Thursday 18 August 2011

Bracken House, Grandfather Clock, and the FT

Between the walls and within the floors of Bracken House where the bustle of the Financial Times once hurried to produce, set and print the latest of the light salmon pages lie the older chambers of Grandfather Clock. In sympathy to the FTs old values the many angles of the Clock Chambers make up a greater space wherein the value in trade for gold, for ivory, for lies and favours are bought and sold and bartered in an atmosphere far removed from the courser business of the New Jonathan’s in Threadneedle Street and their Stock Exchange. Here trade is a hum about overstuffed chairs in a Chinese print, upon rugs of cloth contract all beneath baskets and nets of the best that was once so exchanged and now gone from the world but for here in the dark ceiling of memory. No servants wait on the traders and a gentleman (no distinction is made in the term here by tradition between genders) is expected to settle on the second Tuesday of a month for each glass of Tokay or brandy taken. The chambers are at once sprawling and crowded, a junk shop of precious treasures and as long as any might remember administered to by Grandfather Clock.
His head is concealed by tradition within a perfectly functional mask that chimes the times of business, of closure and of market. The times for trade are divided by goods and day and indeed the complexity of the undertakings here are mirrored by the working of the great clock over the entrance without. Grandfather himself is always impeccably dressed in the manner of current conservative fashion. He allows no speaking above a hum, no diversion from rule or tradition and administers and oversees at need the Court Twelve that will drag a debtor or lying trade to answer and to be punished for such sin.
The Clock Chambers are a place of perfect and quiet order without recourse or duplication to anything else that might idly make similar claim. You can see them here as they are in Friday Street, the City of London.

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