Archive : Lord Nuffield Left £500,000 To College he Founded

From Our Correspondent. OXFORD, OCT. 2

Lord Nuffield, who died in August at his home, Nuffield Place, near Henley, aged 85, left his home and about £500,000 to the Oxford college which bears his name. Two other colleges benefit from his will-Worcester and Pembroke. Both get £10,000.

He left £3,252,764 gross. The net-amount is £3,154,885. Duty paid was £2,424,354. The will has been lodged with the Oxford District Probate Registry. Apart from bequests to colleges, business colleagues, relatives and former servants, Lord Nuffield directed that his trustees should hold the whole of his money and the income deriving from it for Nuffield College, Oxford. “for-the general purposes of the said college”.

Other bequests were:  To his niece, Mrs. Winifred Constance Emily Rawlence £4,500: Mr George William Harriman, chairman of the British Motor Corporation, of Knowle, Warwickshire, 62,232 ordinary 5s. shares of B.M.C.; Mr James Reginald Woodcock, of Beechhut Road, Solihull, Warwickshire, deputy chairman of Morris Motors, Ltd., “in recognition of his loyalty to me and to that company” £5,000; Miss Kathleen Francis, his maid, at Nuffield Place if still, in service at the time of his death, £500-increased in a codicil to: £1,000; Mr Alfred Edward Keen, of Quarry End, The Slade, Oxford, “as a small token of his loyalty to me over very many years “, £500.

In the codicil Lord Nuffield also left £500 to Mrs Barbara Fenelon of Churchill Place, Wolvercote, Oxford, a secretary at Morris Motors who once worked for him personally.  He appointed as his executors Mr Wilfred Hobbs, of Streatley, an accountant, and Mr William Richard Gowers, solicitor, of Oxford. He left them a joint bequest of £3,000. The direction to the trustees concerning Nuffield College means that in addition to Nuffield Place the college will have about £500,000 in cash.

The Warden of the college, Mr D. N. Chester, said today:  “This will shows that the college which Lord Nuffield founded stood outstanding in his last thoughts. The bitterness of earlier years had some time ago disappeared and he was happy to make the college his heir, his residuary legatee, to live in and look after the house in which he had lived so happily for 40 years, to be the final recipient of his great generosity. The amount involved is somewhat staggering and places a very great responsibility on the college. To me, the really significant feature of the benefaction is that it kills once and for all the story that Lord Nuffield was unhappy about the college he founded. He was a man who knew his own mind, was shrewd in his judgments and not sentimental where the giving of money was concerned.”

The Warden said the college would keep Nuffield Place substantially as it is. It would probably be used by some of the college’s overseas fellows and students as a place where they could go for short periods to work and study. “There is no end to the money you can spend on social research. At the moment we are spending £20,000 to £24,000 a year from grants from various foundations. These grants will run-out in the next two or three years. This money will more than replace them. It means that the college can continue to go full blast and develop. Lord Nuffield liked making quite simple but big decisions.”

Mr. G. R. F. Bredin, Bursar of Pembroke; said: “Lord Nuffield was a good friend to Pembroke College on many occasions. The news that one who was so generous in his lifetime should now once more be our benefactor will be most keenly appreciated in a college where his name will always be remembered with gratitude.”

Mr, A. N. Bryan-Brown, Vice-Provost of Worcester, said . “We are extremely grateful and will find a good use for his money. His name is already commemorated here in our Nuffleld building and many Nuffield scholars have come to us to read medicine. From time to time we were able to report to Lord Nuffield that many of them had done well in their careers.”

Miss K. Francis, aged 54, housekeeper at, Nuffield Place said she went to work for Lord Nuffield for a temporary period of one month. That was in 1934 and she has been there ever since. Lord Nuffield’s benefactions in his lifetime were many. He gave away more than £28m. Most of this went for medical and scientific research. In 1943 he gave all his shares in the Nuffield organization to the Nuffield Foundation. This, his largest gift, was,worth £10m. It has so far enabled the foundation to make grants totalling £16m to advance medical research, teaching, and practice.

Keith Adams

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