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!

The Reinsurance spell

Leslie  Godwin

 When I got redundant from the Lloyd’s experience it was not difficult to get a new position in the City! My new address was Dunster House on Mark Lane, very near the Tower Hill tube station. The business at hand was Reinsurance and its international market. My new employer was Leslie & Godwin- brokers at Lloyd’s- and starting date 10th October 1969.

The work consisted mainly on writing letters to our customers- big insurance companies- all over the world. Like this I got in touch with Japan, Argentine, France and even Portugal. I would write these letters by hand and leave them on a tray where the typing pool would type them and returned them for confirmation by me and signing by my superior Mr. Johnson.

Mr. Brown and Mr. Johnson sat in a special glassed room so they could see what was going on. I could not help years later to see parallels with what was going on and that brilliant British sitcom, “The office”.

 My arrival at the office was not welcoming by all. I came to understand, later on, that some of the younger office workers saw me as a threat because of the international character of the business and my knowledge of languages. Still, I did my work and most of my life at that time was revolving outside the office.

  I was already combining the City life with an ever increasing night life and as the Portuguese connection grew deeper changes were occurring up to the day that I left in my notice and moved on and away from the world of Reinsurance.

Curiously it was a temp girl called Judy, who I was going out with, that prompted my resignation.

 The picture shows me in a three-piece suited with colleagues Tony Cooper and Joe enjoying a lunch break with half a pint.