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Chapter One

Growing up

James Dyson stood explaining a story at Blakeney Point
  • James Dyson's mother, smiling and with a 1940's hairstyle

    Mary Dyson

    My mother, Mary, at Felbrigg, Norfolk, where my parents lived when they were first married.

  • The parents of James Dyson, standing arm in arm on their wedding day

    My parents wedding

    My parents wedding in 1941. My father in his army uniform complete with swagger stick and my mother in her Women's Auxiliary Air Force uniform.

  • James Dyson as a baby with his parents and two siblings

    Early days

    As a baby, with my parents and siblings at home in Norfolk in 1948.

  • The Dyson Family in Norfolk 1948


    With my siblings Tom and Shanie and our paternal grandparents, William and Ethel in Norfolk, 1948.

  • James Dyson on his first birthday reaching for his birthday cake

    Reaching for cake

    My first birthday. Clearly drawn to cyclones from a young age!

  • A smiling baby James Dyson

    Young James

    Me as an infant in Norfolk.

  • Young James Dyson cycling a small Triang bike

    A cycling enthusiast

    Cycling across the lawn on my new Triang bike.

  • James Dyson sitting next to his grandmother


    With my grandmother making a knotted rug. I still have the chair.

  • James Dyson and Tom Dyson sitting in a small sailing boat


    Sailing was a large part of my childhood. Here I am in my father's boat, the Harnser (Norfolk for heron) with my brother Tom, sailing at Blakeney Pit.

  • James Dyson wearing a shirt, tie, and school blazer

    Gresham's portrait

    Looking smart in my first school uniform, aged 8.

  • A watercolour painting of the north coast of Norfolk

    The Eagle

    My winning submission to The Eagle magazine's painting competition in 1957. A painting of the view of Blakeney Point from Morston. I still have an original copy of the magazine.

  • James Dyson holding a copy of the 1957 Eagle a

    Eagle Magazine, 12 July 1957

    My winning painting of Blakeney Point, alongside other entries in the Eagle 1957 Painting Competition.

  • James Dyson captured mid-air above the high jump


    I thoroughly enjoyed all sports at Gresham's, including the high jump.

  • A teenage James Dyson playing hockey


    Out on the hockey pitch in all weathers at Gresham's. I played for the Eastern Counties.

  • James Dyson reaches for the ball in a rugby lineout


    Doing an unassisted jump. Something you rarely see these days!

  • James Dyson taking part in a running race


    Competing at the Eastern County Championships at Diss.

  • James Dyson on stage dressed in Victorian attire

    School production

    Playing the Dean of Paddington in a production of Oscar Wilde's Lord Arthur Savile's Crime at Gresham's. I designed the set and still have the Victorian picture.

  • Alec Dyson, James's father with four other school cadets

    Alec Dyson

    My father Alec with the School Combined Cadet Force on manoeuvres in 1954.