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
- An Oral History of Barings, a National Life Stories project in collaboration with The Baring Archive, documented the history of Barings Bank through the memories and experiences of those involved over the past 60 years, up to and including its collapse in 1995.
- Oral History of the Jobbing System of the Stock Exchange (Centre for Metropolitan History) recorded the lives of those ‘jobbers’ involved in trading stocks and shares on the floor of the London Stock Exchange, now a redundant profession due to the introduction of electronic trading in 1986 known as ‘Big Bang’.
- The Kynaston London International Financial Futures & Options Exchange (LIFFE) Interviews is a series of interviews with employees and former employees of the London International Financial Futures & Options Exchange (LIFFE) conducted by historian David Kynaston as part of the research for his book LIFFE: A Market and its Makers.
- The Kynaston Phillips & Drew Interviews are a series of recordings with employees and former employees of the City investment group, Phillips & Drew (now incorporated into UBS Global Asset Management). The interviews form the basis of the book, Phillips & Drew: Professionals in the City.
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
- Christie Davies debt collection and other recordings comprises nine recordings. Seven were recorded as background to a proposed BBC Radio programme on debt collection and two for a proposed BBC Radio programme called 'The Bouncing Cheque'.
- The Millennium Memory Bank has money and financial issues as a main theme. It is one of our major national oral history projects and surveys. People were asked in the interviews about the effects of rising affluence on the average Briton's spending, saving, investing, borrowing, mortgage, benefits, dole and gambling.