Sad News On the Death of Herioter, and Life Member, Vivian Linacre (1928 – 2021)

Vivian Linacre sadly passed away on the 17th of this month. He developed pneumonia whilst in Ninewells Hospital following a fall, but unfortunately didn’t recover. He passed away peacefully in his sleep with his wife of 16 years Margaretha by his side.

A small family funeral service will be held at Perth Crematorium on Friday the 1st of October at 10:30. If any Heriot’s Rugby Club Members would like to participate virtually, the service will be live-streamed. Please email and we will arrange for the family to send you the link.

Vivian was born in Liverpool, 5th August 1928. He first came to Scotland around 1939, when his father got a job in the NAAFI, joining George Heriot’s School in that year, along with his brothers Eddie and Albert, and with a slight build, playing scrum half for his year second team, and staying there throughout the war, before going to Edinburgh University. 

Vivian went down south but returned to Scotland in 1961, initially in Glasgow, but then in Palmerston Place. He moved back to England in 1971 when he joined the board of City Wall Properties.

Returning again to Edinburgh in 1978, to set himself up in solo practice, and this time stayed!  A regular at Goldenacre, sons Nigel, Timothy and Adrian went to Heriot’s in the 1960’s and the start of the 70’s. 

Vivian was a pioneering retail developer north and south of the border, completing many town-centre schemes, and tried to win many more. He was also very involved in charity work. Some of his many achievements’ are below:-

  • Chair of the Organizing Committee of the European Conference of the International Real Estate Federation in October 1985.
  • Scottish Chairman of the 1987 United Nations International Year of Shelter for the Homeless Appeal Committee.
  • Founded the Scottish Property Industry Festival of Christmas, known in the property trade as SPIFOX in 1983, which has since raised £5million for Childline and other good causes (see below).  
  • Founded the Imperial Measures Preservation Society in 1994, and in 1995 changed the name to the British Weights and Measures Association which had long become defunct, successfully resisting compulsory metrication, and enabling the continuance of dual marking.
  • Author of Ground-Breaking, a history of commercial property development, and of the Marshall Place Conspiracy, about an ancient property scandal in Perth, and of the Several Lives of Alberto Bioletti, about our Italian ancestor.   

Our thoughts are with his wife Margaretha, sons Nigel, Tim and Adrian and the rest of his family at this time.

Note about SPIFOX from Vivian Linacre

I thought up ‘SPIFOX’ Scottish Property Industry Festival of Christmas in my bath late one night in ’82, and the event was first staged on 16th December 1983. I had long felt that the property and building community in Scotland should do something collectively for charity on a regular basis, and thereby (a) improve its image bearing in mind that ‘estate agent’ and ‘property developer’ are two of the most popular terms of abuse, as well as (b) create some much-needed medium for fraternization and fun. SPIFOX has become a huge success, but a year-round tread-mill for the Committee to organize this one day each December! It consists simply of a concert in the Parish Church of the New Town – St. Andrew’s and St. George’s in George Street – held from say 11.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. followed by a reception and buffet lunch in say the Assembly Rooms just a short walk away; but the secret is the recipe for the concert, which is built around the cycle of the Nine Lessons (first perfected in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge), the last of which is read by the Minister, following eight celebrities from the worlds of sport, entertainment, the arts and public life, who all love to participate (and meet one another) and who, of course, pull in the punters. The rest of the programme is wholly musical; a blend of carols for the whole congregation and superlative instrumental and choral items of a more recherche nature. In addition to the resident church choir, we also invite a junior choir from one of the big Edinburgh schools. So it is a manifold; with the senior and junior choirs interwoven, vocal and instrumental music blended; performances alternating with audience participation, the music alternating with the reading of the lessons, a holy service combined with a popular concert …. a heady mix! And the entire programme is printed in a lavish brochure, which means that (a) the proceedings flow without any distraction or a moment wasted, and (b) a major source of revenue is the sale of advertising space. Apart from that, and donations, the main source, naturally, is the sale of tickets, which are for the concert combined with the ‘bash’ – at which more money is raised, or extorted!

We now have a committee, including an eminent banker, solicitor and accountant, who – like us all – give our services free, so that not one penny is deducted from the gross proceeds for expenses. Even the production of the programme costs us practically nothing; thanks to the generosity of the Editor of Scottish Business Insider magazine as well as of printers, paper makers, etc. Last year’s donation to ChildLine (Scotland) from this one event amounted to £22,000. This year we are to divide the nett proceeds between two beneficiaries; ChildLine (Scotland) and the Royal Blind School. The readers will include the Lord Provost, who traditionally reads the 1st Lesson, Esther Rantzen, the Duchess of Roxburghe, Gavin Hastings, Mary Marquis, etc. ‘Traditionally’, I say, for that is how it feels; yet in fact this year is only the seventh.

For after ’83 and ’84 it lapsed; and, as I had had to do most of the work myself for those first two years, I could not do it all again a third time. But I was invited to become Scottish Chairman of the 1987 United Nations International Year of Shelter for the Homeless Appeal Committee, with Lord Wheatley (who died shortly after) as my President. So I thought we could bolt a SPIFOX onto the end of that year’s campaign, and hold it in the Glasgow City Hall for a change. But while that was moderately successful financially, it was a disaster artistically, so SPIFOX lapsed again in ’88. Then in early ’89 a few of us were approached by ChildLine in London to help them set up a Scottish base in Glasgow; and the rest is history!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *