Fred Bason

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Fred Bason was an English bookseller, writer and broadcaster most famously known for his collection of diaries that were published in four volumes in the early 1950s.


Frederick Thomas Bason was born in Walworth, London on 29 August 1907. He always claimed himself to be a "true cockney" having actually been born within the sound of 'bow bells!' The only child, of late in life parents, he remained a solitary individual for the majority of his life, never marrying himself. Although a lifelong bachelor, he lived much of his adult life with his housekeeper, Lizzie, of whom, from his diary entries, he was obviously very fond. Lizzie remained in his service until her death in 1968.[1] At an early age he started keeping his diaries and found his vocation in buying and selling rare, second hand books. It was through his experience, in finding that publications had a much greater re-sale value with the author's signature, that a lifelong obsession with autographs began.[2] Through his literary interest he met numerous famous individuals, and had one of his published diaries introduced by Noël Coward. He kept his diaries right up until his death on 3 July 1973 aged 64. Although having lived a rather humble life; by living and dying in council rented property, and always aspiring to earn just under the minimum British Income Tax threshold, he left over £24,000 in his Will, of which the majority was a bequest to set up a benevolent fund for writers.[3]


  1. ^ Name (required). "Fred Bason Cockney Bookseller | Paul Robinson's Amazing Books". Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  2. ^ "The Last Bassoon: A Diary by Fred Bason | JAMA Internal Medicine". The JAMA Network. 1963-01-01. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  3. ^ "Reviews of the Week » 28 Sep 1950 » The Spectator Archive". 1950-09-28. Retrieved 2017-07-11.