Roy Strong - Splendours and Miseries: The Roy Strong Diaries, 1967-87 - Orion Publishing Group

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    • ISBN:9781474605342
    • Publication date:10 Aug 2017

Splendours and Miseries: The Roy Strong Diaries, 1967-87

By Roy Strong

  • Paperback
  • £16.99

The first volume of diaries from a bestselling author and former director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

'The Alan Clark diaries of cultural politics' Sunday Times
'At every word a reputation dies' A. N. Wilson

Roy Strong is best known as the flamboyant former director of two great cultural institutions - the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum. In his first volume of diaries, he takes the reader into the heart of his career, revealing himself to be not just a mercurial and brilliant administrator, but also a shrewd observer of the glittering and political milieu into which he was drawn.

We encounter David Hockney in his studio, the poignant figure of Cecil Beaton in decline, Nureyev fizzing with ideas and the Philistine Mrs Thatcher among many others, including a bevy of the Royal Family. And throughout the diaries runs the thread of an exceptional marriage, following his elopement with the designer Julia Trevelyan Oman.

Splendours and Miseries provides a unique panorama of the world of the arts, fashion and society, taking us from the outrageous Swinging Sixties to the hard-edged glitz of Thatcher's Britain.

Biographical Notes

Sir Roy Strong CH, historian, diarist and gardener, was director of the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum. He is author of some forty books on a wide variety of subjects. In 1982 he was knighted for his services to the arts, and in 2016 he was made a Companion of Honour in recognition of his contribution to the country's cultural life. He lives, writes and gardens in Herefordshire.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781474605335
  • Publication date: 10 Aug 2017
  • Page count: 800
  • Imprint: W&N
The Alan Clark diaries of cultural politics — SUNDAY TIMES
At every word a reputation dies — A. N. Wilson
Society loves an eccentric as long as he delivers the goods, and Sir Roy Strong unquestionably has delivered them. The diaries are compulsive reading — Hugo Vickers

The Story of Britain

Roy Strong
Roy Strong

Scenes and Apparitions

Roy Strong
Roy Strong

'We Ain't Got No Drink, Pa': Part 3

Hilda Kemp, Cathryn Kemp
Hilda Kemp, Cathryn Kemp

We Ain't Got No Drink, Pa can either be read as full-length eBook or in 3 serialised eBook-only parts.This is PART 3 OF 3.'We ain't got no drink, Pa.' I trembled as I spoke. Then somewhere inside me I found the anger, the courage to answer him back. 'We don't have no grog cos you drank it all!' I knew he was going for me tonight, so I reckoned I might as well go down fighting after all. Growing up in the slums of 1920s and 30s Bermondsey, Hilda Kemp's childhood was one of chaos and fear. Every day was battleground, a fight to survive and a fight to be safe. For Hilda knew what it was to grow up in desperate poverty: to have to scratch around for a penny to buy bread; to feel the seeping cold of a foggy docklands night with only a thin blanket to cover her; to share her filthy mattress with her brothers and sisters, fighting for space while huddling to keep warm. She knew what it was to feel hunger - not the impatient growl of a tummy that has missed a meal; proper hunger, the type that aches in your soul as much as your belly. The eldest of five children, Hilda was the daughter of a hard drinker and hard hitter as well. A casual dockworker by day, a bare-knuckle fighter by night and a lousy drunk to boot, her pa honed his fists down the Old Kent Road and Blackfriars, and it was Hilda or her ma who bore the brunt of them at home. This is the powerful and moving memoir of Hilda's childhood growing up in dark, filthy, crime-ridden Bermondsey; a place where you knew your neighbours, where you kept your eyes down and your ears shut as defence against the gangs at war in the streets. It's a time when days were spent running wild down the docklands, jumping onto barges and stealing coal, racing through the dank back-streets of east London like water rats, dodging the milk cart or the rag-and-bone man. And out of this bleak landscape emerges a brave, resilient young girl whose life is a testament to the power of love and good humour. Moving, dazzling and sombre by turns, once opened this brilliant, seductive book will not let you rest.


A Child Called It

Dave Pelzer
Dave Pelzer

An Uncommon Woman: The Life of Princess Vicky

Hannah Pakula
Hannah Pakula

The life of Empress Frederick, Daughter of Queen Victoria, Wife of Crown Prince of Prussia, Mother of Kaiser Wilhelm.AN UNCOMMON WOMAN is an enthralling biography of Princess Vicky - the Empress Frederick of Germany, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, the wife of Prussia's Crown Prince, and the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II. It is also an epic story of wars and revolutions, the rise and fall of royal families, and the creation of modern Germany.Drawing on a vast amount of original family documents, Pakula offers an absorbing portrait of a brilliant and determined woman.


Personal History

Katharine Graham
Katharine Graham

Bob McCabe

Bob McCabe broadcasts on film for Radio 1 and is associate editor of Film Guide. He contributes to Empire and Q magazines and has also contributed to Evening Standard, Daily Mirror and Daily Express, and was film editor of Vox. He is the author of The Pythons by The Pythons and numerous other books, most recently the authorised biography of Ronnie Barker.

Carlos Santana

CARLOS SANTANA was born in Autlán de Navarro, Mexico, in 1947. He is a guitarist, songwriter and founding member of Santana. He has recorded or appeared on more than ninety albums. He lives in Las Vegas with his wife, the drummer Cindy Blackman.

Chris Evans

Chris Evans began his broadcasting career at Manchester Piccadilly radio, going on to become a household name in TV and radio. With his production company Ginger he launched and presented the hugely successful Channel 4 show THE BIG BREAKFAST. TFI FRIDAY, which originally ran from 1996 to 2000, was recommissioned for a new series in 2015.After working for Radio 1 and then Virgin Radio, Chris joined Radio 2 in 2005. He is now presenter of the Radio 2 breakfast show, which attracts 9.6 million listeners a week. In June 2015 Chris was announced as the new lead presenter of TOP GEAR on BBC Two.Follow Chris Evans on Twitter @achrisevans

Dot May Dunn

Dot May Dunn was born in Derbyshire, the daughter of a miner. In 1951 she joined the newly established NHS as a pre-nursing student at Leicester Royal Infirmary, eventually becoming a Research Fellow at St Bartholomew's London and the London Hospital Medical College. She has four nursing qualifications and 50 years on the 'coal face' behind her. She divides her time between England and France.

Jack Williamson

Jack Williamson (1908 - 2006)John Stewart 'Jack' Williamson was born in Arizona in 1908 and raised in an isolated New Mexico farmstead. After the Second World War, he acquired degrees in English at the Eastern New Mexico University, joining the faculty there in 1960 and remaining affiliated with the school for the rest of his life. Williamson sold his first story at the age of 20 - the beginning of a long, productive and successful career, which started in the pulps, took in the Golden Age and extended right into his nineties. He was the second author, after Robert A. Heinlein, to be named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by SFWA, and by far the oldest recipient of the Hugo (2001, aged 93) and Nebula (2002, aged 94) awards. A significant voice in SF for over six decades, Jack Williamson is credited with inventing the terms 'terraforming' and 'genetic engineering'. He died in 2006.

Jane Dolby

Jane Dolby lives on the Essex coast and formed The Fishwive's Choir, which has seen them perform all over the country and on BBC BREAKFAST, ITV, THE ONE SHOW and many more. The Fishwives website can be found at Their music can be heard at and they also have a Facebook page

Jo Berry

Author and critic Jo Berry has written about TV and film for numerous publications including The Guardian, Radio Times, Empire Magazine, Eve Magazine and Maxim. A contributor to the books 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and The Rough Guide To Cult TV, among others, she is also the author of The Ultimate DVD Easter Egg Guide, Chick Flicks (with Angie Errigo) and The Parents' Guide To Kids' Movies.

Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley was born in post-war Kasmir, the daughter of a major in the 6th Gurkha Rifles. Raised in the south of England, she is a former model and actress, best known for her roles in The New Avengers, Absolutely Fabulous and Sensitive Skin. Her recent credits include the stage play The Lion in Winter and Martin Scorsese's film The Wolf of Wall Street.Follow Joanna Lumley on Twitter at and visit the website

Jon Holmes

Steve Punt, Hugh Dennis and Jon Holmes are part of the writing team behind the ever-popular THE NOW SHOW broadcast on Radio 4. Their writing credits include THE MARY WHITEHOUSE EXPERIENCE, MOCK THE WEEK and strangely, THE IMAGINATIVELY TITLED PUNT AND DENNIS SHOW.Follow Jon Holmes on Twitter at and visit his website for more information

Jon Spurling

Jon Spurling is a regular contributor to FourFourTwo and When Saturday Comes magazines. He is the author of three previous books on Arsenal: two on the club in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as Rebels for the Cause: The Alternative History of Arsenal

Lauren St John

Lauren St John was born in Gatooma, Rhodesia, now Kadoma, Zimbabwe. At 11, she and her family moved to Rainbow's End farm and game reserve, the subject of her acclaimed memoir, and she grew up surrounded by animals, including eight horses, two warthogs and a pet giraffe. After nearly a decade as golf correspondent to The Sunday Times, followed by a sojourn in the US, riding the tour buses of alt. country stars like Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and the Dixie Chicks, she wrote the bestselling 'White Giraffe' series. 'Dead Man's Cove', the first in her new mystery series about 11-year-old detective, Laura Marlin, won the 2011 Blue Peter Favourite Story and Book of the Year Awards.Lauren's website is and you can follow her on Twitter @laurenstjohn

Malcolm Castle

Malcolm Castle joined the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service as a very young 18 year old in 1980. He recently retired after 31 years on Red Watch at Shrewsbury Fire Station. He is the author of ALL FIRED UP and GREAT BALES OF FIRE. Visit Malcolm Castle's website at and follow him on Twitter at

Michael Palin

Michael Palin established his reputation with MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS and RIPPING YARNS. His work also includes several films with Monty Python, as well as THE MISSIONARY, A PRIVATE FUNCTION, an award-winning performance as the hapless Ken in A FISH CALLED WANDA and, more recently, AMERICAN FRIENDS and FIERCE CREATURES. His television credits include two films for the BBC's GREAT RAILWAY JOURNEYS, the plays EAST OF IPSWICH and NUMBER 27, and Alan Bleasdale's GBH. He has written books to accompany his six very successful travel series, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, POLE TO POLE, FULL CIRCLE, HEMINGWAY ADVENTURE, SAHARA and HIMALAYA. He is also the author of a number of children's stories, the play THE WEEKEND and the novel HEMINGWAY'S CHAIR.Visit the website for more information

Mick Wall

Mick Wall is the UK's best-known rock writer, author and TV and radio programme maker, and is the author of numerous critically-acclaimed books, including definitive, bestselling titles on Led Zeppelin (When Giants Walked the Earth), Metallica (Enter Night), AC/DC (Hell Ain't a Bad Place To Be), Black Sabbath (Symptom of the Universe), Lou Reed, The Doors (Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre) and Foo Fighters. He lives in England.