Vanbrugh Castle School

Lord Wakefield

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Lord Wakefield bought the house next to Vanbrugh Castle in 1939 for £3000 and gave it to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund which enabled the school to expand. This became known as The Wakefield Wing. It contained two dormitories and a dining room for the boys and further accommodation for staff.

From The Evening Express January 15th 1941

Death of Lord Wakefield

Oil Chief And Great Giver


A Liverpool Man

Viscount Wakefield, oil magnate, philanthropist and patron of British enterprise In the realms of sport, speed and civil aviation, who was one of Liverpool's most famous sons, died today at Beaconsfield, Bucks, aged 81.
It is a tragic coincidence that he has died just over a week after Amy Johnson, whose grand efforts in the air he sponsored and helped.
Lord Wakefield was born in Wavertree in 1859, his father, John Wakefield, being a Customs official.

He was reared in a home that was marked by devotion to religion.
As Charles Cheers Wakefleld he was educated at the Liverpool Institute. He retained an for his old school and at its centenary in 1926 he gave £500 to the fund for a new playing field.

On leaving school he was employed as a clerk in the offices of W H F Walker, oil manufacturers, of Water Street Liverpool, where he acquired technical knowledge which afterwards enabled him to make a great fortune. Leaving Walkers he became manager of the Vacuum Oil Company in Liverpool, and after a number of years they promoted him to London, where he became their agent for Great Britain and the Dominions. He was not yet 30.
Afterwards Lord Wakefield founded the firm of C.C.Wakefield and Co. Ltd., which later attained world-wide ramifications, and of which he became governing director.
He was also chairman of the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company Co. Ltd.
At one time he lived at Fearnles, Russian Drive, Stoney-croft, and later at Beech Lea at the corner of Beech Street, Edge Lane, and he late taught a Sunday school class at St. Paul's Wesleyan Chapel, Old Swan.
In his youth he was an adept at games. He was a fast runner, a useful cricketer, and at one time he played as a dashing forward for old Wavertree Rugby Football Club.

He shone best perhaps at boxing, and his ability to receive punishment from bigger opponents without wilting or loss of temper earned him the nickname of "the smiling boxer".
As a young man he worked hard at his job, more because of a natural energy than to achieve any fixed ambition. In the evening he played games and read Shakespeare., Emerson and Ruskin, for from an early age he nicely balanced his physical and mental recreations.

Lord Wakefield became known as the "patron saint of British civil aviation" and modestly covered all his acts of kindliness and generosity. He was universally recognised as "the prince of givers", his whole life being devoted to bringing happiness to others, and he often said it was that which gave him freshness and vitality at a time when most men begin to feel that they are growing old.
He once said he learned his philosophy of life from Robert Louis Stevenson, whom he met in Somoa, and the advice he received was "Fill your life with laughter and sunlight". Lord Wakefield determined to carry out this advice still further, and consecrated his life to filling also the lives of others with laughter and sunshine. That he did in super-abundance. His charity knew no bounds.

Without any show or desire for recognition he gave financial help to scores of hospitals and other charitable organisations. It is estimated that his total dispersements in this direction alone must have been well over a million pound.
His greatest passion in life was to see Britain lead in every form of achievement, and he spent at least another million pounds in ensuring her supremacy on land and water and in the air.
The development of aviation was his pet hobby, and as long ago as 1910 he addressed a public meeting in the City on the urgent imperial aspects of this form of transport.

He lived to see his own prophecy come true, that within 20 years from then there would bescarcely a corner of the earth which could not be reached within a few days from England. Whenever those great flights occurred almost invariably the financial support and influence of Lord Wakefield were behind them.
He poured out money in financing some of the most successful flying ventures of the age.
Always an ardent imperialist he was behind most of the long distance flights, and financed the survey voyages made by Sir Alan Cobham to Africa, India and Australia.
He gave aeroplanes to flying clubs throughout the empire, large sums each year to the Royal Aero Club for their racing programmes, and subscribed generously towards the continuance of the Schneider Trophy contests.

He founded Wakefield scholarships through the Royal Air Force and allocated £500 per year for two scholarships at the college of Aeronautical Engineering when he was president in 1934, and gave "The Spirit of Speed" trophy won by the late Sir Henry Seagrave when he captured the land speed record at Daytona in 1930.
He spent something like £100,000 in building the motor-boats Miss England 11 - in which Sir Henry Seagrave lost his life - and Miss England 111 in order to win back the water speed record frpm America.
He helped innumerable hospitals and charities in London and other cities and hundreds of thousands of pounds were distributed unobtrusively.
Lord Wakefild loved children and his contributions to hospitals reached staggering proportions. He bought the famous Talbot House at Poperinghe in Belgium in which the Toc H Movement started and endowed it with £10,000. He anonymously guaranteed £50,000 to make possible the purchase of the Codex Bible presented to the British Museum; Nelson's log book in the Victory; and by a generous gift to the trustees of Milton's Cottage in Chalfont St. Giles saved the adjoining land from the builders. To Hythe, Kent, where he lived, he presented a new lifeboat.

Lord Wakefield was an ideal employer, and in 1936 his world-wide staff received a gift worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, when he decided to scrap the old pensions acheme, pay the whole of the contributions himself, and repay and repay every penny which the employees had subscibed to the fund, together with interest and give every employee a free life insurance policy to a maximum of £750.
He always said that the secret of success in life was a capacity for taking pains.
Lord Wakefield travelled extensively before settling in London, where he flung himself into public affairs and was made Lord Mayor of London in 1915. Honours were showered upon him by the Allies.

When he was entertained at a public banquet on attaining his peerage he paid this tribute to his wife: "Our domestic life has been run by two officers—the captain and the cabin boy. Very often my wife has been on the bridge, and sometimes the cabin boy has been there too, but we have never had any mutiny."
When the passage has been stormy we have both been on the bridge, and I want to say that I should never have been a peer but for my wife. She has been a great wife, a great comrade, and a great and inspiring influence."
Lord Wakefield leaves no heir and the title becomes extinct. They had been married for 63 years.
Lord Wakefield look an active part in the direction of his business affairs right up fo his last, short illness. He never retired.
One of his last appeals was for the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund, which has raised £360.000 to date.
He was confident of the outcome of the present conflict. "We shall secure victory not for ourselves but for the ideals of civilisation", he declared.
The Lord Mayor of London (Sir George H. Wilkinson), said of Lord Wakefield, today, "He was in his outlook the Dick Whittington of our times and his passing creates an irreparable void far beyond the bounds of the city." Sir Malcolm Campbell said "Everything that Lord Wakefield sponsored in the realms of aviation and motoring he did with the single purpose of upholding the prestige of his country."