The sudden death of Tony Pidgley at 72 has robbed British property and business of one of its most audacious, colourful personalities.

I last saw the Berkeley Group boss in January this year. We met at his office on the Berkeley development opposite Battersea Park. It was early in the morning – Tony always liked to be at his desk before seven – and dark and cold outside. There was hardly anyone else around.

We spent an hour discussing everything from the state of the nation (Pidgley was no fan of Brexit), the property sector (he was worried about London’s prospects and was talking about investing heavily in Birmingham), his family (he showed me a school essay one of his granddaughters had just written and asked what I thought), and his life (he told a tale about how someone once gave him a look in a bar and his companions suggested they roughed him up, only for Pidgley to say no, he would go and talk to him, and the fortunate bloke then became one of his biggest backers).

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