Thursday, 7 January 2010

Scandal of the Bristols

"The disgrace and disintegration of three aristocratic families" is the sub-title of a new book, Spleandour & Squalor by Marcus Scriven, and it is no surprise to see that the Bristols are one of the three. The fortune of the family that gave its name to the hotel trade was most spectacularly dissipated by John Hervey, the 6th Earl, who is said to have spent £7million on drugs, for which he was at one stage jailed. You can read about him in "LL Cool J and the Man who Shot Andy Warhol", chapter 7 in High Times at the Hotel Bristol. He did, however, not stand much of a chance, being the son of the Victor, the 6th Earl, who had also put in time for robbery and was, according to Scriven, the inspiration for Evelyn Waugh's Basil Seal Rides Again: Or, the The Rake's Regress. Victor's story is told in Paris Hilton & Lady Victoria Hervey, which can be read on-line.

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