Banking & finance
Benney, Gerald (8 of 12) National Life Stories: City Lives
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Benney, Gerald, 1930-2008 (speaker, male, goldsmith)
Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)
Part 8 (tape 4 side B): Continues story of Ionian Bank commission. Chairman of Ionian Bank (recently deceased) and Gerald Benney became great friends. Chairman introduced GB to many people. GB's friendship with Elizabeth Frink and Paolozzi. Kept Tottenham Court Road premises for fifteen years. Developed enamelling process in Berkshire, needed clean atmosphere and London too dirty. Bought Berkshire house in 1962. Had previously lived in Belgravia - description of how bought both houses. Berkshire house foundations date back to 1500, forty five rooms, no roof when GB bought it. GB says never made serious money out of silver, main finance came from sale of Belgravia house which originally bought very cheaply. At time when bought Belgravia house was borrowing from one City bank in order to pay off another. By time had three children and nanny London house too small. Berkshire house cost less than Belgravia house. Thirty acres of land. GB met wife whilst teaching in Brighton when he had no money, around 1955. Had been in love with Molly Parkin before. GB's wife, Janet Edwards, a journalist on Women's Journal. Wife became and still is involved in GB's business, knows customers, helps with books, letters, typing. Three children, Jonathan, Genevieve and Simon. GB not very involved in their early childhood. Enjoyed their prep school days. Children to school close to Berkshire house. As they grew up had a lot to do with them. Jonathan is a painter and lives in New York, recently married. Jonathan worked at Christie's learning about furniture, silver etc. Genevieve did secretarial course in Oxford and became secretary in Prince of Wales' office, left briefly and then returned to POW as his personal assistant. Simon also worked at Christie's and managed gallery in Walton Street, then went to Australia. Simon has now joined GB's firm as a partner.
Interview with Gerald Benney, goldsmith and silversmith.