The south west has become something of an engineering hotspot, with Sir James Dyson its richest person, according to the new edition of The Sunday Times Rich List, to be published on Sunday.

The 156-page special edition of The Sunday Times Magazine reveals the wealth of the 1,000 richest people in Britain in its 31st annual edition.

Dyson, 72, has seen his wealth grow by £3.1bn in the past 12 months to now stand at £12.6bn. The inventor has recently announced that he is to move his company headquarters from Wiltshire to Singapore, a move that has caused no little controversy, but the Brexit-backer insisted he is simply moving his technology giant closer to its fastest-growing markets.

Famed for his bagless vacuum cleaner, Dyson is exploring futuristic technologies including machine learning and artificial intelligence. He is still investing heavily in Britain, pouring £200m into the Dyson Automotive project, where two wartime aircraft hangars are being transformed into electric-vehicle development and testing centres.

It took Dyson 15 years and 5,127 prototypes to get the first Dyson dual-cyclone vacuum cleaner on the market. In 2018, profits burst through the billion-pound barrier, climbing to £1.1bn on £4.4bn sales, and his empire is worth £11bn. He and his family have taken nearly £500m in salaries and dividends since 1999, and with 25,000 acres in his portfolio, he is a bigger landowner than the Queen.

Fellow engineers Sir David McMurtry and John Deer have both seen their wealth take a slight dip following McMurtry’s retirement from his position as chief executive last year, although he remains in the business as executive chairman. Their Renishaw engineering operation makes key components for aircraft and cars, as well as hi-tech surgical equipment. Its metal 3D printing technology has led to an improvement in sales, and profits have grown by nearly a third to £155.2m in 2017-18. However, the share price has struggled since McMurtry, 79, left his post.

His 36.24% stake is still worth more than £1.2bn. His partner, John Deer, 81, worked with McMurtry at Rolls Royce before they decided to set up on their own in 1973. Deer’s stake in their venture stands at 16.81%, down £30m this year to £563.1m.

Dyson is followed on the Southwest Rich List by financial services tycoon Peter Hargreaves who is worth £3.046bn, down £118m on last year. The Brexit-backer said last year that he would “guarantee my entire wealth that no deal will get us free trade [with the EU], because the three biggest economies in Europe are huge exporters to the UK. That’s Germany, France and Italy.”

Hargreaves, 72, co-founded the Bristol-based Hargreaves Lansdown financial services and investment business in 1981 with Steve Lansdown, who ranks fourth in the Southwest with a £1.72bn fortune. The firm is worth £8.59bn, and Hargreaves stake is down £145m to nearly £2.77bn.

Robert Watts, the Compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List, said: “The days when the Rich List was dominated by fortunes built only from industry, property and finance are long gone.

“Today’s list includes people like Mark and Mo Constantine, who made their money from soap and bath bombs. Andrew Nisbet and the Brownswords owe their fortunes to catering equipment and greetings cards.

“A lot of people say the rich only ever getter richer, but our South West Rich List shows that isn’t always true. Seven of the region’s 20 wealthiest individuals and families have seen their wealth fall over the past year.

“It’s easy to think this doesn’t matter to the rest of us. But if a bad year encourages these tycoons to shrink their businesses the implications can be big for our communities.”

Chris and Sarah Dawson rank third on the south west Rich List with their wealth this year adding up to £1.99bn, a £30m increase on last year.

Dawson, 67, is owner of the Plymouth-based Range discount stores, at which net assets grew by £10m to £260.2m in 2017-18. The operation has opened 19 new stores in the past year. Dawson has transferred ownership of the main business to his wife Sarah, 56, who is based in Jersey.

He left school without any qualifications and admits he was barely able to read or write. “Dyslexic is a polite way of putting it – I just didn’t have a bloody clue,” he once said. Dawson drives a Rolls-Royce with a registration plate that reads DE11 BOY – in homage to his alter ego in Only Fools and Horses. With his wife, he owns the £1.6bn discount store operation, from which they paid themselves a £100m dividend in 2016.

While seven of the 20 richest individuals in the Southwest have experienced a decrease in their wealth over the past year, the total net worth of the group stands at £28.821bn, collectively up by nearly £3.99bn on 2018, an increase of 16.1%, driven in large part by the rise in the wealth of Sir James Dyson.

Christina Ong, 71, the “Queen of Bond Street”, has seen the value of her shares in Mulberry plummet by more than half in the past 12 months. The fashion and accessories business was hit by the collapse of House of Fraser, where the Somerset-based outfit had concessions. Ong owns 56.17% of the label, and her stake is down £193m to £104.2m.

Despite her husband Ong Beng Seng’s £1.98bn Singapore operation, Hotel Properties, the Ong family are the biggest losers on the Southwest Rich List.

In contrast, the Bechtolscheimers are by far the biggest winners, up £883m in the past year, reaching billionaire status. Ursula, 67, and Wilfried, 70, will have inherited handsomely from Ursula’s father, the German retail tycoon Karl-Heinz Kipp, who died in 2017 leaving £3.2bn. The couple have a horsebreeding operation in Gloucestershire, and their daughter Laura Tomlinson won the dressage gold in the 2012 London Olympics. One son, Till, 36, has launched a New York investment management outfit Arosa, with $200m of his grandfather’s money.

The Clark Family are ranked 12th in this year’s Southwest Rich List, down from ninth last year, with a fortune of £484m, down £86m. Lance Clark died last March aged 81, and was the sixth generation of his family to lead the Somerset-based shoemaker. Sales fell by 7% to nearly £1.54bn in 2017-18, but profits slid only marginally to £19.7m. Clarks shoes was originally set up as C&J Clark in 1825 by Cyrus and James Clark, the latter of whom had the idea of making slippers from sheepskin offcuts. The business started from there, and 84.6% is still owned by the Clarks, who should have received nearly £100m in dividends over the past five years.

Mark and Mo Constantine have had another successful year, up £150m to £440m, which has earned them a ranking of 15th in the south west.

Constantine, 66, and his wife Mo, 65, started their Lush cosmetics company in Poole, Dorset, and its fizzy bath bombs are the emergency Christmas present of choice from 105 UK stores and 900-plus outlets worldwide. Lush is valued at £700m, with the Constantines holding worth £393m.

The 2019 Sunday Times Rich List – contained in a 156-page special edition of The Sunday Times Magazine, charts the wealth of the 1,000 richest people in the UK.

The list is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies. It excludes bank accounts, to which the paper has no access.

The complete list will be available to the paper’s digital subscribers and will be online at