|Born||15 May 1953|
|Education||Cranborne Chase School, Wiltshire|
|Alma mater|| St Hugh's College, Oxford |
Nuffield College, Oxford
|Occupation||Professor of modern history, biographer, author|
|Employer||University of Buckingham|
Jane Ridley (born 15 May 1953) is an English historian, biographer, author and broadcaster, and Professor of Modern History at the University of Buckingham.
Ridley won the Duff Cooper Prize in 2002 for The Architect and his Wife, a biography of her great-grandfather Edwin Lutyens.
Born in Northumberland in the north east of England on 15 May 1953, Ridley is the eldest daughter of the former Conservative Cabinet minister Nicholas Ridley (1929–1993) and a granddaughter of Matthew, 3rd Viscount Ridley, by his marriage to Ursula Lutyens. Her father married Clayre Campbell (1927–2015), a daughter of Alistair, 4th Baron Stratheden and Campbell. They had three daughters, Jane (1953), Susanna (1955), and Jessica (1957), and were divorced in 1974.Her great-grandmother Lady Emily Bulwer-Lytton (1874–1964), who dismayed her parents by marrying the architect Lutyens, was a daughter of the Earl of Lytton, Viceroy of India in the 1870s. His parents were the novelists Edward and Rosina Bulwer Lytton. Her cousins include the economist Sir Adam Ridley.
Ridley was educated at Cranborne Chase School, an independent boarding school for girls, since closed, then occupying New Wardour Castle, near the village of Tisbury in Wiltshire,and later at St Hugh's College, Oxford, as an Exhibitioner in History. She took a first class honours degree in 1974, then was a research student at Nuffield College until 1978, graduating D. Phil. in 1985 with a thesis entitled Leadership and Management in the Conservative Party in Parliament 1906–1914.
In 1979, Ridley was appointed a lecturer in history at the University of Buckingham, where she was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1994, to Reader in 2002, to Senior Tutor responsible for student discipline the next year, and finally to Professor in 2007. At Buckingham she continues to serve as Senior Tutor and to teach history and has been in charge of the university's Master of Arts course in biography since establishing it in 1996.This was the first such postgraduate course.
Ridley's first book was The Letters of Edwin Lutyens (1985), a collection of her great-grandfather's letters, edited jointly with her mother, Clayre Percy.She combined social history with her sport of fox hunting to produce Fox hunting: a history (1990), which begins with the words "Fox hunting isn't strictly necessary."
In 1995, Ridley's The Young Disraeli was published, dealing with Benjamin Disraeli's early years. She disputes that he should be considered the father of one-nation conservatism, writing that "Disraeli didn't use the expression and nor did he want to create a classless society... The legend of Disraeli was created largely by the Conservative party, which needed a hero on whom to pin its ideas about making the party electable in a democracy."
Ridley's biography of Lutyens, The Architect and his Wife, won the Duff Cooper Prize for 2002.
In 2008, Ridley was given a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to work on her biography of King Edward VII,and this was finally published as Bertie: A Life of Edward VII in 2012. In reviewing the work for The Spectator , A. N. Wilson called it "profoundly learned and a cracking good read" and gave his opinion that "After this irreverent new life of Edward VII, royal biography will never be the same again."
In 1986, Ridley married Stephen Francis Thomas, a writer, the younger son of Sir William Cooper Thomas, by his marriage to Freida Dunbar Whyte. They have two sons, Toby (born 1988) and Humphrey (born 1991).
Ridley is a member of the committee of the London Library and lives in Dorset Square, Marylebone.
Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, PC was an English writer and politician. He served as a Whig member of Parliament from 1831 to 1841 and a Conservative from 1851 to 1866. He was Secretary of State for the Colonies from June 1858 to June 1859, choosing Richard Clement Moody as founder of British Columbia. He declined the Crown of Greece in 1862 after King Otto abdicated. He was created Baron Lytton of Knebworth in 1866. His marriage to the writer Rosina Bulwer Lytton broke down. Her detention in an insane asylum provoked a public outcry. Bulwer-Lytton's works sold and paid him well. He coined the phrases "the great unwashed", "pursuit of the almighty dollar", "the pen is mightier than the sword", and "dweller on the threshold", and the opening phrase "It was a dark and stormy night." Yet his standing declined and he is little read today. The sardonic 1982 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest claimed to seek the "opening sentence of the worst of all possible novels".
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910.
Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, was an English architect known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era. He designed many English country houses, war memorials and public buildings. In his biography, the writer Christopher Hussey wrote, "In his lifetime (Lutyens) was widely held to be our greatest architect since Wren if not, as many maintained, his superior". The architectural historian Gavin Stamp described him as "surely the greatest British architect of the twentieth century".
Nicholas Ridley, Baron Ridley of Liddesdale, was a British Conservative politician and government minister.
Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife was the third child and the eldest daughter of the British king Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark; she was a younger sister of George V. She was the eldest granddaughter of Christian IX of Denmark. In 1905, her father gave her the title of Princess Royal, which is usually bestowed on the eldest daughter of the British monarch if there is no living holder.
Sir Alfred Cooper was a fashionable English surgeon and clubman of the late 19th century whose patients included Edward, Prince of Wales. He is an ancestor of David Cameron, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
The Duff Cooper Prize is a literary prize awarded annually for the best work of history, biography, political science or poetry, published in English or French. The prize was established in honour of Duff Cooper, a British diplomat, Cabinet member and author. The prize was first awarded in 1956 to Alan Moorehead for his Gallipoli. At present, the winner receives a first edition copy of Duff Cooper's autobiography Old Men Forget and a cheque for £5,000.
Edward Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton, was an English statesman, Conservative politician, and poet. He served as Viceroy of India between 1876 and 1880—during his tenure Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India—and as British Ambassador to France from 1887 to 1891.
Victoria Josefa Dolores Catalina Sackville-West, Lady Sackville married her first cousin Lionel Edward Sackville-West, 3rd Baron Sackville. Their daughter was the writer, poet and gardener Vita Sackville-West. The family lived mainly at Knole House, an estate that had been in the Sackville family for centuries. Victoria, having experienced a controversial life herself, has since been mostly displaced in the public's consciousness by the colourful life of her daughter Vita.
Lindisfarne Castle is a 16th-century castle located on Holy Island, near Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England, much altered by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901. The island is accessible from the mainland at low tide by means of a causeway.
Edith Penelope Mary Lutyens was a British author who is principally known for her authoritative biographical works on the philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti.
Anna Wheeler, also known by her maiden name of Anna Doyle, was an Irish born British writer and advocate of political rights for women and the benefits of contraception. She married Francis Massey Wheeler when she was "about 16" and he was "about 19", although the year is not known. They separated twelve years later. After his death she supplemented her income by translating the works of French philosophers.
Artemis Cooper, the Hon. Lady Beevor FRSL is a British writer, primarily of biographies.
Lady Constance Georgina Bulwer-Lytton, usually known as Constance Lytton, was an influential British suffragette activist, writer, speaker and campaigner for prison reform, votes for women, and birth control. She sometimes used the name Jane Warton.
Sir James Reid, was Physician in ordinary to three British monarchs. He is the subject of a 1987 biography by Michaela Reid, which has been reprinted several times.
Edith Villiers, Countess of Lytton was a British aristocrat. Wife of Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton, she led the Indian Imperial court as Vicereine of India. She was later a court-attendant of Queen Victoria. Her children included the suffragette Lady Constance Bulwer-Lytton.
Homewood is an Arts and Crafts style country house in Knebworth, Hertfordshire, England. Designed and built by architect Edwin Lutyens around 1900–3, using a mixture of vernacular and Neo-Georgian architecture, it is a Grade II* listed building. The house was one of Lutyens' first experiments in the addition of classical features to his previously vernacular style, and the introduction of symmetry into his plans. The gardens, also designed by Lutyens, are Grade II listed in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
The equestrian statue of Edward Horner stands inside St Andrew's Church in the village of Mells in Somerset, south-western England. It was designed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, as a memorial to Edward Horner, who died of wounds in the First World War. The sculpture was executed by Alfred Munnings.
Frances Jane Horner was a British hostess, member of the Souls social group, and a patron of the arts. She was depicted several times by Edward Burne-Jones, and commissioned works by Edwin Lutyens, Eric Gill, and William Nicholson. She was the impetus for Norah Lindsay beginning a paid career as a garden designer as her garden at Mells Manor was designed by Norah Lindsay.
Emily Lutyens, née Bulwer-Lytton (1874-1964) was an English Theosophist.