A piece of Fleet Street history: Katharine Whitehorn’s desk for sale | Media

They had been inspiring and entertaining phrases that helped set the tone for greater than only one period of social change. Katharine Whitehorn’s 60 years of provocative, helpful and humorous journalism and books had been all typed up at a big picket desk in a busy household front room.

Now that desk, a bit of traditional Danish design in addition to classic Fleet Avenue historical past, is to go underneath the auctioneer’s hammer to boost cash for a charity that cares for individuals with Alzheimer’s illness.

The celebrated Observer columnist and writer of the totemic 1961 handbook Cooking in a Bedsitter is now 92 and one of many many to endure with the debilitating situation.

Her dwelling of many many years in Hampstead, north London, has now been offered following her transfer into a close-by care dwelling, and this Wednesday her sons are to supply her unique Kai Kristiansen desk, with all its journalistic provenance, on the market at Bonhams public sale home.

“My dad and mom had fairly an eye fixed for good mid-century furnishings again then,” mentioned Bernard Lyall, the elder son of Whitehorn and her late husband, the crime novelist Gavin Lyall. “It’s a good piece of design my mom purchased within the 60s and on which she wrote, nicely, just about every thing she ever did, pounding away on a succession of moveable guide typewriters till the mid-1990s, when she lastly switched to a pc.”

Whitehorn, who in later life was a well-recognized voice as a contributor to Radio four’s A Level of View, was within the vanguard of girls’s push into the male-dominated area of nationwide journalism within the 1960s. She had labored briefly as a mannequin after graduating from Cambridge, after which wrote for the Image Put up journal earlier than taking on a 30-year function on the Observer in 1960.

The 1960s desk that belonged to the journalist Katharine Whitehorn. : Bonhams

Whitehorn’s tongue-in-cheek columns frequently cheered on ladies who had turned their again on family drudgery. An notorious article from 1963 that defended home “sluts” briefly turned the centre of nationwide debate as attitudes to working ladies started to alter.

Whitehorn returned to this newspaper’s pages within the new millennium, writing pithy columns for the journal till three years in the past, in addition to a well-liked “agony aunt” column for Saga journal, from 1997 till 2016.

“We’ve got chosen to donate the cash raised to the charity Dementia UK as a result of they run, amongst different issues, a community of nurses who present sensible recommendation and assist throughout the nation,” mentioned Lyall, who’s a tv editor.

He lately managed to go to his mom in her care dwelling, Covid restrictions being quickly lifted, and he hopes that the sale of the desk will profit the charity’s essential work.

The massive picket writing desk fashioned an enormous a part of the lifetime of Lyall and his youthful brother Jake, an actor, in addition to of their mom’s profession.

“Each time my dad and mom had individuals spherical, there it was, at one finish of the room, with individuals leaving wine glasses and plates throughout my mom’s work and information. She by no means appeared to thoughts. And, rising up, Jake and I each needed to get used to the concept that when she was working to a deadline she was there, however not there. We needed to go away her alone.”

Kristiansen, the desk’s designer, is a Danish cupboard maker and artist who based an influential furnishings studio that turned a beacon of Scandinavian type.

His “No 42 chair” is considered a design traditional and the family items, together with sideboards, bookcases and eating tables, produced at his studio within the 1960s are actually extensively collected in Europe and America.

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