Captain Moonlight: So, let's hear it for the cheesemongers

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The Independent Online
I DON'T know about you, but I rather enjoy these lists of the rich. Some may experience shaming feelings of envy when reading about the success of the others; the Captain knows nothing but a stimulating glow of vicarious pleasure in the fruits of ambition and sheer hard work. So last week I was delighted to see that, according to Forbes magazine, the Sainsbury family is now worth dollars 4.4bn, the largest fortune in Britain, and the 34th largest in the world (Forbes doesn't count monarchs, heads of state and dictators).

Being from a grocery family myself, I know how tough it is in the world of the wire basket and groaning trolley. You may need to be convinced, which is why I present my economy potted special offer Captain's guide to the Sainsburys: 1 John James Sainsbury opened his first shop in Drury Lane in 1895. 2 When he died in 1928, he was said to have 'raised cheese-mongering to the dignity of a profession'. 3 His last words were 'Keep the shops well lit'. 4 His grandson, Lord Sainsbury of Drury Lane, converted the shops to self-service after the war. 5 In Purley, a judge's wife swore at him colourfully for expecting her to serve herself; another woman threw her wire basket at him. 6 His son, Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, introduced sweet-cure bacon into Britain. 7 The present chairman, David Sainsbury, is called 'Mr David' by his employees. 8 His uncle, Lord Sainsbury of Drury Lane, 91, his father, Sir Robert Sainsbury, 87, and his cousin, Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, 66, have offices two floors above him. They are known as 'The Presidents'. They are in most days. 9 Another cousin, Tim Sainsbury, the Industry Minister, was once heckled: 'It's all right for you, you're a millionaire'. 'No, I'm not,' he replied, 'I'm a multi-millionaire.' 10 The Sainsburys are renowned philanthropists, most notably paying for the Sainsbury Wing at the National Gallery. 11 There are no groceries available in the Sainsbury Wing.

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