Fri Feb 21, 2020 London

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The free spirits

Nubar Gulbenkian (Armenian: Նուբար Սարգիս Գյուլբենկյան, 1896 – 1972)

Nubar GulbenkianOne of Nubar Gulbenkian's converted taxisThis Harrow educated eccentric, Santa Claus lookalike and playboy had two Austin FX4 Hackney carriages converted to his own specifications and considered the best number for a dinner party to be two (himself and “a damn good head waiter”). A lover of the courtroom who almost always wore a fresh orchid in his lapel, thrice married Nubar Gulbenkian once stated: “I’ve had good wives, as wives go, and as wives go, two of them went”. They don’t create true bon vivants of this type anymore.


14 comments on “Nubar Gulbenkian (Armenian: Նուբար Սարգիս Գյուլբենկյան, 1896 – 1972)”

  1. Now Matthew this is good stuff….what a character Gulbenkian was. Chaim will remember was said about Armenians. “They follow you into revolving doors and come out ahead”. At least, I think that was the joke.

  2. What nostalgia. He is the splitting image of the late Morris Subel, he was the Cantor in our Shul. Morris had a colostomy bag, he had cancer of the colon and had to shit in a colostomy bag, his asshole was sutured up for some medical reason. During the service in the synagogue he hit a high note while he was singing, the colostomy bag burst and the stench was unbearable, being a child my first reaction was to burst out in laughter. My father had no sense of humour, he took me by the ear and led me out of the synagogue and gave me a good hiding using his belt. He would have been arrested in Liberal England for assault, but in the good old days children were disciplined and taught right from wrong.

  3. Descendants of :
    Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian

    Generation 1

    Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian was born 29 Mar 1869 in Scutar, Constantinople , Turkey and died 20 Jul 1955 in Lisbon, Portugal. He married Nevarte Essayan. She was born 1875 and died 01 Jul 1952 in Paris,France, daughter of Ohannes Essayan and Virginie Hovassapian.

    Children of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian and Nevarte Essayan:
    i. Nubar Sarkis Gulbenkian was born 10 Jan 1896 in Kadiköy, Istanbul, Turkey and died Jan 1972 in Cannes, France
    ii. Rita Sivarte Gulbenkian was born 02 Jul 1900 in London, U.K.

    Generation 2

    Nubar Sarkis Gulbenkian was born 10 Jan 1896 in Kadiköy, Istanbul, Turkey and died Jan 1972 in Cannes, France.

    Rita Sivarte Gulbenkian was born 02 Jul 1900 in London, U.K.. She married Kevork Essayan 1920 in London U.K., son of Vahan Essayan and Anna Eramian.

    Children of Rita Sivarte Gulbenkian and Kevork Essayan:
    i. Mikhael Essayan

    Generation 3

    Mikhael Essayan. He married Geraldine Guiness.

    Children of Mikhael Essayan and Geraldine Guiness:
    i. Martin Essayan
    ii. Joanna Essayan

    Generation 4

    Martin Essayan.

  4. Ah, well Calouse Gulbenkian was known as Mr 10% as I think he was involved in some sort of international trading, oil or arms. Anyway, with his wealth he amassed the most magnificent collection of art and and pieces of art which he housed in his museum in Lisbon. I went to visit it years ago. (the. Gulbenkian Foundation was one my clients when I was a stockbroker in the 80s and I visited the English fund manager a few times). In the Museum there is the most breathtaking collection of fine carves satinwood tables and chairs by the Frenchman Martin Carlin and also Thomas Sheridan. I think I still have the catalogue somewhere on a bookshelf. Of course I digressing from the original thread about Nubar. Well done I say to his old Papa. I hope the grandchildren are honouring his legacy.

  5. Over the period 1950/1970 I owned and drove a London cab it was an Austin FX3. Many times I saw Nubar Gulbenkian and his cab which at the time was an FX3 it had basket weave panels on the lower part of the doors and where the normally open luggage area was next to the driver he had a door and extra seat fitted. The wings were cut away at the rear downward quarter, and he fitted antique style carriage lamps on the centre door pillars.
    I was sitting on the cab rank outside the 21 Club in Mayfair one early morning, it was a quiet period around 1.30 am.when suddenly there was a crash inside the club and a chap came running out having thrown something down the corridor behind the glass entrance door. as he gained the pavement he shouted a few expletives about his working hours and proceeded to run towards Park Lane. The doorman came out and said “Put your meter down driver you’ve got a job coming out in a few minutes,SIir Hugh’s driver has just lost his job”.
    I put my clock (meter) down, cleaned the wood chippings from my cab (I had been carving a pear wood chess set). About an hour later, Sir Hugh Fraser came out with three friends got into my cab. He told me the first place to go. after which we visited five more locations.
    When I eventually dropped him home in Henley he asked me to return at 9.30am I did and took him back to the 21 Club where he ordered me a breakfast, An hour or so later he came into the chefs room and asked if I could drive his Bentley. “I told him I could and he offered me a Job as his chaufeur. I worked for him for 3 days living in a sleepless daze and eating in the 21, the Ritz and Harrods. Being quite young and not having any idea what I was getting into I spoke with my father (a veteran cabbie) who told me that I’d never see home life and advised against continuing the work for Sir Hugh.
    I declined Sir Hugh’s offer and promised him that I’d get him a driver. I found Nubar Gulbenkians Polish driver a few nights later in Leicester Square and asked him if he would be interested, gave him the address where an when to contact SIr Hugh. I spoke wit him the next night and Mr Nubar Gulbenkian came out approached me on the offside of the cab and asked if I was the person stealing his chaufeur I ignored him and left it at that (at once).
    The 21Club doorman later confirmed that the Polish chap had been successful
    That was my experience of the man we knew as Mr five percent and probably his first taxi I knew as an FX3 AUSTIN He was more than likely only half of his father Mr.10% and the FX3 came before the FX4.It’s highly possible that Mann and Overtons the London Taxi agents of that time would have records of his cab. and the body conversions.
    Driving a London cab is extremely interesting I have met the most famous people and the most interesting. I gave up a long time ago and have subsequenty lived a reminiscent life ….Happily

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