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Enid & Leslie Linder
Enid and Leslie Linder

The Linder Family

The Linder Family were of a maritime background and for many years (from 1793) ran a business of ship's chandlers based in London and Liverpool. Coubro and Scrutton Ltd was based on a partnership of ship's chandlers created in the mid 1800s. The company expanded to serve shipping throughout the UK and had branches in all major ports. In supplying shipping needs the company developed an expertise in lifting gear and the building of masts. A special mast order from a gentleman by the name of Marconi took the company into the world of radio and subsequently business antennae, including the BBC, ITV and the armed forces, and finally into the new technology of the mobile phone. The controlling interest in Coubro and Scrutton was held by the Linder family, and in the years of expansion between 1900 and 1960 the company was under the direction of Charles Linder (1867-1962), who died "in harness" at the age of 96. He was succeeded by his son, Leslie Linder.

Leslie Linder (1904-1973) was a leading figure in the world of lifting gear and was a member of the British Standards Board. During his lifetime he amassed, with the help of his sister Enid, a substantial collection of Beatrix Potter paintings and writings. Scholarly knowledge about Beatrix Potter was at the core of his collecting and his appreciation that her art extended beyond "bunny rabbits" and well into the realms of serious scientific work. 15 years after Potter's death, Leslie Linder succeeded in breaking and then converting the secret, miniaturised code she had used to note thoughts and observations in her diary (this journal, covering the years 1881 to 1897, was published in 1966). Leslie's major collection of Beatrix Potter material was bequeathed to the V&A after his death in 1973, laying the foundation for further Potter acquisitions.

On Leslie's death in 1973 Charles's unmarried daughter Enid, the only surviving member of the family, became the controlling shareholder. It was decided to create the Enid Linder Foundation when a substantial holding was transferred to the Foundation and upon Enid's death in 1980 the whole of the Estate was passed to the Foundation.

The Foundation's current Chairman, Jack Ladeveze, is the former Managing Director and Chairman at Coubro & Scrutton Ltd who arranged a de-merger of the seven-company group in 1982. Both Jack and his wife and co-trustee Audrey were friends of Enid and Leslie Linder and provide the continuity with the Linder Family and their charitable interests.