Exhibition: George White, Barings' Troubleshooter

8: Retirement

White carried out other missions, notably to Italy, before his health broke down in 1872. Early retirement put an end to his reign over the General Office. It was an age when a clerk could expect to continue at his desk until his seventies, White was only 55 years old.

My poor friend Mr George White of whom I have long had so high an opinion and sincere regard is I fear very unwell at Ventnor - David Robertson to Baring Brothers, November 1872

David Robertson, Chairman of the Spanish American Bondholders wrote to the partners in November 1872: "Do you think that he will ever be able again for the heavy detail work which he did not hesitate to undertake in Bishopsgate Street, and after a faithful service of I believe upwards of 40 years and his having accomplished the great and good work at Buenos Ayres, and done what he could in Mexico, you might think it proper of handsomely allowing him to retire with his salary for life which might be prolonged by some quieter occupation".

And so it was that George White, still a bachelor, retired to Torquay where he lived with his sister for a further 20 years, throwing himself energetically into the town's burgeoning cultural life. He was a member of the Torquay Natural History Society gifting his library to the Society's reading rooms, now at Torquay Museum.

White's letters to Bishopsgate form some of the most fascinating parts of The Baring Archive. His hundred or so highly competent watercolours of Mexico and Italy, painted on his foreign missions, form the more indelible mark of a clerk who is gone but certainly not forgotten.

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