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A Question of Degree

By Harvey M. Soning, FRICS

by Keerat

Harvey M. Soning, FRICS, Chairman – James Andrew International Group of Companies


The legendary property developer on the importance of not going to university and learning on the job.

My education wasn’t what you’d expect. My grandparents on my mother’s side came from Russia and Poland – that was in 1912. Within two years my grandfather was in the First World War. He spoke very little English but learnt very quickly in the trenches – mostly swear words.

On the other hand, my father’s parents were here a generation before and were quite anglicised. My father’s father – a second generation immigrant – was an entrepreneur who started one of the first cinemas in the country in Staines. One week he had money – the next week he didn’t: in that sense, he was a typical entrepreneur. By 1945, my Dad came out of the Air Force Bomber Command with £300 and went into the retail business. He was a successful businessman with a little bit of property.

At the age of 14¾, I had t...

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