Banking & finance

Wontner, Hugh (6 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 6 (tape 3 side B): Depressing time as Sir George's assistant as nothing to do. Shared Sir George's office but moved into his own, windowless room. But Sir George died in 1941 and Sir Hugh became Managing Director. Sir Hugh missed war service due to rheumatic fever at school and in a Reserved Occupation. Became an advisor to Lord Woolton, Minister of Food. Woolton Pie invented at Savoy (mostly potatoes). Sir Hugh responsible for the five shilling meal limit at any hotel or restaurant. Tom Driberg of the Daily Express obtained cigarettes at the Savoy and then wrote about advantages of wealth during war time. First meeting with Charles Forte; Sir Hugh admired his shirts; a clever, dapper little man. Internment of Italian staff. Santorelli, Manager of Savoy restaurant arrested. Death of many staff through torpedoing of ship taking them to Canada for internment. Astounded when made Managing Director by D'Oyly Carte. During war time, dispossessed kings and queens of Europe lived at Savoy. Got to know Prime Minister Winston Churchill who stayed at Claridge's after losing election.

  • 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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