Hugh Mitford Raymond is the author of “The Mitford Family” Nearly A Thousand Years of History, 2016 ISBN 9781903506448 – £16.99 / €20.00 and
“British Policy In The Middle East & The Creation of Israel” 2015 ISBN 1515087832 – £7.50 / €9.00 and
“The Middle East As It Was” – a series of five books on Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Iran & Afghanistan. “Syria As It Was” 2017 ISBN 978-0-9955839-0-0 £4.50 / €5.00 and “Palestine As It Was” 2017 ISBN 978-0-9955839-1-7 £4.50 / €5.00
Available from all good bookshops, Waterstones & Amazon
Born and brought up in South Africa, Hugh grew up on the back of a horse and went on to train and breed racehorses. He has served in the South African Defence Force completing active duties in Mozambique, Caprivi Strip and South West Africa. He also managed large farming operations in Zimbabwe. Widely travelled he has lived in 6 countries and speaks 4 languages, working for several international companies, along with IBM and United Nations. He has been resident in the South of France for over 20 years and has served on the central committee of the British Association (Menton, Nice, Cannes & Var) linked with the British Consulate for over 15 years, providing help to British residents along the Riviera. He is a member of the London Society of Authors and Chairman of SAFI, the South African International Association of the Riviera. Hugh is the great-great grandson, nephew and cousin to the last seven squires of Mitford, on the direct mainline of the Mitford family of Mitford, Northumberland since 1042.
"Discover the influence and energy of one of history’s most famous and controversial families from the Norman times and the beginning of England to the disintegration of the family seat in the 21st century. Landowners and philanthropists, writers and historians, activists and fascists and peers of the realm feature in one of the world’s most fascinating dynasties".
To quote – “The fact that he is a Mitford himself is unique and adds an extra dimension and passion to the telling of his family’s story. I would highly recommend his book and this talk to anyone interested in history or intrigued by the idea of putting those Mitford girls into context!” Open discussion, questions & answers.
Many have heard of the famous, infamous and scandalous Mitford Girls. Diana, who married Bryan Guinness, heir to the Guinness brewery fortune and later married Sir Oswald Mosley, the fascist leader and due to her admiration of Hitler, got locked up in Holloway prison for three years. Unity became a friend of Hitler and Nazi supporter and shot herself when war was declared between England and Germany. Jessica became a communist and writer (American Way of Death) and Deborah, became Duchess of Devonshire and Chatsworth. Not to forget Tom, the only son who died from wounds in the war. Hugh presents an insight from his family and life, and his 15 year friendship with author, Lesley Blanch MBE, wife of French icon Romain Gary, and her intimate friendship with Nancy, Diana, Deborah and the Duchess of Windsor. Open discussion, questions and answers.
Somerset Maugham said the French Riviera is a sunny place for shady people. That was during the golden “Belle Époque”era. The Mitford's were there and formed part of the Riviera Set (Mary Lovell's book "The Riviera Set"). Hugh brings this alive with the remarkable career of an intimate friend who lived to the age of 96 years and worked for many Riviera icons - a Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner, industrialists, billionaires, aristocrats, and famous artists, Graham Sutherland, David Niven, Emery Reves - Churchill's publicist, James Clavell and his book Shogun (15 million copies sold) to name but a few - who lived along the Riviera and changed the course of history in the 20th century. Open discussion, questions and answers.
Edward Mitford was offered a job in Colombo, Ceylon now Sri Lanka. Only problem was, how to get there… as he hated travelling by ship? Before telephones existed and photography was invented, aged 28 years, he undertook the most adventurous and perilous journey of his life. Edward was the first person to ride 7000 miles on horse back from London to Colombo. In Hugh's new series of five books entitled "The Middle East As It Was" Hugh details Edward’s horseback journey through the towns and villages of Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and India. Open discussion, questions and answers.
Talking of the Middle East, many think of Peter O’Toole and the famous Lawrence of Arabia. However, before him there was someone that also became the doyen of the British foreign office. Lawrence felt close to the Arabs and tried to create a pan-Arabic state, whereas Edward Mitford was driven towards creating a home for the Jewish nation. The beginning of Israel starts with Hugh's great-great grandfather Edward Ledwich Mitford who was the first person to present a plan for the creation of the independent state of Israel to the ministers of the British government which led to the Balfour Declaration and British Mandate. Hugh, co-author of British Policy in the Middle East & the Creation of Israel, will share with you his story of the creation of Israel. Open discussion, questions and answers.
Admiral Robert Mitford was on excellent terms with the Khedive Mahomet Ali of Egypt and this provides the basis of an intriguing family story. His only daughter Margaret Mitford married William Tyssen-Amhurst (Lord Amhurst). “The Cleopatra needle that stands on the Thames Embankment in London once belonged to my grandfather” (Admiral Robert Mitford). They all had a passion for Egypt and with their youth and unlimited Tyssen funds started to build a collection of Egyptian artefacts. It was here (from the Mitford-Amhurst link) that Howard Carter began his interest and career in Egyptology. Part of this collection is now at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Hugh will explain what happened to one of England’s largest private collections of Egyptian artefacts. Open discussion, questions and answers.
With continuing debate within African politics, South Africa has coped well through the change from apartheid to democracy. What has changed? To understand any country one needs to know its history and culture. Bertram Mitford wrote “When two great bulls stand looking at each other over one fence, are they friends for long?” Bertram, Hugh’s great uncle wrote 44 bestselling novels on the culture and history of South Africa, black and white. Hugh was born in South Africa and presents a unique insight to the books and history of what his great uncle understood and wrote about South Africa. Open discussion, questions and answers.
Training racehorses is an individualistic procedure needing - character, patience and understanding. The basics are the same, as any horse or human to race, must be healthy and fit in body and mind. The tricky part is the way the horse is brought to peak fitness and maintaining that degree of fitness over a period of time. Not only that – when the horse is entered in the English Derby, the Prix Diane & L’Arc de Triomphe, the Dunlop Gold Cup or the Durban July Handicap to mention a few – it’s also about training the owners and captains of industry and their ideals and personalities in order to cope with the ups and downs of the thoroughbred racehorse needed to win the race! Hugh grew up on a horse, from show-jumping to cross country and dressage - to breeding and training racehorses in South Africa, Zimbabwe, France, England and Saudi Arabia. Join him for a first hand insight into the fascinating world of breeding and training racehorses. Open discussion, questions and answers.
All talks with Microsoft Power Point, usually lasting for around 40/50 minutes followed by questions and answers. Open, relaxed and informal. Only too happy to support any good society, association or charity.