Banking & finance

Durlacher, Nicholas (2 of 18) National Life Stories: City Lives

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  • Type


  • Duration


  • Shelf mark


  • Subjects

    Jobbing; Futures exchange

  • Recording date

    1995-03-01, 1995-04-01, 1995-23-11

  • Is part of (Collection)

    City Lives

  • Recording locations

    interviewee's office, London

  • Interviewees

    Durlacher, Nicholas, 1946-, (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 2 (tape 1 side B): Here talks about father's growing up period with older brother and sister - Pat and Nora - 10 and 12 years his senior. Dad an afterthought. Dad's mother Irish woman named Ruth Dyas - fine sportswoman - champion tennis and golf player also good at bowls. Father very spoiled being so much younger - doted on his nanny. Happy childhood. Also loved sports. Prep school in Eastbourne (St. Andrews) to which ND and brother subsequently went. Gives reason why father went to Stowe instead of Wellington where his brother Patrick was a distinguished pupil. Stowe opened 1923, father went 1926. Had wonderful time there. Boys then allowed to take animals to school - father took ferrets. Father gregarious - loved games if not work - got on well with people. Did not want to go to university unlike brother Pat who had distinguished career at Cambridge. Father wanted to join his friend De Havilland at Stowe - latter's father was building airplanes but owing to slump in the 1930's De Havilland could not take him on. Dad's father got irritated having the boy kicking around at home and took him to work on the Stock Exchange. Talks about the relationship between father and father's brother Pat. Brother Pat worked for ICI but later joined family firm. Describes Uncle Pat and says always a little frightened of him. About division of firm's profits between Esmond, Jack and Patrick and Jerome Briggs who was brought into firm when Esmond's father died. Talks about father's sister Nora - loving relationship. Dad and brother disapproved of Nora's husband, Leslie Dow, who had been sent down from Cambridge when involved in betting scam considered very improper then. Leslie's family was Dow's Port - lost most of their money. Gives reasons why father and uncle thought very little of him. More about Aunt Nora. She and husband Leslie lived near Woodbrodge, Suffolk after the war - he visited them occasionally. His father had furious rows with them and visits were forbidden for about five years until peace was restored. House an old rectory at Newbourn near Woodbridge - lovely house, happy home - not much money but lived an agreeable life. Nora sparky, amusing person - two sons, James and David, to whom his father felt very close. Both went to Repton and then Cambridge. At Cambridge James a Communist - resultant row when he told ND's father - forbidden to 'darken my door any longer'. Nora defended her son. ND about 5 or 6 then - remembers hearing later about this. Talks here about cousin David - known as Dumpy - married and went to Jamaica to work on sugar plantation - long gaps between visits - attractive personality - remains a friend. ND remembers his sports car (TR7 or 6) - very glamorous - took them for drives. First wife died before she was 40 from defective heart. She had been advised not to have any children as heart defect was hereditary - had one child however who survived to age 10. Cousin remarried and now lives in Suffolk. Reference here to James who tore up his Party card after Soviet invasion of Hungary. He worked with Smith & Nephew. More about David and his dealings in agricultural products on return from Jamaica - very successful for a time then bad debts - nearly bankrupt but saved by selling rights of firm's name (i.e Dow something) to Dow Chemical - got £50,000 - a windfall. About other relatives on father's side - Uncle Pat married French woman known as Didi - no children. Irish relations heard about but never seen. Esmond's brother Laurie very distinguished career in Navy - became Fifth Sea Lord - lived in South of France - married to a Russian emigree - son called Peter and very glamorous daughter Sasha now married to wealthy Lebanese gent. Talks more about father's mother Ruth Dyas - lovely woman apparently, very sociable, enjoyed playing Bridge - died 1947 but had attended ND's christening. About ND's mother - maiden name Adams - grew up in London. Her mother Australian - had come here with her sister when both young girls - described as heiresses - family owned sheep station in Queensland. Brief family history - how Alma (ND's grandma) met and married Bill - latter also on Stock Exchange with brokers Foote & Adams. Mother's grandfather very successful - Chairman of Stock Exchange - lots of money - lots of sons - gave each of them money. Mother says her father suffered from depression and melancholia and as a result her mother made all decisions and kept family together. Mother grew up in Kensington (Phyllis Court). Brother called Brian two years older who joined Stock Exchange but didn't like it. He married Libby Hornung. Brian's father-in-law (Geoffrey Hornung) owned Rhodesian sugar refineries - on retirement asked Brian to come out and run business - he emigrated 1951 - uncle now dead but aunt Libby still alive in Zimbabwe. Brian's family visited UK every two years or so and all went on skiing hols together. Brian and Libby had three sons - all got on well together. ND talks about their education and careers. About Uncle Brian's education - Repton - Magdalen College Oxford - about his personality. About father's relationship with wife's brother. About mother's education - Downe House - had good brain, good at languages etc etc - Finishing school in France for a year. Talks about parents' meeting while skiing at Klosters - about courtship and relationship - mother dominated by father - how she stuck by him through all his sexual adventures. He and brother unaware of any tensions between parents - home very happy one.

  • Description

    Interview with Nicholas Durlacher CBE, member of the Stock Exchange (1970–86), Partner at Wedd Durlacher (1972-86) and Chairman of Elexon Ltd (2000–10).

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