Simon Jenkins

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Simon Jenkins

Simon Jenkins at Policy Fight Club.jpg
Jenkins in 2012
Simon David Jenkins

(1943-06-10) 10 June 1943 (age 77)
Birmingham, England
EducationMill Hill School
Alma materSt John's College, Oxford
(m. 1978; div. 2009)

Hannah Kaye
(m. 2014)
AwardsKnight Bachelor

Sir Simon David Jenkins FSA FRSL (born 10 June 1943) is a British author and a newspaper columnist and editor. He was editor of the Evening Standard from 1976 to 1978 and of The Times from 1990 to 1992.

Jenkins chaired the National Trust from 2008 to 2014. He currently writes columns for The Guardian.

Early life and education[edit]

Jenkins was born (1943-06-10)10 June 1943, in Birmingham, England.[1] His father, Daniel Thomas Jenkins, was a professor of divinity at Princeton University.[2]

Jenkins was educated at Mill Hill School and St John's College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics.[1]



After graduating from the University of Oxford, Jenkins initially worked at Country Life magazine, before joining the Times Educational Supplement.[3] He was then features editor and columnist on the Evening Standard before editing the Insight pages of The Sunday Times.[4][5] From 1976 to 1978 he was editor of the Evening Standard, before becoming political editor of The Economist from 1979 to 1986.[6] He edited The Times from 1990 to 1992,[7] and since then has been a columnist for The Times and The Guardian.[5][8] In 1998 he received the What the Papers Say Journalist of the Year award.[4]

In January 2005, he announced he was ending his 15-year association with The Times to write a book before joining The Guardian as a columnist.[4] He retained a column at The Sunday Times and was a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.[9] He gave up both on becoming chairman of the National Trust in 2008, when he also resumed an occasional column for the Evening Standard.[10]


On 14 April 2009, The Guardian newspaper withdrew one of his articles from its website after former African National Congress leader and South African President Jacob Zuma sued the paper for defamation.[11]

In February 2010, Jenkins, who had been in favour of the Falklands War, argued in a Guardian article that the Falkland Islands are an example of anachronistic British colonialism and should be handed over to Argentinian sovereignty.[citation needed] He said that they could be leased back under the auspices of the UN.[citation needed] He remarked that the 2,500 or so British islanders should not have an "unqualified veto on British government policy".[12] In March 2012, he stated on Question Time that Britain should begin negotiating the handover of the Falkland Islands to the Argentine government.[citation needed] Only his fellow panellist Alexei Sayle agreed; the others and the audience disapproved.[citation needed]

Jenkins has expressed varying opinions on the subject of national defence. In a piece in The Guardian in 2010 he wrote that the government should "cut [defence], all £45 billion of it... With the end of the Cold War in the 1990s that threat [from global communism] vanished."[citation needed] However, he wrote in the same paper in 2016 in support of NATO membership, saying: "It is a real deterrent, and its plausibility rests on the assurance of collective response."[13]

Jenkins voted for the UK to Remain within the European Union in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, arguing in The Guardian that leaving would provide Germany with dominance over the remainder of the union: "It would leave Germany effectively alone at the head of Europe, alternately hesitant and bullying".[14]


Jenkins has written several books on the politics, history and architecture of England, including England's Thousand Best Churches[15] and England's Thousand Best Houses.[5] In his 2011 book A Short History of England, he argued that the British Empire "was a remarkable institution that dismantled itself in good order",[16] and upon its publication he wrote in The Telegraph that "I have come to regard England as the most remarkable country in European history."[17]

Public appointments[edit]

Jenkins served on the boards of British Rail 1979–1990[citation needed] and London Transport 1984–86.[citation needed] He was a member of the Millennium Commission from February 1994 to December 2000,[18] and has also sat on the Board of Trustees of The Architecture Foundation.[citation needed] From 1985 to 1990, he was deputy chairman of English Heritage.[5]

In July 2008, it was announced that he had been chosen as the new chairman of the National Trust; he took over the post from William Proby in November of that year.[citation needed] Although Jenkins had in the past been critical of some aspects of the Trust's work,[citation needed] he said he was "very pleased" by his appointment, and that the Trust was "one of England's great institutions".[19] As chairman of the National Trust, a post he held until November 2014, Jenkins campaigned vociferously against the building of new houses,[citation needed] although according to then housing minister Nick Boles he himself owned "at least two homes".[20]

Personal life and honours[edit]

Insignia of Knight Bachelor

Jenkins married the American actress Gayle Hunnicutt in 1978; the couple had one son. They separated in 2008 and have since divorced.[21] He married Hannah Kaye, executive producer at Intelligence Squared, in 2014.[citation needed]

Jenkins was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to journalism in the 2004 New Year honours.

Selected works[edit]

  • Simon Jenkins (1969) Education and Labour's Axe, Bow Publications, ISBN 0-900182-79-2
  • Simon Jenkins (1971) Here to Live: Study of Race Relations in an English Town Runnymede Trust, ISBN 0-902397-12-5
  • Simon Jenkins (1975) Landlords to London: Story of a Capital and Its Growth Constable, ISBN 0-09-460150-X
  • Simon Jenkins (1979) Newspapers: The Power and the Money Faber, ISBN 0-571-11468-7
  • Simon Jenkins (1981) Newspapers Through the Looking-glass Manchester Statistical Society, ISBN 0-85336-058-8
  • Simon Jenkins and Andrew Graham-Yooll (1983) Imperial Skirmishes: War And Gunboat Diplomacy In Latin America Diane Publishing, ISBN 0-7567-7468-3
  • Sir Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins (1984) Battle for the Falklands M Joseph, ISBN 0-7181-2578-9
  • Simon Jenkins and Anne Sloman (1985) With Respect, Ambassador: Enquiry into the Foreign Office BBC, ISBN 0-563-20329-3
  • Simon Jenkins (1986) The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the Twentieth Century Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-14627-9
  • Simon Jenkins and Robert Ilson (1992) "The Times" English Style and Usage Guide Times Books ISBN 0-7230-0396-3
  • Simon Jenkins (1993) The Selling of Mary Davies and Other Writings John Murray, ISBN 0-7195-5298-2
  • Simon Jenkins (1994) Against the Grain, John Murray, ISBN 0-7195-5570-1
  • Simon Jenkins (1995) Accountable to None: Tory Nationalization of Britain Hamish Hamilton, ISBN 0-241-13591-5
  • Simon Jenkins (1999) England's Thousand Best Churches Allen Lane, ISBN 0-7139-9281-6
  • Simon Jenkins (2003) England's Thousand Best Houses Allen Lane, ISBN 0-7139-9596-3
  • Simon Jenkins (2006) Thatcher & Sons – A Revolution in Three Acts Penguin, ISBN 978-0-7139-9595-4
  • Simon Jenkins (2008) Wales: Churches, Houses, Castles, Allen Lane, ISBN 978-0-713-99893-1
  • Simon Jenkins (2011) A Short History of England Profile Books, ISBN 978-1-84668-461-6
  • Simon Jenkins (2013) England's Hundred Best Views Profile Books, ISBN 978-1-781250-96-9
  • Simon Jenkins (2016), England's Cathedrals Little, Brown ISBN 978-1-408706-45-9
  • Simon Jenkins (2017) Britain's Hundred Best Railway Stations Penguin Books, ISBN 978-0-241978-98-6
  • Simon Jenkins (2018) A Short History of Europe: From Pericles to Putin, Penguin Books, ISBN 978-0-241-35252-6


  1. ^ a b "'JENKINS, (Sir) Simon David', Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2011".(subscription required)
  2. ^ Kaye, Elaine. "Jenkins, Daniel Thomas in OxfordDNB". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Simon Jenkins". The Guardian. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Timms, Dominic (27 January 2005). "Times columnist Simon Jenkins to join the Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d McSmith, Andy (5 July 2008). "Sir Simon Jenkins: History Man". The Independent. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Simon Jenkins". The Cornwall Lecture. University of Exeter. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  7. ^ "The Princess and the Press". Frontline. PBS. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Sir Simon Jenkins". Landmark Trust. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  9. ^ Jenkins, Simon (9 September 2010). "Simon Jenkins @ The Huffington Post". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  10. ^ Ponsford, Dominic (19 January 2009). "Simon Jenkins column returns to Evening Standard". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  11. ^ "Zuma sues London's Guardian". South African Mail & Guardian. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  12. ^ Jenkins, Simon (25 February 2010). "Falklands... Britain's expensive nuisance". Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  13. ^ "War of Jenkins' ear". Private Eye. London: Pressdram Ltd. 2 September 2016.
  14. ^ "I fear German dominance. That's why I'm for remaining in the EU". The Guardian. 16 June 2016. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  15. ^ Jenkins, Simon (2003) "England's Thousand Best Churches", Manchester Memoirs; vol. 140 (2001–02), pp. 10–20 (part of a lecture he gave to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, 29 October 2001)
  16. ^ Kamm, Oliver (3 September 2011). "Simon Jenkins's potted history of England". The Times.
  17. ^ Simon Jenkins (24 September 2011). "The potent sweep of English history". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  18. ^ "Millennium Commissioners". Millennium Commission. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
  19. ^ Kennedy, Maev (3 July 2008). "Writer Simon Jenkins to chair National Trust". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  20. ^ McSmith, Andy. "And we still don't know how many homes Sir Simon has". The Independent. Archived from the original on 21 March 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  21. ^ Eden, Richard (26 July 2008). "Sir Simon Jenkins's wife files for divorce". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 October 2016.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Roy Wright
Deputy Editor of the Evening Standard
Succeeded by
Richard Bourne
Preceded by
Charles Wintour
Editor of the Evening Standard
Succeeded by
Charles Wintour
Preceded by
Charles Wilson
Editor of The Times
Succeeded by
Peter Stothard