Key players in the drama recall the day that sparked the first UK bank run in 140 years and heralded a global financial crisis
9 August 2007 was the first day of Mervyn King’s holiday. The governor of the Bank of England spent it at Lord’s cricket ground where he was interviewed by the former England cricket captain Michael Atherton. While Lord King was watching the cricket, the French bank BNP Paribas announced it was freezing the assets of hedge funds that were heavily exposed to the US sub-prime mortgage market.
It was the first and last day of King’s holiday. He would not have another for several years. Within six weeks, members of the Bank of England’s court – its oversight body – were being whisked into the back entrance of Threadneedle Street in a people carrier with blacked-out windows to be told that the money was haemorrhaging out of Northern Rock.