Beaumont, Robert 1954-
BEAUMONT, Robert 1954-
Born July 27, 1954, in Wakefield, England; son of Christopher (a judge) and Helen (a homemaker) Beaumont; married June 11, 1983; wife's name, Claire (a homemaker); children: David, Emma. Ethnicity: "English." Education: Oxford University, graduated (with honors), 1976. Politics: Conservative. Religion: Church of England. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, cricket, English literature.
Home and office—Minskip Lodge, Minskip, near Boroughbridge, York YO51 9JF, England; fax: +44-0-1423-323139. E-mail—[email protected].
Yorkshire Evening Press, York, England, began as reporter, became assistant editor, 1977-96; freelance writer, 1996—.
Duke of Edinburgh scholar in law, Inner Temple; named Yorkshire feature writer of the year, 1987, 1994, and 1997, and Yorkshire journalist of the year, 1992, 1996; named campaigning journalist of the year, United Kingdom Press Gazette, 1992.
Grandma: A Biography of Giles's Infamous Cartoon Character, Hodder Headline (London, England), 1999.
The Railway King: A Biography of George Hudson, Hodder Headline (London, England), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals, including Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Life, and Ipswich Evening Star.
Robert Beaumont told CA: "My primary motivation for writing is that I enjoy it—and I know that others enjoy reading what I write. I also write to inform and to inspire. I started writing (for publication) at primary school and have continued ever since. I come from a legal family (my father is a judge) and it was assumed that I would become a barrister—indeed, I won a Duke of Edinburgh scholarship to study law while reading history at Oxford University. But I was adamant that I wanted to be a writer, and my family ultimately agreed. In this context, I was delighted to be able to dedicate my second book, The Railway King: A Biography of George Hudson," to my father.
"As a journalist in the city of York between 1977 and 1996, when I gave up my job on the local paper to become a full-time writer, I became increasingly concerned to write about the truth. I uncovered a number of scandals, including the appalling treatment of elderly people in old people's homes and a huge death toll arising from asbestosis. By 1996 I had decided that I wanted a wider audience for my work and decided to go freelance.
"When I am writing articles or books, I like to write in the morning, going through to lunch. I will then take a break and revise or edit my work in the evening. I seldom write anything original after lunch. I write quickly: 2,000-3,000 words per day if the creative juices are flowing. I used to, on occasion, write while drinking. I don't now.
"I chose 'Grandma,' Giles's most famous cartoon character, as my first subject because she made me, and millions of others, laugh. I wanted to find out more about her and about her creator. I chose George Hudson, the nineteenth-century railway king, because he had been treated badly by York, his home city, and by history. I wanted to set the record straight and to point out that, for all his faults, George Hudson created Britain's railway network and was a great man."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Spectator, March 16, 2002, Graham Stewart, review of The Railway King: A Biography of George Hudson, p. 25.