membership income (excluding Gift Aid) £1,657,147 59%

THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 27


2010 Core Expenditure (Total £3,182,323) Membership £245,756 8%

Membership £271,908 9%

Buildings and Facilities £616,487 19%

Finance & Administration £461,261 14%

Buildings and Facilities £639,050 21%

Finance & Administration £451,631 14%

Information Technology £196,436 6% Binding, Preservation & Stack Management £315,262 10%

2009 Core Expenditure (Total £3,121,744)

Reader Services £505,962 16%

Acquisitions £443,355 14%

Cataloguing & Retrospective Conversion £397,804 13%

our lovely rooms in the evenings, we can earn money to support the services we provide to members, that is what we should do. In a year’s time, I will be able to tell you how successful we have been, how many outsiders have come in and admired our building (perhaps tempting them to become members), and how much money we have made from it. You mentioned poor investment returns. What are you doing about this? Members have commented at past AGMs on the declining

28 THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE

Information Technology £192,078 6% Binding, Preservation & Stack Management £295,275 9%

Reader Services £487,660 16%

Acquisitions £417,176 13%

Cataloguing & Retrospective Conversion £366,966 12%

value of our investments, which (in common with most other people’s) hit rock bottom in March 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis. Fortunately, during 2009–10 we benefited from a large ‘bounce-back’, but given the pressure our budgets are under this sort of roller-coaster ride is not something we are comfortable with. Over the last few months we’ve moved most of our spare funds into safer holdings that should keep their value while giving us the best possible annual income for such low-risk investments, but I’m afraid this is a good bit less than we were used to in more buoyant times.


MEMBERS’ NEWS

DONATIONS AND BEQUESTS The trustees are most grateful to all the donors listed below, who have made contributions in the year ended 31 March 2010 either for specific purposes or towards the general running costs of the Library: DEVELOPMENT APPEAL FUND Double Elephant Folio Mrs T S Eliot The Monument Trust

Elephant Folio Colin Clark Lady Getty The Horace W Goldsmith Foundation

Folio Peter Jamieson

Quarto Dr Penelope McCarthy

Octavo Lord and Lady Egremont Richard Shuttleworth

Duodecimo Jennifer Antill Sir Jeremiah Colman Gift Trust The O J Colman Charitable Trust Peter Firth James Fisher Giles Flint Anthony Hobson John Hussey OBE The J P Jacobs Charitable Trust Logos Charitable Trust Henry McKenzie-Johnston CB Sir Jeremy and Lady Morse The Viscount Norwich The Orrin Charitable Trust Clive Priestley CB Martin and Margaret Riley Sybil Shean Sir Roy Strong The Tana Trust

Sextodecimo David Aukin Stephen Benson Professor Sir Alan Bowness Sebastian Brock Margaret Buxton Trevor Coldrey Curtis Charitable Trust Barbara Curtoys Jane Falloon Richard Freeman Michael Gainsborough Martin Haddon

Godfrey Hodgson Rosemary James The Rt Hon The Lord Justice Longmore John Madell John Massey Stewart Kevin Murphy W G Plomer Sonia Prentice Brian Rees Janet Rennie Peter Rowland Sir John Sainty The Lady Soames DBE Caroline De Souza Dr Gerassimos Spathis Christopher Swinson Jerry White Ann Williams Anthony Williams Reverend Anthony Winter

BOOK FUND Canon Mark Storey

Paragon Basil Postan

Great Primer Michael Hughes in memory of Ivy Anne Hughes The Maggs Family in memory of Michael C Jones Ricky Shuttleworth

Cicero Wendy Hefford John Montgomery Colin Stevenson

Nonpareil Peter Anderson Dr John Barney David Cashdan in memory of Reverend Samuel Cashdan David Fawkes The Late Tom Jackson Colin Lee David Massa Charles McInerny James Myddelton Alyson Wilson in memory of Kay Turnbull

A NEW WAY TO SUPPORT THE LIBRARY – The Founders’ Circle Bill Emmott The London Library has always been defined both spiritually and financially by its independence. Indeed, the Library has managed to remain self-financing throughout its history, thanks to the recognition by generous men and women of the important role the Library plays in our nation’s literary culture. The recent removal of Gift Aid relief on membership subscriptions by HM Revenue and Customs, which we have already written to you about, represents a fresh challenge to our independence, but one we are determined to overcome. We plan to do so by creating a new and – we fervently hope – enjoyable way for philanthropic members to make their own contribution to keep the Library growing and thriving for the generations that follow.

Brilliant His Hon Paul Baker QC Michael Diamond Benjamin Duncan The Late Ronald Edwards Bill Emmott Mr and Mrs Hohler Michael Holmes John Mitchell The Hon Mrs Fionn Morgan Pauline Pinder Derek Saul Dr Ann Saunders Mrs James Teacher John Townsend

GENERAL DONATIONS Ronni Ancona Dr Ian Archibald Nicholas Bunker Paul Bunnage Simon Callow CBE The Late Peter Calvocoressi Peter Caracciolo Faith Cook Wendy Cope Mary Delorme Adam and Victoria Freudenheim Dr Christopher George Simon Godwin Pamela Graham The Worshipful Company of Grocers Rosalind Hadden David Harris Belinda Haslam Richard Hillier Hermione Hobhouse MBE Ashley Huish Reverend Stephen Humphreys Radostina Ivanova C Julian Koenig Jules Lubbock Robert MacLeod John McNally Alan McNee Bruce Page Dr Julian Pattison June Pearson John Perkins John Plaister Dr Robert Reekie Ian Roberts Professor Henry Roseveare Judith Spinney Louise Stein Marjorie Stimmel Mark Storey Patrick White John Williams Alison Walker in memory of Claudio Lo Brutto Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL

The Trustees are also grateful to those who have made donations to the International Friends of The London Library in support of The London Library, and to those who have continued covenants or made arrangements for Gift Aid donations to the Library. Thank you, too, to all those members who have supported the Library through the use of the Everyclick search engine.

DONATIONS IN MEMORY OF SIR NICHOLAS HENDERSON The trustees are grateful for donations received from the following in memory of the Library’s Vice-President, Sir Nicholas Henderson, who died on 16 March 2009: Nicholas and Diana Baring Elissa Bennett Her Grace the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire DCVO A N Drogheda J J Grimond Kate Grimond G M Grose David and Elizabeth Smith Nicholas Ward-Jackson Carolyn and Nolly Zervudachi

LEGACIES The Library received pecuniary legacies from the following deceased members and friends to whom the Trustees are most grateful: Angela Diamond George Girling Grange Sir Nicholas Henderson Paul Eyre Hinton Harry Robert Holmes Yvonne Le Rougetel John French Slater Mrs K M Tancock Stephen George Peregrine Ward Gordon Douglas Western A substantial grant was also received from the trustees of the Mrs R M Chambers Settlement. The literary estates of John Cornforth, Sir Philip Magnus-Allcroft, Ian Parsons and Reay Tannahill have provided income from royalties.

The Founders’ Circle will come together each year at a literary dinner in the Reading Room and there will also be a variety of special visits to other literary and cultural institutions, privileged encounters with authors and access to areas of the collection and the Library not usually seen by members. We very much hope that you might like to be one of the members of this very special circle. There are three levels of annual membership of the Founders’ Circle: Dickens, Thackeray and Martineau at £10,000, £5,000 and £1,500 respectively. FIND OUT MORE If you are considering joining and would like to hear more about the events planned, please do contact the Development Office on 020 7766 4716. THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 29


2010 Core Expenditure (Total £3,182,323) Membership £245,756 8%

Membership £271,908 9%

Buildings and Facilities £616,487 19%

Finance & Administration £461,261 14%

Buildings and Facilities £639,050 21%

Finance & Administration £451,631 14%

Information Technology £196,436 6% Binding, Preservation & Stack Management £315,262 10%

2009 Core Expenditure (Total £3,121,744)

Reader Services £505,962 16%

Acquisitions £443,355 14%

Cataloguing & Retrospective Conversion £397,804 13%

our lovely rooms in the evenings, we can earn money to support the services we provide to members, that is what we should do. In a year’s time, I will be able to tell you how successful we have been, how many outsiders have come in and admired our building (perhaps tempting them to become members), and how much money we have made from it. You mentioned poor investment returns. What are you doing about this? Members have commented at past AGMs on the declining

28 THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE

Information Technology £192,078 6% Binding, Preservation & Stack Management £295,275 9%

Reader Services £487,660 16%

Acquisitions £417,176 13%

Cataloguing & Retrospective Conversion £366,966 12%

value of our investments, which (in common with most other people’s) hit rock bottom in March 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis. Fortunately, during 2009–10 we benefited from a large ‘bounce-back’, but given the pressure our budgets are under this sort of roller-coaster ride is not something we are comfortable with. Over the last few months we’ve moved most of our spare funds into safer holdings that should keep their value while giving us the best possible annual income for such low-risk investments, but I’m afraid this is a good bit less than we were used to in more buoyant times.


MEMBERS’ NEWS

DONATIONS AND BEQUESTS The trustees are most grateful to all the donors listed below, who have made contributions in the year ended 31 March 2010 either for specific purposes or towards the general running costs of the Library: DEVELOPMENT APPEAL FUND Double Elephant Folio Mrs T S Eliot The Monument Trust

Elephant Folio Colin Clark Lady Getty The Horace W Goldsmith Foundation

Folio Peter Jamieson

Quarto Dr Penelope McCarthy

Octavo Lord and Lady Egremont Richard Shuttleworth

Duodecimo Jennifer Antill Sir Jeremiah Colman Gift Trust The O J Colman Charitable Trust Peter Firth James Fisher Giles Flint Anthony Hobson John Hussey OBE The J P Jacobs Charitable Trust Logos Charitable Trust Henry McKenzie-Johnston CB Sir Jeremy and Lady Morse The Viscount Norwich The Orrin Charitable Trust Clive Priestley CB Martin and Margaret Riley Sybil Shean Sir Roy Strong The Tana Trust

Sextodecimo David Aukin Stephen Benson Professor Sir Alan Bowness Sebastian Brock Margaret Buxton Trevor Coldrey Curtis Charitable Trust Barbara Curtoys Jane Falloon Richard Freeman Michael Gainsborough Martin Haddon

Godfrey Hodgson Rosemary James The Rt Hon The Lord Justice Longmore John Madell John Massey Stewart Kevin Murphy W G Plomer Sonia Prentice Brian Rees Janet Rennie Peter Rowland Sir John Sainty The Lady Soames DBE Caroline De Souza Dr Gerassimos Spathis Christopher Swinson Jerry White Ann Williams Anthony Williams Reverend Anthony Winter

BOOK FUND Canon Mark Storey

Paragon Basil Postan

Great Primer Michael Hughes in memory of Ivy Anne Hughes The Maggs Family in memory of Michael C Jones Ricky Shuttleworth

Cicero Wendy Hefford John Montgomery Colin Stevenson

Nonpareil Peter Anderson Dr John Barney David Cashdan in memory of Reverend Samuel Cashdan David Fawkes The Late Tom Jackson Colin Lee David Massa Charles McInerny James Myddelton Alyson Wilson in memory of Kay Turnbull

A NEW WAY TO SUPPORT THE LIBRARY – The Founders’ Circle Bill Emmott The London Library has always been defined both spiritually and financially by its independence. Indeed, the Library has managed to remain self-financing throughout its history, thanks to the recognition by generous men and women of the important role the Library plays in our nation’s literary culture. The recent removal of Gift Aid relief on membership subscriptions by HM Revenue and Customs, which we have already written to you about, represents a fresh challenge to our independence, but one we are determined to overcome. We plan to do so by creating a new and – we fervently hope – enjoyable way for philanthropic members to make their own contribution to keep the Library growing and thriving for the generations that follow.

Brilliant His Hon Paul Baker QC Michael Diamond Benjamin Duncan The Late Ronald Edwards Bill Emmott Mr and Mrs Hohler Michael Holmes John Mitchell The Hon Mrs Fionn Morgan Pauline Pinder Derek Saul Dr Ann Saunders Mrs James Teacher John Townsend

GENERAL DONATIONS Ronni Ancona Dr Ian Archibald Nicholas Bunker Paul Bunnage Simon Callow CBE The Late Peter Calvocoressi Peter Caracciolo Faith Cook Wendy Cope Mary Delorme Adam and Victoria Freudenheim Dr Christopher George Simon Godwin Pamela Graham The Worshipful Company of Grocers Rosalind Hadden David Harris Belinda Haslam Richard Hillier Hermione Hobhouse MBE Ashley Huish Reverend Stephen Humphreys Radostina Ivanova C Julian Koenig Jules Lubbock Robert MacLeod John McNally Alan McNee Bruce Page Dr Julian Pattison June Pearson John Perkins John Plaister Dr Robert Reekie Ian Roberts Professor Henry Roseveare Judith Spinney Louise Stein Marjorie Stimmel Mark Storey Patrick White John Williams Alison Walker in memory of Claudio Lo Brutto Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL

The Trustees are also grateful to those who have made donations to the International Friends of The London Library in support of The London Library, and to those who have continued covenants or made arrangements for Gift Aid donations to the Library. Thank you, too, to all those members who have supported the Library through the use of the Everyclick search engine.

DONATIONS IN MEMORY OF SIR NICHOLAS HENDERSON The trustees are grateful for donations received from the following in memory of the Library’s Vice-President, Sir Nicholas Henderson, who died on 16 March 2009: Nicholas and Diana Baring Elissa Bennett Her Grace the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire DCVO A N Drogheda J J Grimond Kate Grimond G M Grose David and Elizabeth Smith Nicholas Ward-Jackson Carolyn and Nolly Zervudachi

LEGACIES The Library received pecuniary legacies from the following deceased members and friends to whom the Trustees are most grateful: Angela Diamond George Girling Grange Sir Nicholas Henderson Paul Eyre Hinton Harry Robert Holmes Yvonne Le Rougetel John French Slater Mrs K M Tancock Stephen George Peregrine Ward Gordon Douglas Western A substantial grant was also received from the trustees of the Mrs R M Chambers Settlement. The literary estates of John Cornforth, Sir Philip Magnus-Allcroft, Ian Parsons and Reay Tannahill have provided income from royalties.

The Founders’ Circle will come together each year at a literary dinner in the Reading Room and there will also be a variety of special visits to other literary and cultural institutions, privileged encounters with authors and access to areas of the collection and the Library not usually seen by members. We very much hope that you might like to be one of the members of this very special circle. There are three levels of annual membership of the Founders’ Circle: Dickens, Thackeray and Martineau at £10,000, £5,000 and £1,500 respectively. FIND OUT MORE If you are considering joining and would like to hear more about the events planned, please do contact the Development Office on 020 7766 4716. THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 29


Issue 9