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31 Dec 16 13:08
Date Joined: 27 May 11
| Topic/replies: 11,109 | Blogger: scandanavian_haven's blog
T. S. Ashton, economic historian, Professor of Economic History, University of London (in 1957)[31]
Frank Auerbach, artist, declined knighthood in 2003[3][32]
Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International; was offered several times, but refused on each occasion, citing human rights abuses in which the British government was complicit[33][34]
Alan Bennett, playwright (in 1996; had previously declined appointment as CBE in 1988)[2]
Arnold Bennett, novelist, declined knighthood offered for service in running the British government's French propaganda department during World War I.[35]
David Bowie, musician (in 2003)[36]
Danny Boyle, theatre and film director (in 2013)[37]
Lester Brain, aviator and airline executive (in late 1960s; later accepted appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1979)[38]
Peter Brook, theatre and film director
Francis Crick, physicist, co-discoverer of DNA; was offered a CBE in 1963, but did not accept it.[39]
Paul Dirac, Nobel Prize winner for physics in 1933, declined a knighthood in 1953, reportedly in part due to his dislike of being addressed by his first name, but probably had egalitarian objections to titles, having lived in the USA for many years;[40] Finally accepted an Order of Merit in 1973 as it was not a title.[41]
Lionel Elvin, Director Institute of Education London, 1958–73
Michael Faraday, scientist: "I must remain plain Michael Faraday to the last."
Harry Ferguson, businessman, engineer and inventor; twice offered and declined knighthood in the last ten years of his life; in response to a letter from Winston Churchill offering to submit his name, Ferguson declined on the ground that knighthoods should be reserved for servicemen and statesmen, whose financial rewards were relatively small, and should not be given to businessmen or industrialists with financial wealth.[42]
Albert Finney, actor (in 2000; had previously declined CBE in 1980)[2]
E. M. Forster, author and essayist; declined knighthood in 1949, but accepted a Companion of Honour in the 1953 New Year Honours list and an Order of Merit in 1969.[43][44]
Michael Frayn, novelist and dramatist; declined a knighthood in the 2003 New Year Honours and a CBE four years previously; Frayn stated: "I haven't done this for reasons of modesty. I like the name 'Michael Frayn'; it's a nice little name to run around with. I've spent 70 years getting used to it and I don't want to change it now."[2]
John Freeman, politician, journalist, diplomat, business executive. Also declined a peerage.
John Galsworthy, playwright, declined knighthood in 1918 New Year Honours[45] but accepted appointment to the Order of Merit in 1929 as it was not a title.
Calouste Gulbenkian, philanthropist (in 1951)
Joe Haines, Press Secretary to Prime Minister Harold Wilson
A. H. Halsey, sociologist, proponent of a fairer and more equal society.
Richard Hamilton, artist[when?]
Thomas Hardy, novelist (later accepted OM because as it was an honour without a title)
Stanford G. Haughton, sound recordist/musician (in 1952)[31]
Stephen Hawking, CH, CBE, physicist, accepted CBE and CH but turned down a knighthood because he "does not like titles"[46]
Bill Hayden, Governor-General of Australia[47]
Patrick Heron, artist, declined a knighthood in the 1980s, reportedly in protest at government policy on arts education[when?]
Peter Higgs, CH, physicist, Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Edinburgh; co-discoverer of the Higgs boson in 1999, because he felt honours are used for political purposes by the government. He later accepted appointment to the Order of the Companions of Honour, because he was (wrongly) assured that it was the personal gift of the Queen, in 2013.[48][49][50]
Keith Hill, Labour MP; declined knighthood in 2010 Dissolution Honours, stating: "My fundamental reason is that I have never had the least desire to have a title. I don't want to be discourteous, but I find the whole idea a little embarrassing and too much for me."[51]
David Hockney, CH, RA, artist (in 1990; accepted appointment as CH in 1997, and OM in 2012 because they are not titles)[2]
Charles Holden, architect, declined twice (1944, 1951) for two reasons: he considered it to be at odds with his simple lifestyle and considered architecture a collaborative process; another reason was that as they were not legally married, his partner and common-law wife, Margaret, would not have been able to call herself Lady Holden.[52]
Trevor Howard, actor
John Hughes, Principal Ruskin College, Oxford; Vice Chair, Prices Commission (1977–79)[when?]
Aldous Huxley, author (in 1959)[2]
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan; offered a knighthood in 1925, he replied: "I prefer to be plain Mr Jinnah"[citation needed]
Augustus John, artist[when?]
Gus John, educationalist and campaigner for racial equality[when?]
Rudyard Kipling, soldier, writer, and poet; declined knighthood in 1899 and again in 1903; his wife stated that Kipling felt he could "do his work better without it".[53] Kipling also declined the Order of Merit in 1921 and again in 1924.[54]
T. E. Lawrence, Arabist, archaeologist, soldier; King George V offered Lawrence a knighthood on 30 October 1918 at a private audience in Buckingham Palace for his services in the Arab Revolt, but he declined.[55][56]
Essington Lewis, Australian mining magnate[57]
Edgar Lobel, Romanian-British classicist and papyrologist; (in 1955)
L. S. Lowry, artist (in 1968; had previously declined appointment as OBE in 1955 and CBE in 1961; later twice declined appointment as CH (1972, 1976); holds the record for the most honours declined)[2]
Humphrey Lyttelton, jazz musician, broadcaster and author (in 1995)
Dan McKenzie, Professor of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge (in 2003)
Arthur Mann, then editor of the Yorkshire Post, declined two knighthoods in the 1920s on the basis that accepting would interfere with his journalism; upon retirement he became a Companion of Honour.[58]
Kingsley Martin, journalist and editor (in 1965); strongly disapproved of the honours system, certainly for journalists.
John Loudon McAdam, Scottish road builder[59]
Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum (in 1999); in 2010 he accepted appointment to the Order of Merit, the personal gift of the British monarch[60]
Michael Meacher, Labour MP, minister and socialist.
James Meade, economist; Nobel Prize for Economics winner (in 1969)
Norman Miscampbell, Conservative MP. Margaret Thatcher recommended his appointment to a knighthood (in 1989), which he declined reportedly because he thought it would prevent him enjoying his retirement from political activity.
Henry Moore, sculptor (in 1951)
Stanley Morison (in 1953; also declined CBE)[31]
Robert Morley, actor (in 1975; accepted CBE in 1957)
A. G. Norman, scientist (in 1969)[31]
John Osborne, playwright[when?]
Peter O'Toole, film and stage actor[citation needed]
William Pember Reeves, New Zealand politician, declined knighthood three times, including GCMG[61][when?]
Frank Pick, chief executive of London Transport (also declined a peerage).[62]
Harold Pinter, playwright[when?] (later accepted CH)[when?]
John Piper, artist[when?][31]
Gilbert Ryle, philosopher (in 1965)
Mark Rylance, actor (later accepted knighthood in 2017 New Year Honours)
Simon Russell Beale, actor
Frederick Sanger, British scientist and double Nobel Prize Winner (accepted OM, CH, and CBE)
Amartya Sen, economist and Nobel Prize winner[when?]
George Bernard Shaw, playwright and critic and socialist; also declined OM[63]
Paul Scofield, actor (in 1968)[64]
Alastair Sim, actor, declined a knighthood[when?] as his father had done[when?]
Quentin Skinner, historian; Regius Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge; republican[65] (in 1996)
George Stephenson, railway engineer and inventor[when?]
Robert Stephenson railway engineer and entrepreneur, son of George Stephenson[when?]
Adrian Stokes, artist (in 1968)
W. Strath, civil servant (in 1959)
Rabindranath Tagore, eminent Bengali polymath and the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 (renounced his knighthood in response to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919)
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, also declined the OBE. "The honours system is a relic of feudalism. Most of the major gongs are handed out to well-paid time servers, political cronies and big party donors."
A. J. P. Taylor, eminent British historian. "The Establishment draws its recruits from outside as soon as they are ready to conform to its standards and become respectable. There is nothing more agreeable than to make peace with the Establishment – and nothing more corrupting."
Peter Townsend, Professor of Social Policy and founder of the Child Poverty Action Group[when?]
Ralph Vaughan Williams, composer[when?]
Sydney Walton, civil servant, secretary of the Consumer Council during World War I (declined knighthood in 1917)
J. Steven Watson, historian, twice declined the offer a knighthood in 1960 and in 1966 on becoming Principal of University of St Andrews.
Patrick White, Australian writer (1970)[66]
John Walpole Willis, colonial judge, barrister and author, refused a knighthood at least twice.[67]
John Henry Whitley, Liberal MP and Speaker of the House of Commons 1911-21[68]
Norman Willis, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress; "turned down a knighthood offered to him by John Major, just as he had turned aside a proposal from the Labour leader John Smith that he might consider going into the House of Lords"[69]
Bill Woodfull, Australian cricketer; turned down offer of a knighthood for services to cricket in 1934, but accepted OBE for services to education in 1963 which he thought was more important.[70]

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