Saturday, 18 August 2012

Drugs and the City


The largest employer in the City, and the biggest company in the world, with enormous influence at home and abroad, it was also involved with drugs and ended up being taken over by the Government. This was the topic of the Marketors Annual City Walk. The subject was, of course, the East India Company which evolved during the early days of the coffee house exchanges and received its Royal Charter in 1600. The Company eventually came to rule India with its own private army, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions. It also went to war with China - twice. This was because the Chinese refused to continue to take opium in return for tea. The company was finally dissolved in 1874 when its functions were absorbed into British government machinery and its army was nationalised by the British Crown.

Our Blue Badge Guide, Tim Kidd. led us through the ally ways between Cornhill and Lombard Street, and up Bishopsgate to Loyds while regaling us with stories of the rise and fall of the company together with insights into the places and people involved both in the City and throughout the world. It turned out that despite the corporate abuse, colonialism, exploitation and monopoly power involved, there is the possibility that the company could have survive had they done their market research. For example cultural issues such as the use of pork and beef fat which caused the Indian Rebellion, and price positioning error resulting in the overpricing/dumping of tea which brought about the Boston Tea Party and triggered the American War of Independence. In all an enthralling story that should not be hidden away.

And so it was on to a delightful meal at the Missouri Angel with, of course, delightful company. Our thanks particularly to Liveryman Jo Edwards our Event Director for not only the hard work involved in organising such an event, but also for having suggested this intriguing subject in the first place.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

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