Founder of Berkeley Group plc Tony Pidgley, passed away on Friday 26th June at the age of 72. His story of rags to riches by launching one of the UK’s largest house-builders in 1976 is a compelling one and there are many in the sector who held him in the highest regard.
The news of his sudden death was announced by Rob Perrins, Chief Executive of Berkeley Group on Friday afternoon in a market statement. Mr Perrins said: “He knew he would never retire, so he ensured that his culture was embedded in the company for when this sad day came. We all owe him a huge debt.”
On a personal note having seen Tony at a number of industry events over the years he consented to an interview with me in early 2019 where we discussed the implications of Brexit on the UK house-building sector, skill shortages in the industry affecting housing supply, and his belief in modular construction as a viable option to getting more homes built in the UK.
It was very evident that he was no ‘old fool’, as he clearly had a sharp mind and at the same time was courteous and not at all arrogant, as can be the case with some successful entrepreneurs. He was an orphan child from a very early age and subsequently spent a number of years within the traveller community.
Alex Harrington-Griffin was co-host of The Developers Boardroom where I conducted the interview last year with Mr. Pidgley and on hearing the sad news said: “Tony was extremely generous with time and advice for me and our network. His frank view of business and development success was really refreshing, and it was incredible to see him dissect any land deal figures in just seconds, which showed natural ability but also real passion.
“Every deal was up for grabs with Tony, big or small, and his informal but genuine entrepreneurial spirit gave him such a zest for opportunity that it is clear to see how he created the property legacy that he has. We have lost a real legend, but have gained a timeless mentor.”