- c.1980 - 2010 (Creation)
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Born in Dundee, Sir William Nicoll was an only child. Growing up in a tenement, his father was a joiner. He attended Morgan Academy, then won a scholarship to University College, Dundee, which was then part of the University of St Andrews.
Nicoll passed the civil service exams and moved to London in 1949 to join the Board of Trade. Married Helen Morison in 1954, at the same time he became Editor of The Reel, a post he held in 1954 and 1955. The next year he was posted to Calcutta as trade commissioner, cutting short his editorship. Within ten years he had risen to become private secretary to Douglas Jay, the Labour heavyweight whom Harold Wilson had appointed president of the Board of Trade.
From there Nicoll was seconded to the Foreign Office and served 20 years as one of the UK's senior men in Brussels. He became familiar with the French language and had a narrow escape from an IRA letter bomb while there.
Nicoll rose to become Director General of the Council of the European Communities, and was knighted in 1992. In retirement, he lectured, edited the European Business Journal, wrote books on the European Union and advised candidate countries hoping to join it.
Sir William was a lifelong teetotaller, and keen Scottish country dancer.
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