How working-class East End ‘baby boomer’ broke into Stock Exchange elite
- Credit: David Matthews
David Matthews worked his way up from the back streets of the East End to the trading floor of the prestigious London Stock Exchange — ending up in a top financial post in Canary Wharf.
Now the ‘baby boomer’ from Shoreditch tells his story in a book about growing up in the austerity of post-War Britain and how he met his wife Lorraine through a Stock Exchange merger, a career mirroring how the finance industry has really opened up.
“We owe our marriage to the ‘Big Bang’ of 1986,” David reveals.
“Lorraine and I worked for rival stockbrokers that amalgamated when the Stock Exchange was deregulated. All the partnerships started being bought up.
“Both our firms were taken over by Barclays which was unprecedented up till then—that’s how we met and decided to have our own merger and got married.”
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David grew up off Queensbridge Road in Haggerston and went to Bethnal Green’s Daneford Secondary Modern, now turned into an academy.
His first job was in the post-room of a small City stockbroker’s at Pinner’s Hall in Austin Friars, off Threadneedle Street, battling his way up to the trading floor when the Stock Exchange was still the preserve of an elite.
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“The deregulation opened up the Stock Exchange for everyone,” he recalls. “I was from a working-class background and we were getting a glimpse of the goods life.”
Barclays moved its City operation in 1997 and the father-of-two found himself in the new Canary Wharf financial district.
“We didn’t want to move there,” he added. “But it got better as it got more busy—not so isolated.”
But David, now living in Hertfordshire, never forgot his working-class roots with his new book, An East End Boomer Remembers (Pegasus Books, £9.99).