Merchant Venturers intimately involved in the running of
* Geoff Matthews: master of Merchants in 2001, Matthews
went to Taunton School and was general manager at Imperial
Tobacco in the 1980s. He is now a Non-Executive Director of
Bristol & West and Chairman of Bristol & West Pension
* Jay Tidmarsh is Lord-Lieutenant of Bristol. He, too,
went to Taunton School. He was director, and subsequently
chairman, of Radio West Ltd, and in 1985 became a founding
director of GWR Radio plc. He was also one of the dozen businesspeople
who, immediately after the riots in Toxteth, Liverpool, set
up the Bristol Initiative in 1992. Master of the Merchants
in 1994-95, he was awarded an MBE in 1989.
* Brigadier H Pye: the outgoing treasurer of the Merchant
Venturers, Pye is an honorary colonel of the 9th/12th Royal
Lancers (Prince of Wales') regiment and was a pall bearer
at the Queen Mother's funeral.
* Andrew Densham, master of the Merchants in 2002-3,
is an ex-partner at the law firm Burges Salmon. A leading
agricultural lawyer, he was awarded a CBE in 2000 for services
* His brother, Charles Densham, who runs an estate
agency specializing in expensive houses.
* Giles Clarke was educated at Rugby School and Oxford
University. He set up Majestic Wine Warehouse in 1981, which
he sold in 1989 for £15m. He is also the co-founder
of Pet City and Safestore PLC and was chief executive officer
from 1999-2001 of local recruitment firm Stepstone. He is
currently chairman of telephone manufacturer ATL Telecom and
a national council member of the Learning and Skills Council,
the largest quango in the UK. His father, the late Charles
Clarke, established Bristol's top law firm, Osborne Clarke,
which lists both the Merchants and MITIE (see below) as its
* Roger Smedley succeeded Densham as the master. He
founded an engineering design company called SAC, later called
* John Avery is a wine merchant and Chairman of Averys
of Bristol. He was master in 1995, and is also a member of
the Antient Society Of St Stephens Ringers. He was a director
of SMV Investments until November 2002. He is also a member
of the intriguingly named Wine Selection Committee For Government
* Louis Sherwood is an ex-chairman of HTV, and now
Chairman of financial services firm Clerical Medical. He used
to be director of Wessex Water Services Ltd.
* St John Hartnell, a valuer and surveyor, is executive
chairman of surveyors Hartnell Taylor Cook and one of the
best-known figures in Bristol's property scene. He was awarded
an OBE for his services to the local community in 2002. An
ex-director of SMV Investments, he is currently a Ringer.
His brother in law Patrick Lucas is also a merchant.
* Denis Burn, a management consultant, is the youngest
Venturer. Appropriately, he is chairman of Soc's Youth Committee.
* John Burke is a Bristol and West boss and President
of Bristol's Chamber of Commerce.
* John Moger Woolley was chief executive of specialist
packaging firm DRG plc from 1985-1990. He is now non-executive
chairman of Bristol Water plc.
* Sir George White is a clockmaker and horological
consultant. He was high sheriff of Avon in 1989 and a JP from
* Nicholas Hood, ex-chairman of £96 million tourist
attraction @Bristol. It signed a controversial sponsorship
and concessions deal with Nestle under his tenure. He was
chairman of Wessex Water until 1999, and was educated at Clifton
* At-Bristol's new chairman Peter McIlwriath. He used
to run the firm that audited the Venturers' investment company,
SMV Investments. McIlwraith headed PriceWaterhouseCoopers
in Bristol for 10 years. McIlwraith is also a director of
Bristol Water, whose chairman is John Moger Woolley (see above)
- a Merchant.
* Jim Hood is a wine merchant and Nicholas Hood's brother.
Jim ran wine firm Howells of Bristol until it was taken over.
* Sir David James Vernon Wills is the fifth baronet
of Blagdon. He's a major landowner and heir to the Wills tobacco
* Admiral Sir James Eberle was Vice-Admiral of the
UK, one of the highest military positions in the country,
from 1994-7. Educated at Clifton College, he's an ex-master
of the society and is Master of the Britannia Beagles hunt.
* Robert Mckinlay, CBE, was President of Bristol Chamber
of Commerce 1994-7. He was also Concorde's design director
while he worked at British Aerospace.
* Andrew Milton Reid was deputy chairman of tobacco
firm Imperial Group from 1986-9. He's an ex-master and was
high sheriff of Avon in 1991.
* Colin Skellett became chief executive of Wessex Water
in 1988 and oversaw the firm's privatisation. It was then
taken over by Azurix, which was owned by the fabulously corrupt
firm Enron, and more recently by Malaysian company YTL Power.
Skellett hit the headlines on 22 August 2002 when the City
of London Police staged a high-profile dawn raid of his home
and the Wessex Water offices in Bath. He was arrested over
allegations that he had received a £1 million bribe
to influence the £1.2 billion sale of Wessex Water to
YTL. The police dropped the investigation in February this
year. He is also a board member of the South West Regional
* Robert Bernays is a farmer and landowner.
* Tim Pearce runs property development firm Bristol
and England Properties Ltd. He is part of the family that
used to run the Bristol-based firm Pearce Construction.
* Cullum McAlpine, 56, director of construction firm
Sir Robert McAlpine and the MITIE Group (see below).
* David Michael Parkes is an accountant and ex-master
of the Merchants. His brother, D'Arcy Parkes, is the Merchants'
official spokesman (not a Merchant himself, he runs the Antient
Society of St Stephens' Ringers).
* Richard Johnson is a solicitor. A senior partner
at Burges Salmon, he was educated at Clifton College.
* James and Dayrell McArthur are brothers. They run
security fencing firm the McArthur Group Ltd, based at the
Fishponds Trading Estate. Dayrell was Master in 1989.
* Mark Pitman is a farmer in Somerset.
* Terrence Mordaunt, chairman of First Corporate Shipping
Ltd which owns Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Docks, and David
Ord, 55, its managing director. Mordaunt and Ord bought and
privatized the port in 1991, meaning they now control all
trade through it, just as the original Merchants did when
they ran the port of Bristol 450 years ago.
* David Telling, 64, is the founder and executive chairman
of the Wrington-based MITIE group. The company, which has
over 70 subsidiaries, provides a massive array of services
including building management and construction equipment hire.
Its turnover was £566m last year. Its clients include
the Palace Of Westminster, Rolls Royce, the British Army and
Shell. He has appointed two men who are also Merchants to
help him run the firm: Callum McAlpine (see above) and David
Ord (see above).
* Roderick Davidson, 64, a member of the Downs Committee,
the half-councillor, half-Merchant group that controls the
Downs. He is a typical Merchant: educated at Clifton College,
he has been High Sheriff of Avon, is a member of the Clifton,
the Colston Research Society and the Antient Society Of St
Stephens Ringers. He is the only Merchant uncovered so far
who has been a city councillor. He's a stockbroker by profession,
and is now chairman of the Company Close Brothers Development
VCT PLC, and a director of Close Brothers Venture Capital
* John Andrew Southerden Burn, chief engineer at Imperial
Tobacco from 1962-82. He's held a string of charitable positions,
including Vice President of the SS Great Britain, Chairman
of the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust and Chairman of the
governors at Colston's Girls' School.