John Major John Major was born on 29 March 1943, the son of Tom Major-Ball, a former travelling showman. He was christened John Roy Major but only the name John is shown on his birth certificate. He used the middle name Roy until the early 1980s.
He was born at the St Helier Hospital, Carshalton near the wealthy Worcester Park area of Sutton, attending primary school at Cheam Common, and then going to Rutlish Grammar School in Merton, from 1954 onwards, where he had an undistinguished education. In the 1950s, his father's garden ornaments business failed, and the family were forced to move to Brixton in 1955.
Major left school at sixteen in 1959, with three O-levels - in History, English Language, and English Literature. He would later gain three more by correspondence course in British Constitution, Mathematics and Economics. He watched his first debate in the House of Commons in 1956, and attributes his political ambitions to that event. He applied to become a bus conductor after leaving school, but his application was rejected due to his height, although early media reports claimed wrongly this was due to poor arithmetic. His first job was as a clerk in an insurance brokerage firm in 1959 after leaving school. Disliking this, he quit and for a time, he helped with his father's garden ornaments business with his brother, Terry Major-Ball. He also joined the Young Conservatives in Brixton at this time.
After a spell of unemployment, he started working at the London Electricity Board in 1963, and decided to undertake a correspondence course in banking. He took up a post as an executive at Standard Chartered Bank in May 1965 where he rose quickly through the ranks. He was sent to Nigeria by the bank in 1967, and nearly died after a car crash there.
He is an Associate of the Institute of Bankers.
He married Norma Johnson (now Dame Norma Major, DBE) on 3 October 1970. They have a son, James, and a daughter, Elizabeth.