Poetic academic kept 81-year secret

Lord Briggs
Lord Briggs
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AT 94, Lord Briggs is known for his historical tomes. The Keighley-born academic now has a new string to his bow – his first collection of poetry.

The historian – formerly Asa Briggs – has been a secret poet since the age of 13 but is about to have his first collection of works published.

The book called Collected Poems is said to be very revealing about his life and thought and contains 100 poems.

It will be issued in April at £20 in hardback by Edward Everett Root Publishers, a new publisher in Brighton.

The book also includes what the author calls “a strictly necessary introduction”, telling how and why he has always written poetry privately. It is also illustrated from the manuscript of some of his early poems.

The new work has received acclaim from poets and historians. Poet Hannah Lowe said: “The concerns of politics and place, love, life and memory combine to make a very memorable collection.”

Lord Briggs has been Vice-Chancellor of The University of Sussex, Chancellor of the Open University, Master of Worcester College, Oxford, and Chancellor of the Open Universitys. He served as an intelligence officer at Bletchley Park during World War Two.

He grew up in a working-class family in Keighley and won a scholarship to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.