Tim Bacon: 1964-2016

Tim Bacon was founder and joint owner of Living Ventures, without whom Spinningfields and I will go as far to say Allied London would not be the place and company they are today. Michael Ingall pays tribute to his friend and collaborator Tim Bacon, who has died aged 52.

Tim, one of the few people that saw and shared the vision – vision was difficult back in 2009. He relished Spinningfields, he adopted it, he helped make it, he knew he could create it, it took me and him 15 minutes in some shitty room in former Quay House to decide we were going to become partners and do things, like no one could imagine, we agreed we would change the city, we partnered Living Ventures to deliver a vision, we lent LV money that at the time no bank no venture capitalist, no individual would. Tim and Jeremy created this whirlwind that was about to create  a national story for Manchester. It was going to be the reason tens of London names would flock to Manchester five years later, created in the first instance by Tim Bacon.

With our vision around place creation and his vision around hospitality experience we were going to smash it, and we did and have, creating not just one but at least four incredibly successful businesses that have grown on the back of that partnership formed in 2009, using Spinningfields as the touch paper.

Alchemist, Australasia, Manchester House, Oast House, Artisan, and Grand Pacific, all made in Spinningfields and two brands are now national, and one about to be.

Tim Bacon apparently died in a chair at his home at 9pm on Friday. I had lunch with him the same Friday to catch up, as usual I had to rush off but to be fair so did he, they were bringing him juices every 30 minutes, he looked weak, but remained positive, he was trying to free himself of a very bad chest and bronchitis so he could start his next batch of cancer treatment. He called me fat! Well, “robust ” were his words, ha ‎I said he saw me as fat because he was such a skinny bastard, he laughed and hugged me, we were friends, business was just what we did.

Maybe his heart just gave up, he was dealing with some tough unproven drugs that cause a concoction of side effects. When we met last September he told me he would not be around for three months, as the side effect would be so bad. I would text him often just to make sure he was ok. I would panic if I didn’t get a reply within a few days and ring his partner Jeremy, but he was there it was just tough for him. He said to me in November over dinner that we were real friends and I shouldn’t underestimate the friendship we have, despite us both doing our stuff, and we were. He valued his friendships. He learnt to keep away negative thoughts, he held the power to meditate, he meditated through his untimely divorce, he told me he would never let a negative thought enter his mind and through meditation he could block them out, he could not afford to get angry or upset, he said those emotions were the fuel for the cancer. He had read and become an expert on the melanoma cancer, he was going to beat it, he had to learn everything, he said ‘I can only beat it if I know what it is’. He spent days reading, researching and talking to experts and his medical team, he took on a chef to ensure everything that went into his body was right, he was extraordinarily brave and courageous. I say without reservation, condition or caution, he was a most honest genuine honourable man, ‎a man always true to his word vision and values, never once did he and I need a contract. Of course we had some issues – why wouldn’t we during six very important business deals, and millions of pounds lent, invested and made, but all we ever just needed was a phone call, and a short one at that, before we got on to the future or talking about our lives and what we were doing, he was so very courageous, he fought without ever being a victim. It was easy to find the goodness in him, to believe him, to support him, he had a passion, and if that passion wasn’t there he would tell you.

The saddest thing? That we changed a city, we put Manchester on the map for the new and next generation of hospitality, we did our magic and boy did he do his, we made an explosion, we didn’t once stand back and just look and toast it, even on Friday we just talked about the next thing, the next way to improve and touched on a plan for London Road……lessons! Such a shame and a loss for all of us, not least his ex-wife and two young children, his older son, and the dog he bought to keep himself company…. guess? … Blu…, why wouldn’t it be, ‎of course. ‎Tim Bacon, to me, mate, partner, counsel, to Allied London, a real friend.

  • A memorial and celebration of Tim Bacon’s life will take place at The Albert Hall, Peter Street, Manchester M2 5QR on Monday 16 May from 1pm. All are welcome.

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UPDATE: Adds details of memorial service

By Paul Unger

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