John Entwistle OBE

Presented by Professor Frank Sanderson

Honorable Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting John Entwistle for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University in honour of his outstanding contributions to the visual arts.  

John Entwistle's life-long passion for the visual arts has been manifested through his painting, his art collecting, his benefactions, his active involvement with art institutions, and his fund-raising. 

He has been a great friend of LJMU for many years and we are particularly grateful for his work as chairman of the fund-raising board for our recently opened Art and Design Academy and his work with the Liverpool School of Art & Design to establish a permanent art gallery.  

The son of a solicitor, John Entwistle was born in Southport and was brought up in Crosby. He first went to Holmwood School in Formby where his interest in art was awakened by one of the teachers, Mrs Matheson.

He then went to Uppingham School in Leicestershire and set his sights on becoming an art student in Paris. However, his father persuaded him to follow in his footsteps first, and only then pursue his interest in art. In 1963, after qualifying as a solicitor in Liverpool, John went to New York to work as an Assistant Attorney for the legal firm Shearman & Sterling, managing to spend every weekend becoming familiar with the art galleries of Manhattan. 

A year later he was back in Liverpool gaining experience in his father's firm, Maxwell Entwistle & Byrne, before becoming a partner in 1966 and staying with the practice for the next 35 years. 

In 1968 he married doctor's daughter Phillida Burgess. Phillida, a long-standing supporter and former governor of this University, is here today along with son Nicholas and daughter Louise. John Entwistle and his father shared a passion not only for the law but also for politics and business development. Both served as local councillors in Liverpool, and John sought a national role when he stood as a Conservative candidate in Huyton against the incumbent MP, Harold Wilson in 1970. He secured an impressive 26,000 votes but nevertheless Wilson was returned to Parliament. 

John's father made a significant contribution to business as a local politician whereas John's contribution to business development is through his involvement with numerous local and national organisations; For example, he has been:

  • President of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce
  • President of the British Chambers of Commerce 
  • Regional Director of Midshires Building Society
  • Non-Executive Director of Rathbone Brothers, and Founder Director of Merseyside TEC 

John has also had various local and national roles in connection with his legal expertise. He has been: 

  • Consultant Solicitor with DWF in Liverpool
  • Part-time chairman of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal
  • Member of the Parole Board
  • Member of the Disciplinary Committee of the Mortgage Code Compliance Board
  • Member of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Standing Committee on Preparation for EMU
  • General Commissioner for Income Tax 

And he is currently a part-time Immigration Judge and a member and legal chair of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel.

As mentioned earlier he has a passion for art. He is an enthusiastic painter and is an almost addictive collector of art, ever since he bought his first painting in Florence for £1 when he was 17. 

In the 1980s as chairman of the Friends of Merseyside County Council's Museums and Galleries, he played a crucial role in preventing the sale of paintings. Soon afterwards when the Museums and Galleries were given national status, John became a trustee and was founder-chairman of the Development Trust. During this time, The Walker Art Gallery was refurbished and the Conservation Centre was completed. 

Since 2006, John has been a Trustee of the Royal Academy Trust and is Chairman of the Royal Academy Schools Patron Group. In this role, and with the support of former LJMU lecturer and Keeper of the Royal Academy, Professor Maurice Cockerill, John has brokered a partnership between the Royal Academy and the University whereby we receive RA Visiting Speakers and our art students have opportunities to compete for a Postgraduate Scholarship to attend the Royal Academy School – for which incidentally, John is taking on a fundraising role. 

In 2005 New Year's Honours List, John Entwistle received an OBE in recognition of his services to the community in the North West. 

Today, we wish to recognise his outstanding contributions to the visual arts and in particular the support he has given us over many years. 

Thus I have great pleasure in presenting John Entwistle, this most distinguished son of our region, for admission to our highest honour of Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.