44. H. F. Scott-Stokes to Harrod,2 March, 1938

Bulwarks Lane,

Glastonbury.

2 March, 1938

My dear Roy,

I was so pleased to see your fist again - I have been detained in London at a fool dispute before the H. of L. (unfinished), or I should have written sooner.

First as to your alluring invitation - & I am most eager to attend you in your new surroundings - the Lord (so to speak) has blessed us in our old age once more (!), & my dear wife is therefore much at home until mid-June, when he she or it is due to arrive. My one regret is that it will prevent our coming to you till the autumn.

Now as to `cycles' - well, we have had an almost perfect example in the last twelve months. Traders don't much know about or inquire into `available stocks'. They `get a hunch', & the quickest get it first; & all the small fools follow, often too late.

When I left England in May everyone was busy contracting as far forward as he could for supplies, & almost avoiding orders. Between October & Christmas wool-prices (for instance) fell 25 - 33"3%, nobody now is `buying forward', & for a time there really was no `price' whatever.

Today there is a `price' again, at a new level. We ourselves have lost some £10,000 & cut our losses - not, in this case, by reducing prices, but by not raising them to anything like what we paid for raw material in June - September.

Obviously it is a fact, & not an accidental one, that whole `markets' do rally or collapse simultaneously, or more or less simultaneously. We all `open our mouths too wide' when things are good, & then we over-reach ourselves. Perhaps it's largely fatalism, founded on the experience that `good times' never last forever, so to speak.

`Dick Stokes' - I know him slightly - as you say, a child in politics: & little likely to get anywhere in Parliament; but I think he does his own work well. Downside dotes on him.

HFS

  1. 1. British Library, Harrod Collection, Folder Add. 71189, fol. 80 (transcribed by Charity Scott Stokes)


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