Banking & finance

Durlacher, Nicholas (8 of 18) National Life Stories: City Lives

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  • Type


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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 8 (tape 4 side B): Here talks about his brother - great success at Stowe - two years working on farm in Cirencester - wanted to be a farmer but changed his mind - gives reasons - went to work on Stock Exchange with BZW as equities dealer. Here talking about Mary's brother Michael - left St Andrews University - worked for OCL as graduate for two or three years - worked for timber business in Germany - drifted into selling computers for American firm - now free-lance selling computers. This is about his own entry into the City in 1967 - partnership then of about twenty - gives full title at that time - James Cox and Derek Wise joined firm same day. One year course in back office before going on floor of Exchange as a trainee (blue button) 1968. Talks about the two families, Mordaunt and Godsons and describes family businesses as jobbers on Stock Exchange - taken over by Durlachers. About his lack of knowledge of competitive elements between jobbers - how one could attract business - personal relationships - codes of behaviour and what actually made share prices move. City attire in those days fairly regimented - white shirt, stiff collar - bowler hat compulsory in gilt market. Lace-up shoes, dark suit, waistcoat in winter - Savile Row tailor. Impressions of first day in office - friendly place, treated with deference as senior partner's son - people appeared to enjoy their work. Describes going down onto floor. people scuttling around, senior-looking gents in black silk top hats - one gent in spats - very territorial - designated areas where you could stand or not stand - must walk and not run - an awful lot to learn. Gives names of outstanding people at that time - Uncle Pat a larger-than-life character - ND's father ditto - also Dick Wilkins, Head of Wedd Jefferson, who became senior partner - describes him as very glamorous, attractive, racy. Offered to buy ND any car he liked - ND suspicious of such an offer - gives reasons why Wilkins would make it. Wilkins had a flat in Savoy Hotel and house in Little Hallingbury. ND visited there - describes it - full of knick-knacks and mementoes of Royal Family particularly of Queen Mother with whom Wilkins very friendly. Photos of Royals, motor-racing drivers, collection of racing cars. Two Renoir paintings which he later sold to raise money - spent money like water. ND's father thought him wonderful - they were very good friends. Here talks about Dick Wilkins' women friends - mentions Billie Moore (Kenneth Moore's wife) and Betty Kenwood. Also about Dick's relatives - his brother Pat, nephew Adrian (Pat's son) and a sister. Says why he thinks Dick's temperament and personality so successful in those days of face to face dealing. Discussion of water-colour paintings by Michael Frith (architect of Royal Exchange and Liffe building) in interview room - Wedd Durlacher gave Bank of England picture by Frith for their anniversary. General office policy re paintings and his own feelings about that. ND's traineeship - firm's policy of putting everyone through 1-2 year period of working in various departments before going on floor of Stock Exchange. First two weeks spent with messengers - describes types who would be messengers, e.g. ex-soldiers, ex-boxers - also methods of communicating within the Square Mile - messengers very important part of City business then - refers to a messenger fraternity, drinking in pubs etc Gives details of a messenger's typical day - some very busy periods then some lulls. City people predominantly wore hats - some still wore frock-coats - almost everyone wore a waistcoat with a suit. Describes the hydraulic lifts with attendants - worked by pulling ropes. Unwritten rule - one never took lift to First Floor. Describes interior of big building complexes - long passages - little tobacconist shops, a hairdresser, restaurants and three-shilling luncheon vouchers - secret world - rabbit warren - important to learn all nooks and crannies of City. Soon became irrelevant as old buildings replaced by tower blocks.

  • 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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