Morning in the City: JB Priestley

Hardly an ordinary place but Priestley is quite brilliant and I couldn’t resist.

‘…the buildings have shape and solidity but no weight, they hang in the air like places in the Arabian Nights… a Gothic fairy tale…all the glimpses of ancient loveliness are there, perfectly framed and lighted; round every corner somebody is whispering a line or two of Chaucer…the pavements are thronged with bank messengers, office boys, policemen, clerks, typists, caretakers, commissionaires, directors, secretaries, crooks…It is hard to believe that somewhere behind the enchanting façade directors are drawing their fees, debenture holders are being taken care of, loans are being called in…and suggestions are being put forward for little schemes that will eventually bring revolution in Central America and mass murder into the Near East.’

‘Morning in the City’ The Priestley Companion (1959):309

2 thoughts on “Morning in the City: JB Priestley

    1. Good question John, made me think! When Priestley wrote this in 1936 London was perhaps the most import financial centre in the world. Even now the stock exchange trades shares worth £2 trillion (Bloomberg) – and that figure is dwarfed if you total up the value of London’s commodity, bond, currency, and ‘special financial-instruments’ markets. This means that the influence of those who dominate these markets is multiple times that of the entire British economy, and by implication, British politicians. Today, one bank, JP Morgan, controls assets worth more than Britain’s total annual output…mind boggling.

      Liked by 1 person

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