About the Author

Tom was born and brought up in Blackburn. He was ‘born into cotton’ and as he says himself at the start of his memoir he “loved the mills”. Although he was keen to join his father and uncle in the family business his father  allow it and instead he joined Barclays Bank shortly after the start of the second world war.  So began a long and successful career with the bank. Tom’s qualities of financial acumen and critical analysis, in part inherited from his father, were to hold him in good stead. Tom started work in Blackburn but his career included spells in Manchester and Leeds. His final posting saw a move ‘down south’  managing the  large Cornmarket Street branch in Oxford.  As well as supporting many cotton related businesses in the early part of his career, accounts held by his branches included the huge Blackburn Scapa paper mill and Manchester City AFC. Equally supportive of start-up businesses Tom was instrumental in the establishment of March Engineering (the Formula 1 racing company whose drivers included Niki Lauda and Ronnie Peterson), Oxford’s first independent cinema, and Raymond Blanc’s first restaurant Les Quat’ Saisons.

 

Growing up in Blackburn, Tom was very close to Peter his younger brother, sharing interests in sport, politics and books. Sadly, Peter died in a car accident in 1961, aged just 39, but Tom stepped in and became a father figure to Peter’s children, most notably for Peter’s eldest daughter Cathie who was ‘adopted’ by Tom’s family in order to complete her schooling in the UK. Just like his father Tom was rarely to be seen without his pipe (see picture).  The family have film footage of him driving a speed boat on Lake Windermere in shirt and tie and  with pipe in mouth! It was not uncommon to see wisps of smoke emerging from his jacket having stowed it away whilst still lit. And, on one occasion, a refusal to give up his metal pipe cleaner when going through airport security caused quite a stir. Nonetheless, his fierce independence, keen mindedness and integrity are the endearing and memorable qualities of a much loved Lancastrian.

 

And the Editor....Richard, Tom’s youngest son, holds a BA (Sheffield) and PhD (Exeter). Following a period working with Cadbury-Schweppes in Personnel Management Richard joined Leeds Polytechnic (later Leeds Metropolitan University) where he spent the rest of his career as a Human Resource Development lecturer and researcher. Retiring from Leeds Met in 2012 he became a freelance editor.

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Author, Tom Holden....with pipe !!