A Short History

Timothy John Leman Oxton was born in 1941 at Layer de la Haye, near Colchester, Essex. His earliest memories include seeing doodlebugs flying overhead in the Second World War, and working in his father's shipyard.

When he was at school, aged about 15, he appeared in a play by Aristophanes called 'Batrachoi' ('The Frogs'). Several boys, including himself, played the part of frogs. At various points in the action they had to say 'brekekekex koax koax', which was how Aristophanes thought frogs spoke. He was classically educated at Radley and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where his crowning achievement was playing the part of Socrates in an Arts Theatre play. His entrance on stage was dramatic - he was lowered from the ceiling in a basket, but luckily at that time he did not possess the size he does today and the theatre survived structurally intact.

Just when he was completing his education, the family shipbuilding business went bankrupt due to competition from abroad, and young Timothy had to leave home to make a living. He decided to head for warmer climes, and moving to San Sebastian in Spain's Basque country, where he taught English. He integrated well into European life, so after further teaching appointments in Islington and Oxford, he moved on to Sicily where he continued as an English teacher.

It was in Siracusa (Sicily) that he met his wife, Anna Di Giovanni, at a lecture about penguins. Before long, his father warned Timothy that it would not be possible to raise a family on the basis of a teacher's salary, and propelled Timothy into the then new profession of computer programming. Before long, an opportunity arose to work as a programmer/analyst with a market research company in Milan. After a while Timothy moved on to the local Price Waterhouse office as an IT consultant and auditor. In 1972, the family, now with two children, Katy and Thomas, moved back to the ancestral home in Essex, which was Timothy's base for another six years in IT consultancy and audit, this time with Deloitte, Haskins and Sells.

With this background, he was recruited into Lloyds Bank International in 1978 to manage the recently created IT Audit function, where his team included Jorge Shaw from Argentina and a former LBI programmer, Stuart O'Nions. From London he sallied forth to most of the Bank's overseas operations, which continued unabated until his last audit in November 2000.

His boundless enthusiasm for the people and cultures of all the countries he visited during this period is well known to Bank staff worldwide. His house is so full of souvenirs brought back from these 22 years of travels that he has had to keep on the road because there is now very little room for him to live in it. One of his best-known collections is that of airline sick bags: early in his career in the Bank he was a founder member of LASBAG - the Lloyds Air Sickness Bag Accumulators Group. Two of the other three members retired years ago; the other never worked for Lloyds.

Indeed, his collecting instinct is something he inherited from his father, who left to Timothy four suitcases full of ties. Since his father's death, Timothy has been able to come to work wearing a different tie every day, although some of the earlier items from the collection, dating from his father's schooldays, did not really do justice to his now portly figure.