Made in Leicester, the best aristocratic socks

City Diary

Pex, the Leicester-based manufacturer of children's socks, has produced an annual report with a difference. Pride of place on the front page is a colour reproduction of a young boy, "Filippo Cattaneo," painted in 1623 by Anthony Van Dick.

Filippo is an ancestor of Andrea Cattaneo Della Volta, the Marquess of Belforte - who bought Pex four months ago. Since then the charming Genoan nobleman has put in a new management team, returned the company to the black and invested pounds 1.2m in new machinery.

The Marquess must be one of the most distinguished people involved in the East Midlands clothing trade- his forebears founded the city of Genoa in 962. He still owns vineyards there, but most of his business is conducted through Uniwear, a Belgian flax-spinning company. Now the Marquess has set up house in London and spends three days a week in Leicester. He is also on the acquisition trail - a pounds 2.5m knitting technology company would suit fine.

Mike Smith, the doyen of trading-company analysts at Williams de Broe, is about to turn his back on the City and return to the world of Academe. Mr Smith is off to study history at Manchester College, Oxford, and is hosting a farewell bash next Thursday.

Mr Smith is probably the world's greatest expert on Inchcape and other traders, and has spent most of his career at Robert Fleming. Given that he has been enjoying a City salary, his colleagues want to know one thing: Is he getting a grant?

Happy Birthday, AIM. Just one point. The London Stock Exchange has sent out a highly informative press pack on the fledgling successor to the USM, with a white label pasted on the cover. Dimly visible through the label is a list of four names underneath, from whom "further information can be obtained". They all left months ago. A bit slapdash, that. Hopefully not a pointer to AIM's future.

Smith & Williamson are amongst the most superior of medium-sized accountancy firms, what with their wealthy private client list, investment banking operations and London offices just off the BBC building in Portland Place. How natural, then, for them to host a private viewing of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, followed by dinner at the RAC club.

Sadly, decorum succumbed to Euro 96 mania, due to a television in an adjoining room at the RAC which was showing the England-Netherlands match. The noise level rose with each of England's goals, with portly City figures at one point chanting "four-nil, four-nil". The master of ceremonies had a hard time persuading the mob to take their places for dinner, and was forced to promise to announce any further goals. They had no sooner started tucking into "spiced pear" than news came through of the late Dutch goal, and Scotland's exit from the tournament. Undeterred, a merry time was had by all, until it came time to find taxis home.

Sadly, London's taxi driving population had obviously gone home to watch the match, and many of the senior bean counters had to be content with the night bus.

Airtours' attempt to surf on the Internet has turned into a bit of a damp squib. Last August the holiday company, led by chairman David Crossland, launched its booking service via the Net. Now, 10 months later, it has sold the grand total of one holiday via the Net, to a chap who went to Kenya. The people at Airtours admit to being a bit disappointed by this slow start, but are sure it will ultimately take off. To this end they have hived off the IT aspects of the Internet booking service to Ross Perot's EDS. It has certainly been an eventful year for Airtours - one of their hotels in Mexico was hit by an earthquake and slid into the sea. Happily no customers were occupying it at the time.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer the industry can continue to flesh out an existence
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Jemma Gent: Project Coordinator

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Jemma Gent: In this role you will report to the Head of...

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable