Oral histories of business and finance

Photograph taken inside Baring Securities. Image copyright The Baring Archive.
Baring Securities. Image © The Baring Archive

Our oral history interviews explore changes in the corporate worlds of business and finance.

About the collection

We have collections that include testimonies from those involved in the City of London, the food industry, the book trade and the press, and the Post Office. These recordings explore changes in the corporate worlds of business and finance over the last 60 years. Several collections focus on the histories of individual companies.

What is available online?

Banking and finance interviews online include representatives from the Stock Exchange, the merchant and clearing banks, the commodities and futures markets, law and accounting firms, financial regulators, insurance companies and Lloyd’s of London. The recordings come from City Lives, a National Life Stories project, all of which are presented here.

Branding and design interviews online cover a cross section of individuals who contributed to the development of Wolff Olins, one of Britain's leading brand consultancies. Interviewees include founders Wally Olins, Michael Wolff and Jane Scruton, designers, consultants, marketing and creative directors past and present, also kitchen, administrative and support staff. The company's iconic branding work has included: First Direct (1989), Orange (1994), Tate (2000), London 2012 (2007) and Macmillan Cancer Support (2006).All the recordings from An Oral History of Wolff Olins, a National Life Stories project, are presented here.

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

The City of London


Businesses and corporations


  • Oral History of the Post Office, a National Life Stories project between 2001-3, recorded 117 life stories of a wide range of Post Office staff in the UK and documents the enormous changes which have taken place in the stamp and postal services sector within living memory.
  • Prudential Interviews is a collection of interviews with a range of employees of the Prudential Corporation plc (Prudential Assurance Company) as they prepared to vacate their head office in Holborn Bars, London, after nearly a century.

Money and finance