James Lees-Milne (1908-97) was the first Historic Buildings Secretary of the National Trust. He was instrumental in their acquisitoin of such splendid and much-visited properties as Attingham, Charlecote, Knole, Petworth, Sissinghurst, Stourhead and Wallington.
As a gifted and versatile author, he achieved note first as an architectural historian, later as a novelist and biographer.
But he will be best remembered as a diarist who was remarkable for his candour, wit and sharp observation. His later diaries, covering the last twenty-five years of his life, are already recognised as outstanding works of literature and contributions to social history, as has long been the case with his early diaries covering the 1940s.