Mr Alderman Peter Estlin, a current Governor and former Treasurer of Bridewell Royal Hospital and former pupil and Head Boy of King Edward’s Witley and the 691st Lord Mayor of the City of London (November 2018 – November 2019), has been awarded a knighthood for services to international business, inclusion and skills in the New Year Honours.
Sir Peter joined King Edward’s Witley when his father was serving in the Royal Navy and his mother developed kidney disease. With his father away at sea and his mother’s health deteriorating, he was sent to boarding school and he later described King Edward’s as “a home-from-home providing the stability and pastoral care that I needed”. As a result he became a passionate advocate of the School and of the benefits of a boarding school education.
Commenting on his education at King Edward’s, Sir Peter says, “Resilience is a life skill that I definitely honed at the School and it is a skill that has served me well over the years, both in terms of my career and my personal life.
“The School taught me that life is about human interaction. Everyone who attended had their own set of personal circumstances and many had specific issues to deal with and I began to gain an improved awareness of what real life is all about; opening yourself up to others; sharing / understanding each other’s problems and developing tolerance.
“The environment at King Edward’s provided a sense of protection from the outside world whilst also representing a microcosm of society so that when you left, you had already experienced the reality and benefits of living in a truly global civilisation, mixing with children from a broad range of backgrounds. Few independent boarding schools can offer this and are able to demonstrate a genuine working model of social mobility at its best. Ultimately, I would say that my stay at King Edward’s taught me the value of education in its broadest sense, i.e. not just the development of academic skills and knowledge but also building vital life skills.”
Discussing the value of boarding schools, Sir Peter says, “Boarding schools have changed over the years and we shouldn’t close our eyes to the benefits of a boarding school education. Access to a wonderful education and learning opportunities outside of the core curriculum; shaping your identity and developing resilience and of course, becoming truly independent, these are all the obvious attributes of a boarding school education. Less known are the benefits associated with situations where the family unit is not conducive to offering a stable and secure environment, when a boarding school can offer a foundation for life providing opportunities for academic growth, personal development and access to a protective community.”
On being awarded the knighthood, Sir Peter said, “I’m absolutely delighted to have been awarded such an honour. It hasn’t really sunk in yet but the sense of motivation to do more is enormous. From childhood I’ve felt a need to support others where I can and that’s something I’ve been able to do more and more over the years and want to carry on doing."
Mrs Justine Voisin, the current Treasurer of Bridewell Royal Hospital, comments, “We are absolutely delighted that Peter’s fantastic work has been recognised in the 2020 New Year Honours; his knighthood reflects the outstanding contribution he has made to Bridewell Royal Hospital for over 25 years as a governor. We are deeply grateful to Peter for his ongoing support and commitment to our cause. The pupils of King Edward’s Witley could not ask for a better role model to underpin the benefits of a boarding school education and the School’s founding mission.”
Sir Peter remains a staunch supporter of King Edward’s and while his tenure as the Lord Mayor of the City of London meant that he stepped down as Treasurer of Bridewell Royal Hospital (the charitable foundation that supports both King Edward’s Witley and its partner school Barrow Hills) in 2016, after ten years. He continues as a long-standing Governor.
Upon leaving King Edward’s, Sir Peter studied at the University of Bristol and then trained as a Chartered Accountant. His illustrious career led him to become a highly successful international banker and a Senior Advisor to Barclays plc. His personal experience led Sir Peter to become a lifelong champion of the importance of education as a foundation for life, and many of his charitable interests are associated with educational charities. These include several supported by Livery Companies as well as programmes such as Barclays LifeSkills and Onside Youth Zones, helping young people to gain the skills necessary for work in the future.