No defence for an awful woman

I was very interested to read Robert Winder's review (2 August) of my book C B Fry: an English hero - until I reached the penultimate paragraph.

Contradicting some of his earlier comments, Winder claimed that I "bravely defended" the behaviour of Fry's wife, Beatrice. As her conduct included physical abuse of boys in her care - as my book shows - this statement is deeply hurtful - and totally unsubstantiated. Although I refer to Beatrice at one point as "formidable" - as Winder pointed out - his review ignored my many descriptions of her behaviour as "terrifying", "scandalous" and "sadistic". Her daughter-in-law told me, and the book makes this clear, that she was "an awful woman".

Iain Wilton
London SE21

This article first appeared in the 13 September 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Kids just say no to party politics