Peter Hoblyn

Peter Hoblyn died on 19th May, 2013, aged 86. He was a former Master Mariner and a well-known stockbroker in the City of London. He left three children and seven grand-children and a sister, Wendy. His son Richard writes:

"At the age of eight Peter entered Ripley Court preparatory school in Surrey. By all accounts he thrived, loving the outdoors and anything to do with water. During his time there he convinced his father that he wanted to go to sea. His admiration for an uncle who was a seaman probably persuaded him to focus on a future in the merchant marine.

Peter entered the Nautical College Pangbourne in 1940 joining Harbinger. During the Founders' Day Parade in 1943 he had a memorable front row view at the head of the uniformed parade as King George V1 inspected the cadets with the young Princess Elizabeth a few yards behind him.

In 1944 Peter left Pangbourne and joined the Clan Line. Over the next eleven years he completed 27 voyages working his way up from Cadet (Clan Forbes, Clan Macrae & Clan Lamont), 4th Officer (Clan Macrae), 3rd Officer (Clan Alpine), 2nd Officer (Clan MacQueen, Clan Davidson, Clan Buchanan & Clan MacDonald). These voyages sometimes lasted up to three months and took him to Africa, the Middle East, India, Australia via the Suez Canal and often to the Cape.

As a result of an involvement in the Bay of Bengal ‘war zone’ in 1944 on Clan Forbes (which offloaded important cargo into Calcutta ahead of the invasion of Burma), some years later he received the Burma Star for his war service thanks to a chance meeting with a fellow cadet on Clan Forbes who told him about his medal entitlement.

It was during one of his later voyages that he met his future wife, June (Vivian) Hayes, the middle daughter of a Lancastrian printer and a Dutch baroness. By 1954 the couple had decided to settle down in Crowborough, East Sussex, marrying at his father’s church in Penshurst, Kent, that February. In July 1954 he obtained his Masters Ticket but there were only a few voyages left before he discharged himself from Clan MacDonald on 29th April 1955 at Liverpool.

Soon after Peter went into the family stockbroking firm of Hoblyn & King in the City of London alongside his father, Dick, his uncle Donald Hoblyn and a cousin John Hoblyn who joined at the same time. In 1960 he became a Member of the Stock Exchange and was promoted to full partnership status.

Throughout the 1960s Peter maintained his links with the sea and built a good client relationship with a seafaring charity, the British Sailors Society At Home & Abroad. On business trips abroad for the firm he often visited the missions in overseas ports such as Kingston, Port of Spain and Singapore.

In 1965 Hoblyn & King merged with Dix & Maurice as the stock exchange and the UK economy entered some dark days. Another merger a few years later creating Hoblyn Dix Maurice & Anderson failed miserably as a disastrous entrée into the new Stock Exchange Tower Block conspired with draconian tax rates to force many firms out of business. Peter saw a way ahead abroad and opened Hoblyn offices in Grand Cayman and Geneva but the firm eventually closed its doors for good in October, 1974, after the cost pressures became too great.

As a boy Peter had self-taught himself car mechanics and constructed canoes from wood and canvas. On one occasion this got him into trouble with the Home Guard during the war for flouting security on the River Medway (his father reprimanding him in his Home Guard major’s uniform). His DIY skills never deserted him and in later life he excelled in his innovation in his homes and gardens.

He now applied these skills to stockbroking. From 1975-86, until Big Bang changed the City lanscape for ever, he soldiered on under other firms' banners. Along the way he built many interesting and profitable contacts, in particular with US investment banks. As a result he participated in some of the highest profile deals in broking history and his dealing books included first day transactions in companies such as Microsoft and Apple. Memorably, he stirred Kidder Peabody into following Carnival Cruise Line having observed its operations at Miami harbour in the 1980s.

Peter also took part with his great friend Ian Lowis in numerous oil deals with people like T Boone Pickens. One company Ian and Peter funded in its infancy was Blockbuster Video. Ironically, however, it was a UK deal transacted by Hoblyn & Co in the early 1970s that cemented his name in broking folklore, turning Diploma Laundry from a very sleepy laundry business into an electronics distributor.

In parallel with his professional life Peter was also at the helm of the Finance Committee of the British Sailors Society. In this role he was instrumental in the Society's move from its HQ in East London to the docks in Southampton coinciding with a more international stance for sailors shown by the change in name of the charity to the British & International Sailors Society.

In 1986 Peter joined the Honourable Company of Master Mariners enabling him to use the Honorary rank of Captain. He was a Member of the Stock Exchange from 1960-86 and also a founder Member of the Securities Institute in the early 1990s remaining a member until his retirement in 1997.

Peter enjoyed garden design, initially in Crowborough, later in Oxfordshire and latterly in Lymington. He took a great interest in masonry and his many hobbies included carpentry, book-binding, map collecting and anything maritime. But perhaps his greatest love was jazz and he spent many evenings on business trips to New York escaping to jazz clubs and mixing with some of the great names."

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