Sir Humphrey Cripps was educated at Northampton Town and County Grammar School (now Northampton School For Boys) and continued his education at St John's College, Cambridge to study Natural Sciences and chemistry. He later joined the family firm, Pianoforte Supplies Limited, started by his father, Sir Cyril Cripps, to make the metal components of pianos. The firm grew into a major supplier of metal fittings for other trades, especially the motor industry. Sir Humphrey Cripps later became the company’s Managing Director in 1960 and its Chairman in 1979.
The decline of the British car industry in the 1970s led Sir Humphrey Cripps to diversify his business interests. By investing abroad -- most notably, playing a major role in the creation of Velcro Industries -- he was able to continue to channel funds into the family charitable foundation.
Public recognition came to both Sir Humphrey Cripps and, before him, his father, Cyril: both were knighted, and Sir Humphrey, after many years of service to Northamptonshire County Council, became High Sheriff and later Deputy Lieutenant of the County.
Robert W.H. Cripps, son of Sir Humphrey, followed in his father’s footsteps and became a Director of the Foundation, from which he has since retired. Following the family’s philanthropic philosophy, he now focuses on the pursuit of charitable activities by researching and recommending potential philanthropic causes to the Foundation.
Robert Cripps has received the following awards and honors:
- Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, University of Melbourne, 1986
- Honorary Fellow of St. John’s College, University of Queensland, 1999
- Member of the Order of Australia, 2002
- The Centenary Medal of Australia, 2003
- Honorary Fellow – Magdelene College, University of Cambridge, 2005
- Honorary Fellow – Selwyn College, University of Cambridge, 2014
Robert Cripps and his family believe people who have been so fortunate as to amass great wealth should channel it toward the greater good. To fulfil this conviction, they transferred their business interests under the umbrella and ownership of the Foundation, established in 1956, which operates now as a Bermuda company limited by guarantee.
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”