Robert left school in 1953, and started work on the family farms when horses were still being worked beside the first tractors.
Drawn by the lure of the sea, he went off crewing on some of the last barges trading under sail and these two experiences gave him a great passion for the old ways of life when the countryside moved at the speed of a horse and the merchant fleet of coastal Britain were moved by wind power.
He began writing because of a back injury in 1963 and has written extensively in magazines and books ever since. With his wife Pearl he has travelled endlessly recording and photographing the age that has almost gone. Although there was much wrong with the old ways in the unequal opportunities and degrading poverty, the best from the past should be recorded and saved. The beautiful Thames sailing barges, the luggers of Cornwall, the wonderful old houses and above all the English countryside should try and hold back the tide of urbanisation.
For a ‘day job’ Robert Simper has built up the Simper Group of companies, but most of these are now run by his son Jonathan. This has meant adapting to new technology, but at the same time trying to keep some of the old values.