Obituary: Julian Allason
It is with great sadness that we report the untimely death of Anthony Powell Society Vice-President Julian Allason, at the age of just 67.
Julian was the Society's founding father, for it was he who after Powell died in March 2000 rang me up and said we had to organise a conference in Powell's honour. And so it was that a small group of people gathered on 1 June 2000 in Julian's then consulting rooms in Chelsea. Under the stern gaze of a large painting of Peter the Great it soon became obvious that, as half a dozen miscellaneous fans, we had neither a hook on which to hang a conference nor any prospect of significant sponsorship. Thus the decision was made to form the Anthony Powell Society; Julian was our first Chairman and I am still the Society's first Secretary. We were several years later to honour Julian as a Vice-President of the Society.
Julian was a man of many parts. A one-time naval Commander and an entrepreneur who retrained as a psychotherapist, latterly he was a highly respected travel journalist for the Financial Times. He was twice married and leaves four sons and a daughter.
But above all Julian was an ideas man, and his first great idea, on that night in June 2000, was for our inaugural conference to be in Venice, setting for Temporary Kings — something we didn't achieve until 2014. When we had picked ourselves up off the floor we decided that we had maybe better learn to crawl before we tried running! Nevertheless Julian's indefatigable enthusiasm, ideas and wise counsel were a huge asset to the Society, and to the Trustees, over the years: from his journalistic contacts, wide knowledge of London clubland and the "upper 10,000", and his skill at manufacturing amusing spoof stories. Thus Julian opened many doors for the Society enabling us to hold events we otherwise couldn't have done (like an affordable champagne Sunday lunch at the Ritz) and attract speakers we would not have otherwise approached.
Julian is going to be so greatly missed by so many people, the Anthony Powell Society amongst them. We shall cherish the honour of having known Julian and appreciate his contribution to the Society for many, many years hence.
Secretary, Anthony Powell Society