Tom Askey MA BSc graduated in medieval history in the University of Manchester as a mature student, having trained as a young man in biochemistry in the University of Sheffield, a farmer’s son taught by Sir Hans Krebs. Later he qualified in intellectual property law in London. After years as scientist and lawyer in pharmaceutical companies and in private practice, he switched to his first love – medieval history.
For many years he was the Archivist of the late Duke and Duchess of Devonshire at Chatsworth, where he assisted scholars worldwide. He was himself the author of numerous scholarly articles. A popular speaker who loved an audience, his swansong Chatsworth lecture was delivered before several hundred people in the presence of royalty.
In retirement he wrote the first and only biographies of artist Lance Thackeray 1867-1916 and author Nat Gould 1857- 1919. They were a challenge. Lance Thackeray left no personal papers whatsoever, and Nat Gould just a few letters. Both biographies were put together from traces found in long-forgotten newspapers, magazines and other publications. Richly illustrated, they have become the definitive authorities.
Tom Askey no longer writes non-fiction. Aged 92 he turned to fiction with the publication of his first novel “The Drum House Mystery”. He writes what he calls “cosy mysteries read in a favourite armchair by the fireside, with a glass of red wine to hand”.
He is working on several more such stories, and hopes to survive to see them in print.