Banking & finance
Durlacher, Nicholas (3 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 3 (tape 2 side A): About attitude of parents to their children - mother more physically demonstrative than father - father had had a difficult relationship with his father and wanted to be more like a brother to his two sons. Father's views very black and white - i.e. Conservative good, Labour bad, Communist evil. ND's views when at Cambridge. Father's involvement with St Andrews' prep. school - first as governor then Chairman of Governors - very influential - enabled school to survive change from private school to charitable trust. Also involved his City friends in affairs of school. Here ND talks about father's friends from various areas of his life - Stock Exchange, motor racing and wartime experience. Contact of these friends with family - gives examples - Leigh Windsor (PoW for five years with father) - now ND's godfather - very good friend to mother also - Stock Exchange friends entertained in family home. About his father's love of motor racing - Easter Monday all to Goodwood and later Silverstone - describes programme of races in those days - various types of cars. Talks about Rob Walker, friend of father - driver and owner of racing cars. Stirling Moss one of his drivers - mentions other drivers from same 'stable' - a Swiss and a Frenchman - father joined Walker as co-owner of Formula One team for three or four years. Once won British Grand Prix. Remembers father collecting him and brother from Stowe and driving his Aston Martin at 120mph along M1 - no speed limit in those days and anyway no traffic. He and brother interested and knowledgeable about drivers and results - never wanted to be a racing driver professionally - brother did two years in Formula 4 but decided against continuing. Describes visits to race track - what they wore, ate, did, where he and brother sat etc etc. Reverts to describing nursery life at home - day and night nurseries - nanny taking them in to see mum at 4pm after tea - very Victorian - very formal. Happier with nanny than with mother. Nanny died when ND was seven - never replaced - mother looked after them - formality broken down. Describes happy times in lovely garden - playing in sandpit - later using bows and arrows made from bamboo grove and playing Cowboys and Indians. Mentions special very good friend, Jamie Joicey-Cecil living very near - played with them - more like a brother. Remembers being very competititive at games - only happy when he won. Very bad sport at family tennis and games of Monopoly and card games like Old Maid - father annoyed about it. Enumerates Kiplingesque rules of good behaviour with which they were inculcated - eg. never show your feelings, never question decisions of umpire or referee etc etc Says they were taught very definite idea of what was right and what wrong- lying and stealing not tolerated - they would be punished. Remembers falling in fire on nanny's day off and fireguard not in place - both hands burnt, very painful, doctor came and treated burns - nanny saying she would never take another day off as mother not to be trusted to look after boys. Fairly healthy childhood but remembers days with terrible earache and ghastly winter colds - all usual childhood diseases and a fractured leg when skiing. Describes favourite toys - Dinky cars, trains - loved building balsa wood models. Had a cat but never a dog - mother thought it would mean more work for her - ND now has three dogs and thinks they add warmth to family life. Remembers mother reading stories - Beatrix Potter, Biggles, Eagle Annual - mother encouraged them to read for themselves. Remembers painting-by-numbers - says never any good at drawing but very diligent about copying - always neat and tidy with clothes and toys. Never went to church on Sundays when at home - at school thrust down their throats for ten years - more part of his life now than it ever was then. First experience of a death - Nanny dying from cancer - he was seven years of age - next experience when seventeen and grandmother died. Does not give much thought to whether or not there is life after death - cannot imagine an afterlife although considers himself a Christian. Recalls reactions to father's death just after 71st birthday - was still fit and going to office two or three days a week. Received news of father's heart attack while working at LIFFE - not as traumatic as it would be for a child of eight or ten. Doesn't think about him very often. Many people in City who knew him still talk about him - very high reputation, very liked as a person, very attractive to both men and women. Says father had a mistress and bought a house for her - learned this after father died - was always aware of father's strong sexual urge and mother's reluctance - thinks they came to an understanding about this aspect of their lives. He and brother felt hurt that mother had had a rough deal. Talks about family Christmases - enormous Christmas tree and lots of presents. From aged eight recalls family skiing holidays and having Christmas day a week early - aunt and uncle, mother's mother all came - turkey for dinner, presents, then off to Switzerland. Family holidays in winter - stayed at home in summer, played tennis, remembers tennis tournaments and being coached at expense of Kent County Council - also cricket matches. Talks about cinema and favourite type of film - Westerns and epics like 'Ben Hur'. 'El Cid' - also remembers seeing 'The Third Man' with McAlpines who were friends. About childhood days staying with granny in Kensington and having lunch in Derry & Toms or Barkers - also with Uncle Pat and Aunt Didi who lived in Montagu Square.
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).