Shorts down on Baden-Powell scout show

Hastings17Joseph Ineichen (1899 -1977) was my grandfather! The London born Joe left a considerable number of articles at the house journal of his long-life place of work, Lloyd’s of London.

In 1970 he recalled how his life developed from age 10 and to adult life. He joined Lloyd’s at age 14. One can but imagine the feeling of the time, a period that lead to the First World War and then saw the horrors of this butchering conflict that did all but dignify the human race!

As a boy of ten my grandfather recalled how he entered the newly founded Scout movement. For my grandfather the nearest troop was the 8th Westminsters. But he and some friends preferred to start a rival group to the Baden-Powell organization and formed the General Buller Scouts! This was the consequence of events during the Boer War that these boys had taken notice of and stand for.

After a number of activities by this group, a call was made at Joe’s home from the scoutmaster of the 8th. The rebel, Buller half dozen boys, accepted to try the Baden-Powell organization.

Later on they were given carbines without bullets or bayonets- But still! A full and complete show was given before General Baden-Powell himself at Caxton Hall in Victoria Street. At this event my grandfather was told by B-P that he did not approve of boys carrying firearms. His greatest misfortune during that event happened however when the boys did a show of bridge building. “Carrying a baulk of timber, the top button flew off my shorts and down they came to rest about my ankles”.

The following year Joe was promoted to playing the drum and this musical talent in the family is not shared by anyone else as far as I know. We also learn from Joe’s article, on the Lloyd’s log, that many of the scouts were approaching military age and with “old patriotic spirit found their way to the recruiting centres, some never to return. My elder brother… (William Hatchard) was in the 2nd London Fusiliers, went in August 1914. It was on the Somme in June 1916 that a German trench mortar cut short his life at the early age of 21”.

Even Joe would later be called for army duty but that story will be told another time. There was still time and opportunity for some fun as the published picture shows on an outing to Hastings in 1917 with Grandfather Joe standing on the right!

Dadda Glasses


Up to date I have concentrated my blog writings to my first 20 years, comprising the period between 1952 and 1972.  Naturally, I will, even when moving forward in time, describe something of my ancestry. Today I am writing about my grandfather. To some of his grandchildren- Dadda Glasses.

I owe him his dedication and support during my late teenage years when I lived on my own in London from the age of 16. I owe him that £1 note duly received by post, every Friday, often with the words “Best wishes. Enclosed £1”. It was a good help to me when my salary was low. I owe him the many weekends with Pat and Dad at 3, Hurst View Rd.

My maternal grandfather,Joseph Ineichen was born in Westminster in the year of 1899. The son of Josef, a Swiss immigrant and Mary Hatchard from Fulham, he grew up with his older half brother William who died in the Great War 1914-1918.

He left Westminster Cathedral School at 14, to start his business career as a “policy pusher” with Lloyd’s brokers T. Bainbridge &Co. In 1917 he became a deputy underwriter.

In 1918 he joined the forces and served with the 7th London Regiment. He returned to Lloyd’s in 1919. During the Second World War he serves in the Air Raid Warden Service in Croydon where the family lived.

At the age of 48 he was elected an underwriting member and specialized in marine cargo risks. He retired from Lloyd’s in 1967 after sitting in three different premises which gave him access to the exclusive Three Rooms Club.

He wrote many stories and memories in the staff magazine “the Lloyd’s log “. In them he shared important recollections of his childhood in Westminster, but also historical research work of his beloved 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.




This is a man’s world


When I worked at Lloyd’s no women were allowed in the Room! It was a real man’s world where language and jokes could get sexist especially from some of the brokers selling their business around “the boxes”. Despite all this, my trainee period of approximately one year saw its high point, with the visit of a woman- Ginger Rogers. The now elderly star had her legs insured at Lloyd’s and certainly brought some silver screen memories to most of the “old boys” in the Room.

On my Box I was well taken care of by Mr. White whose hair was white, which is an advantage as far as remembering his name was concerned. His deputy’s name for example I cannot recall. Then there was Dennis, just a few years older than myself and set on an insurance career and Mr. Preston an old sailor from the war, who called me Pinto and looked after me! I presume my grandfather had a word with Mr. White on his weekly visits on Fridays about my progress. Honest Joe, as my grandfather was known, was a respected, now retired Underwriter, having dedicated his life working within the Corporation.(The red circle shows approximately, where I sat!)

My job consisted on copying information from computer cards to books. This work was done by hand and it was important information when the Underwriter needed to consult the balance of certain ships.  The appearance of these cards was an indication that the computer age had been born and that the working methods and the Room itself would soon be obsolete!

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!

Death of a City

SaadaMy maternal grandfather was Joseph Ineichen. After my grandmother’s death in 1959 and being in a state of mental distress someone at Lloyd’s of London, where he worked, advised him to take a trip and get away for a while.  It was suggested that he would go to Agadir, in Morocco.

This trip was in January 1960 and he later described the fortnight there as a great success. He was then asked to write an article about this holiday for the Corporation’s magazine- The Lloyd’s log. This was my grandfather’s first attempt at writing. The article was approved and meant to be published when news came, of the terrible disaster that struck Agadir just over one month after his departure.  The city which he had visited and enjoyed, the city he had just described, was gone! The hotel Saada where he had drank coffee with the owners Mr. And Mrs Rosen, was left a ruin. On the 29th of February a violent earthquake had struck on Agadir.

After that the article was withdrawn and rewritten. Fortunately for the family it was but the first of many articles published for the Log. Because of this, we can now learn much about his own upbringing and breathe in the memories of a Londoner born in the year 1900. I remember how my grandfather enthusiastically told me about his articles in the Log and I feel that this blog will give me the opportunity to reminisce and report on some of those stories.

My grandfather was an important person in my life. Especially during my first years in London when as a teenager I was obviously in need of more support than I would probably ever admit. He helped me to my first job in the City, bought me my first tie and taught me to make a knot with it. He sent me an envelope with a pound every Friday and I will admit that that pound many times kept me going.

A curiosity not to be ignored is that even I started writing about my memories at the age of 60.