Banking & finance

Durlacher, Nicholas (5 of 18) National Life Stories: City Lives

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  • 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 5 (tape 3 side A): About early education age four and a half to five at pre-prep school in Sevenoaks, The Granville, initially mornings only and then all day when about eight - then to prep school, St Andrews. Interested in numbers and maths in most elementary form. Vivid mental image of school plaground which overlooked Sevenoaks railway station - steam trains going to coast from London - especially Golden Arrow passing through occasionally. Always adored trains. Mentions George Nissen and Leopold Rothschild as train buffs whom he knew. Anecdote about friend Jamie who when very small pushed the head of much larger schoolmate through iron railings - fire brigade called to release him. Painful experience saying goodbye at Victoria Station when going off to board at St Andrews aged eight and a half. Very homesick first few weeks of term - same feelings every term throughout school career - younger brother came along later - well able to stand on his own feet. Found schoolwork easy especially mathmatics - had an aptitude for this. Parents used to read school reports but never put pressure on boys to achieve - father more interested in prowess on playing fields. Enjoyed team games - pride in beating neighbouring schools - high standard in soccer, rugby, cricket and hockey. Daily exercise compulsory - included running on Beachy Head - didn't enjoy this at all - similarly being taken for walks in crocodile formation. About morals instilled into pupils - good sense of right and wrong - bullying bad, stamped on at first sign - very competitive spirit between school sets - stars and good points awarded - cup given to winning set - one strived to be a winner - very healthy attitude he thinks vis-a-vis playing games - every boy had the opportunity. Remembers occasion when he felt bound to defend a friend against bullying by another boy. Describes boisterous behaviour in dormitories especially towards end of term - ie. pillow fights, water bombs and so on - all good-natured. Bad mark if caught by a master, docked from the set's points - ergo an enlightened peer group discipline. Tells how he spent summer holidays - entering tennis tournaments particularly Junior Kent Tennis Tournament for boys under thirteen - never won but usually a semi-finalist. Also enjoyed cricket and playing in family garden. Says no information about sex from teachers at school but when leaving St Andrews there was Headmaster's Leavers' Course in which they were warned, inter alia, to 'watch out' for older boys at public school. Talks about Stowe and boys getting crushes on younger boys - male environment - discovering their sexuality - accepted as fairly normal - most grew out of it. Sex education available only to students reading biology for 'O' Level - Mother told father to tell him 'the facts of life'. Talks about Stowe's standing in the public school ranking - wonderful grounds and setting - outstanding facilities - should have been the best school in England. One criticism - it encouraged an attitude that it was smart not to work - says he would not send any son of his there. Admits that at that time there was a large proportion of sons of very rich men who knew they would step into the family firm. Describes environment at Stowe - more than 600 boys - house unit about 70 to 80 boys - made good friends there particularly Patrick Dawson whose family lived in Portugal. Describes family life of Dawsons - very glamorous - lovely home in Monsanto Park, Lisbon - many servants - beautiful furniture. Didn't need to learn Portuguese - big English community there - lots of parties - about Patrick Dawson's brothers and the father's shipping agency partly based in Liverpool and partly in Lisbon. All sons expected to go into business but also had to qualify in some profession. Revolution in Portugal and Patrick and Peter came to England. Patrick in insurance - Peter an actor. Admits to great misconceptions about Stock Exchange until he started work there - thought it a licence to make money. Also realised that education does not necessarily prepare one for work. He had read Economics at Cambridge but learned that Keynesian theories were out of date vis-a-vis monetarism - thinks studying accounting or commercial law would have been more useful - but recants a little about education at Cambridge - says it gave him background understanding of economic matters. In scholarship form at Stowe took ten 'O' Level exams in two years as opposed to normal three - and maths 'A' level at sixteen and Higher Maths and Physics the following year. Thinks one of the attractions of maths is that one knows immediately whether one is right or wrong - not so with a history essay for example. Lists facilities available at Stowe. His reading at that time limited to Ian Fleming novels. Cambridge Entrance exam requirements then included a French translation and an English paper - good tutor there who encouraged him to read more - eyes were slowly opened - remembers George Orwell's ' Animal Farm' and '1984'.

  • 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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