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Hoare enters the modern age

If you are accustomed to the light and space of the trading floor, sitting on orthopaedically sensitive office furniture in front of ergonomically designed keyboards, spare a thought for your counterparts in private banking.

C Hoare & Co claims to be the UK's last remaining family-owned private bank. It is 100% owned by the Hoares and managed by direct descendants of Richard Hoare, who founded the bank in 1672. Samuel Pepys, Jane Austen, and Lords Byron and Palmerston were among Hoare's illustrious clients.

But when it made up seven new partners recently, Hoare faced the problem of what happens when the world of old money meets the information technology age head on.

In a startling concession to modernity, Hoare commissioned seven "computer task chairs" for the new partners. Luke Hughes & Co, which makes furniture for clients with architecturally sensitive interiors, designed the chairs to let the bankers use their new-fangled computers without clashing with Hoare's Grade I listed Greek revival office on London's Fleet Street.

Each chair is covered in distressed leather. Some were made from a tree grown on the Hoare family estate, and consequently are several hundred years older than the people who sit on them.

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