Daniel Snowman writes about the new Director of the Institute of Historical Research and author of books on aristocracy, class and the monarchy.
The new Director of the Institute of Historical Research marches through his domains with obvious relish. ‘The best job in Britain any historian could ever want or have,’ David Cannadine recalls Asa Briggs once telling him, as he finds his way, through the inter-war marble grandeur of London University's Senate House, through one of the best history libraries in the country, to his lofty but as yet somewhat bare office. Near the door is a pile of boxes. ‘Oh, that's Andrew Mellon,’ Cannadine says with a characteristic raising of his eyes to the heavens. ‘I do not intend in my time as Director to stop writing history,’ he announced at a reception to mark his arrival at the IHR; ‘I would not know how to do that, and have no intention of finding out’.