Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Herry Lawford's Archive Index

Parents
Patrick Lawford 1914-2002
Annette Lawford 1911-1998
Family History
Lawford Family History
The Drapers' Livery Company
Pugh Evans Family History
Pugh Evans Family History - the Lovesgrove Line
The Powell Edwards Line
Lawford Ancestors
Edward Lawford 1787 - 1864
Edward Acland Lawford and his Descendants
HF Lawford 1851 - 1925
General Sir Sydney Lawford 1865 - 1953
Maternal Grandparents
Sir Arundel Arundel 1843 - 1922
Col AJ Pugh 1871 - 1923
Marian 'Nina' Lady Herbert 1874 - 1967
Paternal Grandparents
John Lawford 1811 - 1875
Capt VA Lawford 1871 - 1959
Pugh Cousins
Brig-General Lewis Pugh Evans 1887 - 1962
Maj-General Lewis Pugh 1907 - 1981
Ruth Stevens Howard 1910-2010
Capt Humphrey Drummond of Megginch 1922 - 2009
Dr Griffith Pugh 1909 - 1994
Uncles
Valentine Lawford 1911-1991
Luxmoores
Luxmoore History
Wing-Commander Arthur Luxmoore 1909 - 1940
Fairfax Luxmoore
Herberts See also Sir Alfred Herbert
Sir Alfred Herbert 1866 - 1957
Nina Lady Herbert 1874 - 1967
Dunley 1917-1957
Wadwick House
Alfred Herbert Ltd
Lady Herbert's Homes and Garden, Coventry
Lady Herbert's Memorial at Litchfield
Sir Alfred Herbert on Shooting
Sir Alfred Herbert on Fishing
Sir Alfred Herbert's Memorial Service in the Cathedral 1957
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry
The Church of St James the Less, Litchfield

Patrick Lawford's Farming Career
Headbourne Worthy 1934-1938
Litchfield 1938-1946
Danegate 1946 - 1950
Stocks Farm 1950 - 1970
The Shooting Book
Stocks Farm 1970 - 2002
Obituary: Ernie Stiles 1941 - 2014

Friends

My Parents' Friends
Friends 1950-1970
Friends 1970 -1980s
Friends 1990s - present
Cmdr Colin Balfour 1924 - 2009
Sally Macpherson 1940 - 2012
Nick Duke 1945 - 2013
Annie May 1944 - 2014
Lucie Skipwith 1942 - 2014
Kate O'Brien 1953 - 2017

Business Friends
Richard Harwood 1933 - 2016
Bill Birch Reynardson (1923 - 2017)

Herry
Early Memories of Home Life
A Short History of Tractors in Hampshire
Schools 1949-1967
St Ronan's 1953 - 1958
Winchester College 1959- 1964
Engleberg Winter 1963
Early Social Life 1950-1970
Early Encounters with France
Early Experiences of Banking
The Pubs of our Youth
The Cars of Our Youth
Herry's European Tour 1967
What Did We Wear?
Careers in the 60s
10 Shouldham St 1967-1993
Thomas Miller 1967-2006
My Life in the City - China 1978
Salary and Pay 1967 - 2015
Herry's Wedding to Prue Watson 1971
Watson Family
Harvestgate Farm 1971-1982
Ramatuelle and the South of France
Friends 1970 -1980s
24 Edna St 1993 - 1998
Futatsumori Family
Cap Ferrat and Les Azuriales
The Orangery 1998 - 2102
Swanage and the Dorset Coast
The Family in Sydney
Christmas in Sydney 2006
The Church of St James the Less, Litchfield
New Year in Ireland and London 2008/9
The Family at Christmas in Australia 2011
The Family in New York July 2012
The Archives and the Internet
My Life in Wine
The Family at Christmas in Australia 2013
Lawford Lunch at the Drapers' Hall
The Family at Old Swan House Post-Christmas 2014
Herry's 70th Birthday Party July 2015
The Garden at Old Swan House

Kate O'Brien 1953 - 2017

                                       
Kate and Kei at Cliveden 1994

Kate was born on 23rd March 1953 in Swansea, a much loved and wanted baby and the eldest child of Vincent, a consulting engineer and Alice O’Brien. There were two younger siblings, Elisabeth and Michael. The family had roots in Scotland near Caithness where Alice’s family, the Gunn clan is from. Kate’s grandparents were Irish - O’Brien and O’Callaghan on her father’s side and Scottish and Welsh – Davies – on her mother’s.

Her sister Lis writes: She was a happy infant and toddler although she had strong likes and dislikes – with an early and distinct aversion to both ‘cow juice’ and to dirt.  She always loved books and animals. To her brother Michael she was ‘the witty, pretty one’ and to sister Lis she was the clever, glamorous older sister. During childhood, her weekends were spent riding ponies and visiting her many aunts, uncles and cousins, whilst holidays were spent on the Gower coast and in Devon. Always a minimalist; her bedroom was always immaculately tidy and her belongings would be given or sold to her siblings so they didn’t clutter up her room.  After a convent education in Porthcawl she joined a Sixth Form in Cardiff to study Latin, Greek and English Literature. Her classics teacher was not only the Deputy Headteacher but also her mother’s cousin, Madonna Gunn, which meant there was no escape from hard work.

After that she spread her wings; she spent time in Hampshire where she became extremely fond of Brigit Macnamara and her extended family which included the Thomas’s, and she became friends with the two sons of Dylan and Caitlin Thomas, Llewelyn and Colm.


Gus, Kate, Daniel and Hallam in the Dutch Antilles 1990
Photo by Lis O'Brien
Their cousin Edward Marnier writes: ‘Kate came into our lives (the Macnamara’s & Mariner’s) on a rainy night in 1970. My mother Brigit had telephoned us at the local pub in Ringwood to tell us to come home, as some distressed girl-friend had turned up on the door step.  We obediently  returned to Blashford, to be greeted by the this stranger huddling in the doorway of a shed - it was Kate. Once we had convinced Brigit that none us knew her, my mother banished us - and took Kate in and under her wing. 

And there she remained, as part of our family and of our cousins the Devas’s and of course the Thomas’s. Over the years Kate had various jobs. She moved to London and worked at the British Library. Lived abroad looking after one of the Getty children. She also became a gardener, shop assistant etc.

She had several relationships - but perhaps her most enduring and strongest was with Llewelyn Thomas, (Dylan Thomas’s eldest son).  Llewelyn was a difficult character but with a brilliant mind and great charm. Kate matched him with her own cleverness, beauty and of course contrariness. The pair of them could be by turns maddening and exasperating - or the best possible and most stimulating of company.

Kate moved to London and lived in a flat in Thanet St, and she worked at the British Library from the mid 1980’s where Julie Raven was a colleague. There her work included dealing with incunabula (rare books printed before the 16th century) and protecting documents which were threatened by damage from the River Fleet which ran under the old site. Julie writes: Kate and I met at work in the 80’s. We got on really well and spent a lot of time chatting while doing boring clerical tasks. When I left we kept in touch by letter. We used to laugh about how we might be the only people still using old fashioned post, as if we were in Jane Austen 's day. Kate was kind and was always looking after others. Most of all Kate was really funny. We laughed a lot about the ridiculous aspects of modern life’.

She left the British Library some time in 1990 and Herry met her when she was working at Crabtree & Evelyn in Kensington. He saw her at the back of the shop looking most unhappy; her hands were shaking and she was wearing mittens even though it wasn’t cold. I talked to her a little and on a subsequent visit suggested that she might be happier helping my wife Ayako look after our daughter Kei, who was then about 18 months old. We must have known that Lis would write: ‘She showed great empathy and skill when working with young children’ as she agreed to do this and indeed did so until Kei was a teenager, coming daily to our house in Battersea and becoming very fond of Kei who she found ‘a very bright and creative child and she enjoyed all stages of her growing up’.


Kate, Ayako, Kei, Herry, Annette and Patrick at Stocks 1995
In about 1994 she sold her flat and moved to a rented flat nearby and Kei used to go and stay with her there at weekends. She was very much part of the family and moved into the house when we went to Hampshire to stay with my parents – looking after our dog Archie and Nani the cat - and sometimes came down with us too. She also came with us on our annual holidays to Swanage, where a vegetable biriyani at the local Indian was a particular treat and where we played Jimmy Nail’s ‘Crocodile Shoes’ endlessly in the car.


Ayako, Herry, Kei and Kate in Swanage 1994

Kei writes: My fondest memories of Kate include frequent trips to the Natural History Museum, using London's hop on and off buses and being taught how to spell the word "wait" you see on pedestrian crossings using an acronym. The acronym went like this: W for "water", A for "Archie", I for "igloo" and T for "tomato".

When I stayed with Kate on weekends, it was never without a selection of poetry books - in fact it's what inspired me to write poems, attend recitals and get my work published during my school years.

There are too many other wonderful memories to mention. Kate may have kept quiet about her own life but took a great interest in mine and was a source of incredible support and love all through the years’.

After a while we learned a little – very little – of her previous life and heard about her mother, Elisabeth and Michael, Catlin, Llewelyn, Colm, Edward, Collette, Gus, Hallam, Daniel and Jemima, but never met any of them. She used to travel to see her mother once a year and stay a few days, but despite asking, we never even knew where she lived! The only common connection we came across was with very old friends of my parents’, Pol and Poppet Pol, who lived at Ramatuelle in the South of France, where my parents spent several months of the year and where I also stayed. It was Pol’s grandson Tara Getty who Kate had looked after.   

In the late 1990s when Kei was growing up and didn’t need as much looking after, I found Kate a job with an osteopath in the City, but she didn’t get on with him and left after a few months and never seriously looked for other work.  As a result she continued to come to us daily when we moved to the Orangery near Wandsworth Common in 1998 helping to walk and look after Koko, Archie’s successor. She would also move into our house and look after the animals when we were all in Hong Kong, or Japan, China or Australia. She followed us from her flat in Battersea to a room in Tooting nearby.


Kate at the Orangery 2005

When we moved from the Orangery in 2012 she came less often to Ayako’s house in Kew but still regularly, and similarly when Ayako moved to Putney in 2014, helping to look after the cats Parky and Cecil and moving in when we went to Japan and also when Ayako came down to our house in Hampshire. She was always an invaluable help to us. 


Ayako and Kate with Koko at the Orangery 2007

In 2015 her health became less good and she had trouble with her eyes, visiting Moorfields frequently, but after an operation they improved dramatically. But she was then diagnosed with breast cancer and began treatment but as it was so advanced she declined chemotherapy. She remained fairly active until this autumn and even took a few days holiday with her friend Julie who writes: ‘She came with me to Norfolk. She loved it there especially walking by the sea. That is how I will think of her’. 


Ayako, Kate and Koko at Beachy Head 2010

But then the drugs she took made her feel unwell and she stopped eating much, and at the end hardly at all, declining by last December to seven stone (which she was perversely happy about!). Fortunately she was not in pain and managed on her own in her room, helped by visits from us and friends, until a week before she died, (although she went into St George’s Hospital several times to have her lungs drained and where they finally determined that the cancer had reached her liver). By the beginning of February, she was to weak to look after herself and her doctor found her a room at a nearby care home and she was moved there with with Julie's help and her few possessions and died after a week on the morning of 6th February.

Lis writes: Her nephews and nieces remember her spirited independence, sense of humour, love for books, children and animals, and these are memories that will stay with us.

Edward writes again: Kate was an exciting, clever, beautiful lady who could and would drive you to distraction. She was secretive and vague about herself. Mysterious about her friends; who she kept quite separate from each other. She loved gossip and drama but had no spite or cruelty - except to her self.’


For Kate's album of photos, click here


Monday, January 16, 2017

Richard Harwood 1933 - 2016

Richard Harwood's retirement at Castle Carey with his wife Jan, Tony Payne, Roger Lewis and Julie Mavropoulos. Photo Stuart Munro 

Our Dad was an exceptional man; he was a highly intelligent, resourceful and loyal father.
Born in 1933, he lived in Sanderstead, the youngest son of Sydney and Grace Harwood and had two siblings, John and Margaret.
He attended Sanderstead Grammer School where he excelled on the cricket pitch. Following school he went on to study for an HND in Electrical Engineering.
During his younger years he developed a passion for motorbikes, cars and a life-long love for railways.
We have a photograph of him and his mates sitting in his Delage prior to heading off to Spain. He told us that they had had a slight mishap on the journey and a chap in a small garage in the middle of nowhere rebuilt the back of the car in ash; all for the princely sum of £5.
The engine of the Delage eventually gave out and Dad in his normal ‘can do’ attitude managed to find another engine under a sheet in a garage in Croydon and repair the car. He sold it for £70 having paid £60 for it originally.....that car is one of two left in the world and is now worth in excess of seven figures, but as Dad said, in those days cars like this were two-a-penny.
I think though his favourite car was a Mark III Austin Healey. I know that it had tremendous brakes as I still have a scar where my forehead hit the dashboard! No seat belts in those days of course.
My favourite car of his was his 1952 Lancia Aurelia sadly written off on one of our Devon holidays by a US Marine on a motorbike nonetheless I think he missed that car very much.
He was a strong proponent of classical music which often caused consternation on our journeys to school when despite our protests, we were always subjected to Radios 3 and 4. We rarely got our way. When I worked in the workshop with him, Radio 3 was always playing on his Panasonic radio with a Silk Cut as usual hanging from his lips!
An early role for Dad was with a company called Power Sammers who in the 1950s were making British built computers, competing in a small way with the likes of IBM. In reality the only computer they finished was sold to Lloyds Bank; Lloyds then asked Dad to join them to write the first share registration systems for the Power Sammers computer which he did; and pointed out to me that he actually programmed using a 4 digit year thus making the program Y2K compliant in 1960!
He stayed on at Lloyds who then invested in a very early IBM Mainframe which had a Heath-Robinson looking disk drive, the size of a small room with a number of arms sticking out of the contraption to enable the disk to be read; but these arms had to be warmed up before the disk drive could be used. Dad was asked to write a program to do this. He wrote it, but had not finished testing when the next night he had a phone call from the Lloyds data centre saying they had used his program and the disk drive was literally walking around the room!
He was also a man who would not only decide to do something, but do the research and put the time in on the design before starting the project.
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While we lived in Tunbridge Wells he put in an entire central heating system. I remember being under the floorboards with him, and he excitedly pointed out that the house sat on timbers stamped LB&SCR, or London Brighton and South Coast Railway. Especially poignant as the first Gauge One loco he built was Abergavenny an LB&SCR steam engine.
The three of us also remember Dad playing both tennis and badminton on the court in the back garden often playing until the sun finally disappeared behind the horizon on those always warm sunny summer evenings.
He also put nets up on the tennis court to teach me the finer points of batting we had many enjoyable evenings (and frustrasting as he regularly bowled me out!) in the early seventies.
Which brings us on to his love of railways (and I think my sisters will agree, a love that was shared across the family).
His first line was in Tunbridge Wells, with cuttings, tunnels and a figure of eight design; often confusing people running their locos when their trains shot off in odd directions. I remember the get-togethers once a year which Father and I ran with mother ably producing afternoon teas and evening meals for the long-stayers.
Dad was never happier than in his workshop building locos or railway stock some might argue he possibly spent too long in there but over the years he produced in excess of 17 locomotives for himself and later on, for clients. In the summers while living in Tunbridge Wells we would frequently go to others get-togethers around the South East. He even made the poster for the UK National Model Railway Exhibition in London the picture being typical Dad him watering the loco with a cigarette hanging from his lips!
We moved to Somerset in 1977 (he had decided to save his company a huge amount of money by moving the business from Holborn to Bristol). Sadly the company was later sold to a Swedish firm and the UK directors lost their jobs.
Being Dad, and rather than giving up, he decided to turn Scotland House into a B&B, which meant converting the garages into bedrooms for Anna and Kate and me being off-loaded into a static caravan in the drive which was actually pretty cool!
Whilst running the guest house, he also built locomotives for customers so that with mothers income, the house was safe. If there was a downside to the redundancy, it was that Anna and Kate moved from school in Bristol to a school in Wells, and I would have to cycle 4 miles in to Wells to get the 06:58 bus to Bristol everyday!
Kate remembers Dad teaching her to drive. She also remembers travelling at some speed through Bleadney. Dad shouted at her to slow down, but Kate, who in those days thought she knew it all, decided to pull into the forecourt of the local petrol station. Quick thinking by Dad, who had to grab the wheel to avoid Kate driving into the petrol pumps, saved the day!
Dad at that time found a project via a very old friend of his, David Martin-Clark, who is sadly unable to be here today; that project was to build an insurance and claims system for the shipping industry and would be something he worked on for around 20 years until he retired.
In 1987 Dad and I bought a house in Bath where he met Jan; a step on the house-ladder for me and a soul-mate for him!
He then moved down to Castle Cary around 25 years ago where he and Jan have been living happily ever since with regular walks in the country, and afternoons sat peacefully in their conservatory admiring their stunning garden.

Of course another railway was built and many happy days were spent with both the national and local Gauge One society; something Dad loved doing. He was indeed a sociable person, engaging and informative and much loved amongst the society.
I said that Dad was a serious person and indeed he was, but he could and did enjoy a good laugh. I remember when Fawlty Towers first came out in the 70s, that he was struggling to breath through laughing so much, and a good joke would always crack a grin.
He had a full life; excepting that he would never actually enjoy himself on holidays. Whilst the family frolicked in the waves, Dad would be sat on the beach with a sports jacket on – in fact I can’t actually ever remember seeing him in trunks – shocking!
We all have lots of memories of Dad someone we all loved very much, and someone who will be missed massively. God bless you dad. 

Jonathan Harwood 

And from Stuart Munro on our behalf: 

I had the pleasure of working with your father from 1990 when he was setting up and then refining the computer system for ITIC (or TIMIA as it was known first when he worked on it originally in the late 1980s). His innovative and personal approach made it a great success and gave us the flexibility to do a wide range of things on the system that many other vastly more expensive systems available at the time could not do. We were constantly showing off the flexibility of Richard’s insurance computer system to IT gurus  who went away muttering that it would not last (they were wrong there) or it could only be replicated elsewhere for millions of pounds. Eventually it was upgraded in 2003-5 and the weekly visits of your father then ceased although we did endeavour to meet up with him in Castle Carey, occasionally, for lunch. His system is still the basis of our computer system to this day even down to the occasional quirk which still makes us laugh.

I know that many other who worked with your father will wish for their condolences to be passed on, namely Herry Lawford, Tony Payne, Roger Lewis, Julia Mavropoulos, Alistair Mactavish, Andrew Jamieson, Robert Sniffen and Charlotte Kirk.  

Your father, truly, was a lovely man to work with.”

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Origin of the name 'Lawford'

This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places called Lawford which have as their component elements the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Lealla", cognate with the Old High German "Lallo", and the Olde English "ford", a ford. These places include: Lawford in Essex, recorded as "Lalleford", circa 1042 in the Anglo-Saxon Wills Records, and as "Laleforda" in the omesday Book of 1086; Church and Long Lawford in Warwickshire, appearing as "Leileforde, Lilleford" and "Lelleford" in the Domesday Book, and respectively as "Churche", and "Long Lalleford" in the 1235 Charter Rolls of Warwickshire; and Lawford, a locality in the Williton rural district of Somerset. Locational surnames such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. On December 2nd 1589, Thomas Lawford and Isabella Holbech were married at Fillongley, Warwickshire. Dr. Richard Lawford, an early settler in the New World, appears on a List of the Inhabitants of St. Michaell's Town, Barbados, in 1680. A Coat of Arms granted to the Lawford family is an azure shield with seven silver crescents, three, three and one. Symbolically, the crescent is associated with Faith and Hope. An arrow point downwards and palm branch in saltire all proper is on the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Lawforde, which was dated November 9th 1569, marriage to Elizabeth Carlett, at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603.  Internet Surname Database

Read more:  http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Lawford#ixzz4SGrv1IiN


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Life in Wine

Koko, a bruschetta and a sauvignon
I've never been much of a drinker and indeed was teetotal until I was about 25 and drank mainly coke.  I never acquired a taste for beer, probably because my father hardly drank it, and didn't like the effects of alcohol - and still don't. But after I was given champagne at Annie Ommanney's wedding and became laughing drunk, I took up drinking wine which I came to love. My friend Charlie Skipwith sent into the wine trade at the end of the 60s and went to study at the Ginestet's at Chateau Margaux and I visited him and became interested in its production. By the 70's I was spending quite bit of time reading about wine and visiting wine regions in France. My bible was a book by Alexis Lichine called 'An Encyclopaedia of Wines and Spirits'. He endeared himself to me by writing: 'How does one drink a Chateau d'Yquem? On one's knees with one's head bared'. Hugh Johnson on Wine was another regular source of information - and my father made me a member of the Wine Society whose catalogues were most informative.

Soulutre in the Macon 1979

In time I started to acquire some serious wines and even kept a cellar book at Harvestgate. Charlie Skipwith gave me a dozen Leoville Las Cases and Nick Duke and I bought a case of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1970 to share and these and other wines were stored in my father's cellar st Stocks. There were two drawbacks to this. One was that he would go down and help himself to them (and why not?). The other was that the cellar flooded in wet years and many bottles lost their labels (though this also encouraged one to draw their corks to see what they were....)

The first two pages of the cellar book dated December 1979
The first two pages of the cellar book dated December 1979
For a while I also bought wine at Christie's wine sales with another friend, Bruce Harris, but our enthusiasm dimmed somewhat when we paid quite a bit for a 1961 Chateau Tasta which turned out to be undrinkable.

I was lucky to be introduced to Australian and New Zealand wines early on. Once I spent a happy afternoon with a business colleague at Len Evans's wine bar in Sydney drinking Petaluma riesling and on another memorable occasion my brother-in-law, Peter Crittle and I selected three bottles of Grange Hermitage from his extensive cellar, drunk them at a sitting and ended up sleeping face-down on the lawn. In New Zealand, our business was looked after by Ian McKay, a well known local figure who had a share in the Cloudy Bay vineyard that began that country's rise to wine prominence.

In Japan, I soon grew to love sake (more properly a beer rather than a wine) and sought out the finer drier sakes from Niigata (like Hakubai) to go with sashimi and other delicacies. I still love them though find them impossible to get at home, even in good restaurants.

Devil's Lair

I no longer maintain anything like a cellar, but I do buy small quantities of wines that I really like and which are worth opening with friends who appreciate them. Although with the right food it's difficult to beat the mouth-filling properties of Yarra Yering 'Agincourt' (Cabernet Merlot), mostly I prefer to drink lighter wines, preferably Pinot Noir, the best of which I think come from Central Otago - like Mt Difficulty, Neudorf or Felton Road. My favourites whites are Devil's Lair from Margaret River. Far Niente from Napa (both chardonnays) and the exceptional new Spanish whites such as Lapola. All winemaking seems to have undergone a great transformation in recent years and lovely wines at reasonable prices abound, and although one can still find absolutely delicious French wines (such as Gevrey-Chamertin) at a price, I do still have difficulty with many French wines that seem not to meet the taste grade.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bill Birch Reynardson 1923 - 2017

Bill Birch Reynardson

This post is about Bill Birch Reynardson (1923 - 2017), who was the 'original cause' of my joining Thomas Miller, and in my subsequent 39 year career in the City and was both a mentor and friend.

Bill and my father Patrick were close friends of Colin Balfour and were shooting with him one day in the autumn of 1966.  They got talking and my father mentioned that I was reading law and intended to practice at the bar. 'I wouldn't do that', said Bill. 'I was at the bar for a while; very dull. I'm now with a firm in the City called Thomas Miller. Tell Herry to come and see me.' Needless to say, we made some enquiries (from the likes of John Colgrave) as Thomas Miller was a firm that no one appeared to have heard of, but they revealed the intriguing information that the Millers (Dawson and Cyril) ran something called a shipowners' liability mutual or 'P&I Club' and were highly successful, and the firm was known as one of most prestigious in the world of shipping law and insurance.  And so I came up from university for a few days and was shown (by Terence Coghlin, another important mentor) the files relating to the current legal 'cause celebre', the 'General Guisan' - otherwise known as 'Suisse-Altantique' -  a case involving the issue of fundamental breach -  and another enormous set of files involving an even more important case, the 'Wagon Mound', a Privy Council decision on remoteness of damage, which had been handled by Frank Ledwith. You can imagine how fascinating it was to be suddenly at the heart of such momentous legal decisions, seeing how the relevant partners had handled the cases and guided the shipowners concerned in their appeals - with the Club in these cases paying their legal costs*.

Having joined Thomas Miller in October 1967 I was placed in Frank Ledwith's training room with my colleagues Stephen James, Francis Frost, Christopher Bird and Roger Day, with Nigel Lindrea, who had joined a year earlier, nominally looking after us (but in fact getting mercilessly ragged). Stephen James, who later became chairman of Thomas Miller, recalls that at his interview with Bill, he was asked, in all seriousness, if he had 'private means' - which was perhaps to Bill a reasonable question as the starting salary was 'only' just over £1000 a year, but we thought it was very decent indeed. Bill was a partner then and so soon was Terence Coghlin, and it was with Terence I initially sat, after the two-year training period, and later with Bill. But almost immediately, Bill began to take me on business trips, particularly to Yugoslavia, often accompanied by his wife Nik (and sometimes his daughter Juliet), where met some impressive characters like Dr Hrvoje Kacic and of course I also got to know them well. Later on we visited India, Iran and Iraq, but it was to Yugoslavia we went most often and we also dealt with their shipowners' annual renewal as well as their cases. When travelling with Bill and Nik in 1973, my wife Prue began complaining of the local smells and was unable to eat much. Bill immediately deduced that she was pregnant, a state that was confirmed by a visit to the local hospital.

Bill was a good lawyer and negotiator and was consummate at large international gatherings. He was for many years vice-president of the CMI (Comite Maritime International) from which new international shipping laws emerged. When the Torrey Canyon spilled its cargo of oil on the Scilly Isles in 1967 and it was realised that there was no international regime to determine who paid for the consequences of an accidental oil spill, Bill got together with Lord Devlin in his kitchen and drafted what became the Civil Liability Convention on which most international oil spill compensation law has been based since 1970.

Bill later became senior partner, and I continued to travel with him to places like Japan, where he used to go off to have dinner with his old friend the ambassador, and I made the rounds of the shipowners. In this photo we are at the top of the Palace Hotel giving lunch to a Japanese lawyer and his colleague. The lawyer was a crucial link to the top echelon of the Japanese shipping line NYK and was a good friend as well. The photo includes Terence Coghlin, who was revered in Japan, as well as a young Nigel Carden who looks after our Japanese business now.

Bill knew how to travel in style: we went to the races in Baghdad (Bill in an 'owners' grey flannel suit with brown trilby), and took time out of a visit to Tehran to see Persepolis the year after the Shah's incredible party, coming home via Rome. At the Taj in Bombay, Bill would invite the senior figures in the industry to dinner in his suite. They all came. He made particular friends with the eminent Indian lawyer, S.Venkitsewaran (known to all as 'Venky') who remained a most valuable friend to the firm (and me) thereafter.

Bill presided over the expansion the firm in the 1980s and several new Clubs and businesses were started, including the Bar Mutual which insured the members of the bar in England and Wales against professional negligence. He put me in charge of one that started in 1984 - Transport Intermediaries Mutual (the brainchild of Francis Frost) - and supported me against those who thought I should have stayed in the main P&I business. But TIM was successful and by 1993, having completed a merger with a competing mutual making the combined entity ITIC the largest insurer of such risks in the world, I returned to P&I.

Bill retired in 1992 and was made a CBE. He lived at Adwell House, an ancient pile in Oxfordshire that had been in his family since the late C17th and was once a Civil War prison. There is a good description of the house and the family's history here. He had always been a consumate countryman and sportsman and rode to hounds until late in life (before being nearly killed when his horse fell when out hunting), and was chairman of Garsington Opera for years as well as Les Azuriales Opera. He was very well-connected both in the City and society generally. His lovely 7 acre garden at Adwell was being constantly expanded and is open annually for charity.



Bill always dressed well but was of the school that allowed clothes to be correct for the occasion but never flashy. At one point I had had a suit made that was rather too tight-fitting. On appearing in it for the first time, Bill's laconic comment was simply 'It faut suffrir pour etre belle'.... He was also traditional in his artistic and architectural tastes, and once asked me as we passed the 'new' Lloyd's building whether I liked it. 'Yes, quite', I replied. 'You're a pseud,' he said - but he had the hall at Adwell painted a marvellous bright peach that was much admired.

Bill was one of the most charming men of his generation and was at ease with people from all walks of life and all nationalities**. As with my father, one could say that he was loved and admired as much by women as by men. In later life he wrote a private memoir, 'Letters to Lorna', in which he described his early life (Eton, Oxford, the War - he was wounded in Italy) - back to Oxford) through the letters he had exchanged with a dear friend in Scotland.

He was a marvellous raconteur and had an enormous fund of stories which often involved well-known people. There was however plenty of steel under the velvet glove and he was equally able to steer a large gathering of shipowners as well as the varied characters in his partnership. And despite his rather grand background, he also knew when to save money. When there was a downturn in the shipping market in the mid-80's, he sold the flat in Victoria that went with the job of senior partner, and gave up the firm's butler and chauffeur as well as the weekly seats at Covent Garden. He even decreed that business lunches in the office should be 'dry' - for a while.

Bill with Sir Peter Miller, the chairman of Lloyd's,  at John Shearer's funeral 2010


Bill sadly lost his dear wife Nik in 1997 and lived the last twenty years alone, moving from the big house to the Garden House where he was was looked after by his housekeeper Lorrie. Nik, Juliet, Clare and Tom and their families are pictured here at Adwell in 1995.

In 2014, Bill gave a lunch at his club for those he had recruited to Thomas Miller. He was suffering from pneumonia at the time and was attended by his daughter Clare, but a it most enjoyable reunion for all of us (see photo). After that he still came to the Thomas Miller Carol Service and was at Mark Holford's retirement in 2015, but remained more and more at home at Adwell.

* In both these cases the shipowners were insured by a specific part of the Club only for their legal costs as the principal losses - time, (in the case of the "General Guisan') - can't be insured - and physical damage to the ship itself (in the case of the 'Wagon Mound') is covered by the ship's hull policy). Of course the P&I Club did cover a multitude of types of loss to third parties, from oil spills to death and injury to passengers and crew, to cargo loss and damage, fines and penalties and many more esoteric claims.

** A vignette will put Bill's social life into better context: his father had made friends in the South of France with the Swedish royals and Bill continued the relationship. One day in 1970 he invited me to dinner at Adwell and told me to stay the night and bring my black tie. It was a fascinating evening as the guest list included the King and Queen of Sweden, Princess Margaretha and John Ambler, Lord Carrington and his wife and one of the Swedish princesses, who was my age. I very much enjoyed the evening but have never encountered one quite its equal since.


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