Print

Kenneth Young interview: Later school and early career

After Miss Penny’s, I went to King’s College junior school, coming home every day for lunch. A friend used to call for me and we took different routes, sometimes by the Common, sometimes along Ridgway. Mr Lowe was my housemaster. Mr Newsome had a bad leg from the First World War. He used to turn it around in the classroom and it squeaked, then it squeaked again when he turned it around the other way. It intrigued us. He taught us everything but mainly history. Mr Woodhill was the headmaster. He was a nice chap who lived at the Crooked Billet, just a stone’s throw from the school.
 
I was at King’s junior and then senior school from 1922 until 1931. Then my father walked me around the City trying to get me a job. He wanted me to become an accountant , the same as my elder brother. Eventually I got my “berth” – as he called it, being a shipping man – in Mann, Judd Gordon, a Glasgow firm with an office in London. It was in Frederick’s Place, Old Jewry, off Cheapside. I stayed there and later qualified in 1938 after five years of study.  I remember opening my first bank account with Lloyds head office while I was there. My first month’s cheque was for £1 13s 4d. I opened an account with them and have been with Lloyds ever since. From 1931 my first salary was £20 a year as I was apprenticed.

I became a Scottish chartered accountant as there was no requirement to pay a premium for the training. This attracted my father. He would have had to pay a premium for me to become an English chartered accountant. It meant that after qualification my name would be followed by CA rather than the English FCA. At first I had to go to Scotland to take the exams. I didn’t mind at first but then it turned out that there were more Scottish chartered accountants in London than in Scotland so it was agreed that exams would be held in London as well as in Scotland. I took 17 exams in London over the five years. After evening classes I eventually qualified as a CA in 1938. 

When one of the senior chaps at Mann Judd left and went to a glass company at Greenford he asked me to go with him as an assistant. So I became assistant accountant at Rockware Glass Ltd of Greenford, Middlesex. I had already been on the audit there and was used to going there. They had an office in the City but the factory was at Greenford. I commuted from Wimbledon to Greenford and borrowed my father’s car to travel. But I had only been there a year before the outbreak of war.