Great Britain, the land of high tea, Royals like William and Kate, musicians like the wonderful Adele, and heart-throb movie stars like Robert Pattinson. Not only famous, but – we’d imagine – incredibly rich. Believe it or not, though, their wealth is merely a blip on the radar compared to the sort of wealth being brought in by the elite 1% in the UK. You won’t see these wealthy tycoons in the news nearly as often as their fellow ‘celebrity’ countrymen, and perhaps their career choices and professions may seem rather staid compared to living a life of royalty, starring in movies or winning Grammy awards – but the richest Brits have money that would make even Paul McCartney’s eyes water.
The richest UK citizens have earned their living in varied fields, among them vacuums, banking, real estate, construction equipment… Suitably practical, useful but just a little bit stuffy. Sounds boring perhaps, to us average Joes, but these cleverly business-minded Brits cashed in big time with practical inventions and skills that the world needed – and landed squarely on the billionaire list in the process. They’re living the lifestyles of the rich and (sometimes) famous with luxurious homes, fine dining, and international travel/
While they’re not splashed across the tabloids, the richest British people make headlines in the business world on a regular basis. This list of the top ten richest Brits just goes to show you that sometimes, practicality and ‘old boy’ connections can pay off in a very big way over in the UK.
10. Joe Lewis – $4.2 Billion
Joe Lewis is a businessman who is currently enjoying life (and low tax rates) in the Bahamas. Born and raised in London, he left school at the age of 15 to work for his father’s catering business, Tavistock Banqueting, where he started out as a waiter. When he eventually took over the family business, he expanded it and then sold it. After securing some wealth, he Lewis went into currency trading, and relocated to the Bahamas. In 1992, he betted with George Soros on the pound crashing out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism; this wise move secured Lewis enormous wealth. He’s the chief investor in the Tavistock Group and is still in FX trading today at 76 years old.
9. Anthony Bamford & Family – $4.2 Billion
Lord Bamford, Kt., DL is Chairman of JCB Ltd. He succeeded his father, Joseph Cyril Bamford, in 1975 as Chairman and Managing Director. JCB, Ltd. primarily focuses on construction, demolition, and agricultural equipment. Bamford earned a knighthood in 1990, then added DL to his title in 2002. He’s recently joined the House of Lords and is a primary donor for Britain’s conservative party, as well as an avid collector of vintage Ferraris.
8. Laurence Graff – $4.3 Billion
English jeweller and the founder of Graff Diamonds, Laurence Graff is a major supplier of jewels and rare gems. He left school at 15 and became an apprentice. Soon after, he went into a partnership with a jeweller named Schindler in a small shop creating small pieces of jewellery and carrying out ring repairs. After the shop went out of business, Graff began to work independently for jewellers throughout England. In 1960, he founded Graff Diamonds, and in 1962 opened two of his own shops. In 1974, he began working with buyers from the Middle East, and has been expanding and growing ever since.
7. James Dyson – $4.4 Billion
James Dyson is the perfect example of hard work and perseverance paying off. He’s the inventor and mastermind behind that popular vacuum that never loses its suction. Dyson vacuums have cornered the market worldwide, and they go for a premium price. Dyson was born in Cromer, Norfolk, and had a flair for the artistic; he attended the Gresham’s School, the Royal College of Art, and the Byam Shaw School of Art. His first invention, the ‘Ballbarrow’, was inspired by the wheelbarrow and used a ball in place of the traditional wheel. In the late 1970’s, frustrated with his Hoover vacuum constantly clogging up, Dyson began to design a vacuum cleaner utilizing cyclonic separation and eliminating the need for a bag. He launched his G-Force model in 1983, but faced a decade of rejection from manufacturers. In 1993 he created his own company, Dyson vacuum cleaners, which boomed in the UK – and, in 2005, became one of the best-selling vacuum cleaners in the United States.
6. Richard Branson – $4.6 Billion
London-born Richard Branson has become a household name in Britain, and is the world-famous founder of the Virgin Group which oversees more than 400 companies. The core businesses surrounding Virgin – founded in 1970 – are entertainment, lifestyle, and travel. Probably most commonly known in the music production and airline industries, Branson and a business partner originally came up with the name ‘Virgin’ for their record shop – because they considered themselves to be virgins in the business. To this day, Branson maintains full control and ownership of the Virgin brand, which has expanded into many other areas including wine, jewellery, cosmetics and phones – to name just a few. Branson is dyslexic and has no university education, but his charisma and drive have made him one of the most successful businessmen in the world.
5. Philip & Cristina Green – $5 Billion
Self-made billionaires Philip and Cristina Green made their fortune with their retail empire known as the Arcadia Group. They expanded their business when they joined forces with Simon Cowell in creating a global entertainment company which produces shows like the American version of the X-Factor. Philip is another of the British Billionaire club who left school at 15 years old. He worked for a shoe importer and traveled Europe, the United States, and the Far East. He bought his first store at 27, and continued to buy other chains and labels. In 2002, Green bought the struggling Arcadia label for $1.2 billion. In 2006, he was knighted for his contributions to the retail industry.
4. Charles Cadogan & Family – $5.5 Billion
Charles Gerald John Cadogan, 8th Earl Cadogan, is more than just a fancy name – he’s also one of the leading landowners and philanthropists in Great Britain and one of the richest people in the nation. His net value is primarily based on his property earnings in Chelsea, and throughout the years when other properties suffered, Cadogen’s properties flourished. He remains an active member of the community and heads his family’s real estate trust which is over 300 years old.
3. Hinduja Brothers – $8.3 Billion
The four Hinduja Brothers – Srichand, Gopichand, Prakash and Ashok – together control the Hinduja Group, which was founded in 1914. Not only are the Hinduja Brothers some of the richest people in the United Kingdom, but they also rank high in their native India. The Hinduja Group is a multi-national conglomerate that covers diversified areas including oil, healthcare, banks, trucks, and lubricants for manufacturing. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the Hinduja Brothers, as they continue to expand and purchase other companies; they’re reported net worth has increased by $1 billion in the last year.
2. David & Simon Reuben – $10.5 Billion
Born in India and raised in the United Kingdom, these two brothers began their empire by entering the businesses of carpet. David was also involved in the metals trading business. They entered the real estate world after selling their metals trading business, buying exclusive property and revamping homes and buildings, turning them into highly desirable pieces of real estate sought after by the elite Britons. While these brothers are British citizens, they both reside currently in Monaco and David has another property in Florida.
1. Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor and Family – $11.4 Billion
Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor is the United Kingdom’s richest landowner, as well as the 6th Duke of Westminster. He owns real estate all over the world spanning five continents. One of his valuable assets includes Belgravia, one of London’s most expensive neighbourhoods; the Grosvenors own more than 190 acres of land in this prime area of one of the world’s major capitals. In Belgravia, homes can sell for $150 million. The Duke’s family also owns 96,000 acres of Scotland and at least 32,000 acres in England – making this man the richest – and arguably one of the most powerful – in the United Kingdom.