Modern Influencer – Mich Stevenson

25th September 2017

A month or so ago, a young surveyor was asking me about NG’s position in the firmament of Nottingham’s professional sector and where we came up with all our marketing ideas.  During the course of the conversation, I mentioned the “Modern Influencers” articles that appear in our NGQ e-shot and that the next one we were writing was on Mich Stevenson.  The surveyor looked at me blankly and said, “Who?”. That one word is the very reason that we write them; it is the Directors of NG metaphorically doffing our caps to those people who we believe have made Nottingham the city that it is today.

I’ve known Mich for over 15 years, ever since I started working back in Nottingham, and what’s shone through in all my dealings with him is that he’s always been an absolute gentleman with a genuine interest in the people around him and what’s happening in their worlds.

However, in undertaking further research upon him for this article, what became very apparent is how full a life he has led.  They say that a life well lived is measured by what you give, not what you earn and there’s a clue to the amount he’s given by looking at his full title.

  • R Michiel Stevenson OBE DL Hon LLD Hon MA.
  • Which to break down the Honours:
  • OBE – Order British Empire.
  • DL – Deputy Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire.
  • Hon LLD – An Honorary Doctor of Law.
  • Hon MA – An Honorary Master of the Arts.

Mich was born and educated in Nottingham in 1941, served an apprenticeship repairing Shackleton and Vulcan bombers before finding himself working at Raleigh Industries designing prams.  In his spare time, he also designed and patented the Washmatik hose, a device that is still on sale today and a favourite of the shopping channels!

Property was a side line project to him, but in 1975 he and his brother made the leap of faith to become full time property developers, forming Spenbeck Limited, a company that is still going strong under the stewardship of his daughters, Becky and Victoria.

The portfolio they collated included a number of properties in the Lace Market, a neglected part of the city. It did however have potential and, in 1992, he formed the Lace Market Heritage Trust, standing as its inaugural chair, to enable and encourage the regeneration of the area.

This started something of a trend.

In 1993, to save the Historic Shire Hall on High Pavement, he created and chaired The Museum of Law Trust Company which has now developed to become the National Museum of Law (for which he was awarded his OBE).

He was one of the driving forces behind (and is still the Chairman) of the National Ice Centre, which has brought not only another top-class sporting venue to the city’s already proud roster, but also world-class musicians and bands.

He is also the Chairman of the City Council’s International Strategy Board, tasked with sourcing international inward investment into the city.

Other Chairmanship roles have included:

  • The Creative Quarter – Being the driving force behind the next stage in the evolution of the Lace Market and Hockley.
  • Nottingham Regeneration Ltd – A public/private enterprise established to regenerate parts of the city.  Past projects include Nottingham Science Park, Southglade Food Park and the transformation of the Sneinton Market area.
  • East Midlands Regional Venture Capital Fund – Launched in 2002 to invest exclusively in East Midlands business.
  • He’s also been on the main board of Sport England, The Nottingham Express Transit Limited and numerous other bodies.

I hope that the young person I was talking to reads this article.  If ever there was a more compelling case for a “Modern Influencer” in the city, I’d struggle to think of one.  Rightly awarded the prestigious honour of being a Freeman of the City of Nottingham, Mich has more than done “his bit”.

Written by Jonathon Seddon.

Jonathon Seddon

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