Dynamic duo who drifted apart

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(First Edition)

GODFREY BRADMAN and Stuart Lipton forged a formidable partnership during the last property boom, writes Gail Counsell.

Mr Bradman was the financier with a social conscience, a whiz at developing novel methods of funding ambitious projects. Mr Lipton was the builder with architectural sensibilities, capable of giving clients the sort of developments they would want. In the post-Big Bang City, marked by financial services groups awash with money and hungry for high-quality office space, it was for a time an irresistible combination. But as the market collapsed, their working relationship cooled and each increasingly went his own way.

Shy yet opinionated, Mr Bradman was once capable of turning any discussion into a lecture. His crusading zeal ranged from Aids to lead-free petrol, and he used his wealth to fund causes as varied as anti-abortion organisations and the freedom of information movement.

Born 56 years ago, the son of a poor shopkeeper in North London, he left school at 15 and took an accountancy correspondence course, qualifying in 1961. He thrived on tax problems; in 1977 he reputedly saved George Wimpey & Co pounds 18m through the use of a loophole that the Inland Revenue was forced to introduce legislation to close.

The following year he went into property development, acquiring a shell tea company called Rosehaugh. Three years later, he linked up with Greycoat, run by Mr Lipton and Geoffrey Wilson. Together they embarked on the redevelopment of Finsbury Avenue, an office block on the fringes of the City close to Liverpool Street Station. Mr Bradman dreamed up an innovative form of convertible-stock financing, then persuaded companies such as John Ritblat's British Land and Stanley Kalms' Dixons to invest. Finsbury Avenue turned into the acclaimed Broadgate scheme, although this time the partnerhip did not include Mr Wilson.

Mr Lipton, friend of the Prince of Wales, also has his passions, but they are primarily architectural and artistic, not social. Big and bear-like where his collaborator was short and shrewish, Mr Lipton was the polished face of Rosehaugh/Stanhope.

Six years younger than his colleague, Mr Lipton was educated at Berkhampstead School but decided against university. Instead he set up an estate agency, moving into property development in 1971 with a company called Sterling Land, which he co-founded with Geoffrey Wilson. The two sold out to Jeffrey Sterling's Town & City just before the property crash in 1973. They returned to property in 1976 with the founding of Greycoat, going public in 1978. Mr Lipton left in 1983 to form Stanhope Properties, his own company, and to link up with Rosehaugh on Broadgate.