Growing up Edwardian
I wonder if I have ever stayed in an English house that didn’t contain a creased and dog-eared book by Osbert Lancaster. In my childhood his collections of pocket cartoons were always a disappointment: the comic sketches on their covers promised hilarity, but the jokes inside – no doubt wonderfully topical in their day – meant little to me. His architectural books, which I noticed as I grew older, seemed forbiddingly esoteric. Not until I acquired parents-in-law who owned almost his entire oeuvre did I discover the memoirs that convinced me of his brilliance: All Done from Memory (1953) and With an Eye to the Future (1967) are remarkable not just for their wit and powers of observation, but for their highly individual take on Britain’s path to two world wars.