Banking & finance

Wontner, Hugh (2 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 2 (tape 1 side B): Close-knit family meant going to Oundle was hard, but parents not particularly emotional about it. History master became great friend throughout his life. During school holidays Hugh went to father's rehearsals and met many authors and actors. Wontner name derives from Wentnor near Shrewsbury; Sir Hugh has made several visits and has studied history of the name. Also knowledgeable about titles and their use. Oundle had reputation for experimentation; Sir Hugh casted metal in school foundry and shoed shire horse at local smithie. Sir Hugh in school plays. 1926 father went to America for 3 to 6 months with mother, to play in 'The Captive' with Basil Rathbone. Children stayed with paternal grandmother. Lesbian subject matter of play had father and other actors jailed for short period; newspaper coverage in England and Sir Hugh interviewed. Sir Hugh made great friends at school. He was considered slightly strange as he took no part in games due to rheumatic fever. Became captain of school golf. No real ambitions at school but thought diplomatic service would be interesting though this not pursued.

  • 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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