Guests – Full List

The following is a list of the guests that we have been honoured to host at The Society of Old Friends.

If you would like to view edited highlights of many of our Honoured Guests, then please click HERE

Mr Arthur Waugh 1910 Author and Chairman of the Publishers Circle
Mr P S Porteous 1911 Author
Mr William Pett Ridge 1912 and 1921 Author of books about London’s East End
Mr John Walker 1913 Author
Mr Yoshio Markino 1914 Japanese artist and author
Mr Charles Garvice 1915 A writer for the English Home
Mr Arnold White 1916 Journalist known as “Vanoc” of “the Referee”
Mr Horatio Bottomley 1917 Founder of the Financial Times and Editor of “John Bull”
Mr H G Wells 1918 Author of The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds
Captain Bruce Bairnfather 1918 Humourist and cartoonist
Ms. Florence Barclay 1919 Author of The Rosary
Mr John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir) 1920 Author of The 39 Steps
Mr Tom Webster 1921 Humourist and cartoonist
The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Sir John and Lady Baddeley 1922 Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of London
Major J H Beith (Ian Hay) 1922 Schoolmaster and soldier, novelist, playwright, essayist and historian
Miss Lena Ashwell OBE 1923 Actress
Mr Percy Barringer 1923 President of the Stationers’ Association
Miss Clemence Dane CBE 1924 Academy award winning novelist and playwright
Mr Gilbert Frankau 1924 Novelist
Miss Sheila Kaye Smith 1925 Novelist
Mr P G H Fender 1925 Surrey and England Cricketer
Dame Emilie Rose Macaulay DBE 1926 Novelist best known for The Towers of Trebizond
Mr Donald Maxwell 1926 Travel writer and illustrator of books including by Kipling
The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Lord and Lady Ebbisham 1927 and 1939 Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of London
Mr Morley Roberts 1927 Novelist and short story writer
Miss Rosita Forbes 1928 Travel writer and explorer
Mr L G Sloan 1928 Importer & Distributor of Waterman Pens
Miss Marjorie Bowen 1929 Author of The Viper of Milan
Mr John Drinkwater 1929 Poet and dramatist
Mr Bransby Williams 1930 Actor, comedian and monologist
Mr Michael Sadleir 1930 Author of Fanny by Gaslight, historian and book collector
Miss Rebecca West CBE 1931 Author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer
Mr Hilaire Belloc 1931 Author, orator, poet, writer of Cautionary Tales for Children and political activist
Miss Rose Fyleman 1932 Author of childrens books and poets
Sir Alan Herbert Kt 1932 Humourist, novelist, playwright and law reform activist
The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Sir Percy and Lady Greenaway 1933 Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of London
Lady Tree OBE 1933 Actress
Sir Phillip Gibbs KBE 1933 War correspondent of the Daily Telegraph
Mrs Beatrice Kean Seymour 1934 Novelist and short story writer
Sir Edgar L Waterlow Bt 1934 Stationer and printer
Miss Helen Simpson 1935 Australian novelist
Mr Humbert Wolfe CB CBE 1935 Italian-born British poet, man of letters and civil servant
Miss Pamela Frankau 1936 Novelist
Sir John Berry “Jack” Hobbs 1936 Surrey and England Cricketer
Mr Sidney J Sandle 1936 Master of the Stationers Company
Miss Mary Borden 1937 American novelist
Dr A J Cronin 1937 Author of The Citadel
Miss Dorothy L Sayers 1938 Author of detective stories
Sir Hugh Walpole CBE 1938 Novelist
Miss Helena Grose 1939 Novelist
Miss Clara Margery Melita Sharp 1940 Writer of novels and plays, including The Rescuers
Mr F P Bishop MBE 1941 Times columnist and internationally respected advocate of advertising self-regulation
Mr J B Priestley OM 1941 Novelist, playwright, scriptwriter, social commentator, and broadcaster, most famous for his play, An Inspector Calls
Miss Marguerite Steen 1941 Novelist best known for The Sun is my Undoing
The Rt Hon Arthur Greenwood CH 1941 Minister without Portfolio in Churchill’s war cabinet
Miss Mabel Constanduros 1942 Radio star and creator of The Buggin’s Family
Commander A B Campbell RD 1943 Author of childrens and travel books, member of the BBC Brains Trust
Mr Howard Marshall 1943 Distinguished BBC sports and outside events commentator
Lord Elton 1945 Historian
Lt Col W A Collins CBE DSO 1945 Chairman of the Scottish branch of the Empire Societies War Hospitality Commottee
Mr Peter Cheyney 1946 Author of detective novels
Mr Howard Spring 1946 Author and literary critic
Mr Norman Collins 1947 Writer, radio and television executive, one of the major figures behind the establishment of Independent Television (ITV)
Dame Lilian Braithwaite DBE 1947 English stage actress
Mr R C Robertson-Glasgow 1948 Scottish cricketer and cricket writer
Mr Richard Dimbleby OBE 1949 Journalist and broadcaster, BBC’s first war correspondent, and then its leading TV news commentator.
Miss Ruby M Ayres 1949 Romance novelist
Sir Compton Mackenzie Kt OBE 1949 Author of Monarch of the Glen and co-founder of the SNP
Mr Wilfred Pickles OBE 1950 Actor and Radio Presenter
Mr Stuart Hibberd MBE 1950 Senior BBC announcer
Miss Monica Dickens 1951 English writer, the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens
Mr Harold Abrahams CBE 1952 Olympic Champion and inspiration for Chariots of Fire
Mr L A G Strong 1952 Novelist, critic, historian and poet
Mr Hammond Innes 1953 Writer of over 30 novels, as well as children’s and travel books
Mr Leslie Mitchell 1953 Radio and televison announcer, the first voice heard on BBC Television
Mr Claud Mullins 1954 Lawyer
Mr Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald 1954 Journalist, naturalist and writer of books on wildlife, cats, and dogs
The Rt Hon Viscount Soulbury
GCVO GCMG OBE MC DL
1955 Conservative politician, government minister 1931-1941 and Governor-General of Ceylon
The Rt Hon The Lord Winster KCMG 1955 Liberal then Labour politician, Minister of Civil Aviation 1945-1946, Governor of Cyprus 1946-1949
Mr Peter Scott CBE DSC 1956 Conservationist, painter, naval officer, broadcaster and sportsman. Founder World Wide Fund for Nature
Miss Pat Smythe MBE 1956 One of Britain’s premier female showjumpers and writer of pony books for children
Miss Nancy Spain 1957 Broadcaster, journalist, columnist and panelist on What’s My Line? and Juke Box Jury
Mr Christopher Brasher 1957 Olympic Champion and later founder of the London Marathon
Miss Noel Streatfield 1957 Writer of fiction and non-fiction
Lt Cmdr P K Kemp RN (Retd) 1958 Author of books on naval history
Mr Kenneth Wolstenholme DFC 1958 Journalist, decorated bomber pilot and football commentator
Lady Grenfell 1959 Daughter of the Duke of Malborough
His Honour Sir Gerald Hargreaves 1959 Writer of Atalanta: A Story of Atlantis: A Fantasy with Music
Miss Margaret Rawlings 1960 Stage actress and co-founder of Equity, the actors’ union
Mr Uffa Fox CBE 1960 Boat designer and sailing enthusiast
Miss Anona Winn MBE 1961 Australian-born actress, broadcaster and singer
Mr Jim Laker 1961 England spin bowler who took 19 wickets in a match v Australia
Mrs Bud Flanagan 1962 Wife of vaudeville entertainer of Flanagan and Allen fame
Mr Vivian Ellis 1962 Musical comedy composer best known for the song “Spread a Little Happiness”
Miss Jessie Mattthews 1963 Actress, dancer and singer in the 20s and 30s, later an actress
Col J D Henson MBE MC 1963 Decorated soldier served in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the War Office
Sir Barnes N Wallis CBE FRS 1964 Scientist, engineer and inventor of the bouncing bomb
Miss Elizabeth Bowen CBE 1964 Irish novelist and short story writer
Mr Michael Hornby 1965 Vice chairman of WHSmith, the British retail chain, for over 20 years
Miss Ruby Miller 1965 British stage and film actress. Originally one of George Edwardes’ ‘Gaiety Girls’
Mr Eric Robinson 1966 Conductor and presenter of music for the BBC
Mrs N Jonathan Routh 1966 Wife of the star of Candid Camera
Dr Richard Gordon (pen name of Gordon Ostlere) 1967 Surgeon and anaesthetist writer of The Doctor in the House novels and screenplays
Dame Joan Vickers DBE MP 1967 Conservative politician
The Hon Patrick Maitland, 17th Earl of Lauderdale 1968 Scottish Unionist politician
Miss Margaret Powell 1968 Writer whose book Below Stairs inspired Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey
Mr Alan Bestic 1969 Irish author of Escape from Auschwitz
Miss Jilly Cooper OBE 1969 Writer of romance novels, notably Riders and the Rutshire Chronicles
Lord Francis Williams CBE 1970 Editor of the Dail Herald and PR Advisor top Clement Attlee
Miss Christina Foyle 1970 Bookseller and owner of Foyles bookshop
Lord Justice Sir H Gordon Willmer OBE TD MA 1971 The acknowledged master of Admiralty Law
Miss Harriet Crawley 1971 Author of The Lovers and the Loved
Mr George MacDonald Fraser 1972 Author of  novels and screenplays. Best known for stories featuring the character, Flashman
Miss Audrey Slaughter 1972 Magazine editor who founded Honey and Petticoat, stepmother of Anna Wintour
Mr W Stewart MC MA 1973 Master of Haileybury College
Miss Renee Houston 1973 Scottish comedy actress and revue artist who appeared in television and film roles
Mr Peter Bull 1974 Character actor and writer
Mrs Patricia Gibson 1974 Britain’s top secretary
The Rt Hon Lord Peddie MBE JP 1975 Businessman and politician, a leading figure in the UK co-operative movement
Mrs Dorothy Dunnett 1975 Scottish historical novelist
Mr Allan Prior 1976 Television scriptwriter and novelist, founder-writer of Z Cars
Mrs Rosa Maria Letts 1976 Art historian and lecturer
Mr Alfred Howard MM BEM 1977 Town crier and entertainer at the Society’s childrens parties
Mrs Barbarta Cartland DStJ 1977 Author of romance novels, one of the most prolific and best-selling authors of the 20th century
The Rt Hon Earl Mountbatten of Burma
KG GCB GCSI GCVO OM DSO
1978 Rear Admiral, last Viceroy of India
Mr Frank Muir 1978 Comedy writer, radio and television personality, and raconteur. Host of Call My Bluff!
Mrs Claire Rayner 1979 Nurse, journalist, broadcaster and novelist, best known as an agony aunt
Mr John Snagge OBE 1979 British newsreader and commentator on BBC Radio – read 1st bulletin ever on BBC TV News
Mollie Sugden (Mrs W Moore) 1980 Actress best know as Mrs Slocombe in Are You Being Served?
Mr Peter Wolfe 1980 Old Friend and renowned after-dinner speaker
Miss Katie Boyle 1981 TV personality and game-show panelist, known for presenting the Eurovision Song Contest in the 60s and 70s
Mr Ivor Spencer 1981 Founder of the Ivor Spencer International School for Butlers and the Professional School for Toastmasters
Miss Joan Barrell 1982 Publisher of women’s magazines
The Rt Hon Enoch Powell MBE MP MA 1982 Conservative and Ulster Unionist politician, classical scholar, linguist, and poet
Baroness Phillips of Fulham JP 1983 Labour politician and magistrate. First female whip in the House of Lords.
Mr Monty Moss 1983 Chairman of Moss Bros tailors
Ms Audrey Eyton 1984 Founder of Slimming World and author of the F Plan Diet
The Hon Mark Bonham Carter Bt 1984 Politician and publisher, 1st Chairman of the Race Relations Board
Miss Molly Weir 1985 Scottish actress best known for Hazel the McWitch in Rentaghost
Mr Leslie Thomas OBE 1985 Novelist and author best known for The Virgin Soldiers
Mrs Marguerite Patten CBE 1986 Home economist, food writer and broadcaster
Sir Simon Hornby 1986 Chairman of WH Smith, the Royal Horticultural Society and the Design Council
Mr David Jacobs CBE 1987 Presenter of Juke Box Jury, Any Questions and Radio 2 broadcaster
Mr Cardew Robinson 1987 British comic, whose craft was rooted in the music hall and gang shows
Mr Barry Norman CBE 1988 Film critic, media personality, novelist
The Rt Hon The Lord Grade of Elstree KCSS 1988 Media proprietor, theatrical impressario and talent agent
Mrs Sylvia Haymon 1989 Writer, author of children’s and youth literature and detective novels
Mr Frank Delaney 1989 Irish author and screenwriter
Miss Jean Rook 1990 Journalist and Daily Express columnist
Mr Charlie Smithers 1990 One of Britain’s best known club comedians
Miss Virginia McKenna OBE 1990 Stage and screen actress, author and wildlife campaigner
Sir Rex Hunt 1991 Governor of the Falkland Islands at the time of the Falklands war
Miss Moira Shearer, Lady Kennedy 1991 Internationally renowned actress and ballet dancer
Mr Emlyn Hughes OBE 1992 Captain of Liverpool and England and media personality
Mrs Lynda Lee-Potter OBE 1992 Award winning Daily Mail journalist
Mr David Mellor QC MP 1993 MP, Cabinet minister, broadcaster, journalist and businessman
Miss Alison Halford 1993 Britain’s most senior female police officer, later member of the Welsh Assembly
Sir Chris Bonnington  CVO, CBE, DL 1994 Mountaineer, explorer, author and fundraiser
Mrs Jenny Pitman OBE 1994 Racehorse trainer and author. Tthe first woman to train a Grand National winner
Mr Ken Livingstone MP 1995 MP, Leader of the GLC and 1st Mayor of London
Mrs Frances Edmonds 1995 Author of books on cricket and touring
Sir Ranulph Fiennes Bt OBE 1996 British Army Officer; explorer and adventurer
Ms Maureen Lipman CBE 1996 Film, theatre and television actress, columnist and comedian
Mr Jimmy Hill OBE 1997 Footballer, coach, manager, PFA leader and Match of the Day host
Ms Nina Myskow 1997 Journalist and TV personality
Sir Gerald Kaufman MP 1998 Former Government minister and member of the Shadow Cabinet
Miss Janet Brown 1998 Actress, comedian, impressionist
Col John Blashford-Snell OBE 1999 Army officer, explorer and author. Founded the Scientific Exploration Society
Dame Mary Peters CH DBE 1999 Olympic champion pentathlete, fundraiser and community ambassador
Mr Christopher Martin-Jenkins MBE 2000 Journalist presenter of Test Match Special and President of MCC
Mr Tony Bullimore 2000 Round the world yachtsman
Mr Jack Charlton OBE DL 2001 England world cup winning footballer and football manager
Miss Janet Street-Porter CBE 2002 Journalist, newspaper editor, media personality
Mr Tim Brooke-Taylor OBE 2002 Comic actor, author and media personality
Mr Monty Raphael 2002 Renowned lawyer specialising in financial wrongdoing
Professor Heinz Wolff 2003 German-British scientist, and television and radio presenter
Mr Jonathan Straker 2003 President of BOSS, Master of The Stationers Company
Mr Ronnie Corbett CBE 2004 Comedian, actor, writer, broadcaster
Ms Anita Harris 2004 Actress, singer and entertainer
Mr Peter Osgood 2005 Chelsea, Southampton and England footballer
Miss Jennie Bond 2005 Journalist, TV presenter and BBC Royal Correspondent
Mr Jim Bowen 2006 Stand-up comedian and TV personality, best known for Bullseye
Ms Eve Pollard OBE Lady Lloyd 2007 The First Lady of Fleet Street, newspaper editor and author
Mr David Hamilton 2007 Radio Broadcaster
Sir Tim Smit KBE 2008 Environmentalist creator of the Eden Project
Mr Robbie Glen 2008 Prison Governor and raconteur
Lord Jeffrey Archer 2009 Novelist, former MP and Conservative Party Vice Chairman
Sir Anthony ‘Tony’ Robinson 2009 Actor, comedian, television presenter, political activist
Dr Kevin Jones 2010 Consultant physician at Papworth, senior registrar at Barts, raconteur
Mr Eddie Bell 2010 Publisher of Margaret Thatcher and Mikael Gorbachev’s memoirs
Ms Angela Rippon CBE 2011 Television journalist, newsreader, writer and presenter
Mr Alec Stewart OBE 2012 Surrey and England cricket captain
Mr Al Murray 2012 Satirical comedian and author, creator of the ‘Pub Landlord’
Sgt Major Bill Callaghan 2013 Yeoman Warder at HM Tower of London
Mr Kris Akabusi MBE 2013 Commonwealth, European and Wrold Champion Athlete
Mr Rick Wakeman 2014 Musician with the band Yes and many others, writer and media personality
Mr Nicholas Parsons CBE 2014 Actor, radio and TV presenter
Ms Sandi Toksvig OBE 2015 Comedian, author, media personality, co-founder of Women’s Equality Party
Rev Richard Coles 2015 Musician, journalist, media personality and priest
Michael Binyon OBE 2016 Journalist and eminent foreign correspondent
Ms. Meera Syal CBE 2016 Comedian, writer, playwright, producer and actress
Mrs Fiona Bruce 2017 Newsreader and TV presenter of Antiques Roadshow