Lady Antonia Fraser DBE makes a donation to HCLC in loving memory of Harold Pinter

Hackney Community Law Centre (HCLC) is deeply honoured to have received a donation for £500 from Lady Antonia Fraser DBE. Lady Antonia is is a British author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction. Her first major work was a 1969 biography of Mary, Queen of Scots, which was followed by several other biographies, including Cromwell, Our Chief of Men in 1973. She won the Wolfson History Award in 1984 for The Weaker Vessel, a study of women’s lives in 17th century England.

Lady Antonia has made this generous donation to HCLC in loving memory of her late husband Harold Pinter CH CBE.

Photo Credit: Roy Jones/ArenaPAL

Harold Pinter (pictured above) was an playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005.

Harold Pinter’s writing career spanned more than 50 years. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted for the screen. His screenplay adaptations of others’ works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1971), The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He also directed/acted in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others’ works.

Harold Pinter was born in Hackney and attended Hackney Downs School. At school, he was encouraged to write by an inspirational English teacher, and his first published poetry appeared in the school newspaper. In 2012, HCLC Chair Ian Rathbone, also a member of the Clapton Pond Neighborhood Action Group, organised for a commemorative blue plaque to be placed on the Hackney home in Thistlewaite Road where Harold Pinter grew up.

 Lady Antonia attended the special ceremony to unveil the plaque.

In January 2017, Lady Antonia appeared on BBC Radio Four’s Broadcasting House programme. Tunde Okewale MBE, a patron of Hackney Community Law Centre (pictured above), was another guest on the programme. Tunde spoke to Lady Antonia in great detail about the many problems currently being experienced by people in Hackney who need access to justice. Lady Antonia immediately contacted the Law Centre to make a donation.

Lady Antonia said: “When I heard about the work of the Hackney Community Law Centre, I immediately decided to give a donation in the name of my late husband Harold Pinter who was born & brought up in Hackney; Harold was proud of his Hackney origins and would have been delighted to help such a good cause“.

Commenting on Lady Antonia’s donation to HCLC, Chair Ian Rathbone said:

Harold Pinter’s first success as a playwright depended on his unique understanding of working class and poor people, what their lives were like and how they spoke, which is reflected in many of his plays and he would have understood the needs for such people to have free access to justice, which is the focus of Hackney Community Law Centre.

“He was also born and schooled in Hackney, and so it is appropriate that Lady Antonia, his widow, has made this generous donation to the law centre in Hackney in his memory.

“I know that the staff team and Board of Directors are thrilled by this encouraging gesture which will help to boost the work we do for the people of Hackney.

Thanks so much again to Lady Antonia!