Sir David Barclay, Telegraph owner who with his twin Frederick built a vast business empire – obituary

SourceThe Telegraph
CountryMiddle east

David Rowat Barclay and Frederick Hugh Barclay were born into a large family in Hammersmith on October 27 1934; David was the older by 10 minutes. Their father, also Frederick, was a travelling salesman from Kilmarnock who died when the boys were 13. David’s early years were not easy: with two of his brothers he was evacuated several times during the war and witnessed at first hand the bombing of Coventry. But in spite of some unpleasant experiences and the loneliness of being separated from his family, in a quest for financial independence David and his brothers ventured into business for the first time when he was nine, earning a few pennies in a scheme looking after the bicycles of farmers going to market. At one point they were looked after by an elderly Christian schoolteacher who introduced him to a life of faith. The twins left school at 14 and David would always say that he had been educated in the “University of Life”.

From an early age he was a voracious reader, obsessed with newspapers and gleaning a deep understanding of business, economics and politics. David went to work first in the accounts department of the General Electric Company, and then more...