You May Never See Us Again

You May Never See Us Again

The Barclay Dynasty: A Story of Survival, Secrecy and Succession


'A tour de force' - Guardian

'Forensic ... Strong on financial detail' - Financial Times

A Financial Times Book of the Year 2023

The untold story of post-war Britain. Told through the lives of the two men who helped shape it: Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay.

You May Never See Us Again is the only definitive story of David and Frederick Barclay - commonly known as the Barclay brothers. Born poor, these enigmatic twins built one of the biggest fortunes in Britain together from scratch and spent six decades at the epicentre of British business, media and politics. Their empire, said to be worth £7bn at its height, included Littlewoods, the Ritz Hotel, The Daily Telegraph and the channel island of Brecqhou. They were major advocates for Brexit and well-connected with influential politicians including Margaret Thatcher, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

And yet despite their fortune and influence, their fiercely guarded desire for privacy has meant that their story remained largely unknown - until a very public family dispute pitched Barclay against Barclay in the High Court.

Journalist Jane Martinson unravels the fascinating story of these once inseparable billionaire brothers. Through their lives she offers compelling insights into post-war Britain, from the conditions that enabled their way of doing business to thrive through to the tightly enmeshed webs of influence between capitalism, politics and the media that shape Britain today.


  • Part Ozymandias, part HBO’s Succession ... Jane Martinson has dug deep where many feared to tread. Her book is a gripping yarn of two boys who left school at 14 and became billionaires who entertained celebrities, prime ministers and royalty, only to fall out like ferrets in a sack.
    Lionel Barber, former editor of the Financial Times

About the author

Jane Martinson

Jane Martinson is a freelance journalist and academic who has been investigating and covering the Barclay empire since 2004. She worked at the Financial Times before spending 18 years at the Guardian, latterly as a senior member of the editorial team. In 2018 she became the Professor of Financial Journalism at City, University of London. Jane remains a regular columnist for the Guardian and frequently appears on broadcast media including BBC News, ITV's Good Morning, Sky News, and BBC Radio 4.
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