Banking & finance
Durlacher, Nicholas (8 of 18) National Life Stories: City Lives
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Jobbing; Futures exchange
1995-03-01, 1995-04-01, 1995-23-11
Is part of (Collection)
interviewee's office, London
Durlacher, Nicholas, 1946-, (speaker, male)
Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)
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.
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).