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News > Deaths and Obituaries > Obituary - Tim Archer (1960 W)

Obituary - Tim Archer (1960 W)

Tim Archer (1960 W), a former Head of House for Westminster and a School Prefect, sadly died on 14th September 2019.
Timothy John Archer (1960 W) grew up in Oxshott, Surrey.  From the age of nine, he was a boarder at a Surrey preparatory school before attending SVS from 1956 to 1960.  During that time, Tim was the Head of House for Westminster and a School Prefect. He won a number of academic prizes and played for the 1st XI Cricket team in every Summer Term that he was at the School, the first of which was when he was only 14 years old, in a side that included his older brother, William Archer (1957 W). 

Excelling at most sports, he was also the 1st XV scrum half for two years, captain of Fives and twice junior Fives champion. Over the course of his SVS career, he was awarded colours for Cricket, Rugby and Fives, and broke the Under 16 220 yards sprint record. 

Having left the School, Tim read Geography at Merton College, Oxford, graduating in 1965.  He captained the college Rugby XV and was a member of the college Cricket side.  In his final year, he was elected President of the Junior Common Room.  On graduating, he was the Merton College year representative for over 50 years.

From 1965 to 1968, Tim served articles at the large City of London solicitors, Richards Butler.  In a Law Society Part I examination, he was awarded the Alfred Syrett Prize.  Tim was admitted a solicitor in 1969 and remained at Richards Butler, becoming a partner at the age of 30.  For nine years (an unprecedented length of time), Tim was elected Senior Partner and Chairman of the Board - when he used to insist on meeting everyone who joined the firm, from receptionist to partner, and the firm became known for this caring, personal touch that was so typical of him. 

He was Head of the Commercial Litigation and Employment Law departments.  Tim represented many well-known companies, sometimes in cases that made front page news.  At employment tribunals, Tim would act as advocate for his clients where, in more than 400 cases, he lost only a handful of times. With Professor Gillian Morris, Tim was co-author of two law books: Trade Unions, Employers and the Law (1991) and Collective Labour Law (2000).  He also lectured at International Bar Association seminars.
After retiring from Richards Butler, he remained a consultant to the firm for some time.  From 2002 to 2006, Tim was part-time Chairman of Employment Tribunals - and never had a ruling overruled on appeal.

Tim loved music and had a good singing voice but, sadly, never learned to play an instrument.  From 1993 to 1995, he was a director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and, from 1997 to 2010, a director of the Philharmonia Orchestra.  When the government launched a judge-led funding review to consider the sustainability of all four London orchestras, Tim, a lawyer then on the board of one of the orchestras, was appointed to represent all four: he successfully argued that there was room for all four orchestras.

Tim was a sports enthusiast.  He attended countless Rugby internationals and 50 consecutive Twickenham varsity matches.  He was frequently seen at Arsenal home games and was a member of Newmarket Racecourse. Along with his wife, he was a member of a racehorse-owning syndicate which once had a fourth place in the Two Thousand Guineas.

Tim listed travel in Who’s Who as one of his recreations. His favourite destination was undoubtedly America.  He first visited America during a long university vacation and fell in love with the country whilst travelling round it by Greyhound bus.  Thereafter, he made countless more visits, making many friends there with whom he often stayed.  His ambition, unfulfilled, was to visit each of America’s 50 states!

Tim died surrounded by his family after many years bravely battling pulmonary fibrosis.  He is survived by his wife, Gill, to whom he was married for 47 years, his son, Richard, his daughter, Caroline, and five grandchildren.  He was a nephew of the late Arthur Cotton (1922 M), a past OSA President.

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