OUR website crashed on Friday as thousands of people tried to read the front page of the West End Extra, the New Journal‘s sister paper, at the same time. Here was the story of Lord Lucan’s son asking the High Court to declare the missing earl ‘presumed dead’. George Bingham had placed the public notice of the proceedings at the back of the paper.
It meant the whole story of the murder in Lower Belgrave Street and Lord Lucan’s disappearance was rehearsed in our paper again, and then in nearly all the nationals too. Much of the detail we have all read several times before, but seem to be accepted now as part of an enduring national fascination.
What’s not always recalled is that Lucky Lucan’s mother, Kaitlin, or better known as Kait, was a Labour councillor in Westminster, and seen by some as having ‘wildly left wing views’ which were evidently not shared across the whole family. One story has it, however, that Lucan was so resigned to his mother’s affiliation that he bought her a car for the 1959 general election. According to a friend quoted Laura Thompson in A Different Class Of Murder, “sprayed it red so she could go canvassing in a proper vehicle”.
ILLTYD’S LAST LAUGH
IF you couldn’t get hold of the right person at the Camden New Journal office yesterday, I’m afraid a fair few of us put the out-of-office on having headed to Brighton for Illtyd Harrington’s funeral service. Our columnist, the former deputy leader of the GLC, died earlier this month. We raised a glass, or two, in his honour, as he would’ve wanted, after his family and friends made some very touching speeches at the Downs Crematorium, a scenic spot which looks down on the town and the coast. Their words confirmed a rare kindness and generosity. As readers of his articles will know, Illtyd had a devilish sense of humour and it rang true as we left the chapel. For he had himself chosen the final song before his cremation: Josef Locke’s theatrical Blaze Away. There we were, one last goodbye to the tune of we’ll make a bonfire of our troubles, and watch them blaze away on… It was impossible not to smile.
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