Simon Jenkins

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Sir Simon Jenkins
Simon Jenkins at Policy Fight Club.jpg
Jenkins in 2012
Born Simon David Jenkins
(1943-06-10) 10 June 1943 (age 76)[1]
Birmingham, England
Alma mater St John's College, Oxford
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) Gayle Hunnicutt[1] (1978–2009) Hannah Kaye (2014-)
Awards Knight Bachelor

Sir Simon David Jenkins FSA FRSL (born 10 June 1943) is an English newspaper columnist, editor and author. He is the son of Daniel Thomas Jenkins (1914–2002), theologian and United Reformed Church minister.[2]

Since November 2008, he has been chairman of the National Trust. He writes columns for both The Guardian and London's Evening Standard. Previously, Jenkins was a commentator for The Times, which he edited from 1990 to 1992. Having also edited the Evening Standard, Jenkins was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to journalism in the 2004 New Year honours.

Early life

Jenkins was born in Birmingham.[dead link] He was educated at Mill Hill School and St John's College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.[1]



Jenkins graduated from Oxford and began working initially at Country Life magazine, before joining The Times Educational Supplement. He was then features editor and columnist on the Evening Standard before editing the Sunday Times Insight pages.[3][4] From 1976 to 1978 he was editor of the Evening Standard, before moving to become political editor of the Economist. He edited The Times from 1990 to 1992, but since then has primarily worked as a columnist.

On 28 January 2005, he announced he was ending his 15-year association with The Times to write a book before joining The Guardian as a columnist. He retained a column on the Sunday Times and was a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.[5] He gave up both on becoming chairman of the National Trust in 2008, when he also resumed an occasional column for the London Evening Standard.[6]

On 14 April 2009, the Guardian newspaper withdrew one of his articles from its website after ANC leader and current South African President Jacob Zuma sued the paper for defamation.[7]

In February 2010 Jenkins, who had been in favour of the Falklands War, argued in a Guardian article that the Falkland Islands are an example of anachronistic British colonialism and should be handed over to Argentine control. He said that they could be leased back under the auspices of the UN. He remarked that the 2,500 or so British islanders should not have an "unqualified veto on British government policy".[8] In March 2012, he stated on Question Time that Britain should begin negotiating the handover of the Falkland Islands to the Argentine government. Only his fellow panellist Alexei Sayle agreed; the others and the audience disapproved.

In December 2010 Jenkins spoke disparagingly[9] on the Radio 4 Today Programme about the Shard, a skyscraper built in London. He was described as a "professional miserabilist" in The Londonist.[10]


Jenkins has written several books on politics, history and architecture, including England's Thousand Best Churches[11] and England's Thousand Best Houses.[4] More recently in his history of England, he argues that the British Empire "was a remarkable institution that dismantled itself in good order."[12] He wrote that England is "the most remarkable country in European history."[13]

Public appointments

Jenkins served on the boards of British Rail 1979–1990 and London Transport 1984–86. He was a member of the Millennium Commission from February 1994 to December 2000,[14] and has also sat on the Board of Trustees of the Architecture Foundation. From 1985 to 1990, he was deputy chairman of English Heritage.[4]

In July 2008, it was announced that he had been chosen as the new chairman of the National Trust; he took over the post from William Proby in November of that year. Although Jenkins had in the past been critical of some aspects of the Trust's work, he said he was "very pleased" by his appointment, and that the Trust was "one of England's great institutions".[15] As chair of the National Trust, Jenkins has campaigned vociferously against the building of new houses, although according to then housing minister Nick Boles he himself owned "at least two homes".[16]

Personal life

Jenkins married the American actress Gayle Hunnicutt in 1978; the couple had one son. They separated in 2008 and have since divorced.[17] He married Hannah Kaye in 2014.[18]


  • In 1998 he was named as the What the Papers Say Journalist of the Year.
  • He was knighted in 2004 for services to journalism.

Selected works


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "'JENKINS, (Sir) Simon David', Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2011".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>(subscription required)
  2. Elaine Kaye. "Jenkins, Daniel Thomas in OxfordDNB". Retrieved 20 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Dominic Timms (27 January 2005). "Times columnist Simon Jenkins to join the Guardian". London: MediaGuardian. Retrieved 2 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 McSmith, Andy (5 July 2008). "Sir Simon Jenkins: History Man". London: The Independent. Retrieved 1 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Jenkins, Simon (9 September 2010). "Simon Jenkins @ The Huffington Post". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 September 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Ponsford, Dominic (19 January 2009). "Simon Jenkins column returns to Evening Standard". Press Gazette. Retrieved 1 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Zuma sues London's Guardian". South African Mail & Guardian. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Jenkins, Simon (25 February 2010). "Falklands... Britain's expensive nuisance". London: Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "A visually exciting building ... in the wrong place". BBC. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Central Core of The Shard Tops Out". Londonist. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Jenkins, Simon (2003) "England's Thousand Best Churches", Manchester Memoirs; vol. 140 (2001–02), pp. 10–20 (part of a lecture he gave to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, 29 October 2001)
  12. Oliver Kamm (3 September 2011). "Simon Jenkins's potted history of England". The Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Simon Jenkins (24 September 2011). "The potent sweep of English history". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Millennium Commissioners". Millennium Commission. Retrieved 5 December 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Kennedy, Maev (3 July 2008). "Writer Simon Jenkins to chair National Trust". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. McSmith, Andy. "And we still don't know how many homes Sir Simon has". The Independent. Retrieved 26 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. He married Hannah Kaye, the producer of Intelligence Squared debates, in 2014.Sir Simon Jenkins's wife files for divorce", Mandrake by Richard Eden, The Telegraph, 26 July 2008

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Roy Wright
Deputy Editor of the Evening Standard
Succeeded by
Richard Bourne
Preceded by
Charles Wintour
Editor of the Evening Standard
Succeeded by
Charles Wintour
Preceded by
Charles Wilson
Editor of The Times
Succeeded by
Peter Stothard