Banking & finance

Wontner, Hugh (4 of 11) National Life Stories: City Lives

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  • Recording date

    1990-16-03, 1990-20-04, 1990-18-05, 1990-27-06

  • Is part of (Collection)

    City Lives

  • Recording locations

    Claridge's Hotel, London, W1

  • Interviewees

    Wontner, Hugh, 1908- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Phillips, David (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 4 (tape 2 side B): Sir Hugh still at the family home in Regent's Park, which was large, comfortable and staffed with butler, cook, maid and chauffeur. Looking back, Sir Hugh went with young children to open air school in Regent's Park Inner Circle; often freezing cold but teacher wore grey fur coat. Saw German air raid. Father successful actor and often in plays that ran for years, so no hardships. Father had house in Devon and Sir Hugh enjoyed rural life. Sir Hugh had stern older sister and sweet younger brother who subsequently went on stage. Brother now dead; sister never married and now lives in Chelsea. 1938 became General Secretary of Hotels and Restaurants Association of Great Britain. This was a trade body which had been formed to separate hotel industry from public houses and their licensing limitations. Hotel managements seemed anxious to appear a cut above those in pub industry. Even hotels not considered environment for respectable people. Hugh's parents not alarmed as had rather given up on him. Met his future employer at The Savoy, Sir George Reeve-Smith, a charming man.

  • Description

    Interview with Sir Hugh Wontner, hotelier and politician, who was managing director of the Savoy hotel group (1941-1979), chairman of the Savoy Theatre (1948-1992) and Lord Mayor of London (1973-74).

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