Inventor Sir James Dyson, 73, tops UK richest list for first time after his wealth grew by £3.6billion in the past year – The Sun

INVENTOR Sir James Dyson is the richest person in the UK for the first time, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

The Brexit-backing entrepreneur saw his wealth grow by £3.6billion over the past year, climbing to £16.2bn.

In February, it was expected the number of billionaires would rise to nearly 160, but it fell by four to 147 as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, the Sunday Times said.

A record 25 female billionaires make the list, which also shows the overall wealth of the 1,000 richest people in the UK is down by £29bn on last year.

Born in Norfolk in 1947, Sir James Dyson is best known for inventing the bagless vacuum cleaner but also ventured into electric car production in a failed bid to rival Tesla.

After studying at art school, Dyson developed his best known product – the bagless cleaner.

He developed the “G-Force” cleaner in 1983 using cyclonic separation technology already used in saw mills.

But the product was not an instant success in the UK as major manufacturers would not buy it because they were worried it would be kill the lucrative cleaner bag market.

The top ten richest in 2020

Sir James Dyson and family, household goods and technology, £16.2 billion.

Sri and Gopi Hinduja and family, industry and finance, £16 billion.

David and Simon Reuben, property and internet, £16 billion.

Sir Leonard Blavatnik, investment, music and media, £15.78 billion.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos chemical giant, £12.15 billion.

Kirsten and Jorn Rausing, inheritance and investment, £12.1 billion.

Alisher Usmanov, mining and investment, £11.68 billion.

Guy, George and Galen Jr Weston and family, retail, £10.53 billion

Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho, inheritance, brewing and banking, £10.3 billion.

The Duke of Westminster and the Grosvenor family, property, £10.29 billion.

The disposable bag market was worth £100million a year in Britain at the time.

As a result, Dyson took his product to Japan – then the world’s second biggest economy – and sold it through catalogues.

The pink-coloured G-Force, which retailed at around £2,000, was a success in the Asian country and won the International Design Fair in Japan in 1991.

Dyson was able to secure a lucrative patent for his vacuum technology in the mid-80s.

By the 1990s, the businessman was able to set up his own manufacturing company in the UK putting him in direct competition with the major brands who had rejected the G-Force.

And thanks to his superior product, and a clever TV advert which had the slogan “say goodbye to the bag”, Dyson changed the cleaning industry forever.

His Dyson Dual Cyclone product became the UK's fastest ever selling vacuum cleaner.

The full list covering the wealthiest 1,000 people in the UK will be published on Sunday in a 136-page edition of The Sunday Times Magazine.


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