Tim Waterstone

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Tim Waterstone
Born Timothy John Stuart Waterstone
30 May 1939
Glasgow, Scotland
Residence Holland Park, London, UK
Education Tonbridge School
Alma mater St Catharine's College, Cambridge
Occupation Businessman, author
Spouse(s) Rosie Alison
Children 8

Tim Waterstone (born 30 May 1939) is a British businessman, author and philanthropist. He is the founder of Waterstones, a United Kingdom-based bookselling retail chain.

Early life[edit]

Tim Waterstone was born on 30 May 1939 in Glasgow, Scotland.[1][2][3] He grew up in Crowborough, East Sussex, England.[2] He was educated at Tonbridge School and St Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he read English.[1][2]


Waterstone worked for a broking firm in Calcutta, India.[1] Upon his return to England he worked as a marketing manager for Allied Breweries, 1964–73 and then W.H. Smith, 1973–81.[2]

Waterstone founded the bookselling chain Waterstone's in 1982.[2][4] He became the founder chairman of HMV Media Group in 1998, which merged the businesses of Waterstone's and HMV.[5] He left the group in 2001.[5]

Waterstone chaired the DTI Working Group on Smaller Quoted Companies and Private Investors in 1999.[1] He was an investor in Bookberry, a Moscow booksellers.[6] He became the chairman of Read Petite, an e-book company, in 2013.[5]

Waterstone has published four novels: Lilley & Chase'' (Hodder 1994), An Imperfect Marriage (Hodder 1995), A Passage of Lives (Hodder 1996) and In For A Penny In For A Pound (Atlantic 2010).[2] He has also published a semi-autobiographical business book, Swimming Against The Stream (Macmillan 2006) and many articles in the arts and business media. His memoirs, 'The Face Pressed Against A Window', are to be published by Atlantic Books in the spring of 2019.

Philanthropy and political activity[edit]

Waterstone was a chairman or board member of English International (1987–92), the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1990–97), Portman House Trust (1994–96), the Academy of Ancient Music (1990–95), Virago Press (1993–95), Jazz FM (1991–1993), the London International Festival of Theatre (1990–92), the Elgar Foundation (1992–98), the British Library (1995–97), King's College London Library (2000–02), Yale University Press (1992–2013), Chelsea Stores (1996–2007), FutureStart (1992–2009), Virago Press (1995–1996), Hill Samuel UK Emerging Companies Investment Trust plc (1996–2000) and Downing Classic VCT (1998–2003).[1]

He is the co-founder of Bookaid.[1] He has sat on the Booker Prize Management Committee, and acted as the Chairman of Judges for the Prince's Youth Business Trust Awards.[1] He served as a member of the visiting committee of Cambridge University Library (2007–2013).[1] He chaired Shelter's 25th Anniversary Appeal.[1] He served as Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University (2007–2015).[7]

Waterstone supports the Labour Party (he chose Clement Attlee as his 'hero' in the initial 2001 BBCRadio4 series Great Lives). ].[8] He was opposed to the Iraq War and took part in demonstrations against it.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Waterstone is twice divorced.[8] He is married to the TV and film producer and novelist Rosie Alison.[2] He has eight children. He resides in Holland Park, London.[2][5]

Waterstone is a member of the Garrick Club.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Timothy John Stuart WATERSTONE". Debrett's. Retrieved 28 May 2016. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "My Secret Life: Tim Waterstone, businessman and author, 71". The Independent. 8 October 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Birthday's today". The Telegraph. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2014. Mr Tim Waterstone, bookseller, 74 
  4. ^ John Stevens (12 January 2012). "No more problems for grocers: Waterstones gives up on its apostrophe because it's not practical anymore". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d Harris, John (9 April 2013). "Tim Waterstone: 'If reading is going be all digital in 50 years, so be it'". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2016. 
  6. ^ Barrett, Claer (4 February 2011). "Oligarch poised to bid for Waterstone's". Financial Times. 
  7. ^ "Our history". Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved 28 May 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c "Interview: Tim Waterstone, businessman". The Scotsman. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2016. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
George Younger, 4th Viscount Younger of Leckie
Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University
Succeeded by