Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Sir Alfred Herbert's Wealth

Sir Alfred became a wealthy man over his long and productive life, as is evidenced by his estate at Dunley in Hampshire, but he remained frugal in his personal habits and never flaunted his wealth (he sold his Rolls Royce at the beginning of WW1 and 'dropped back top more modest vehicles'). Furthermore, he gave a great deal away through the various philanthropic activities related here, and in addition gave private financial assistance to many of the windows of those who had worked for him.

So successful was his business that his wealth built up despite the high rates of taxation which he bore, especially after WW11 when 'supertax' was introduced. For some years he was paying the highest rate of tax at 98 pence in the pound (ie 98%). But, unlike some of his contemporaries such as the Vesteys, he made no attempt to shield his personal wealth from tax, had no family trusts set up and stated explicitly that he would take no steps to minimise death duties - which were then levied at an extremely high rate, on the grounds that all such taxes were properly due for the benefit of the country. In fact his net worth on his death in 1957 was £6.9m (about £125m today), most of which went in death duties.

Return to Alfred Herbert Index

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