Sarah Badel reads from Baroness Trumpington's memoir Coming Up Trumps
01 February 2013
By Pan Macmillan
A riveting memoir from Lady Trumpington, doyenne of the House of Lords, taking her from 1920s London to her career in politics.
In this characteristically trenchant memoir, the indomitable Jean Trumpington looks back on her long and remarkable life. The daughter of an officer in the Bengal Lancers and an American heiress, Jean Campbell-Harris was born into a world of considerable privilege, but the Wall Street Crash entirely wiped out her mother's fortune.
Leaving school at fifteen, without ever taking an exam, the young Jean Campbell-Harris was sent to Paris to study art and both French and German, but two years later, with the outbreak of the Second World War, she became a land girl - on a farm owned by Lloyd George, a family friend - however, she soon changed direction, joining naval intelligence at Bletchley Park, where she stayed for the rest of the war. After the war she worked first in Paris and then in New York, on Madison Avenue, with advertising's 'mad men'. It was in New York that she met her husband, the historian Alan Barker, and their marriage, in 1954, ushered in the happiest period of her life - bringing up her only son, Adam, and becoming a not entirely conventional headmaster's wife, before embarking on her distinguished political career, as a Cambridge City councillor, Mayor of Cambridge and, then, in 1980, a life peer.
Forthright, witty and deliciously opinionated, Coming Up Trumps is a wonderfully readable account of a life very well lived.