Minor British Institutions: The Trollope Society

It is a fair bet that the vast majority of the British population has never picked up a Trollope – one of the 19th-century novelist's works that is, not a tart. Even for those who made the excursion into Barsetshire and got to know the Pallisers, Anthony Trollope will for ever be under the shadow of his contemporary Charles Dickens.

Even though a past Governor of the Bank of England was a fan, as were prime ministers Harold Macmillan and John Major, it seems unlikely, too, that a portrait of Trollope will ever find its way on to our banknotes. He invented the pillar box, but hasn't been on the stamps. And so on.

Hence the existence of the Trollope Society, dedicated to Trollopiana and the publication of the 60-volume collected works. His fiction is unpretentious as are his followers. And anyone who has to write for a living must salute Trollope's prodigious output and appetite for sheer hard work. For many journalists, it is indeed The Way We Live Now.