Memoirs of a ‘Mayfair playboy’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 November 2010 | UPDATED: 12:27 14 November 2010

Accountant, Douglas Farmiloe (95)  from Henstead has just published his Memoirs.

Accountant, Douglas Farmiloe (95) from Henstead has just published his Memoirs.

Archant © 2010

A 95-year-old accountant and self-described “Mayfair playboy” who lives at Henstead Hall has published his memoirs.

Douglas Farmiloe, whose grandparents bought the stately home 50 years ago, has laid bare his fascinating past in the new book.

He was born in March 1915 in London, the fifth generation of his family to be named George Farmiloe, although he has always been called by his second name, Douglas.

He came from a wealthy background and his family had made their fortune in the Victorian era as lead and glass merchants.

The factory building remains in East London and has recently seen use as a shooting location for Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes film and as Gotham City’s Police Department in The Dark Knight.

His very first memory was of a Zeppelin raid over London in 1917 and his father was killed the same year serving in the army in the first world war.

Leading a happy childhood, he recalled watching every single day of the 1926 Australian Test at Lord’s and regularly visited the cinemas in Leicester Square.

His 21st birthday party was held in the Mayfair Hotel and he was in Picadilly for both VE and VJ days and for George VI’s funeral.

But later in life he found slightly more risqué ways to spend his time.

“I have lived a very colourful life and coming from an upper middle class family I spent my inheritance on wine, women and a life of luxury,” he said.

He was a self-described “Mayfair playboy” who was often in nightclubs five nights a week until 5am.

It was this lifestyle that eventually found him in the scandal pages of the News of the World during the 1930s, after an indiscretion with a hostess from the Paradise Club in the West End.

After receiving his inheritance he retired from his job at an accountancy firm and founded a clothes shop in Belsize Park, then expanded to a second on Cricklewood High Street.

Later this was to go into bankruptcy and force the sale of his beloved Jaguar car.

He signed up for the army in 1940 and served for six years, remaining a private throughout, never leaving British shores.

In his later life he started his own accountancy firm, which he still runs at his home.

“I am an accountant who is still working and won’t retire until I am 100,” he said.

“I’ve been getting tax returns out, its a hectic time of the year for me. There’s a lot to get out by the end of January. It keeps me going. I enjoy the challenge.”

In 1960 his grandparents bought the hall, having had a holiday home in Southwold for many years.

Mr Farmiloe had holidayed there regularly throughout his life and moved into the hall full time when his grandparents died.

He has now written his memoirs to document his interesting past.

“I’ve always been interested in history and it has always been in the back of my mind. I just haven’t got around to it before.

“I’ve enjoyed myself. I’ve had ups and downs all the way along the line. I had a privileged start, which helped a lot.

“When I was spending money in the West End of London, I suppose, all the women, that’s probably the best times. Drink and women.”

Memoirs: A Tarnished Silver Spoon is £9.95 plus £3.95 p&p. Orders by email to: or by post from G D Farmiloe, Henstead Hall, Henstead, Beccles, NR34 7LD.

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