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Monday, 3 September, 2001, 01:06 GMT 02:06 UK
Lord Hamlyn loses cancer battle
The Reading Room at the British Museum
The Paul Hamlyn Foundation donated 12,000 books to the British Museum
Tributes have been paid to publisher and philanthropist Lord Hamlyn, who has died at the age of 75.

He lost his battle against cancer at London's Royal Marsden Hospital on Friday with his wife, Lady Helen, and children, Michael and Jane, at his bedside.

The multi-millionaire, who revolutionised publishing by selling mass-market books cheaply, also had Parkinson's disease.

He was a major contributor of funds to the arts, and to the Labour Party.

The Labour Party Chairman, Charles Clarke, said: "He will be sorely missed."

Lord Hamlyn
Lord Hamlyn: Patron of the arts

"He was a great man - an outstanding supporter of the Labour Party as well as of other educational and cultural causes."

Early this year, publisher Lord Hamlyn eventually revealed that he was the benefactor who had given a 2m sum to Labour's coffers.

He made regular contributions in excess of 5,000 to the Labour party every year from 1996 to 1999, including a reported 500,000 sum in the run-up to the General Election in 1997.

The 74-year-old patron of the arts has also given substantial sums to good causes.

The charitable Paul Hamlyn Foundation, set up by the peer in 1987, has sponsored the National Theatre's discount ticket scheme which sees tickets available for as little as 1.

Donated books

It has also donated at least 12,000 books to the British Museum's new reference library housed in the now-public Reading Room.

There have also been donations of 1m to the Bodleian Library in Oxford and 200,000 a year to the Royal Opera House.

Lord Hamlyn founded several publishing companies since starting Books for Pleasure in 1949.

He started the successful Hamlyn Publishing Group in 1968 and bought it back from Reed International in 1986.

Lord Hamlyn also founded Music for Pleasure in 1965 as a joint venture with EMI.

He was a joint managing director of newspaper publishing giant News International in 1970 and 1971.

He has held numerous directorships in the world of publishing and was chairman of Heinemann Publishers between 1985 and 1997.


For six years until 1999, Lord Hamlyn was chancellor of Thames Valley University.

He was made a CBE for charitable services in 1993 by the Conservative government and given his peerage in 1998 and holds honorary literature degrees from Keele and Warwick universities.

The son of a Jewish paediatrician, Lord Hamlyn, came to Britain aged six as a refugee from Nazism in Germany.

He married Helen Guest in 1970 - but the children are from his first marriage, to Eileen Watson.

See also:

03 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Labour MP calls for funding re-think
03 Jan 01 | UK Politics
'Labour blameless' in donor saga
02 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Lord Hamlyn: Labour's donor
02 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Labour's 2m donor named
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