Guests – Full List

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

Mr Arthur Waugh1910Author and Chairman of the Publishers Circle
Mr P S Porteous1911Author
Mr William Pett Ridge1912 and 1921Author of books about London’s East End
Mr John Walker1913Author
Mr Yoshio Markino1914Japanese artist and author
Mr Charles Garvice1915A writer for the English Home
Mr Arnold White1916Journalist known as “Vanoc” of “the Referee”
Mr Horatio Bottomley1917Founder of the Financial Times and Editor of “John Bull”
Mr H G Wells1918Author of The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds
Captain Bruce Bairnfather1918Humourist and cartoonist
Ms. Florence Barclay1919Author of The Rosary
Mr John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir)1920Author of The 39 Steps
Mr Tom Webster1921Humourist and cartoonist
The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Sir John and Lady Baddeley1922Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of London
Major J H Beith (Ian Hay)1922Schoolmaster and soldier, novelist, playwright, essayist and historian
Miss Lena Ashwell OBE1923Actress
Mr Percy Barringer1923President of the Stationers’ Association
Miss Clemence Dane CBE1924Academy award winning novelist and playwright
Mr Gilbert Frankau1924Novelist 
Miss Sheila Kaye Smith1925Novelist 
Mr P G H Fender1925Surrey and England Cricketer
Dame Emilie Rose Macaulay DBE 1926Novelist best known for The Towers of Trebizond
Mr Donald Maxwell1926Travel writer and illustrator of books including by Kipling
The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Lord and Lady Ebbisham1927 and 1939Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of London
Mr Morley Roberts1927Novelist and short story writer
Miss Rosita Forbes1928Travel writer and explorer
Mr L G Sloan1928Unknown
Miss Marjorie Bowen1929Author of The Viper of Milan
Mr John Drinkwater1929Poet and dramatist
Mr Bransby Williams1930Actor, comedian and monologist
Mr Michael Sadleir1930Author of Fanny by Gaslight, historian and book collector
Miss Rebecca West CBE1931Author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer
Mr Hilaire Belloc1931Author, orator, poet, writer of Cautionary Tales for Children and political activist
Miss Rose Fyleman1932Author of childrens books and poets
Sir Alan P. Herbert Kt1932Humourist, novelist, playwright and law reform activist
The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Sir Percy and Lady Greenaway1933Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of London
Lady Tree OBE1933Actress
Sir Phillip Gibbs KBE1933War correspondent of the Daily Telegraph
Mrs Beatrice Kean Seymour1934Novelist and short story writer
Sir Edgar L Waterlow Bt1934Stationer and printer
Miss Helen Simpson1935Australian novelist
Mr Humbert Wolfe CB CBE1935Italian-born British poet, man of letters and civil servant
Miss Pamela Frankau1936Novelist
Sir John Berry “Jack” Hobbs1936Surrey and England Cricketer
Mr Sidney J Sandle1936Master of the Stationers Company
Miss Mary Borden1937American novelist
Dr A J Cronin1937Author of The Citadel
Miss Dorothy L Sayers1938Author of detective stories
Sir Hugh Walpole CBE1938Novelist 
Miss Helena Grose1939Novelist
Miss Clara Margery Melita Sharp1940Writer of novels and plays, including The Rescuers
Mr F P Bishop MBE1941Times columnist and internationally respected advocate of advertising self-regulation
Mr J B Priestley OM1941Novelist, playwright, scriptwriter, social commentator, and broadcaster, most famous for his play, An Inspector Calls
Miss Marguerite Steen1941Novelist best known for The Sun is my Undoing
The Rt Hon Arthur Greenwood CH1941Minister without Portfolio in Churchill’s war cabinet
Miss Mabel Constanduros1942Radio star and creator of The Buggin’s Family
Commander A B Campbell RD1943Author of childrens and travel books, member of the BBC Brains Trust
Mr Howard Marshall1943Distinguished BBC sports and outside events commentator 
Lord Elton1945Historian
Lt Col W A Collins CBE DSO1945Chairman of the Scottish branch of the Empire Societies War Hospitality Commottee
Mr Peter Cheyney1946Author of detective novels
Mr Howard Spring1946Author and literary critic
Mr Norman Collins1947Writer, radio and television executive, one of the major figures behind the establishment of Independent Television (ITV) 
Dame Lilian Braithwaite DBE1947English stage actress
Mr R C Robertson-Glasgow1948Scottish cricketer and cricket writer
Mr Richard Dimbleby OBE1949Journalist and broadcaster, BBC’s first war correspondent, and then its leading TV news commentator.
Miss Ruby M Ayres1949Romance novelist
Sir Compton Mackenzie Kt OBE1949Author of Monarch of the Glen and co-founder of the SNP
Mr Wilfred Pickles OBE1950Actor and Radio Presenter
Mr Stuart Hibberd MBE1950Senior BBC announcer
Miss Monica Dickens1951English writer, the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens
Mr Harold Abrahams CBE1952Olympic Champion and inspiration for Chariots of Fire
Mr L A G Strong1952Novelist, critic, historian and poet
Mr Hammond Innes1953Writer of over 30 novels, as well as children’s and travel books
Mr Leslie Mitchell1953Radio and televison announcer, the first voice heard on BBC Television
Mr Claud Mullins1954Lawyer
Mr Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald1954Journalist, naturalist and writer of books on wildlife, cats, and dogs
The Rt Hon Viscount Soulbury
1955Conservative politician, government minister 1931-1941 and Governor-General of Ceylon
The Rt Hon The Lord Winster KCMG1955Liberal then Labour politician, Minister of Civil Aviation 1945-1946, Governor of Cyprus 1946-1949
Mr Peter Scott CBE DSC1956Conservationist, painter, naval officer, broadcaster and sportsman. Founder World Wide Fund for Nature
Miss Pat Smythe MBE1956One of Britain’s premier female showjumpers and writer of pony books for children
Miss Nancy Spain1957Broadcaster, journalist, columnist and panelist on What’s My Line? and Juke Box Jury
Mr Christopher Brasher1957Olympic Champion and later founder of the London Marathon
Miss Noel Streatfield1957Writer of fiction and non-fiction
Lt Cmdr P K Kemp RN (Retd)1958Author of books on naval history
Mr Kenneth Wolstenholme DFC1958Journalist, decorated bomber pilot and football commentator
Lady Grenfell1959Daughter of the Duke of Malborough
His Honour Sir Gerald Hargreaves1959Writer of Atalanta: A Story of Atlantis: A Fantasy with Music
Miss Margaret Rawlings1960Stage actress and co-founder of Equity, the actors’ union
Mr Uffa Fox CBE1960Boat designer and sailing enthusiast
Miss Anona Winn MBE1961Australian-born actress, broadcaster and singer
Mr Jim Laker1961England spin bowler who took 19 wickets in a match v Australia
Mrs Bud Flanagan1962Wife of vaudeville entertainer of Flanagan and Allen fame
Mr Vivian Ellis1962Musical comedy composer best known for the song “Spread a Little Happiness”
Miss Jessie Mattthews1963Actress, dancer and singer in the 20s and 30s, later an actress 
Col J D Henson MBE MC1963Decorated soldier served in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the War Office
Sir Barnes N Wallis CBE FRS1964Scientist, engineer and inventor of the bouncing bomb
Miss Elizabeth Bowen CBE1964Irish novelist and short story writer
Mr Michael Hornby1965Vice chairman of WHSmith, the British retail chain, for over 20 years
Miss Ruby Miller1965British stage and film actress. Originally one of George Edwardes’ ‘Gaiety Girls’
Mr Eric Robinson1966Conductor and presenter of music for the BBC
Mrs N Jonathan Routh1966Wife of the star of Candid Camera
Dr Richard Gordon (pen name of Gordon Ostlere)1967Surgeon and anaesthetist writer of The Doctor in the House novels and screenplays
Dame Joan Vickers DBE MP1967Conservative politician
The Hon Patrick Maitland, 17th Earl of Lauderdale1968Scottish Unionist politician
Miss Margaret Powell1968Writer whose book Below Stairs inspired Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey
Mr Alan Bestic1969Irish author of Escape from Auschwitz
Miss Jilly Cooper OBE1969Writer of romance novels, notably Riders and the Rutshire Chronicles
Lord Francis Williams CBE1970Editor of the Dail Herald and PR Advisor top Clement Attlee
Miss Christina Foyle1970Bookseller and owner of Foyles bookshop
Lord Justice Sir H Gordon Willmer OBE TD MA1971The acknowledged master of Admiralty Law
Miss Harriet Crawley1971Author of The Lovers and the Loved
Mr George MacDonald Fraser1972Author of  novels and screenplays. Best known for stories featuring the character, Flashman
Miss Audrey Slaughter1972Magazine editor who founded Honey and Petticoat, stepmother of Anna Wintour
Mr W Stewart MC MA1973Master of Haileybury College
Miss Renee Houston1973Scottish comedy actress and revue artist who appeared in television and film roles
Mr Peter Bull1974Character actor and writer
Mrs Patricia Gibson1974Britain’s top secretary
The Rt Hon Lord Peddie MBE JP1975Businessman and politician, a leading figure in the UK co-operative movement
Mrs Dorothy Dunnett1975Scottish historical novelist
Mr Allan Prior1976Television scriptwriter and novelist, founder-writer of Z Cars
Mrs Rosa Maria Letts1976Art historian and lecturer
Mr Alfred Howard MM BEM1977Town crier and entertainer at the Society’s childrens parties
Mrs Barbarta Cartland DStJ1977Author of romance novels, one of the most prolific and best-selling authors of the 20th century (escorted by Rt Hon Earl Mountbatten of Burma!)
The Rt Hon Earl Mountbatten of Burma
1977Rear Admiral, last Viceroy of India
Mr Frank Muir1978Comedy writer, radio and television personality, and raconteur. Host of Call My Bluff!
Mrs Claire Rayner1978Nurse, journalist, broadcaster and novelist, best known as an agony aunt
Mr John Snagge OBE1979British newsreader and commentator on BBC Radio – read 1st bulletin ever on BBC TV News
Mollie Sugden (Mrs W Moore)1979Actress best know as Mrs Slocombe in Are You Being Served?
Mr Peter Wolfe1980Old Friend and renowned after-dinner speaker
Miss Katie Boyle1980TV personality and game-show panelist, known for presenting the Eurovision Song Contest in the 60s and 70s
Mr Ivor Spencer1981Founder of the Ivor Spencer International School for Butlers and the Professional School for Toastmasters
Miss Joan Barrell1981Publisher of women’s magazines
The Rt Hon Enoch Powell MBE MP MA1982Conservative and Ulster Unionist politician, classical scholar, linguist, and poet
Baroness Phillips of Fulham JP1982Labour politician and magistrate. First female whip in the House of Lords.
Mr Monty Moss1983Chairman of Moss Bros tailors
Ms Audrey Eyton1983Founder of Slimming World and author of the F Plan Diet
The Hon Mark Bonham Carter Bt1984Politician and publisher, 1st Chairman of the Race Relations Board
Miss Molly Weir1984Scottish actress best known for Hazel the McWitch in Rentaghost
Mr Leslie Thomas OBE1985Novelist and author best known for The Virgin Soldiers
Mrs Marguerite Patten CBE1985Home economist, food writer and broadcaster
Sir Simon Hornby1986Chairman of WH Smith, the Royal Horticultural Society and the Design Council
Mr David Jacobs CBE1986Presenter of Juke Box Jury, Any Questions and Radio 2 broadcaster
Mr Cardew Robinson1987British comic, whose craft was rooted in the music hall and gang shows
Mr Barry Norman CBE1987Film critic, media personality, novelist
The Rt Hon The Lord Grade of Elstree KCSS1988Media proprietor, theatrical impressario and talent agent
Mrs Sylvia Haymon1988Writer, author of children’s and youth literature and detective novels
Mr Frank Delaney1989Irish author and screenwriter
Miss Jean Rook1989Journalist and Daily Express columnist
Mr Charlie Smithers1990One of Britain’s best known club comedians
Miss Virginia McKenna OBE1990Stage and screen actress, author and wildlife campaigner
Sir Rex Hunt1991Governor of the Falkland Islands at the time of the Falklands war
Miss Moira Shearer, Lady Kennedy1991Internationally renowned actress and ballet dancer
Mr Emlyn Hughes OBE1992Captain of Liverpool and England and media personality
Mrs Lynda Lee-Potter OBE1992Award winning Daily Mail journalist
Mr David Mellor QC MP1993MP, Cabinet minister, broadcaster, journalist and businessman
Miss Alison Halford1993Britain’s most senior female police officer, later member of the Welsh Assembly
Sir Chris Bonnington  CVO, CBE, DL1994Mountaineer, explorer, author and fundraiser
Mrs Jenny Pitman OBE1994Racehorse trainer and author. The first woman to train a Grand National winner
Mr Ken Livingstone MP1995MP, Leader of the GLC and 1st Mayor of London
Mrs Frances Edmonds1995Author of books on cricket and touring
Sir Ranulph Fiennes Bt OBE1996British Army Officer; explorer and adventurer
Ms Maureen Lipman CBE1996Film, theatre and television actress, columnist and comedian
Mr Jimmy Hill OBE1997Footballer, coach, manager, PFA leader and Match of the Day host
Ms Nina Myskow1997Journalist and TV personality
Sir Gerald Kaufman MP1998Former Government minister and member of the Shadow Cabinet
Miss Janet Brown1998Actress, comedian, impressionist
Col John Blashford-Snell OBE1999Army officer, explorer and author. Founded the Scientific Exploration Society
Dame Mary Peters CH DBE1999Olympic champion pentathlete, fundraiser and community ambassador
Mr Christopher Martin-Jenkins MBE2000Journalist presenter of Test Match Special and President of MCC
Mr Tony Bullimore2000Round the world yachtsman
Mr Jack Charlton OBE DL2001England world cup winning footballer and football manager
Miss Janet Street-Porter CBE2001Journalist, newspaper editor, media personality
Mr Tim Brooke-Taylor OBE2002Comic actor, author and media personality
Mr Monty Raphael2002Renowned lawyer specialising in financial wrongdoing
Professor Heinz Wolff2003German-British scientist, and television and radio presenter
Mr Jonathan Straker2003President of BOSS, Master of The Stationers Company
Mr Ronnie Corbett CBE2004Comedian, actor, writer, broadcaster
Ms Anita Harris2004Actress, singer and entertainer
Mr Peter Osgood2005Chelsea, Southampton and England footballer
Miss Jennie Bond2005Journalist, TV presenter and BBC Royal Correspondent
Mr Jim Bowen2006Stand-up comedian and TV personality, best known for Bullseye
Ms Eve Pollard OBE Lady Lloyd2007The First Lady of Fleet Street, newspaper editor and author
Mr David Hamilton2007Radio Broadcaster
Sir Tim Smit KBE2008Environmentalist creator of the Eden Project
Mr Robbie Glen2008Prison Governor and raconteur
Lord Jeffrey Archer2009Novelist, former MP and Conservative Party Vice Chairman
Sir Anthony ‘Tony’ Robinson2009Actor, comedian, television presenter, political activist
Dr Kevin Jones2010Consultant physician at Papworth, senior regristrar at Barts, raconteur
Mr Eddie Bell2010Publisher of Margaret Thatcher and Mikael Gorbachev’s memoirs
Ms Angela Rippon CBE2011Television journalist, newsreader, writer and presenter
Mr Alec Stewart OBE2012Surrey and England cricket captain
Mr Al Murray2012Satirical comedian and author, creator of the ‘Pub Landlord’
Sgt Major Bill Callaghan2013Yeoman Warder at HM Tower of London
Mr Kris Akabusi MBE2013Commonwealth, European and Wrold Champion Athlete
Mr Rick Wakeman2014Musician with the band Yes and many others, writer and media personality
Mr Nicholas Parsons CBE2014Actor, radio and TV presenter
Ms Sandi Toksvig OBE2015Comedian, author, media personality, co-founder of Women’s Equality Party
Rev Richard Coles2015Musician, journalist, media personality and priest
Michael Binyon OBE2016Journalist and eminent foreign correspondent
Ms. Meera Syal CBE2016Comedian, writer, playwright, producer and actress
Mrs Fiona Bruce2017Newsreader and TV presenter of Antiques Roadshow
David Baddiel2017Comedian and Childrens Author
Theo Paphitis2018Entrepreneur and retail magnate, owner of Ryman
Andy Parsons2018Comedy writer and comedian best known for ‘Mock the Week’
Matt Le Tissier2019Former professional footballer and sports broadcaster
Tom Parker Bowles2019Food critic, writer and broadcaster
Jon Culshaw2020English impressionist and comedian
Lee Smith2021Master Magician and Member of the Magic Circle
Gyles Daubeney Brandreth2021British actor, broadcaster, writer and former politician
Shaun P Williamson2022Actor, Singer, Author, Broadcaster and Quiz Master
Nigel Owens MBE2022International Rugby Referee and inclusiveness ambassador
Dominic Holland2022English comedian, author, actor and broadcaster
Beth Tweddle MBE2023British artistic gymnast
Jeremy Vine 2023Television presenter and journalist

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