51 days ago
Last night, I discovered two more boxes still unopened since our move to the Welsh Hovel two years ago. Within them, there is an old photo of the rev David Cochrane, my great great grandfather, looking very dour and stern as one would expect of a respectable cleric from Donegal. There was also a copy of The History of the Royal Military Canal by my Grandfather Sir John Winnifrith, signed and addressed with love to me. I tried to say how interesting that is as subject but the Mrs was not entirely convinced. I shall try again tonight, it is bound to put her into a good mood before bedtime.
60 days ago
My grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, loved the National Trust and was thrilled to be its Director General helping it to preserve old buildings and countryside. For him, as a socialist, part of the joy was that this would open up an opportunity for the less privileged to access the rich history of Britain. Today I am sure he is again spinning in his grave as the organisation goes further and further down a woke cul-de-sac.
68 days ago
Almost finally, in the small selection of photos uncovered by cousin John Stafford and found in the papers of Sir John Winnifrith is one of the woman at the heart of the mystery, Edith Maude Winnifrith. This shot is from 1899 when she would have been c24. Now look at the nose and chin.
73 days ago
The Mrs and the children are breaking lockdown rules with her parents and so left to my own devices I stayed up into the small hours combing the family papers picked up from my late father’s house last week. It was a night of shocks and revelation and having discussed the matter with my father’s sister L, I wonder what I should reveal. Perhaps all.
76 days ago
Among those things I collected from the house of my late father in Shipston yesterday were some ancient photo albums and several boxes of family papers and documents. I have started reading but these things almost make me tearful.
89 days ago
We moved to the Welsh Hovel 21 months ago and still we have some things in cardboard packing boxes. Not a lot but enough. But as rooms are renovated, one by one, and furniture is added, gradually those boxes can be unpacked. In a month or so I shall also be picking up more furniture from my late father’s house in Shipston including two more Victorian bookcases and so this week I have been going through those cardboard boxes.
130 days ago
We are good Europeans, the Mrs and I. We live in Greece as much as we can and love the place. The Mrs is a fluent Swedish speaker and she would, I suspect, live there again. We speak to each other in French when we do not want Joshua to understand and we happily toasted our freedom at 11 PM on December 31 with Metaxa, greek brandy. We love Europe, we detest the EU. The toast was to three great Eurosceptics not there to witness this great day: Ronald Bell, father of my friend
despite the day’s earlier humiliation Andrew*, my uncle Christopher Booker and my Grandfather Sir John Winnifrith.
131 days ago
We burned a home-made EU flag on a bonfire here at the Welsh Hovel on January 31 to celebrate the first stage of Brexit. Tonight at 11 PM we fully and finally leave the Evil Empire and after 45 years of family pain it would be wrong not to celebrate again.
136 days ago
I have not read the full 1500 pages of the Trade treaty between the UK and the Evil Empire. I am sure that buried in the detail are a few dastardly measures from inserted by stormtroopers from the Death Star. I don’t need to fall asleep reading it; I just look at the reactions of those who have.
149 days ago
This issue for Darren was prompted by me discussing “cousin” Axl Rose yesterday. I start by discussing day 12 of Joshua’s Advent calendar, then what Darren needs to record for you this Yuletide. Then it is the strange tale of Calisen (CLSN), Goldman talking woke nonsense and finaly BBC #fakenews on cheddar cheese prices and why my grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, was right in 1975 and why food prices, therefore, could and should fall from January 1.
161 days ago
For seven years, as I described here, I have been noting the various ways that the National Trust has pursued a costly woke agenda, alienating its core supporters, and, as a result, being less able to deliver its core mission of saving historic buildings and lands. My Bennite grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, who ran this body as its Director General, would, I am sure, have washed his hands of the NT in disgust by now, resigning his membership. This weekend, the Trust doubled up on its latest woke blunder: the publication of a detailed report which, effectively, branded one third of its properties as racist.
179 days ago
For seven years I have been recounting various episodes which will have caused my grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, a former Director General of the National Trust, to spin in his grave. Slowly, the organisation he loved is destroying itself but like the frog in slowly heating water it seems oblivious to its fate. For those who run the Trust live in a small liberal and elitist bubble.
230 days ago
The National Trust has finally published its widely flagged report into which of the houses it has been bequeathed are tarnished by associations with slavery or the evil that is colonialism. My late grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, will be – yet again – spinning in his grave. The report is a predictably dire and academically flawed document but the sort of exercise in self-flagellation that has become compulsory for guilty white, Guardian reading, liberals in 2020. If the report itself was not bad enough, the coverage of it by the BBC was excruciating and another reason why we must #defundthebbc. But we must now also #DefundtheNationalTrust.
232 days ago
Maude Winnifrith was born in 1875 and was my great grandmother. Her children included my grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith and the actress Anna Lee – once known as the British Bombshell. But who was Maude? The mystery has intrigued the family for decades and this week I hope to solve it once and for all with the assistance of a retired vicar in Oxfordshire, my father and two DNA tests.
257 days ago
My friend Bill Long and I attended a lecture a few years ago in New York, given by the historian Madge Dresser and organised by the American branch of the National Trust. Its theme was the links between slavery and National Trust properties. Although Madge and I disagreed a little on the history of the South Sea company, it was balanced, fair and very interesting indeed. But in the wake of BlackLivesMatter, the NT has decided that it has not acknowledged its sin fast enough or sufficiently enough and so has commissioned a major new report. Yes: that is the same NT that is firing 14% of its staff, 1200 folks, because it says, untruthfully, that it faces a cash crisis and there is no other way.
285 days ago
The lizards who run the National Trust have announced that they are to sack 1200 staff, 13% of the workforce, to save £60 million as part of a £100 million package of cost cuts. Some homes it owns will have to restrict hours going forward. My grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, was Director General of the NT and will, yet again, be spinning in his grave at the deceit and the inevitability of this outcome after years of folly.
465 days ago
The 12 EU flags I had bought to burn on Brexit day seem to have disappeared. I have my suspicions. The Mrs may have voted the right way but has still not dared to admit as much to her lefty pals who, being public sector workers, have nothing better to do than post comments on facebook about how 17.4 million of us are stupid, ill educated racists and how they are considering a permanent move to Tuscany. She does not wear her beliefs, on this one, on her sleeve. That is probably wise as it cannot be long before University lecturers who are found to have voted for Brexit are no platformed and accused of being members of the alt right. But I am not a man to give up easily as you can see below.
485 days ago
My paternal grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, was a Bennite so I’d imagine we would not see eye to eye on everything although, as an ardent Eurosceptic, we would have agreed on some things. I have noted before on this website, how as Director General of the National Trust, he thought the organisation’s remit was to preserve historic buildings and landscapes. Today the Trust is almost as woke as Prince Harry and wastes vast sums preaching to us all and annoying many of us who might be minded to back it. I am, for that reason, not a member.
498 days ago
Some of you have suffered only three years of being branded thick, ignorant, xenophobic, narrow minded and racist since you voted to leave the EU. For my family there is 45 years of hurt. But on January 31 it is all over and so I have today invested a few quid for my own personal celebration, which I will – of course – record though it will probably be classed as a hate crime.
584 days ago
I start with a row I had with the Mrs on Brexit. It is pertinent to what follows so bear with me No Gold. I then move on to a different sort of socialist to the Mrs, my grandfather Sir John Winnifrith and his comrade in arms Tony Benn, that is to say Lord Drayson of Sensyne (SENS) where revelations yesterday were shocking. Oh, and that poltroon Neil Woodford is involved too.
770 days ago
And so to the end point of the trip down Booker family memory lane with the Mrs and Joshua - a vist to the gardens at Stourhead just over the Dorset border in Wiltshire. Do you want to save £17 on an adult ticket by joining the National Trust said the lady? Er...
1096 days ago
Once again Tim Martin is the hero of the day. As the parasites of the CBI, who have never created a cent of wealth as risk taking entrepreneurs, and low grade career politicians lecture the 17.4 million about what we really voted for, Tim reports back from the coal face. This man is a great British hero of whom my Bennite grandfather from the 1975 campaign, Sir John Winnifrith, would been proud. Tim opines in today's trading statement from JD Wetherspoon (JDW):
1205 days ago
We have not really fallen out but I have had to rebuke the old man sternly. I am staying with him in Shipston to start recording his memoirs which are actually really very interesting, not so much the later life but the years 1938 to 1956. I am not sure what I will do with the recordings but they are part of my family history but also an interesting insight into the war years in so many ways. We have hanged British Nazis, my grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, in Churchill's bunker, evacuation with the nanny, Mrs No Cow and much more to preserve for posterity.
1334 days ago
My late grandfather was, inter alia, Director General of the National Trust after his retirement from the Civil Service. He saw its mission as very simple: to preserve fine old buildings and outstanding areas of countryside. For the Trust nothing else mattered and that single mission is why so many of us have supported it over the years. These days the NT has my grandfather spinning in his grave about once a week.
1375 days ago
Over the past few days I have written a couple of times about my grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, a thoroughly respectable fellow who ran the National Trust and was a staunch Bennite opponent of the EU. He was intelligent, sober and obviously not what one might term glamorous. But his little sister Joan was rather different.
1375 days ago
Earlier this week it was his fellow socialist Polly Toynbee arguing for subsidies for farmers and higher food prices for the workers that would have had my late grandfather spinning in his grave. Well Sir John will have had reason tp spin again as the National Trust has joined the 50 year LGBT-fest led by the BBC, in the most ridiculous of ways. This is not to say that Sir John was a homophobe but he was Director General of the Trust.
1378 days ago
In her Guardian column today arch remoaner Polly Toynbee took time out from tending to her Tuscan castle to bash Brexit because it will hit British farmers so badly as they lose subsidies from the Common Agricultural Policy. Natch, the BBC took time out from the month long LGBT-fest to make way to report this breaking news from its sister publication and thus Toynbee opined on Radio 4's Today Programme. It was classic Toynbee and I am so glad my late grandfather Sir John Winnifrith, a true socialist and friend of Tony Benn and a campaigner for No! in 1975 was not around to hear it. He would be incandescent as he really did believe in "for the many not the few."
1413 days ago
Was he by any chance a relation? Did I have a photo of him? The truth is that I did not have a scoobie but I knew a man who did. I called my father.
1504 days ago
In 1975 it was my paternal grandfather Sir John Winnifrith who went into battle against the EU, or the Common Market as it then was. His view of those who wanted a European superstate had not really changed from his time spent thirty years earlier in Churchill's war rooms although his main objection, as a Bennite, was that the EEC would screw the working classes. It did.
1552 days ago
As a father, I know how useful the goggle box can be as an assistant parent and thus after my mother's death my father understandably relented and bought us an old black and white TV. Who can blame a newly single parent from seeking assistance in this way. But for the first eight years of my life we lived without a TV and I think that I watched just three, or maybe four, programmes in that time.
1705 days ago
I have noted before how my father's father, Sir John Winnifrith, was a spokesman for No in the 1975 Referendum but his son is cut from a different cloth. Like nearly all of my family, my Dad is a Guardian reading, money tree worshipping, deluded lefty enjoying a prosperous retirement thanks to a wholly unjustifiable public sector pension. And thus on June 23rd he voted remain and has now written a poem on Brexit. Its a good poem if almost entirely composed with lies and half truths.
1706 days ago
My father's family are generally not a terribly glamorous lot. They are serious, often bookish and, very often, holding stern and sober convictions. But there is one branch that is totally different. My grandfather (Sir John Winnifrith) had a younger sister Joan who moved to Hollywood, took the stage name Anna Lee and became an actress.
1739 days ago
My father's family, in England at least, were a small c Conservative - if often hard left politically - lot. They still are on both counts. As such I guess I am a bit of a black sheep and so look to our American cousins, that is to say my grandather's young sister Joan Winnifrith and her family as being just that bit different. My grandfather, Sir John, was a respectable senior civil servant and after retirement head of the National Trust and War Graves Commission. His little sister was far less respectable. Google knows her as the actress Anna Lee.
1782 days ago
last night I met an amazing woman here in Kambos. More on that later but I am in awe. Then it was watching the Brexit results on the BBC on the internet as the smug biased lefties had to come to terms with how the great unwashed had given them and the rest of the elite a total kicking. I tried to get two hours sleep but a drunk comrade from the Eurosceptic trenches, Lucian Miers, woke me up. So I worked a bit and then slept. By 2.30 PM it was ouzo o'clock. So I headed to Miranda's as you can see below and raised a class to Boris, Priti, Nigel, Michael et al but also to my late grandfather Sir John Winnifrith and my Uncle, Chris Booker, who was in a fine mood today. Cheers to you all.
1782 days ago
Like my grandfather Sir John Winnifrith, Peter Shore stood with Wedgie Benn back in 1975. The old trots were wrong about almost everything but on the EU they wanted out and they were right. In this video (hat tip Nigel Wray), Shore warns about Project Fear. Have we learned nothing from history. Nothing changes but tomorrow you can change history, defy the establishment and stand up for your own interests and that of Britain and vote for Brexit. If you are still wavering, watch Shore below and just reflect.
1791 days ago
Apparently this website which is four years old this week, TomWinnifrith.com is plastered with adverts for the Remain Camp in the Brexit debate. It seems that on this website you cannot avoid the tax exile Sir Richard Branson and his ghastly lies. A reader asks if I have changed sides? Oh no, major Tom, don't say its true...
Euroscepticism is in my DNA. Chris Booker is my maternal uncle, my paternal grandfather Sir John Winnifrith was a "leave" spokesman in 1975 but as I explain HERE I have already voted for Brexit with my head as well as my heart.
1822 days ago
Looking at twitter I see folks aghast that Boris Johnson has compared the EU to Hitler. How dare Bojo link Brussells to white supremacism and killing Jews? You think I am kidding? Here you go:
EU to Hitler? So is #BorisJohnson saying that a body of countries is a white supremacist thug & committing genocide?
Er no Prita Boris is saying nothing of the sort. Tactic one of Project Fear or is that Project Smear is to take what we Brexiteers say totally out of context. Here is what Bojo actually said:
1827 days ago
I am no late arrival on the Eurosceptic ship. Euroscepticism is hard wired into my DNA. My father's father, the Bennite Sir John Winnifrith spoke for the "out" side in 1975. My mother's brother is Christopher Booker. How could I be anything other than an "outer"?
And so three years ago I designed a T-shirt which I have worn happily in Greece & England ever since. It's Time to Leave. The imposition of a Soviet hammer & sickle on the EU stars says it all about this most undemocratic of establishments.
As hatred of the EU has grown not only in Britain but
2291 days ago
My strange dream of Friday night about a failed third interview at Oxford brings back memories of my first two bites at the cherry – the whole process was surreal and almost of another era. The year was 1985.
It had been decided that I was capable of applying for Oxford and that I should sit the exam in the fourth term of my sixth form at Warwick School for boys, an establishment that these days also takes girls in the sixth form. The choice of college was not in doubt. My grandfather (Sir John Winnifrith), my father and his brother Charles Winnifrith had all gone to Christchurch as had Richard Hobhouse who married my father’s younger sister Lucy. My maternal grandfather had studied (very little) at Pembroke and my mother had attended St Anne’s which was just about to start accepting men in the year of my application.
Elder cousins Helen & Corinna Hobhouse had both failed to get into ChristChurch so it was not a family connection shoe in. A rather studious cousin Charlotte Winnifrith was already up and so as I always rather liked Lotte who has a hidden wild streak I went for the family choice.
The day of the exam came and I can still remember utterly screwing up an essay answering the question “Is poverty relative?” Of course it can be viewed in relative terms but it is absolute poverty that we must eradicate and that can only happen through the joys of capitalism which requires inequality of wealth for it to work. Greed, the desire to be richer than the best man is the only way to drive enterprise and so to make all of society better off, including the poor. There. I have answered the question in 45 seconds but in November 1985, sitting in the second desk from the front next to the wall, I made a right pig’s ear of it.
Despite that I was called up to the House for interview. The Christchurch of the mid-eighties was a frightful place, known as the home of the Sloane ranger. Do you remember Olivia Channon
2615 days ago
The veteran Labour politician Tony Benn has this morning died aged 88. As is the case, even for Bob Crow, his family have my sympathies. So what to make of Wedgie? This may rather surprise you.
Anthony Wedgwood Benn was an aristocrat who renounced his seat in the Lords to fight for what he believed in from the House of Commons. And he certainly had strong beliefs. During the 70s and 80s as Energy Minister in the appalling Callaghan Government and then in opposition he tried to swerve the Labour party violently to the left and he almost succeeded. He did his part in making Labour utterly unelectable and thus gave the blessed Margaret a good stretch in office. For that he deserves our eternal gratitude.
My grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, was a Bennite. After retiring from the Civil Service he was for the first time in his live, as head of the National Trust & War Graves Commission, able to speak his mind. And thus in the 1975 EU referendum campaign he found himself now and again speaking on the same platform as his hero. Their reasoning for opposing staying in the Evil Empire was that it was a construct to make rich farmers and industrialists richer at the expense, largely via food prices, of the working classes.
I am not sure that I follow their logic but at least I could agree with my Grandfather and Benn on one thing, the EU was a bad thing.
In his declining years Benn came to be seen as a bit of a National Treasure.
2823 days ago
My immediate family, bar uber-enlightened step sister Flea, are all deluded lefties and thus take the view that if Uncle Chris (Chris Booker) holds one view they should naturally take the opposite line. I tend to take an alternative view. Other than his one little blind spot (a failure to support the only democracy in the Middle East), Booker’s judgement is never wrong. On issues such as the global warming scandal, the EU and inner City development he has for decades been way ahead of the curve.
Today my mother’s brother writes in his Sunday Telegraph column about the West’s failure to appreciate the Islamofascist threat from Iran. Again he is bang on the money. Perhaps we should all have listened to the Israelis a bit more?
But he also picks up on my piece last week about the National Trust and how it is losing the plot. In that snippet he observes correctly why my father’s father, Sir John Winnifrith, would today have been disqualified from being head of the National Trust. It is a good and fair comment which my immediate family will find it hard to disagree with. But on (misguided) principle they probably will do so anyway.
2831 days ago
My grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, was Director General of the National Trust back in the 1970s. Back then its mission was to preserve old houses and historic rural areas. It got on with the job. And as such it was a body worth supporting. Folks felt the same way about it as they did about the RSPCA. But both bodies have quite simply lost the plot.
I have covered the RSPCA elsewhere (as you can read here) but I am these days as likely to give it my cash as I am to give cash to the NT. And I suspect that many of traditional “core” supporters fell the same way. Having visited two of its properties last week let me explain why.