New book by J.B. Priestley’s secretary reveals a penny pinching man who liked to flirt

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J B Priestley who lived in Stratford until his death in 1984

THE former personal secretary to J.B. Priestley has revealed in a new book just what life was like working for the temperamental author at his country home on the outskirts of Stratford-upon-Avon from 1968 to 1984.

Rosalie Batten describes Priestley as a man who constantly moaned about money despite being a very successful international playwright and author. He often fell back on his dour Yorkshireman roots when he wanted to and was not averse to flirting with Rosalie when he complimented her about her thighs.

She says: “He hated Christmas because it meant buying presents. The Priestleys never sent Christmas cards. He kept his phone bills to a minimum by getting me to call first and ask if they wouldn’t mind calling Priestley back during the afternoon — the ploy always worked.”

J.B Priestley acquired Kissing Tree House in Alveston, Stratford in 1959 and lived there until his death in 1984.

The new book authored by Rosalie Batten is titled, Priestley at Kissing Tree House A memoir.