Courtfield, Herefordshire, England
My mother, Mary Holroyd-Smyth (d.)1989 grew up on the banks of the Blackwater river in County Cork, Southern Ireland, on the Ballynatray estate.
My father, Joseph Vaughan (d.) 1972 grew up on the banks of the river Wye in Herefordshire, on the Courtfield estate.
The Holroyd-Smyth's adhered to their Irish Protestantism every bit as devoutly and tenaciously as the Vaughans stuck to their Roman Catholicism. This didn't stop my parents from marrying each other. My mother, who had already converted to Catholicism, subsequently met my father and they were married on St Swinthin's Day 1942 and almost immediately afterwards my father was posted overseas to spend the rest of the war slogging through North Africa.
My twin brother Richard and I were born and, after a short migration to the Cotswolds and then London, returned to be raised in the Dower house at Courtfield, I have two older brothers, Patrick and Oliver. The family moved to the Cotswolds, where for a while we lived in a rambling establishment, The Manor House at Bourton-on-the-Water. Within a couple of years we were on the move again, this time to the other extreme, to 7 1/2 Smith Terrace, a tiny house in Chelsea. A little later we made a third move and, for a while, settled in a more substantial family home at 2 Cambridge Place.
I married Sarah Harding-Rolls in 1979. We raised three wonderful children; Sophia, Georgianna and Henry, in our house on Pembroke Villas, London. We have now moved back to Herefordshire only a few miles away from my family home, Courtfield.
I show a picture of this house only because it forms part of my background.
Although I was born at Courtfield, I have no memory of it as my father sold it when I was 2yrs old and we moved first to the Cotswolds before moving on to a more modest home in London.
Because of the tradition of primogeniture (eldest boy gets all) practiced by landed families in England at the time, as the youngest of four brothers, I was never in line to inherit property or wealth. I and my two immediately older brothers grew up always knowing that we would have to go out and make our own way in the world.
Although I undoubtedly benefited from a privileged upbringing, I had no silver spoon in my mouth.
This was my mother’s home in Ireland. It is where she was born and where mymaternal Grandparents lived.
Although never in line to inherit either the house or land (she had four brothers) my mother was totally disinherited and cruelly disowned by her family when she converted from Irish Protestant to Roman Catholic.
I never once met my Grandparents, or visited this house until long after their deaths, when my uncle allowed us to do so. Tragically, a few years later he shot himself.
My mother did not remember a happy childhood growing up there.
Following a rather haphazard, unorthodox early education under the care of
the Dominican monks; in 1996, while still in his late teens, Tom Vaughan and
his older brother, Oliver, co-founded Juliana’s Discotheques Ltd. with a small
loan from their local bank in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, England.
Together, over the next twenty years, they steered this embryonic business
from the back of an old van into becoming the largest entertainment group of
its kind in the world. With offices in London; New York; Hong Kong; Singapore
and Sydney; Juliana’s Holdings Plc, as it became, was by then employing some
500 people, operating in over forty different countries on four continents.
Taken Public, by blue chip Merchant Bank, Morgan Grenfell, the then global
company was two and a half times oversubscribed at its very successful launch
on the main London Stock Exchange in 1983.
In 1986 Tom’s first book ‘No Ordinary Experience - the Juliana’s Story’ was
published. Thereafter Tom and his brother were involved in the setting up of a
number of other businesses, some of which became very successful, others
less so. Although he has been described as a serial entrepreneur, Tom prefers
to describe himself as a ‘vigorous muddler’. An occupation he defines as
someone who goes to his office every day and muddles vigorously - it is the
vigour with which the muddling is undertaken he considers to be the
Tom has served as both an Executive and Non-executive director of a number
of different Public and Private Companies and was for twelve years a
Trustee/Director of LAMDA (The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art).
Tom now divides his time between personal business interests in London and
Although not his first book ‘The Other Side of Loss’ is his first novel.