Memoirs of Spencer Hoffman

Interviewee:                          Spencer Hoffman
Born:                                    13th June 1938
Date of Interview:                  24th September 2014
Length of Interview:               50 mins 23 secs
Interviewer:                           Tina Hanks



CLICK HERE to listen on a mobile device.


Spencer Hoffman came to London as a Chartered Banker and quickly moved into Civil Engineering, looking after St Paul’s Cathedral and the Victoria Tunnel. Apart from being one of the original members of the Playboy Club, Spencer has umpired the world tennis championships both at Wimbledon and in the USA; was involved in the production of a Hollywood movie, starring Ali MacGraw; has been a fully-fledged member of the Marylebone Cricket Club since 1978, and has been involved in overseeing events attended by HRH Prince Philip and Mick Jagger to name but a few.


Detailed summary (with time stamping for ease of access)


0:22.3: Where and when I was born.

0:40.3: My experiences as a student at St. Claire’s and then Wesley College where I received two double promotions.

3:59.2: What I did for fun outside of school.

4:53.5: Fond memories of growing up in Ceylon.

5:56.6: My favourite fruits.

6:15.6: Family relationships, friendships and childhood games.

7:18.6: My athletic routine on the beach before school.

8:03.2: Leaving Ceylon. The political history of the country and the birth of all the trouble.

10:59.4: Why I chose to emigrate to England and not Australia.

11:23.6: Burning cars and other problems which forced me to leave early.

13:14.9: My journey into England and gaining accommodation.

14:03.5: Starting out: My first job, career changes and lifestyle.

16:40.3: My friendship with Spike Milligan, Eric Sykes and others.

17:20.8: My career as an engineer.

21:03.2: Settling into life in England and occurrences of the day.

22:19.5: Settling down with my family.

23:27.9: How I became an Umpire at Wimbledon.

25:16.7: Uncanny on-court coincidences and international umpiring.

26:00:7: Professional involvement in Hollywood movie productions.

26:31.1: Umpiring the World Championships in 1984.

27:44.6: Life in the West End - The music scene, beauty pageants and 'La Bamba' nights.

32:16.9: My social life in Cricket. Membership and responsibilities at the Marylebone Cricket Club.

38:44.2: Celebrating my 70th Birthday in style at St Peter's College annual 'La Bamba' night.

41:38.4: What I love most about London.

43:15.3: Music that takes me back to Ceylon.

43:52.0: Why I couldn’t retire in Sri Lanka.

44:17.3: Sentiments about my offspring and where they belong.

45:00.9: My nationality and views on Europe, UKIP, Euro-scepticism and reasons why.

47:25.0: How I'm a Burgher.

48:10.6: Where I was born and why I've been lucky from birth.

48:34.0: My Grandmother's family, 'The Josephs' of Ceylon (from 1790).

49:57.9: My Grandfather.

50:22.6: My Mother and her family line.

The End