ARCHIE NEWMAN was one of the best-loved and most energetic characters on the London musical scene and for nearly 20 years director of public affairs and sponsorship of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Last year he was appointed Development Director of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Born in Edmonton in 1931, Archie Newman was descended from the Toms family whose properties included the Derry & Toms building in Kensington. He was the protective brother of Arthur, Joan and Percy and a grandson of the strongest man in London. In his schooldays at Latymer Grammar School, Edmonton, he was known as 'the boy with the flying start' as much for his speed of thought as for his sprinting ability.
During wartime, the eight-year-old Archie supported the family and his father - a veteran of the Somme - by walking 20 miles through Epping Forest to market each week to sell chickens, rabbits and eggs.
After his National Service, for which he served at the No 2 Higher Education Centre at Aldershot, he worked as press officer to London Transport, British Transport Advertising, Associated Television, the Electricity Council, London Fire Brigade and the Greater London Council. In 1966 he joined the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
As the RPO's Director of Public Affairs, Newman revolutionised sponsorship of the arts. He introduced profits and healthy bank accounts where previously it had been an unrewarding struggle. He had the style to arrange the delivery of 80 red roses to the Queen Mother - the patron of the RPO - five minutes after midnight on her 80th birthday, a practice that has been repeated each year since. You could sense his presence at a function as the echoes of his greeting 'Well Done' announced his arrival. He was the catalyst who turned many a function into a festival with his inimitable enthusiasm which allied to his love of people made him a firm favourite wherever he went. He co- wrote Beecham Stories (1978) - the anecdotal sayings and impressions of Sir Thomas Beecham - with Harold Atkins. He toured the United States, Europe and the Far East with the orchestra and his successful sponsorship efforts ensured that the RPO maintained good profits. The RPO parted with Newman a few weeks short of 20 years' service. He founded Tiger Promotions and became Chairman and Managing Director and he continued successfully to look after musicians from around the world who sought his support as well as to maintain strong links with the Royal Philharmonic Society. In the last 12 months he raised more than pounds 5m in donations and promises for Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Newman always believed that the strong should look after the weak; once, at the end of a long day's work, he noticed and resuscitated an unfortunate cardiac-arrest victim who recovered after further medical help. When the medics had control of the situation, Newman quietly caught the next train home.
Archie Newman made a lasting impression on everyone he met and he could and did repeat a person's name and life-history without hesitation after a 20-year absence. He greatly enjoyed travelling, walking, photography, visual arts and animals. He was a member of the government Arts and Heritage Advisory Committee and was an honorary life member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
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- Eastern Asia (the Far East)
- Edmonton (Canada)
- Kensington And Chelsea
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