29 Facts About Jonathan Meades


Jonathan Turner Meades was born on 21 January 1947 and is an English writer and film-maker, primarily on the subjects of place, culture, architecture and food.


Jonathan Meades has described himself as a "cardinal of atheism" and is both an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a Patron of Humanists UK.


Jonathan Meades was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, the only child of John William Meades, a biscuit company sales rep, and Margery Agnes Meades, a primary school teacher.


Jonathan Meades discovered a fascination for place and the built environment whilst accompanying his father on sales trips during school holidays; he would be left unattended and free to explore while the elder Meades conducted his business with the grocer.


Jonathan Meades developed an early love of France on the frequent trips which his family took there, made possible by his Francophile mother's father, who worked for Southern Railway, the company which ran the Saint-Malo and Le Havre ferries.


Jonathan Meades later described it as a "Sandhurst for chorus boys" where students were "martially drilled," teaching them the value of discipline, craft and technique.


Jonathan Meades moved to Architects' Journal in 1979 and around this time worked on another book, The Illustrated Atlas of the World's Great Buildings, with Philip Bagenal.


Jonathan Meades was invited to contribute to the bi-monthly restaurant magazine A la Carte at around this time.


Jonathan Meades was a great success in this position, taking the job more seriously than his predecessor.


Jonathan Meades won Best Food Journalist at the 1986,1990,1996 and 1999 Glenfiddich Awards.


Jonathan Meades finally quit in around 2000, having been pronounced morbidly obese by his doctor: he had put on around five pounds per year, or one ounce per meal, during his tenure.


Jonathan Meades then managed to lose a third of his body weight over the course of the following twelve months, using a strict diet of protein and citrus.


Jonathan Meades remained with The Times as a columnist until 2005.


Jonathan Meades contributed to the screenplay of the 1992 French-Italian adventure film L'Atlantide, directed by Bob Swaim, and wrote three unproduced screenplays in the 1980s and the 1990s: Millie's Problem, The Side I Dressed On and The Brute's Price.


In 2015, the publisher and record label Test Centre released a spoken word vinyl album by Jonathan Meades entitled Pedigree Mongrel, consisting of readings from Pompey, Museum Without Walls, An Encyclopaedia of Myself and unpublished fiction, combined with soundscapes created by Mordant Music.


The sleeve of the album featured photography by Jonathan Meades, including an abstract self-portrait on the front cover.


Jonathan Meades would be credited as the sole author of all his subsequent work.


Jonathan Meades made two films on the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner.


Jonathan Meades visited Aberdeen, Lewis and Harris and the less-renowned footballing towns of south-west Fife, Clackmannanshire and Falkirk, guided by his foul-mouthed 'ScotNav'.


Over a period of 25 years, Meades has written and presented four films on the architectural legacy of 20th-century European dictators, the latest of which, Franco Building with Jonathan Meades, looking at Franco's Spain, aired in August 2019.


Jonathan Meades entered the world of photography with the 2013 collection Pidgin Snaps.


Jonathan Meades has been married three times and has four daughters from his first two marriages.


Jonathan Meades was friendly with Aubrey "Po" Powell, co-founder of the graphic design company Hipgnosis, most famous for its Pink Floyd album covers.


Jonathan Meades has described himself as "a hanger-on to the hangers-on" around the band and has admitted to taking LSD three times, describing it as "the only remotely interesting drug".


Jonathan Meades was called "the best amateur chef in the world" by Marco Pierre White.


Jonathan Meades taught himself to cook as a young man using Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle and Julia Child.


Jonathan Meades is a football fan and supports Southampton FC.


Jonathan Meades has been a member of Soho's Groucho and Academy clubs.


Jonathan Meades won the first ever episode of the BBC's Celebrity Mastermind, broadcast in December 2002.