Moshi moshi computer freaks


When I entered working life I realized that something was in the making. My first job at Lloyd’s consisted on reading and registering information from punctured cards. We were slowly entering the computer age! When working at Leslie & Godwin’s nothing had changed as far as dress code was concerned. Working in the city meant suit and tie.

As we were an international company we had close relationship with customers from different parts of the world. There were for example Japanese gentlemen working at our offices. They would salute you with -Moshi moshi, and at least once that I can recall invited us out for a night in the town which included eating out and visiting clubs in Soho of their preference. In other words posh Strip clubs!

One day some longed haired guys in casual dress turned up to take over some of the premises. I was obviously curious as to who they were and what made them so special that they alone could break the dress code. They were computer experts! Their job was to install data bases and for that they needed space. No one then could ever imagine how dependent on computers we would all get and what a fantastic development leap they would represent in all we do. This blog for example is all based on computers and internet!

Anyhow, I never hanged around long enough to find out how fast the computer revolution took to establish itself at L& G’s. I had been moving out of Insurance for a long time. I earned too little and was already combining activities at Maximus in the West End. It seems that all that was needed was a slight push to make me take a decision. It came connected with Judy. She was a trainee at the office. I started to go out with her but my superiors had already understood it so they decided to have some fun at my expense. As we were preparing to go home the boss gave me an errand to run so I couldn’t leave with her as planned. I heard how they giggled away. When I came back I was through with them and gave my notice. Sayonara reinsurance and City of London!

Welcome to Lloyd’s

Lloyd's waiter

In November 1968 I was offered a job at Lloyd’s in Lime Street. My grandfather Joseph Ineichen had previously fixed me up for an interview with a Mr. White, Underwriter at Lloyd’s, specializing in Marine insurance.  My new employer was Anton Underwriting Agencies and the box I sat at, was known as G.F.Hinds and others.

My salary was established at £550 per year payable per month. And I would also, for every working day, receive a sum of 3 shillings worth of luncheon vouchers. The working hours were between 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. with one hour for lunch. I would also receive thirteen working days as a holiday.

This was my first real job and it was thrilling to be able to start.

My grandfather Joseph Ineichen took me to a ready-made clothes shop and I tried a few suits. Before this I had never put on a suit so I thought I had really come into the adult world. A couple of shirts and tie completed my City uniform. My grandfather taught me how to make the knot.

In order to get to work there was the underground in Hammersmith and I would travel to the Monument Underground station and walk from there on a flowing river of gentlemen dressed in suits and many with bowler hats and rolled up umbrellas. On arrival I was greeted by a uniformed Lloyd’s waiter. Work could begin!