Remembering Desmond Moseley: General Manager 1968 -1988

Sebastian Payne MW, one of the few remaining members of staff to have served under Desmond Moseley, pays tribute to his former boss, whose sound financial governance and sure-footed business sense set The Wine Society back on track during a challenging time in our history.

Remembering Desmond Moseley
Desmond and Barbara Moseley

Desmond Moseley, who died aged 96 on 30th August, was a true, if unsung, hero of The Wine Society and one of the reasons we are alive and flourishing today.

Desmond was running his family business in Scarborough when he was recruited by Chairman, Edmund Penning-Rowsell in 1966 to sort out The Society’s finances, then in a sorry state following the extremely disruptive relocation of The Society’s activities from three separate London cellars to Stevenage in the previous year. His sound Yorkshire financial sense and accounting skills were much needed. He soon became joint General Manager (1968) with Christopher Tatham MW, a gifted wine man, whose talents did not extend to the essential nuts and bolts of running a business.

From 1973 until his retirement in January 1988 he was sole General Manager. He put in place a professional financial reporting system and assembled an excellent, efficient, and enthusiastic team to administer The Society’s affairs. He was also instrumental in creating the friendly atmosphere that has been the hallmark of the Stevenage site ever since.

Desmond Moseley put The Society back on track with the backing of Edmund Penning-Rowsell and then Treasurer, Ray Bowden. It is doubtful that The Society would have survived the exceedingly difficult years of the early seventies (rampant inflation, an oil crisis and three-day week) without his sure management.

I remember best a kind, thoughtful, considerate boss, to whom we all turned when things got beyond us.  When he decided to retire and The Society was back on its feet, he took on as a last job, the control of building our new warehouse. It was delivered on budget and on time. From Desmond, we expected no less.

Those of us who worked for him remember Desmond with affection and gratitude, and extend much sympathy to Barbara, his wife of 68 years.

Sebastian Payne MW

Society Buyer

Sebastian Payne MW

Sebastian, our longest serving wine buyer, joined The Wine Society in 1973. He served as Chief Wine Buyer from 1985–2012.

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