Lionel Pyke obituary | Entrepreneurs

My father, Lionel Pyke, who has died aged 92, was the owner and director of the glazing company Cadogan Glass, based in Battersea, south-west London.

In his early working days he had been an estate agent, industrial glove salesman and locksmith before setting up Cadogan Glass in the late 1970s. Operating from a premises on Battersea Park Road, over the years it grew by serving local households and businesses, and providing specialist glazing and mirror work for many luxury hotels in central London.

Born in St John’s Wood, north-west London, Lionel was the second son of Stanley Pyke, a gown manufacturer, and Gertrude (nee Pearce). His father died when Lionel was five, leaving Gertrude to bring him up alone in Mill Hill, north London, while she worked as a model for Oxford Street department stores, employed to wear the latest fashions of the day on the shop floor.

Lionel attended St Aloysius college in Highgate, after which he did national service at RAF Cosford near Wolverhampton, where he became a qualified physical training instructor and boxed (badly). Demobbed and returned to London, he took up judo, becoming a brown belt, developed a passion for swimming, and trained as an estate agent.

In the early 50s he briefly went into partnership with Henry Burns as surveyors, estate agents and valuers before becoming a travelling salesman of industrial gloves, then setting up a locksmith/ alarm business in central London in the early 60s. He was running this when he met Jane Butler at the Rheingold nightclub in 1962, and they married the following year.

Ever the entrepreneur, for a period in the mid-60s Lionel thought he could make money by selling soft toys. He attended the Blackpool toy trade fair, where he showcased some furry stuffed animals and, with typical sales puff and enthusiasm, he surprised himself by securing a contract to supply Woolworths stores nationwide. Sadly, the elation was short-lived as he found he could not actually get enough of the animals to the company and the contract was cancelled.

In the mid-70s he joined the glazing merchants Chelsea Glass as an estimator. Having built up the necessary contacts and expertise, he set up Cadogan Glass in 1979 with Jane. He sold the business and retired in 2000.

Later in life he became a member of the squad of masters swimmers at Barnet Copthall leisure centre in north London, competing for the club, including at the Munich World Masters championships in 2000. This was a proud moment for him. The club was also chosen to participate in an advertisement for mineral water, featuring synchronised swimming to the song Bye Bye Baby. Not one to shun the limelight, Lionel relished his 30 seconds of fame.

Lionel is survived by Jane, my sister, Sharon, and me, and by three grandsons, Benjamin, Jake and Joshua.

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