My Hampstead Garden Suburb: Former banking boss Sir Victor Blank fed up of ‘leaf blowers’

Former Lloyds Banking Group chairman Sir Victor Blank. Picture: PA/John Stillwell

Former Lloyds Banking Group chairman Sir Victor Blank. Picture: PA/John Stillwell - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Sir Victor Blank, 71, is the former chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, publisher Trinity Mirror and retailer Great Universal Stores. He was knighted in 1999 for services to the financial industry and is now chairman of several educational and charitable organisations. The father-of-three has lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb for more than 30 years.

What brought you to Hampstead Garden Suburb?

My wife and I were looking for a comfortable house with a garden in a leafy suburb for ourselves and our children. We fairly quickly focussed on the area around Hampstead Heath Extension.

You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what would you get up to?

I would have a lazy breakfast in my back garden and would then take a long walk with my wife around the Heath Extension, through Kenwood following the Heath down to Primrose Hill.

What makes the Suburb a special place to live?

The attraction of the Suburb was its fine architecture and houses, its location close to green space and central London and its cultural opportunities.

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Is there anything about the Suburb which you would like to see changed or improved?

The sense of peace and quiet that we first experienced has been eroded by noise pollution, particularly through the use of leaf blowers – machines that are useless, inconsiderate and excessively noisy. The Suburb needs to re-instil a sense of true community, where residents are concerned, for each other. We need to support our local institutions, the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust and the Residents’ Association, and they in turn need to focus their role on enhancing the essential, unique characteristics of the Suburb for the benefit of all residents and in accordance with the wishes of residents.

A film is set to be made about your life. Which actor would you choose to play you?

It won’t happen. And Shane Warne isn’t an actor!

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

This is very easy – Nelson Mandela, who I was privileged to sit next to some years ago at a small dinner party.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?

He cared for his family and others.

Sir Victor Blank was in conversation with Tim Lamden.