EDP 150th birthday - business stars of the past 150 years

Samantha Chapman, YouTube make-up artist.
Photo: Andy Darnell

Samantha Chapman, YouTube make-up artist. Photo: Andy Darnell - Credit: Archant © 2009

Our pick of people who have had a positive influence on Norfolk life continues with 25 business leaders

Galton Blackiston. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Galton Blackiston. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Michael Baker. The managing director of Bakers & Larners (which marks its 250th anniversary this year) from 1974 until his death last year. The seventh generation of his family to run the business he took it from fewer than 20 staff to more than 275. He also contributed to local politics and organisations and helped raise considerable sums for charities.

Gardener and steam enthusiast Alan Bloom, pictured at Bressingham Hal
Photo: Bill Smith

Gardener and steam enthusiast Alan Bloom, pictured at Bressingham Hal Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 1995

Jeremiah James Colman

Jeremiah James Colman - Credit: Archant

Peter Beales. The world-renowned rose expert devoted much of his life to preserving wild and historic roses, saving some from extinction. He also created 70 new rose varieties. The display gardens at the Attleborough nursery he founded are open for free.

George Cushing Picture: Archant

George Cushing Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Jayne-Anne Gadhia Picture: Denise Bradley

Jayne-Anne Gadhia Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Galton Blackiston. Owner and chef patron of Michelin-starred Morston Hall, near Blakeney, and a regular on television shows including Saturday Kitchen.

Peter Jay. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Peter Jay. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Cinematographer Jonathan Jones of Ember Films Picture: Sonya Duncan

Cinematographer Jonathan Jones of Ember Films Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Alan Bloom. 1906-2005. The gardener and steam engine enthusiast, of Bressingham, near Diss, invented the design concept of island beds set in lawns and created more than 170 new varieties of hardy perennial plants. He was also a gardening author, broadcaster and television presenter and founded Bressingham Steam and Gardens.



James Nelstrop, of the English Whisky Company
Photo: Denise Bradley

James Nelstrop, of the English Whisky Company Photo: Denise Bradley - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010

Emma Bridgewater. Founded the ceramics manufacturing company which takes her maiden name and has strong family connections with north Norfolk, where she and her writer husband Matthew Rice lived when their children were young.

Geoffrey Watling at Norwich City Football Club's centenary dinner in 2002 Picture: Archant

Geoffrey Watling at Norwich City Football Club's centenary dinner in 2002 Picture: Archant - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers


Colin Chapman. Founded Lotus cars, which moved to its present headquarters at Hethel, near Wymondham, in 1966, designing and making high-end road and racing cars.

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Samantha Chapman. Makeup artist to celebrities, YouTuber and social media star, Samantha and her sister Nicola, post hair and makeup tutorials as Pixiwoo, which has more than two million subscribers. Their brothers Jim and John are also YouTube stars.

Charles Cochran. Great Yarmouth’s Windmill Theatre was originally built for the theatrical producer who went on to establish the Pleasure Beach.

Jeremiah James Colman. 1830-1898. The mustard manufacturer was also one of the founding fathers of the Norfolk News and the Eastern Daily Press. He expanded the family firm from 200 to more than 2,000 employees, provided schools, healthcare and housing for his workers, supported charities across the city, gave land for sports pitches and a hospital and was Liberal MP for Norwich for more than 20 years. His wife, Caroline, was also instrumental in establishing health and education services for Colman’s employees.

George Cushing. The founder of the Thursford Collection of steam engines, musical organs and fairground attractions. His son John turned a small carol concert at Thursford into Britain’s biggest Christmas show. The Thursford Christmas Spectacular has played to a total audience of almost six million over the past 40 years.

John Fletcher Dodd. The founder of Britain’s first holiday camp launched his ‘Socialist Camp’ in Caister-on-Sea in 1906, giving people living in London slums the chance to enjoy a seaside holiday.

James Dyson. The inventor, designer and entrepreneur grew up in north Norfolk. His products include the bagless vacuum cleaner which takes his name and the airblade hand drier. This year’s Sunday Times Rich List named him as Britain’s richest person.

Pablo Fanque. The first black circus owner in Britain was born in Norwich in 1810 and started out as a circus performer in the city, specialising in horse-riding stunts. He ran his own circus for 30 years, often staging benefit shows for fellow performers. He also gets a mention in the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia. One of the best-known women in the financial services industry, Jayne-Anne began her career as a trainee accountant in Norwich and rose to become CEO of Virgin Money. This year she launched the personal finance app Snoop, again based in Norwich.

John Jarrold. The Jarrold family opened its first shop in 1770 and still runs its flagship store in Norwich as well as shops in the city centre, Cromer and Wymondham. It was also a leading printer and publisher. John Jarrold, who was chairman from 1937 until his death in 1979 and set up the charitable John Jarrold Trust in 1965, represents many generations of Jarrolds who have enhanced life in Norfolk.

Peter Jay. The musician whose band toured with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones restored and runs the Hippodrome theatre and circus in Great Yarmouth with his family.

Jonathan Jones. Ember Films was set up near Hingham by Emmy award-winning wildlife cameraman Jonathan Jones. He has worked with David Attenborough and broadcasters including Disney, Netflix and the BBC. Ember has also shot advertisements for multinationals including Pepsi and Jaguar and worked on major feature films.

Matt and Teri Legon. The couple founded Gnaw Chocolate in Norwich in 2011. Their chocolate is exported around the world and Gnaw was named UK small business of the year by British Chambers of Commerce in 2018.

John Loynes. The wherry builder is credited with launching Broads boating holidays when he began hiring out boats to tourists in 1880.

Bernard Matthews. Founded his eponymous turkey company in 1950, moving to Great Witchingham Hall near Norwich and becoming a household name when he starred in television adverts describing his turkey as “bootiful.”

James and Andrew Nelstrop. The father and son founded England’s oldest whisky distillery, English Whisky Co, of Roudham, near Thetford, in 2006.

Herbert Potter. Herbert established the world’s first permanent holiday camp in 1920 in Hemsby, near Yarmouth. His descendants still run Potters Resort, which moved south to Hopton in 1924. With new sports, leisure and entertainments facilities, Potters has staged the World Indoor Bowling Championships since 1999.

Alfred and Arnold Roy. The brothers opened their first general store in Coltishall in 1885, a second in Dereham, and their third in Hoveton in 1899 - but with most supplies arriving by train, at Wroxham, the shop became known as Roys of Wroxham. The third generation of the Roy family runs the business which includes five Roys stores in Hoveton including the department store, food hall and garden centre, plus shops in communities across Norfolk and Suffolk including Norwich, Dereham and Thetford.

Frederick Savage. 1828-1897. The 19th century engineer and fairground ride maker began as a farm labourer and diversified into inventing and building steam-powered agricultural machinery and then lavishly decorated and steam-powered merry-go-rounds, gallopers and show engines. Born into poverty, he barely learned to read and his father was transported to Tasmania for poaching, but he became an accomplished engineer, a magistrate and Mayor of King’s Lynn.

Geoffrey Watling. A chairman and president of Norwich City Football Club the businessman is credited with with twice saving the club from bankruptcy, in the 1950s and 1990s. He ran more than 200 businesses over his lifetime, beginning with furniture removals and diversifying into cafes, ballrooms and chalet parks. He set up the Geoffrey Watling Trust, which continues to help local charities, in memory of his daughter.

Our 150 names of iconic Norfolk people of the past 150 years was put together to help mark the EDP’s 150th anniversary with categories including sports, arts and entertainment, science and nature, good causes, business leaders and great lives.

Who have we missed? Let us know who you think should be included in a list of Norfolk people who should be celebrated for making life in the county better over the past 150 years. Email edpletters@archant.co.uk