October 3, 2003 by

Lord Blake

1 comment

Categories: Education, Military, Politicians, Writers/Editors

Lord Robert Norman William Blake, an historian, educator and biographer, died on Sept. 20. Cause of death was not released. He was 86.
Blake graduated from Magdalen College in Oxford. He intended to become a lawyer when World War II began. Instead, Blake served with the 124th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, for two years before he was captured in north Africa. After spending 15 months as a prisoner of war, Blake escaped and joined the British intelligence service, MI6.
Once the war ended, Blake moved back to England to teach. He spent 21 years at Oxford University’s Christ Church College, working as a politics professor, dean and pro-vice-chancellor. His Ford Lectures were collected into the textbook, “The Conservative Party, From Peel to John Major,” which was taught to a generation of students.
Blake also took on various editorial projects. He edited the manuscripts, “The Private Papers of Douglas Haig” and “The Unknown Prime Minister,” and spent a decade as the joint editor of Oxford University Press’ Dictionary of National Biography. His greatest achievement, however, was in writing “Disraeli,” one of the definitive biographies of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, a Conservative leader and unprincipled rake.
In 1971, Robert was appointed to the House of Lords and became Lord Blake of Braydeston. He was also an unofficial constitutional adviser to the Queen.

One Response to Lord Blake

  1. J.F. Bosher

    Robert Blake’s life of Benjamin Disraeli, which I have just read at long last, strikes me as brilliant and thoroughly deserving of the success it has had over the past (nearly) forty years. It is all the more impressive because the subject remains controversial and difficult. Without a deep knowledge of the context one bogs down in Moneypenny & Buckle’s two vols., but anyone can read through Blake with fascination.

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