Papers of Richard Boston

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection encompasses Richard Boston's life from his early education in the 1950s, to art college and university, to teaching abroad and his various posts at publications including Peace News, New Society and the Times Literary Supplement. Includes documents relating to his position as Guardian feature writer and his famous beer column, transcripts and research for various books, his editorial positions at Vole and Quarto, and standing as a European Parliamentary member. Also large volumes of correspondence, research documents, manuscripts and cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Boston, an English author and journalist, is renowned for approaching his work with a sense of fun and humour.

Educated at Stowe School, he went on to Regent Polytechnic to study art, then to read English at King's College, Cambridge, gaining an MA before going abroad to teach.

Richard's work in journalism initially saw him joining the staff of Peace News, followed by the position of books editor of New Society. He was also employed by the Times Literary Supplement, and wrote regularly for The Guardian as a columnist and feature writer. One of his most famous achievements was his weekly Guardian column on beer, where he pursued a campaign against big brewers and keg beer, whilst promoting the importance of small real-ale brewers. Together with the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) his campaign was a success. In 1977 he set up and edited The Vole, a country magazine regarding threats to the environment, which raised issues ahead of its time including sustainability and greenhouse gases. Vole lasted until 1981. He also took over editorship of the monthly literary magazine Quarto in 1979. In 1994 stood as member of European parliament, for the Boston Tea Party.

Published books include biographies The Admirable Urquhart (1975), and Osbert: a Portrait of Osbert Lancaster (1989) as well as further books The Press we Deserve (ed. 1969), An Anatomy of Laughter (1974), Beer and Skittles (1976), Baldness Be My Friend (1977), The Little Green Book (1979), CO Jone's Compendium of Practical Jokes (1982), and Starkness At Noon (1997).

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Records may be viewed in our reading room by appointment only, see our website for more information.

Other Finding Aids

A full catalogue description for this collection can be found on the GNM Archive catalogue.