Belfast Telegraph

BBC NI presenter Bradford recalls boozy culture of work at London stock exchange

.... but those days are long gone, says broadcaster in on-air admission

BBC presenter Conor Bradford has recalled the hazy days of the drinking culture in London during his time as a stock broker.

The broadcaster was discussing a story on the BBC's Good Morning Ulster about Lloyd's of London's decision to ban staff from drinking between the hours of 9am and 5pm during the working week.

Founded in 1688, the insurance market acknowledged the City of London has "historically had a reputation for daytime drinking", but said the demands of the modern world mean alcohol is off the lunch menu.

Those caught could face misconduct procedures.

Mr Bradford once worked - briefly - for the firm Willis and Faber at Lloyd's, he told Good Morning Ulster's listeners.

"I was invited out by my colleagues for a drink at lunchtime and I got the feeling, at that time, that had I not gone along with them I would have been considered rather anti-social," he said.

"A couple of beers at lunch was very much the norm."

Speaking of the now long-gone tradition of drinking in the journalism profession, he added: "We had a BBC club - of course those days are over and there is definitely a shift in attitude toward drink and Lloyd's have brought the shutters down."

Educated at Oxford, Mr Bradford had a varied career before joining the BBC as a reporter for Good Morning Ulster. He has since presented its main evening news bulletins and is now an anchor on the early morning news programme on Radio Ulster.

Employees at Lloyd's, one of Britain's oldest financial institutions have reportedly reacted in anger after being told they cannot drink alcohol during office hours.

The Evening Standard said incensed staff shared their indignation at the new restriction on an online forum.

One said it made Lloyd's the "PC capital of the world", while another asked: "Will we be asked to go to bed earlier soon?"

An internal memo seen by the paper said the policy, which applies to 800 employees of Lloyd's, but not the brokers or underwriters from other companies based at the market, aligned the firm with many of its competitors.

"The London market historically had a reputation for daytime drinking but that has been changing and Lloyd's has a duty to be a responsible employer, and provide a healthy working environment.

"A zero limit is therefore simpler, more consistent and in line with the modern, global and high performance culture that we want to embrace."

A Lloyd's spokesman told the Standard: "Our employee guidance was recently updated and provided clarification on the Corporation's position on drinking alcohol during the working day, which is prohibited."