Anthony Hilton: Celebrating tradition


Arbuthnot Latham, one of the City’s oldest still independent banks, was founded by a Mr Arbuthnot and a Mr Latham in 1833 to trade and subsequently to finance trade with India.

So it should have marked its 175th anniversary in 2008, but then along came the financial crash, and no one felt much like celebrating.

Five years on the clouds have lifted, so on Tuesday evening in London’s Guildhall Henry Angest, the Swiss-born banker who is now in charge, made up for lost time with a lavish dinner for its 180th birthday. 

It was a memorable celebration  – at least 300 people, a tribute by our former ambassador in Washington Sir Christopher Meyer, food by Mosimann, and entertainment by Katherine Jenkins.

Arbuthnot was never seriously troubled by the financial crash and the guest list inadvertently gives a clear indication as to what the secret is. It is a snapshot of how banking used to be. It shows Henry to be astonishingly well connected, very Conservative, and never to forget a friend.