Norfolk-born inventor is UK’s richest man with £16.2bn

Sir James Dyson has topped the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time PA Photo: Fiona Hanson.

Sir James Dyson has topped the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time PA Photo: Fiona Hanson. - Credit: PA

Norfolk-born and educated inventor Sir James Dyson has topped the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time after increasing his net worth by £3.6bn in a year.

Sir James Dyson has topped the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time Picture: Davi

Sir James Dyson has topped the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time Picture: David Parry/PA Wire - Credit: Archant

The entrepreneur, born in Cromer and educated at Gresham’s School in Holt, is said to now have a fortune of £16.2bn.

Sir James made his fortune with the invention of the bag-less vacuum cleaner, which went on sale in 1993.

He replaced Indian-born businessmen Sri and Gopi Hinduja at the summit of the list.

Sir James was born in Cromer and went to Gresham’s School in Holt aged nine, attending the school from 1956 to 1965.

James Dyson aged 16 winning the 1965 cross country race at Gresham's School, Holt Picture: Richa

James Dyson aged 16 winning the 1965 cross country race at Gresham's School, Holt Picture: Richard Bothway Howard/Gresham's - Credit: Archant © 2004

He has always acknowledged the school and its then headmaster, Logie Bruce-Lockhart, for giving him the financial support to continue his education after his father, Alec, died of cancer.

A self-made man, Sir James, 72, studied art before his art college principal suggested he go into design.

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After inventing a wheelbarrow in 1974 which used a spherical wheel - designed to be easier to manoeuvre - he then set about creating the product for which his best known after seeing an industrial extractor and imagining how it could be downsized for home use.

It was more than 10 years before it made it to the market, and at one stage Sir James owed his bank nearly £1m.

Last year, Sir James showed his affection for his old school by making a £18.75m donation to fund a new centre for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education, to be called the Dyson Building.

THE SUNDAY TIMES RICH LIST TOP 10

1 - Sir James Dyson and family, household goods and technology, £16.2bn

2 - Sri and Gopi Hinduja and family, industry and finance, £16bn

3 - David and Simon Reuben, property and internet, £16bn

4 - Sir Leonard Blavatnik, investment, music and media, £15.78bn

5 - Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos chemical giant, £12.15bn

6 - Kirsten and Jorn Rausing, inheritance and investment, £12.1bn

7 - Alisher Usmanov, mining and investment, £11.68bn

8 - Guy, George and Galen Jr Weston and family, retail, £10.53bn

9 - Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho, inheritance, brewing and banking, £10.3bn

10 - The Duke of Westminster and the Grosvenor family, property, £10.29bn.

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