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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleLutyens, Mrs Naomi
Ref No8SUF/B/036
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 9
Date28 Mar 1975
Extent113:26 mins
Admin Biographical HistoryHarben and Lutyens
DescriptionInterview took place at Brian Harrison's house: 12 Rowland Close, Wolvercote, Oxford. Interviewee is daughter of HD Harben, supporter of the Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU). Also see interview 8SUF/B/040 and other interviews related to Harben [8SUF/B/047, 8SUF/B/056, 8SUF/B/057, 8SUF/B/096, 8SUF/B/115].

Interview summary:
0:00 mins:
Her father [HD Harben] and his acquaintances. Continuing correspondence with her grandmother's kitchen maid before she was born. Harben's background and lifestyle, education at Oxford and in Europe. Harben's life in Paris during the war, love of women. Her mother's life. Naomi's relationship with her father. Harben separation from her mother in 1922 when Naomi was 12 years old and mother's reaction. His attachment to his mistress 'Baby' [see Aldous Huxley, 'Chawdron', in his Brief Candles, 1930]. Harben's flat in London. Naomi's visits to London, description of Baby. Baby's possessiveness. Baby's death. Parents' relationship after Harben had left the family. Harben's responsibility for his children. Selling Newland Park. Acquaintances including the Pethick-Lawrences. Harben's belief in freedom. His enthusiasm for causes and his theories.

15:00 mins:
Harben's interest in Russia and left-wing politics. Difficulty in relationship between Harben, Baby and Naomi. His relationship to Naomi in later life, and how 'Baby' kept them apart. Naomi's mother's enduring love for Harben. Baby's faith and their relationship. Harben's friendship with Aldous Huxley. Harben's activity during the Second World War. Harben's marriage to Baby and the loss of his social circle. How Harben met Naomi's mother, her mother's elegance. Harben's character. Chivalrous, fastidious, magnetic. Harben's reaction when Naomi ran away from school, his developing relationship with Baby and loss of interest in his family. Naomi's poor relationship with her mother. Harben's reaction to his children's marital problems.

30:00 mins:
Harben's reaction to his children's marital problems. Harben's motivation for helping the suffragettes. Harben's manners and fastidious nature. Trip to Paris during the First World War. Harben's love of socialising and music. The writer, Oliver Baldwin's proposal to Naomi. John Boyle. Naomi's childhood and resilience. Harben's personality. Baby's undemanding nature and willingness to flatter Harben. Harben's friendship with Cyril Scott.

45:00 mins:
Harben's interest in health and vitamins, Einstein, keeping fit. Harben's daily rituals and diets. Life after giving up being a barrister, simple life, his wealth and generosity. Harben's old age and attitude to ageing. Harben's emotional nature, interest in theosophy and eastern spirituality. Harben's youthful spirit. 'The fetters of freedom' - how Harben viewed his family. Naomi's childhood, understanding of suffrage movement and enjoyment of adult conversation. Harben's relationship with his children. Naomi's rivalry with her older sister. Topics of conversation in Harben's home.

60:00 mins:
Naomi's mother's relationship with her father. Baby's relationship with Harben and reluctance to sleep with him or have children. Harben's relationships with women. The Fabians. His anger. Harben's enjoyment of hunting. Harben and his wife's kindness to their servants. Harben's relationship with his parents. Dispute over inheritance. Harben's response to emotional problems of those close to him and sensitivity to those outside the family. Baby's willingness to support outsiders. Harben's activity during the First World War, buys the Majestic hotel and sets up an English hospital. Dr Hayden-Guest. Harben works in the passport office and meets Baby. Harben's wealth and properties. Harben's relationship with his brother. Naomi's childhood. Harben's support of Germany at the start of the First World War.

75:00 mins:
Harben's activity during the Second World War and life in Paris during the wars. Harben's work in East London and involvement in setting up Citizen's Advice Bureau. Harben's empathy for others, except his own family. Harben's enthusiasm for Communism. Harben's public speaking ability and advice to Naomi. Naomi's friendship with Emmeline Pethwick-Lawrence's and her advice about public speaking. Emmeline and Fred Pethick-Lawrence's relationship and personalities. Naomi's marriage and married life. Naomi seeks Emmeline's advice about careers. Emmeline's disagreement with Eleanor Roosevelt about equal pay for women. Harben's relationship with leaders of WSPU. Harben's relationship with Naomi's mother. Naomi's mother's enduring love for Harben. Naomi's friendship with Barbara Gould.

90:00 mins:
Naomi's friendship with Barbara Gould. Harben's lifestyle and personality. Harben's row with his family, and being kicked off the board of the Prudential after the First World War. Harben's brother. Harben's anti-facism and non-pacifism.

105:00 mins:
Harben acts as a sponsor during the war. Harben's Communism but never joined the Party. Harben's ideas about the English and other Europeans, his love of France. Harben taking Naomi out in Paris. The 'bright young things' and unemployment. Marxism. Harben's views about revolution. Baby's 'platitudes' and lack of intellectualism. Harben's lack of interest in his children and grandchildren. Harben's respect for Naomi's work during the war. Harben's involvement in the creation of the Citizens Advice Bureau. Harben's ability to get on with everyone.

120:00 mins:
Harben's ability to get on with people of all classes. Harben's class-consciousness towards the end of his life. Influenced by Baby's ideas about class. Harben's legal career and emotional nature. Travis Humphreys. Harben's letters to Naomi. Harben's reaction to Naomi's divorce and relationship with his son-in-law. Harben's gentlemanly nature and lack of loyalty to his children. Naomi's respect for Harben and his qualities.
Related Record8SUF/B/040
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 10
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