Margaret Thatcher was conducting a press conference and she studiously ignored the tall man standing at the back of the room whose hand was continuously raised. As the event drew to a close she eventually acknowledged his presence, “now, Mr Bevins, it’s your turn”. With measured politeness he enquired “Prime Minister, can you tell us – if you admire the NHS so much why don’t you use it ?” Those present recall that the silence which followed was unforgettable. Anthony Bevins was at the time political editor of the Independent and the directness and incisiveness of his question reflected the journalistic acumen which made him one of the most highly regarded pressmen of his age.
It is perhaps not surprising that he followed a career observing high politics as he had abundant opportunity to view it growing up the son of a Tory cabinet member, Reginald Bevins. He was born on 16th August 1942, the only son of Reginald and his wife Nora. Many sources refer to Anthony having grown up “in Toxteth” however this was not the case. At the time of his birth the family lived in Wavertree at 2 Rutherford Road L15, later moving to Queens Drive in Allerton L18, firstly at 108 then 37. He was educated at the Liverpool Collegiate (as was his father) and then the London School of Economics. He spent a year in Bengal with Voluntary Service Overseas and it was there that he met his wife, Mishtuni Roy. They married in India and upon their return to Liverpool, where Anthony had secured a trainee journalist post with the Liverpool Daily Post, they lived at 105 Crawford Avenue L18.
He spent time with the Sunday Express, Sun, Mail, Times and Observer but his most memorable role was with the Independent, an appointment which began with the paper’s first issue. He was responsible for numerous ‘scoops’ in his career, notably the impending challenge to Thatcher’s leadership and John Major’s secret talks with the IRA.
He died from pneumonia on 23rd March 2001, aged just 58, a few days after the death of his wife. In 2008 the Bevins Prize for investigative journalism was inaugurated in his memory. Fittingly the award is often knows as the ‘Rat Up A Drainpipe Award’.
The Bevins' family home at the time of Anthony's birth in 1942.
The Bevins home in the 1950's.
Bevins family home in 1960's..
Anthony and Mishtu Bevins' home while he was working for the Liverpool Daily Post in the late 1960's.
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