Sunday, 6 December 2015
Kenneth's Legacy at the British Library
The news earlier this week that Kenneth Williams' (in)famous diaries have been bequeathed to the British Library in London is just wonderful. I cannot think of a better place for the many volumes of Kenneth's diaries and I hope to go and see whatever the library choose to display.
For many years now the diaries have been hidden away in a vault somewhere in London which always seemed a shame. Sure, there are probably vast sections of them that can never be seen by the general public due to their content, but I've always felt they should have greater exposure. It also seems fitting for this to happen so close to the 90th anniversary of Kenneth's birth in 1926.
I have written before of my love for Kenneth's diaries. First published in 1993 and edited by Russell Davies, they are undoubtedly Kenneth WIlliams' main legacy and they are at times frustrating, maddening, saddening but always a joy to read. So many famous faces appear on those pages but it is often the snippets of daily life, the interactions with his closest friends, family and public that make the diaries so special.
I applaud Kenneth's former neighbour and close friend Paul Richardson for making the decision to gift the diaries to the British Library. Paul was a loyal friend to Kenneth for many years, frequently appearing in the diaries himself in Kenneth's last years. He only rarely speaks of their friendship or the great man and has been true to Kenneth's memory since his sad death back in 1988.
I really hope the British Library make a suitable fuss of this latest addition to their fantastic resources. Perhaps there will be a retrospective on Kenneth when they officially add them to their collection? It would be great if some exhibition space was given over to tell the story not only of the diaries, but also of the man himself. I look forward to further announcements on what they have planned early next year.
You can read my blog about Kenneth Williams' diaries here
You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan