The City of London is a tale of two cities. The one was traditional and stuffy, with codes of conduct reflecting a closely bound world of long-established firms and personal relationships built on trust, and whose banking halls and Portland stone exteriors displayed solidity, permanence and discreet luxury. The financial revolution of the eighties marked the emergence of the new city. The bowler hat, the furled umbrella and the four-button cuff sleeve gave way to the double-breasted Prince of Wales check suit, the filofax and the two-button cuff. Undergraduates from the prestigious universities forsook the attractions of civil service, academia and industry to be snapped up by the new would-be integrated finance houses. Previously one had gone into the City because one was rich, whereas now the attraction for new entrants was to become rich. Down came a third of the City’s old buildings. Giant cranes dotted the landscape of the centre, bringing to mind the Martian machines in The War of the Worlds that destroyed and reformed in their own image. Out of rubblefilled holes steel skeletons emerged, waiting for their designer

façades to be bolted on. The new steel and glass buildings signalled airiness, smartness and a wondrous polyglottism.