Cricket matches on the trading floor and no smoking before twelve – Manchester’s Stock Exchanges lost the world

The Stock Exchange Hotel is without a doubt the most luxurious in Manchester, but as the name suggests, it was once a thriving market where shares were bought and sold.

The Bull & Bear restaurant by Michelin chef Tom Kerridge is now housed on the former commercial floor and transforms it into a dining room with 87 doors under a magnificent domed ceiling.

The Class II listed building was purchased by Manchester United icons Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs in 2013, which has managed to preserve its exquisite Edwardian Baroque architecture.

It was built in 1906 as a symbol of confidence in the future of a growing Manchester, which at the time was the 9th most populous city in the world, and in December, 115 years since its opening was celebrated.

Here, the Manchester Evening News talks to former stockbroker Jon Goldstone, who until recently was the last person still in the trade to work on the trading floor of the Manchester Stock Exchange, which closed in 1979, to get a glimpse of its lost stock. world. .

Pranking one of the dealers and playing cricket by using the janitor’s shovel as a bat before the phones rang – it was all part of a hard day’s work on the stock exchange.

Jon, from Didsbury, 74, who started as a blue button – a retailer who can not shop and can only ask for prices – in 1969 at the age of 22, says it was sometimes like a ‘rugby club’ where people worked hard, yet played hard.

His position arose after he visited his uncle in London, who had led a company into the stock market and suggested he enter the industry.

He spoke to his broker to see if anyone in Manchester was looking for a ‘likely boy’, and when it did, a company that was posting a job ad in the Manchester Evening News gave him an interview.

They save themselves £ 2 on the ad, then hire Jon and hire him for £ 1,000 a year.

Jon Goldstone, 74, was the last person still in the profession to have worked on the Manchester Stock Exchange.

“It was a tough school to go to market,” said the father of two sons, who withdrew from stockbroker Redmayne Bentley last year.

“It was partying or famine, sometimes it was so quiet that you might get three calls a day and all you wanted to do was play football on the trading floor with a ball made of rolled paper and elastic, or cricket with a janitor shovel.

“They used to have these ashtrays where you pressed the handle and it fell to the bottom and we used that as a wicket.

“Then all of a sudden, you would get a boom, for one reason or another, then there were literally not enough hours in the day, it kept going on and on.”

There was a set of rules that had to be observed on the trading floor, and sometimes these were broken, which had consequences.

Smoking was prohibited until 6 p.m. 12, so dealers were split between the desire to smoke and the desire to talk to customers.

“I once lit a cigarette and put it under the desk before 12 o’clock, the smoke rose and someone caught me; I heard about it,” said John, who rose through the ranks to become an authorized dealer in 1974.

The old Manchester Stock Exchange trading venue

There was also a dress code, of suits and ties, and despite bold 70s fashion, colorful shirts were ill-seen.

A young retailer who pushed the boundaries with his choice of outfit ended up stuck in the attic, Jon says.

“He went in with tanned shoes in alligator skin, and some of the other retailers looked at them and thought, ‘we need these.’

“They grabbed him, took off his shoes and threw them up on the edge.

“He had to pick up the janitor ladder and climb up to get his shoes back. But as soon as he was up, they took the ladder away and left him.

“Eventually they gave it back and he came down.”

Jon added: “Sometimes it was like a rugby club. These people worked really hard when they had to, but they also played hard. Things like that just happened. No one got hurt.”

He remembers another moment when a dealer was suspended for a week after setting a copy of the Financial Times on fire – one that another dealer was in the middle of reading.

While admitting that at times it was a bit like school, Jon repeats that when big deals really happened, the workers knew they should not mess with.

“The exchange’s motto was Dictum Meum Pactum, my word is my bond,” he explained.

“The agreements always stood, you could not go back on it. It all went through word of mouth.

“Even though they set fire to newspapers, they were also incredibly talented boys and honorable.”

There was also a clear hierarchy across the floor, with members, of which Jon became one in 1983 after its closure, having their own break room and their own toilets, where they were not allowed to enter in the lower rows.

Where the hotel’s toilets are today in the main lobby, the members’ toilets were located, and where the restaurant’s bar is now located, is where the member’s room once stood, complete with cozy chairs and a coffee machine.

“Once, I snuck into the members’ restroom for a quick little while and got caught,” Jon said.

“You should be respectful of the members”.

There was a sense of community in the exchange, where Jon tells that he met all sorts of different people, including some clever ‘old boys’ in the 70s, who most likely had joined during the war.

When the market floor closed in 1979, it was a “big blow”.

“We left the market on Friday at 3.30pm, so you would go back to the office and continue shopping from there,” Jon continued.

“The market then opened at 9.30 so we went in around 9.15 and started asking for prices so we went on and there was no one there.

“It was very, very sad. It was a shock.

“All the people I saw every day, I stopped seeing them. We all went back to the office. But the community spirit we had just disappeared.”

The former store floor has been converted into a gourmet restaurant, Bull & Bear

Stock exchanges like Manchester’s, which opened in 1907, allowed companies in an industrial city to raise money from investors locally. But a local tradition dating back to the first half of the 19th century was doomed by the consolidation of finances in the capital.

In honor of Jon’s 52-year career in finance, Manchester hotel owners last month named one of their signature suites after him – the ‘Goldstone Suite’.

The hotel’s co-owner Gary Neville with Jon’s sons, James and Michael Goldstone

He jokingly says that as a City supporter he was skeptical of owner Gary, but after seeing his expert work and getting to know him, Jon believes that Mr. Neville is a “credit” to Manchester.

“My years of working in the building are very special to me, so I’m really honored by the gesture,” he said.

“I think Gary is amazing. He has a social conscience, allowed NHS workers to use the hotel during the lockdown and has ensured that the features of the old building are preserved.”

Due to a lung disease, Jon has had to isolate himself in the middle of the pandemic and has yet to stay in his new suite, but before the lockdown enjoyed a meal at Bull & Bear.

“It was actually quite strange, the outer features are still there, columns and arches,” he said.

“I looked to my left and thought, ‘that was it, my place was,’ and I think there were three girls sitting and eating.

“It’s nice to see that it’s been so tastefully preserved.”

Jon added: “I’m looking forward to seeing my suite. I’m absolutely determined to visit.”

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Manchester city center filled with Christmas shoppers on a wet Saturday in December afternoon.  December 19, 1959


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