IT was a time of typing pools, carbon paper, GPO rotary-dial telephones, kipper ties and Coffee Mate. It was rumoured that somebody had been on a training course to operate the TELEX, for facsimile machines and photocopiers were fluorescent light years away.
Yes, office life circa 1980 was not something for changing. Who would be bothered if bearded Roger sat at his desk all day, blowing Players No 6 smoke rings into the air while admiring his rubber-band balls? And after work, to the Vernon Arms, a chance to impress Barbara from accounts with your little Dictaphone.
The nine-to-five ticked along more or less the same for decades and is unrecognisable today.
Until, suddenly, pictures like these come to light. They show a group of rather camera-shy employees of the Royal Insurance Company at its long lost Liverpool HQ, in North John Street. Their identities, and the story of what larks they are engaged in, is a complete mystery.
The snaps were unearthed by the team renovating the Grade II listed building into the £18m Aloft Liverpool hotel which opens next week, Now its owners want to flush out the chaps and reunite them, ahead of the launch party in November.
An Aloft Liverpool spokeswoman told Liverpool Confidential: “Some construction workers found the photos behind a fireplace in the old first floor board room, now a function room for the hotel.
“The people in the photos must have been Royal Insurance employees, we think around late 1970s/early 1980s. So these guys might be in their sixties now and we would really like to find them.”
She added: “If we do manage to track them down, Aloft will give them a stay in the hotel and special VIP invitations to the launch party on November 27. We would love to see them and hear all about their memories of this beautiful building.”
Royal Insurance quit the building (designed by local architect James F Doyle) 20 years ago. Since then, the 110-year-old neo-Baroque pile, with its landmark, gilded dome tower, has lain empty.
Aloft, part of the multinational Starwood Hotels and Resorts, is trying to be a bit secretive about what it has actually done in the old building, which lay on English Heritage's "at risk" list for years, but says it has retained much of the architecture. “The interior has been transformed to offer cutting-edge design with ultra-comfy beds in 160 rooms, oversized showers and plenty of tech-savvy features”.
Undoubtedly, the mystery men in the pictures would have been in their element. Drop us an email here if you know who they are.