Director of Kleinwort Benson who spent two years in
Edward Heath's Government and whose limericks were a
source of pride
THE 6th Earl of Limerick enjoyed
careers in both the City and in Government, serving in
the latter as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for
Trade in Edward Heath's administration from 1972 to 1974.
He later described the experience as "absolutely not
to be missed, and absolutely not to be repeated".
His parliamentary career was a two-year interlude in a
long association with the merchant bank Kleinwort (later
Kleinwort Benson), with which he was associated for 32
years, 23 as a director. This culminated in his
appointment as deputy chairman from 1985 to 1987. He was
also a member and later a highly effective chairman, from
1979 to 1983, of the British Overseas Trade Board and,
from 1984 to 1991, of British Invisibles (formerly the
British Invisible Exports Council, now International
Financial Services). As such he was a constant
proselytiser for invisible exports - believing them to be
undervalued by governments - and he used his maiden
speech in the House of Lords to assert that the Queen's
Award for Industry ought to be extended to those
responsible for them.
Limerick was also an enthusiastic skier and a dedicated
mountaineer. He was first taken skiing at the age of
eight by his father, who had won the Alpine Cup in 1924.
Later he was an active member of the Lords and Commons
Ski Club and a stalwart of the Anglo-Swiss Parliamentary
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, much was made of his name, which
Limerick invariably took in good spirit. He in turn
always had a few lines for every occasion. After his
government appointment, which coincided with his taking
the Conservative whip, The Sun ran the following
The Tories have found a big stick:
P. E. Pery, Sixth Earl Limerick,
Warn Nixon, Warn Mao,
They had best look out now,
He's the man who will take Ted's last trick.
Patrick Edmund Pery was the eldest son of the 5th Earl of
Limerick and his wife Angela, the first non-royal
vice-president of the Red Cross, who became known as the
"Countess of Contraception" for her advocacy of
family planning in the 1930s. Remarkably, both his
parents were appointed GBE and were Companions of Honour.
Patrick Pery was educated at Eton and read PPE at New
College, Oxford. On coming down he trained as a chartered
accountant with Peat, Marwick, Mitchell, qualifying in
1957, before joining Kleinwort the following year where
he came under the wing of Ernest Kleinwort. In 1961
Limerick was involved in the merger with Benson.
In 1962, a year after his marriage to a fellow graduate
in PPE, Sylvia Lush, he took time out with his new wife -
a former employee of the Foreign Office who had been
attached to the King and Queen of Nepal during a state
visit - to take part in a botanical expedition to Nepal.
She trained with the Red Cross in order to serve as
medical officer during the trip. She went on to have a
distinguished public career in the field of health: she
was chairman of the British Red Cross Society, 1985-95;
president of the Community Practitioners' and Health
Vistors' Association, 1984-2002; and chairman of the
Chief Medical Officer's expert group to investigate cot
death theories, 1994-98. For her work on sudden infant
death she was appointed CBE in 1991.
On succeeding as 6th Earl after the suicide of his father
in 1967, Limerick at first sat in the House of Lords as
an Independent, speaking largely on trade, finance and
latterly education. He took the Conservative whip in
April 1972 when he was appointed Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State for Trade. After the general
election of 1974 he returned to Kleinwort Benson. In
1975, in his capacity as president of the Association of
Chambers of Commerce, he rounded on the television
networks for their "cursory, often superficial and
generally ignorant" treatment of business matters.
He was also anxious to prevent Britain from sliding
towards what he described as "the grey economic
socialism readily observed in Eastern Europe".
In the hours spent away from his business life he enjoyed
being at home at Chiddinglye, the family estate and dairy
farm at West Hoathly in West Sussex. The family's links
with the city of Limerick had all but died out by the
20th century, but he set about restoring them. He was a
frequent guest of the Limerick Civic Trust, and donated
items of family importance to a museum in the city.
Although his main interest was in trade, Limerick
continued the family's military connections, serving as
Honorary Colonel of the 71st (Yeomanry) Signal Regiment
and of the Inns of Court and City Yeomanry. Among his
other business and financial interests were his
chairmanships of Pirelli UK, AMP Asset Management and De
La Rue. He was also latterly president of the
European-Atlantic Group. In later years he became
involved with the City of London Polytechnic. He was
chairman of the court of governors, 1984-99, during which
time it became the London Guildhall University. When the
merger with North London Polytechnic to become London
Metropolitan University was proposed, he was appointed
the new institution's first Chancellor.
Limerick frequently wrote verses for family occasions.
Each Christmas he donned his parliamentary robes to
recite poetry about Santa Claus for his extended family
and estate workers. When House of Lords reform was under
the spotlight in December 1999, he put pen to paper for
The virtues of genes, I insist,
Should not be too lightly dismissed;
If a poll's on the cards
For hereditary Bards -
My name will be found on the list.
Just a few months ago he abseiled down Canary Wharf as
part of the Lord Mayor of London's "Square
Smile" event to raise money for mental health
charities. Two weeks before his sudden death he was
skiing with his son and four grandchildren. Limerick was
appointed KBE in 1983 for services to exports. A former
chairman of the Britain-Australia Society, he was
appointed an honorary member of the Order of Australia in
2001. His wife Sylvia survives him, as do a daughter and
two sons, the eldest of whom, Viscount Glentworth, a
director of Deutsche Bank, succeeds as 7th Earl.
The 6th Earl of Limerick, KBE, was born on April 12,
1930. He died from a heart attack on January 8, 2003,