Oxford Dictionary of National Biography podcast: Colin Matthew, founding editor of the ODNB
The extent of Matthew’s writing and editing was prodigious, and was the result of self-discipline and remarkable powers of concentration. Whatever else he did, he wrote every morning from seven until eight, and was very efficient in his use of time. His rooms, particularly his Christ Church room, which was once Gladstone’s, looked utterly chaotic to the outsider, but had a clear internal order for Matthew. He was careful, however, not to let his work dominate him. He and his family, who gave him intense happiness and satisfaction, always went to Scotland in August, and he and his wife nearly always took a little break abroad after Christmas. He was a good fisherman (though he eventually gave it up in deference to his daughter’s anti-fishing views) and became an enthusiastic photographer. There was nothing to make anyone suspect ill health. He complained of shortness of breath only a few days before his death: he was, in fact, on his way to the doctor when, on 29 October 1999, outside St Hugh’s College, he had the heart attack from which he died later that day at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.
The story of Colin Matthew is one of over 200 episodes available from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’s podcast archive. New episodes are released every second Wednesday.