Yet the Hatrys’ fortune soon ran thin. The fashion for silk toppers turned in favour of cheaper, more practical styles. When Julius died suddenly in 1907, the ailing family business passed to Clarence, then barely an adult, and his brother Gerald. Within three years, Gerald absconded, leaving Clarence with sole responsibility.
Clarence struggled in vain to revive his father's business. After taking out an illegitimate loan from conmen, Hatry and his mother were declared bankrupt and lost their Belsize Park home. The family business failed soon after.
This sudden loss of hard won status kindled in Clarence a lifelong desire to restore the family's fortunes. The financial sector would provide the arena.
Some migrants crossed the Atlantic, only to be refused entry at Ellis Island. Hatry's eureka moment: this was an insurable risk.