In March 1912 the postmaster-general accepted the Marconi Company's tender to build the first six stations of a wireless chain to link up the British Empire. The negotiations had been conducted for the Marconi Company by the managing director, Godfrey Isaacs, brother of Sir Rufus Isaacs, the Attorney-General. Immediately it became clear that opposition to the contract would be unexpectedly strong. There was evidence of a gamble in Marconi shares. Rumours began to spread charging Ministers, among them Lloyd George, with corruption in placing the contract and using their position to speculate in Marconi shares. Although it has been discussed in many biographies of the period, this is the first objective and full-length account of a dramatic and little-known event in English history.
Lady Donaldson of Kingsbridge (1907-1994), a British writer and biographer, was the daughter of Freddie Lonsdale, a playwright. She married John George Stuart Donaldson, Baron Donaldson of Kingsbridge (known as Jack), a left-wing intellectual, social worker, and dilettante Gloucestershire farmer, in 1935. As the daughter of the playwright Frederick Lonsdale, she grew up in the frivolous world of 1920s café society, yet she became a committed socialist. As the wife of Lord Donaldson who was on the board of both London Opera houses and was subsequently Minister for the Arts, Frances Donaldson was at the cultural centre of British life. Her body of work included topics such as farming, and biographies on writers Evelyn Waugh and P. G. Wodehouse, as well as on her father, Freddie. Her biography of King Edward VIII won the Wolfson Literary Award and was the basis for a six-part television series, Edward and Mrs. Simpson, starring James Fox and Cynthia Harris.
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