An investment bank vice-president, who switched careers mid-pandemic to become a London tour guide, says he has “no regrets” about leaving the rat race.
Father-of-two David Harry left his role at Deutsche Bank after 24 years of service in October to pursue his passion for history by hosting guided tours around the capital.
But with Covid-19 restrictions in place across the UK, the 56-year-old has had to move his tours online – which he now hosts from his home in Peckham, south-east London, via Zoom.
Mr Harry, who worked in Deutsche Bank’s corporate real estate department, said he took a 60% cut to his salary when he changed jobs, but added he had “not thought about the decision since leaving the office”.
The qualified City of London and City of Westminster guide, told the PA news agency: “I knew I had enough money to tide me over, and although I had to tighten my belt a fair amount, I just thought, if not now, when?
“It’s my passion and it makes me happy, so happy. I love creating new tours and doing all of the research. I have no regrets.”
The Bristol University classics graduate said his decision to change roles was partly influenced by the death of his 79-year-old mother from a stroke in July last year.
“She had known about the plans and had been very supportive as well. She said ‘go for it and do the right thing’,” he said.
Mr Harry said he was “fascinated” by London’s history and had been hosting in-person tours part-time for the past three years.
Despite having to now host them virtually, he said the format had been “really successful” – and one that he intends to continue using in the future.
Mr Harry said: “It’s replicating the experience of being on a tour as far as it can go.
“In the winter, it’s much harder to find people who are willing to come out on tours anyway. Especially Londoners themselves.
“So by offering Zoom tours you can add more repertoire.
“I’ll continue offering these even when lockdown finishes, especially in the winter months when the weather’s really bad and it gets darker.”
During the online tours, Mr Harry plays pre-recorded footage of various locations in the city across a virtual background as he talks about their past.
His tours, which go by the name The London Spy, have more than 200 five-star reviews on Tripadvisor and are ranked 18th out of more than 1,500 in the capital.