Awake quite early and quickly showered and dressed in my best sports jacket and trousers, ready for my day in London. Breakfast of wheat flakes and fruit juice to drink, then out with my briefcase and papers to the Range Rover. Opted to drive down to Stevenage, as the A1(M) traffic was not too bad, instead of catching the train from St Neots and was pleased with my decision. Parked easily in Stevenage and was soon in Kings Cross station, picking up another £1.10p-worth of ‘Visitors London’, as I had forgotten mine from home and needed to find my way round the city. Went first to the Kingsway branch of Rymans and bought another large Filofax wallet – now that I am studying both local and family history, I need two. By taxi on to Swan Lane by the Thames to the new Barclays de Zoete Webb building, where I met Nicholas de Zoete and his colleague, Peter Roy.
A bit of a waste of time. I have become very disillusioned with the ‘Big Bang’ and now see that all the City operators are chasing their tails and getting nowhere fast. Not only is the competition for brokerage acute, but the rules and conventions have been swept aside in a plethora of deregulation and computerization. The floor of the Stock Exchange, having just been expanded and revamped, is dead and the broker/market makers are trying to charge private clients, like me, annual fees to make up for lowered commissions. I did not wear it and insisted in staying on a price/deal basis. Furthermore, Nicholas is passing me over to Peter Roy and I always valued the son of the family that started the firm and his moderate advice. So often, the encouragement is to ‘churn’ the portfolio and use commission income to line the pockets of the fund managers. Left things suitably in the air and then went on by tube to the British Museum. Although I have yet to apply for a readers ticket, I was able to be escorted to the card index and look under Little Paxton. Pleased to find that there are 20-25 rolls for the 1543 to 1556 accounts, as well as Charters, Rolls and Rentals for Hinchingbrooke Priory in period 1384 to 5. I am guessing that this was part of the Moynes Manor that might have been within lands taken over by Richard Cromwell in 1542. It will be worth the effort of following up. Back to Kings Cross station, grabbed a salad roll and carton of tea and just caught the 1.30 train back to Stevenage. Drove on to Hertford Record Office and spent a couple of hours on family history. Dragged out one lot of St Albans Quarter-Session rolls and copied the Colney Butts plan of the road division, but could find no reference to Ann Broad. Then searched relevant dates (1826-1837) in Parish Records of Rickmansworth and Abbotts Langley and, as I expected, there was no burial for John Broad there. I am sure if he was buried anywhere, it had to be in Watford. Then checked Hitchin 1841 census. I had seen in a Herts non-conformist book that a John Broad had popped up in 1841 as a Baptist Minister in Hitchin. Soon found it and he was not the man I was looking for, but it was worth a try. Looked briefly at 1820 newspapers, but time ran out. Home for a late tea and then spent the evening updating my Little Paxton history disks, only finishing at 1.00am in the morning, but well pleased with my efforts. The ducks were hungry today, with no Peter to feed them (he was at the Doctors) and no duck food left anyway. I did not try to put them away. A right royal row in the Commons as Thatcher still resists questions on the MI5 affair, but the Alliance have won a half-day debate on the proposal to have a select committee of Privy Councillors to overview the security services. In America, the US have now broken the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty 2 by loading a bomber with multiple cruise missiles. The European NATO members criticise this move, although the US never did ratify the treaty and feel that they can break it. It hardly helps the negotiations in Geneva. More CIA revelations. Now they are accused of shipping arms to Iran, even before Reagan approved the secret shipments!?! Now action is centring on whether a special prosecutor should look into possible breaches of US law. Prince Charles has launched an eloquent and pressing plea for redevelopment of the inner cities and won widespread acclaim in the process; but an astonishing revelation that King George Vth died prematurely by euthanasia, ‘in order to catch the morning papers,’ seems to be true and the Palace have no comment. An IRA bomb attack ended with their mortars missing the police station near the Irish boarder, but 20 people were hurt as nearby private homes were damaged. A dry and clear day for once.