Group Archives

Group Archives


William Macnamara (1899-1951), was the eldest son of Frederick Goodenough, Barclays’ formative 20th century chairman. Described as a conciliator and a good committee man, William differed from his more autocratic father in temperament and management style.

Educated at Wellington and Oxford, he joined Barclays soon after graduation, was given a local directorship at Oxford in 1923 and a seat on the main board in 1929, followed by a vice-chairmanship in 1934 and the deputy chair on Edwin Fisher’s appointment as chairman in 1936. He was keenly interested in Barclays’ overseas interests, and was elected deputy chair of Barclays DCO in 1937 and Chairman in 1943. He also served as chair of the Export Guarantee Advisory Council and of the executive committee of the export credit guarantee department.

To Goodenough’s credit (and that of DCO’s chairman, Julian Crossley), is the establishment in 1945 of Barclays Overseas Development Corporation, a vehicle for making available development finance for projects in Commonwealth territories that would otherwise have had difficulty in attracting bank loans. This, like the founding of DCO, required considerable lobbying of the government and Bank of England.

Goodenough had considerable outside work, too, in the fields of agriculture, education, local government (as a county councillor and chairman of Oxfordshire County Council), and with a number of charitable organizations. He was also closely involved with William Morris and the Nuffield Foundation. Like his father he founded a hall of residence in London for overseas postgraduates, this time for women and married students, and this was duly named William Goodenough House.

In 1944 he had a bad accident, falling into a water-filled bomb crater in the London black-out, narrowly avoiding death by drowning. Sir William battled against the ill-health which finally brought his early retirement and death soon after, aged just 52.

For his extensive public works he was raised to the baronetcy in 1943; he was also awarded honorary doctorates from Oxford and Manchester Universities. He enjoyed country life and hunting in particular.