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Bury councillor remembers howthe late Lord Snowdon got him a top job

The Sunday Times studio staff with Lord Snowdon in the middle and Tom Murray in the first row.
The Sunday Times studio staff with Lord Snowdon in the middle and Tom Murray in the first row.

To town councillor Tom Murray, the death of Lord Snowdon meant the loss of a respected former colleague.

Best known for marrying the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, in 1960, Lord Snowdon was also a renown photographer and he got Tom a job.

The Bury St Edmunds town councillor worked with Lord Snowdon at the Sunday Times Magazine from 1968 to 1977.

“He designed the studio on top of Thompson House – it was gigantic,” Tom recalled.

He had followed Lord Snowdon’s career for years but it was the man Tom thinks of as Tony who got him the Sunday times job.

Tom had been doing theatre photography in South Africa and left when the paper refused to give him two week’s holiday over Christmas.

“I wrote to all the best photographers in the UK and Tony was the only one who replied.”

They met at Kensington Palace and Lord Snowdon told him to take his portfolio to the Sunday Times.

“He gave me my first royal commission – a picture of Margaret, the children and Tony beside an Aston Martin.”

Lord Snowdon was best known for celebrity portraits, but he also did social subjects.

Tom said: “He photographed in a mental hospital, which was groundbreaking at the time.”

The most famous of those 1968 pictures was a nurse crouching to talk to a mentally ill girl. Tom said: “That’s the one everyone remembers.”


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