Banking & finance
Wontner, Hugh (5 of 11) National Life Stories: City Lives
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1990-16-03, 1990-20-04, 1990-18-05, 1990-27-06
Is part of (Collection)
Claridge's Hotel, London, W1
Wontner, Hugh, 1908- (speaker, male)
Phillips, David (speaker, male)
Part 5 (tape 3 side A): 1938 Sir Hugh became assistant to Reeve-Smith, the Savoy Group's Managing Director. In the two or three years previously Sir Hugh became a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman at the Feltmakers' Company; his great great grandfather had been a hat maker and Master of the Guild. Good way of making friends and social contacts but never used for business contacts. Sir Hugh married his secretary, daughter of a splendid Scottish family. Her father killed in the War, and mother thought Sir Hugh an oddity. Married in Presbyterian church. Religion not a part of Sir Hugh's life. First lived in a small hotel whilst looking for a flat that met Sir Hugh's standards. Not easy but finally rented a flat in Nevern Square, Earls Court. Not a good area but a spacious flat on two floors. Square had gardens where their new baby was taken by the live-in nanny. Became Secretary of Coronation Accommodation Committee for George VI's Coronation in 1937. Appeared on television. Became Member of Lloyds, cousin was Chairman at the time. In 1937 there were only 3000 Members. Had one anxious moment but had reserves to cover it.
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).