Richard Jarrold 29 July 1934 – 18 November 2019

Richard Jarrold, Managing Director of Jarrold Retail Division for more than 30 years passed away, just two weeks after his brother Peter.

Richard was born in 1934, the second son of John and Grace Jarrold. The family, including his younger brother Antony, lived in Cotman Road in Thorpe, Norwich.

His first school, St Monica’s, next to Rosary Road was bombed out, and its junior class moved to the Jarrold’s house. This house subsequently became uninhabitable during the blitz raids, but a year earlier, Richard, and his elder brother Peter, had been evacuated with his school Town Close, to the safety of Westmoreland (now part of Cumbria). The school returned to Norwich and Richard was then sent to Old Buckenham Hall School where he played hockey and football as goalkeeper in the 1st teams. Richard’s education continued at Oundle School and then, taking the option to postpone National Service, he went to Queens’ College, Cambridge and, exactly as his father, John Jarrold, a generation before, at the same college, gained a BA (honours) in Natural Sciences.

Richard met his future wife, Waltraud, when she was staying in Norwich in 1953.  Their courtship spanned five years, and after Richard finished his studies at Queens’ he joined the army. Passing out as top cadet of his intake at Mons he chose to join the 5th Royal Horse Artillery Regiment, who were stationed in Germany. Forsaking his Royal Enfield 350cc motorbike he acquired an old Mercedes for regular visits to Waltraud. They married in 1958.

Waltraud’s family, the Kralls, were wine growers and owners of a shop in Winningen, an attractive village on the banks of the river Mosel in Germany. The village is some five miles from Koblenz, a town with important similarities to Norwich, in population size and with many medieval churches, situated at the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine.  Richard and Waltraud were major movers in the twinning of Norwich and Koblenz and have worked hard, over some 30 years to connect both communities through Rotary Clubs, in both cities, the Norfolk and Norwich Koblenz Friendship Association, Norwich Philharmonic Society and many other organisations and exchanges.

After National Service Richard studied retailing with the family owned store group Beales, based in Bournemouth.  Returning to the Jarrold London Street store, Richard soon had the confidence of the department managers and buyers so that he was in the right position to take over as Managing Director from the astute Scotsman, Mr Grant, on his planned retirement in1959.

During the late 1960’s a substantial increase in floor space was achieved with acquisition of the adjacent, redundant Corn Exchange. Richard took the major decision to extend the business into fashion and furniture in the city centre, against the prevailing trend coming from the USA of developments moving out of town. This made Jarrold major competitors of other Norwich stores including Curls (now Debenhams) and Bonds (John Lewis).

Richard’s responsibilities included the ‘Office Equipment’ Division with branches in East Anglia, which grew to achieve over 10% of Jarrold’s annual sales. The Jarrold Retail Division, under Richard’s visionary leadership, was recognised nationally. He was appointed a Director and then Chairman of Associated Independent Stores, the buying group set up to compete with the buying power of the multiples.

Richard’s father, John Jarrold, Chairman of the Company, died in 1979, and his elder brother Peter became Chairman of Jarrold with its three ‘Divisions’, Printing, Publishing and Retail. Peter retired in 1999 and Richard took over as Chairman, finally retiring in 2002. Those were three years that saw the transition of the management of the Company moving from the three brothers to the next generation.

Richard was closely involved in many aspects of Norwich life and the community. He was President of YMCA Norfolk for over forty years. When he stepped down in 2010 he was awarded the organisation’s highest honour, the Order of the Red Triangle. He was vice chairman of the UEA Council, and awarded an Honorary Degree in recognition of his services to the University and Norwich community. He was Chairman of the Assembly House Trustees, and the John Jarrold Trust, President of Norwich Chamber of Commerce, and President and a very active member of Norwich Rotary Club for over 50 years. During his lifetime he was involved in many other local trusts and charities. He served as a magistrate for many years and was a long-term governor of the Hewett School in Norwich. He was a keen supporter of the arts and music, and of Holy Trinity Church, Norwich, which he had attended from his teenage years.

David Hill, executive chairman of Jarrold, said ‘Richard has been a shining example to so many in the company, in Norwich and beyond. His passing away, just two weeks after his brother Peter, is immeasurably sad. However Richard leaves a lasting and significant legacy within the company, and the community of Norwich and Norfolk.’

The Lord Dannatt said

“ I was very honoured to have been invited to follow Richard Jarrold as President of YMCA Norwich, then YMCA Norfolk. He had been President for forty years and involved with the charity for over fifty years. As well as his very successful business and professional life, he was very committed to the Christian faith and believed very strongly in wanting to help young people have a fair start in life. He found that the YMCA combined those two aspirations and his love and work for the charity was boundless. Only two weeks before he passed away he attended the Annual General Meeting and celebration of the work of the YMCA over the last year. He will be very sadly missed but we all give great thanks for a wonderful life, very well lived. “

Richard is survived by his wife Waltraud, and his daughters Caroline and Michelle, and grandchildren Max, Felix, Elliott, Louisa and Alice.

The picture shows Richard with Mr Sadd, the General Manager, in the store in the 1960s