This is a comprehensive biography of Clarence Charles Hatry, 1888-1965, an enigmatic and charismatic public figure. Hatry was the son of Jewish immigrant parents who became a company promoter and whose companies collapsed in 1929, leading to a crash on the London stock exchange. He was brought down by a desperate fraud. At his trial three months later, the judge said that he could not imagine a worse crime.
Analysing transactions in detail, the book reveals Hatry’s brilliance as a manipulator and a world-class networker and persuader. It also demonstrates his vain belief in his ability to overcome any risks and his insecurity which led him to surround himself with sycophants who would not challenge his ideas. It shows how others used Hatry to make money, and, as he destroyed himself, as a scapegoat who distracted from the City’s failings. Despite his deepest ambitions, he remained an outsider.
Until now there has been no full biography of Clarence Hatry, which may be attributable to the lack of records, as his business papers are believed all to have been destroyed. This comprehensive biography is based on examination of the memoirs of Hatry’s contemporaries, the archives and records which they and their companies preserved, and press reports of Hatry’s activities.
Marking the 90th anniversary of Hatry’s collapse, this book will be important reading for academics and researchers looking to gain a greater understanding of the context of the 1929 crash, or of financial crises generally.
Table of Contents
1. Coming to London
2. Clarence finds his feet
3. 1914: The coming of war
4. Hatry surfs a boom
5. Coming down to earth
6. Arthur Collins to the rescue
7. Amalgamating department stores
8. Hatry turns 40
9. Keeping up appearances in 1929
10. Keeping the plates spinning
11. The spinning plates crash
12. The trial
13. The prison years
15. After Hatchards
Chris Swinson is a Visiting Fellow at Durham University Business School and a former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Chris spent a large part of his professional career investigating frauds and their consequences.
"Clarence Hatry was a clever outsider, whose moneymaking alchemy - mixing genuinely productive innovations with tax avoidance and sailing legally close to the wind - attracted many City insiders and business vendors. In 1921 it made a peerage seem attainable. His final resort to fraud in 1929 brought a lengthy prison sentence, yet still left him with loyal sympathisers. Dr Swinson is the shrewd, engaged and balanced biographer that such a complex larger-than-life character requires: this will be the definitive study." — Leslie Hannah, Professor Emeritus of Business History, London School of Economics, U.K.
"Chris Swinson’s deep research has produced a biography of Clarence Hatry that is not only authoritative in its unravelling of corporate misdeeds; it is also an elegant study of Hatry’s social milieu and a light-and-shade portrait of a fascinating fraudster." — Martin Vander Weyer, Business Editor, The Spectator
"A well-written page turner about a larger-than-life company promoter whose life story certainly beats fiction hands down." — Janette Rutterford, Professor of Financial Management, Open University, U.K.