David Davenport

1930 - 2012

David was a great supporter of the EBU and was behind the provision of each affiliated club getting a free copy of the Laws Book back in 2008. He also gave £5000 from his own charitable trust to the Youth and Education Trust in summer 2011, which has meant that the Trust has been able to support many more initiatives.

David Talbot Henry Davenport was born in India in May 1930 where his father was working for Dunlop. The family soon returned to England and settled in the Wirral. David was sent to Mostyn House prep school and then Radley, where he learnt to row and was Captain of Boats in his last year. After Radley he did his National Service with the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry before going up to University College Oxford where he read PPE. He was soon back on the river, possibly to the detriment of his studies. He rowed very succesfully for his college, and then earned a place in the Oxford 8, rowing in the 1953 Boat Race. He graduated that year with his blue and his degree.

His business career began with the investment team at Canada Life. He was sent to Canada to train and then returned to be given the job of running the London office. In 1960 he left Canada Life and set up his own business, Portfolio Management, with his partner, James Rowlatt. The business prospered and was a template for investment management firms of the future. The business was successfully sold to Aitkin Hume in the late 70’s. David soon moved on and set up a new business, CS Investments, with Sam Stephenson and Eric Crawford.

In 1960, David married Patricia Barham and they set about producing a family. Four children duly arrived, William, Sarah, Lucy and Jeremy. Family commitments inhibited David's other great love, Bridge. His mother was a formidable player and David learnt to play at a young age and soon became a top player, playing for Oxford in a winning team vs. Cambridge and regularly playing at Crockfords. He played in the English trials in 1960 but gave up tournament bridge until much later in life as his family arrived. In 1972 he joined the Portland Club where he was one of the leading players. He was Chairman of the Card Committee for many years and made a major contribution to the 1997 edition of The Laws of Rubber Bridge. He was working on the next edition right up until his death and was much concerned that the Portland club made a significant contribution.

His business life meantime prospered. CS investments became Chiswell St and then later Sarasin, growing significantly. Following a chance dinner party meeting, David bought into a company, called Barbour Index, a specialist information service for architects. With his partner, Patrick Barbour, the business prospered and in 1972 they were able to purchase New Lodge in Winkfield, Berkshire for a very low price and later sold it for a substantial profit. Microgen, a software company, also emerged from Barbour and is capitalised today at £100m.

David retired from day to day work in his 70's but continued to be an active investor in the Stock Market. He returned to tournament bridge and he and I struck up a very happy partnership playing in the Gold Cup and the Kent Congress where we won the major pairs event. David was a delightful partner, never complaining about my disappointing play and never ever behaving other than impeccably. He will be much missed by his wife, his 4 children, 7 grandchildren and his many friends.

Giles Hargreave, Deputy Chairman Portland Club 1/2/13