The Banks that Built Martins

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Charting the Bank’s history…

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1946 01.jpg{The history of any great bank is, of course, the history of its components; those smaller banks, which having yielded their individuality to the bigger corporation have not, even yet, been entirely forgotten by those who knew them as separate institutions.  It is proposed in this, and subsequent issues of the magazine to review the story of one or more of the banks which added their quota to the strength of our bank as it now is.  Since every tree must have a trunk, every river a main stream, it is fitting that a start should be made with the bank through which legal continuity has been preserved. If for no other reason than the maintenance of the Head Office in Liverpool, we commence our series with the history of the Bank of Liverpool Limited}...

John Mashiter

Branch Dept, Head Office

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The Banks that Build Martins… and so begins an occasional but long series of concise articles, booklets and pamphlets printed and published over many years by Martins Bank, to chart its history. These are taken either from Martins Bank Magazine, or from specific commemorative booklets. What makes many of these articles special, is that they have been written by members of Martins Bank’s Staff out of the interest they have for the Origin and Growth of their employer. To learn more about the history behind the Bank’s Coat of Arms or how Four Centuries of Banking are recorded for posterity in the 1960s, you can click on one of the leaflets shown here on the right.  You can read about the individual Banks that built Martins by clicking on the icons below. Martins Bank places great importance on its history. Sep 1.jpg

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Every Branch of Martins Bank has a framed “Family Tree” on display to customers. It shows the origin and growth of the organisation through the many mergers amalgamations and acquisitions made throughout the 400 year history of Martins Bank.

 

 

 

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1925 cATTLE tRADING bANKS

 

 

 

 

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The Bank Of Liverpool Limited

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By JOHN MASHITER (Branch Dept, Head Office)

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1946 02.jpg1952 The Golden Talbot inn Liverpool MBM-Au52P19The private bankers who had served the needs of this country since the sixteenth century began to suffer some discredit in the early part of last century, partly because failures were common, partly because they could not deal adequately with the vastly increasing volume of trade. When, therefore, the Bank Act of 1826 modified the monopoly previously held by the Bank of England and permitted the establishment in the provinces of joint stock banks of issue with unlimited liability, the business community of Liverpool was eager to seize the opportunity and a Provisional Committee was at once formed. In the same year a Liverpool bank was formally registered, the first in the country, although it was not until December, 1830, that the committee really began its work and issued a circular resolving to establish the Bank of Liverpool and inviting subscriptions for the 25,000 shares of £100 each, of which £1 was to be paid up on application.

 

1830 s Bank of Liverpool Cheque - Stephen walker MBA.jpgBy March, 1831, the project was far enough advanced for the sponsors to complete the registra­tion of the bank and to suspend the issue of further shares. The Bank of England had opened a sub-agency in Liverpool in 1827 and Mr. Joseph Langton, its first sub-agent, was persuaded to leave that post to take over the managership of the new bank. Mr. Edward Ward was appointed to assist him as sub-manager and Mr. R. H. Bownas as book­keeper. On the 17th March, 1831, at the Clarendon Rooms in South John Street, the first general meet­ing of the bank was held. Twelve directors were appointed and arrangements were made to com­mence business in temporary offices at 34 Brunswick Street, The doors of the new bank opened on 16th May, 1831; the banking hours being 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Meanwhile a building committee had been negotiating for permanent premises and had pur­chased the Talbot Inn in Water Street, for £93,550. This inn, the busiest coaching centre in Liver­pool, was promptly closed and reconstruction work began which took until July, 1832, to complete. In that month the bank moved into Water Street where it has been ever since. Once settled in its new quarters the bank made rapid progress and survived with equanimity the various crises of the nineteenth century, which ruined so many of its competitors.

 

1956 7 Water Street Exterior Close Up MBM-Su56P28When the Bank Charter Act of 1844 was passed the Bank of Liverpool, in consideration of the suspension of its right to issue bank notes, was put on the list for Treasury compensation. As the only other survivor on the compensation list is the District Bank Ltd., and as Fox, Fowler & Co., the last private bank to retain the right of note issue, lost it in 1921, the choice of the Bank of Liverpool was probably a wise one. The Joint Stock Companies Act of 1862, and the ensuing Act of 1879, caused the directors of the bank to consider the question of registration as a company limited by shares, but it was not until 1882 that the decision was made. In the meantime the bank's first branch was opened in Victoria Street and before the end of the century more than thirty branches were opened in Liverpool and the Wirral, whilst the absorption of Wakefield, Crewdson & Company in 1893 gave the Bank of Liverpool fourteen branches and twenty-six agencies with a very valuable connection in South Westmorland.

 

In 1906 the taking over of the Craven Bank Ltd., gave a strong foothold in the cotton manufacturing district of East Lancashire and in July, 1911, the bank's business in Cumberland and Westmorland was further expanded by amalgamation with the Carlisle £ Cumberland Banking Co. Ltd. The Yorkshire Penny Bank changed its constitution in August of the same year and the Bank of Liverpool Ltd., was a member of the group of banks which subscribed £2,000,000 to the new venture. In 1914 a fusion with the North Eastern Banking Co. Ltd., gave the Bank of Liverpool Ltd., at most valuable stake in the eastern half of the country extending from the coalfields of Durham up to the Scottish Border; the 99 branches and sub-branches covering every important community in Northumberland and Durham.

 

Bank of Liverpool and Martins.jpgThe Great War prevented further expansion and with reduced staffs and other war-time troubles the bank had enough to do to keep its existing organisation going, but the two years following the end of hostilities saw a real spate of amalgamations. Martins Bank Ltd., brought with it a London office, a fine London tradition, and a chain of useful branches in West Kent. Cocks, Biddulph & Co., provided a link with the West End of London; the Halifax Commercial Banking Co. Ltd., besides giving an introduction to the Yorkshire woollen industry, formed the nucleus of the present Leeds Distinct in the same way as the Palatine Bank Ltd., with its Head Office and twelve branches in and around Manchester formed the nucleus of the Manchester Distinct.  In 1918 the title of the bank was changed to the Bank of Liverpool & Martins Ltd. The bank's next big expansion came in 1927, with the taking over of the Equitable Bank Ltd., but in the interim, interests had been purchased in the cattle market business at Birkenhead, Salford and Wakefield. Finally in 1928 came the biggest advance yet, the acquisition of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Ltd., which increased the bank's representation throughout Lancashire and Yorkshire, as well as giving a foothold in the Isle of Man, and the right to issue bank notes in the island; a privilege still enjoyed. In the same year the name of the bank was changed again and it became Martins Bank Ltd. The only remaining event which must be recorded is the removal of the Head Office from No. 7 Water Street, Liverpool, to the present palatial building at No. 4. This took place in the year 1932. To-day the work which in the year 1831 occupied Mr. R. H. Bownas alone, is done by a staff of over 3,000 men and women and the solitary office in Brunswick Street has grown to include a Head Office and 514 branches and sub-branches.

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Deuc nobis haec otia fecit

The Bank of Liverpool is extremely proud to be based outside London, and in control of a growing national network of Branches. It adopts the arms of the City of Liverpool as its logo, and this continues under the name of the Bank of Liverpool and Martins until 1928.  The fabulous stained glass window seen here, courtesy of our friends at St George’s Hall Liverpool, puts our Liver Bird centre stage, with King Neptune and some of his sea creatures.  The story of the Latin Motto is told in this brief extract from our correspondence with St George’s Hall…

 

{“Thank you for your enquiry regarding the potential connections between the stained glass window of St George’s Hall  and the Bank of Liverpool. The stained glass windows were added to the Hall as part of Liverpool’s celebration of being given city and diocese status in 1883. The Corporation of Liverpool paid for the pair of windows (the other being St George slaying the dragon). The relevance of the motto “Deus Nobis Haec Otia Fecit” is that it is the motto of Liverpool and it is taken from Virgil’s Eclogues. The accepted translation of these words in reference to Liverpool (as the words have been used for mottoes elsewhere) is ‘God has given this leisure to us’. The motto is a reference to Liverpool’s hard struggle from being a small port under the control of Chester to its prominence as a world city.The stained glass window is a depiction of the civic arms of Liverpool”.}

 

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Bank of Liverpool and Martins

 

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It is not often that we hear of a bank amalgamation these days, and the last fusion in Martins Bank took place as long ago as 1928, when the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Ltd. amalgamated with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Ltd.  It was, therefore, with more than ordinary interest that we learned of the negotiations which have  resulted in the acquisition of the British Mutual Bank Ltd. The history of this bank is interesting.   In 1857 the British Mutual Investment Loan and Discount Company Limited was incorporated, its objects being to receive or borrow money and to grant loans but not to transact any business peculiar to a bank or an Assurance Office.

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The Company was acquired in 1869 by a new company called British Mutual Investment Com­pany Limited, whose objects were to transact the business of a Loan, Discount and Banking Company.  The name of the company was changed both in 1875 and 1877, and in 1882 it became the British Mutual Banking Company Limited, the title being shortened to British Mutual Bank Limited in 1945.  Since the Company first transacted banking business the Prudential Assurance Company Limited have been represented on the Board of the Bank, although their shareholding has for many years been only a small percentage of the Issued Capital.  

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In 1950 the Bank opened its first branch in St. James's Street and also opened the first cross-channel bank on the Dover-Calais service. The Bank has built up a reputation for the skilled personal service it gives to its customers, and the amalgamation with Martins Bank will enable this policy to be continued. We feel sure that the amalgamation is pleasing to the shareholders, the customers and the staff of British Mutual Bank and should prove a valuable acquisition to Martins Bank Limited.

 

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Image 1949 Courtesy GRACE’S GUIDE

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The Carlisle And Cumberland Banking Co. Limited

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By J W WHIPP (Retired Manager, Carlisle Branch)

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1948 01.jpgCarlisle and Cumb Cheque Logo 1The Carlisle and Cumberland Banking Co. was the first Joint Stock Bank to be  established in Carlisle. It was founded in 1836, at which time Carlisle was a town of some 20,000 inhabitants, owing its industrial life directly to the disastrous “Forty-Five”. At the time of the rising, the Government had found communications between East and West so bad that they built a military road between Newcastle and Carlisle, as a result of which horses were replaced by waggons and flax was brought from Hamburg by way of Newcastle, and the textile industry began.

 

Carlisle and Cumb Cheque.jpgThe Chairman and Directors of the new Bank were men of some local importance. One of them, John Crosby, carried on a banking business of his own at Kirkbythore, and attended at Penrith and Appleby on their market days to supply banking facilities for the inhabitants. The George Inn, Penrith, and the King's Head, Appleby, were his headquarters. His residence at Kirkbythore is now a farm, and the two pistols which he carried with him are a tacit comment on the state of the roads in his day.

 

The Bank had its inception at a time of great financial uneasiness all over, the country. Two local private banks suspended payment, and the new bank, having eased the situation, profited from the restoration of confidence. In the second year of working, the dividend was increased to 7-j per cent, an achievement which brought forth congratulations from the Directors. The following extract from the speech of the Chairman at the meeting at which this dividend was announced is interesting. There is a certain timelessness about it :—“This is more particularly a subject of congratulation at the present time as the trade of the country has not been flourishing, the foreign exchanges adverse, and the habits and minds of the working classes disturbed and unsettled, by which much anxiety was created and caution rendered necessary in monetary circles”.

 

1960 s Carlisle Exterior 3 BGA Ref 30-563.jpgIn 1857 a dividend of 12-£ per cent, plus bonus of 11 per cent, was paid, this being the high-water mark of the distributions during the Bank's existence. New branches were opened at Penrith in 1861, at Keswick in 1865, at Alston in 1869 and Longtown in 1876. As a result of the increasing business new and larger premises were erected in English Street, Carlisle, in 1875 ; and these premises are still in use. Those being the days of Latin quotations and inscriptions, the following words appear over the fireplace at Carlisle : "Horae pereunt et imputantur”, which may be freely translated as : “We cash the hours and they are debited to our account”.

 

Carlisle and Cumb Cheque Logo 2.jpgIn 1880 the Bank was registered as a Limited Liability Company and in 1881 a small private bank was absorbed, Mackie, Davidson and Gladstone. It was not until 1885 that professional auditors were employed to undertake the auditing of the Bank's books, which until then had been done by two of its members. The Bank never had a Coat of Arms, but its cheques were engraved with the Arms of Carlisle, and its bank-notes contained a sketch of the fine viaduct over the River Eden between Wetheral and Corby. For the last thirty years of its history, the Bank's life was prosperous and unexciting. Its activities were always bound up with Carlisle, although branches were established at Cockermouth, Brampton, Wigton, and other agricultural centres, and it remained the last, as it was the first, of the Carlisle Joint Stock Banks. However, it could not for long withstand the age of banking amalgamations, and in 1911 it was taken over by the Bank of Liverpool.  It is of interest to note that the General Manager, Mr. Joseph B. Shawyer, who arranged for the amalgamation was a Cumberland gentleman and uncle to Mr. A. F. Shawyer, afterwards General Manager of Martins Bank Ltd.

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1899 Appleby in Westmorland

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1903 Penrith

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1910 Carlisle

 

Cheque Images © Stephen Walker

 

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The Cattle Trading Banks

 

By JOHN MASHITER (Manager, Skipton Branch)

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1947 01 MBM.jpgMessrs E Reed & Sons

 

This firm originated in 1863 not as bankers but as dealers in the big import cattle markets of the north-west of England. Branches were established in the markets at Salford, Wakefield and Liverpool. About 1875 the partners became alive to the need for some form of credit finance in the markets in which they dealt and they evolved a system of banking which, although quite unorthodox, proved most successful and brought them good profits. In brief, the large operators who collected the herds of cattle and brought them to the market for sale were enabled to draw at once the proceeds of each day's sales, leaving it to E. Reed and Sons to recoup themselves from the individual purchasers of cattle. One or two other cattle firms followed the lead of E. Reed and Sons, notably Wm. Brown and Sons, R. Wharton and Son and T. Nash and Sons, all of Salford. It is interesting to note that Brown's business also came to Martins Bank Ltd., by way of the Mercantile Bank of Lancashire and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Ltd.

1928 to 1946 Mr John Currie Manager MBM-Su46P17

Mr John Currie – Manager at Birkenhead Woodside Lairage 1928 to 1946

 

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Cattle MarketsBy 1911, Birkenhead had become the principal port of entry for the great herds of Irish beef cattle sold in this country and in that year E. Reed and Sons established a branch in the Birkenhead Lairage, which commenced business on January 1st, 1912. The successful business which resulted was purchased in 1920 by the promoters of the Cattle Trade Bank Ltd.

 

In October, 1924, the surviving partner of the firm of E. Reed and Sons commenced negotiations with the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Ltd., and in the following year the latter purchased what remained of the business, the relative resolution being dated January 13th, 1925.

 

The Cattle Trade Bank Limited.

 

Early in 1920, a syndicate of interested gentlemen decided to purchase the Birkenhead branch of E. Reed and Sons with a view to the incorporation of a limited liability company to carry on the cattle finance business of the branch. The surviving partner of E. Reed and Sons, Mr. Charles H. Reed, was elected to the Board of the new company which commenced business on May 27th, 1920, in the premises at the Ferry Approach, Chester Street, Woodside, Birkenhead.  As time went on the Bank extended its business but progress naturally was limited by the amount of the cattle trade which could be handled by the Woodside Lairage, although the Bank did accept customers not connected with the Market.  The nominal Capital was £100,000 in £1 shares of which 62,800 were subscribed. A few shares were paid up, the remainder having 10/- at call and the paid-up capital totalled £32,900. The history of the bank was uneventful and it was taken over on August 28th, 1923, by the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Ltd.

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1947 01 MBM.jpgAlthough this bank is small by comparison with other banks which were taken over by Martins Bank Ltd., none exceeds it in interest. The present premises were built in 1872-1873 on the site of Wallingford House, which belonged to Villiers, Duke of Buckingham.   From the roof of this house Archbishop Ussher witnessed the execution of Chailes I.   Buckingham lay in state here after his assassination, as did the poet Cowley before his burial in Westminster Abbey. The adjoining Spring Gardens were formerly public gardens, but Cromwell converted the ground into his private garden when he took up residence in what is now Drummonds Bank.

 

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Letter from Major-General Sir Dighton Probyn, treasurer and Comptroller to King Edward Vii, enclosing the Late King’s Passbook to be written up to the date of his death.

The old house in which the business of Cocks, Biddulph & Co. was conducted for 113 years appears to have been erected on the site of a much more ancient structure, probably of the Elizabethan era, or even earlier. In the partners' room is a very handsome mantelpiece formed of some extremely fine carved oak woodwork, which had belonged to a much older structure than that which was demolished in 1872.  The jambs of this mantelpiece are formed of the massive and elaborately carved newels of what must evidently have been a magnificent oak staircase, while some other woodwork carved in a similar pattern was discovered to have been used as beams for the roof.

 

Surmounting this ancient mantelpiece is a rusty cannon ball which was found embedded sixteen feet in the ground when excavations were made for strongrooms and rebuilding. Of special interest in the long line of distinguished customers is the connection with the Royal House, for King Edward VII kept his account as Prince of Wales here, and later on his private account as King; also Queen Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent. King Edward's account was opened three weeks after he was born.

 

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Among famous names which at one time or another have appeared on the books are those of the Duchy of Cornwall; the Duke of Gloucester (brother of George III); Lord Lloyd George of Dwyfor; George Edwardes, of theatrical fame; Thomas Chippendale, the famous cabinet maker; Lord Wester Wemyss, who signed the Armistice at the end of the first world war in 1918 ; and three other Admirals of the Fleet in the same war, together with a long and representative list of titled people, the recital of which is like reading pages from Debrett; not the least well known of these was Lady Hamilton. Lord Somers, who succeeded Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell as Chief Scout, was a member of the Cocks family and a customer of the bank.

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This is the signature of King Edward VII, taken from the last cheque he signed, three days before his death.  The Letter shown above, and the signature were published in Martins Bank Magazine Summer 1947 by gracious permission of His Majesty King George VI

Edward VII last signature on cheque

 

Members of the present day staff of Martins Bank will be not a little interested in various rules, minutes and memoranda which are to be found in the private minute and memorandum books of the partners. We see that the idea of a salary scale is not a modern one at all:

 

·         1817. Resolved :—“that a fixed scale of salary be determined, as soon as conveniently may be, so that each clerk may know what his future prospects may be, and not have room to plead misunderstanding or disappointment as they do at present”.

 

Even our wartime ARP arrangements did not break new ground. Listen to this :

 

·         1822. Resolved :—“that in future a copy of the Received and Paid Cash Books be made every night and deposited in some safe place out of the banking house, and that the Balance Slips of 3ist December, 1821, and all future balance slips be also deposited in the same place, so that a copy of each customer's account might be made out in case the original books were destroyed by fire.

 

·         1822. Resolved:—“that in future all the outdoor clerks be ordered to have a pocket made in the breast of their coats or waistcoats in which they can carry bank notes or other papers of consequence, as many persons have had their pockets cut and the contents taken out in the streets”.

 

·         1826. “Mr.---, a clerk (£120 per annum salary), being unable to settle his debt to the house, has offered to let his salary go in future to liquidate the same until all is paid”.

 

·         1829. "The ‘Shorts’ since the end of the year have amounted to upwards of £18 10s., a sum so enormous as to call for our particular notice. Resolved:—that this sum be charged and taken out of the Christmas money and that in future whatever money may be short shall be settled by the parties concerned and no entry made of the same in any book”.

 

·         1833. Dinner Hours. Varying from    hours down to 1 hour with the exception of a certain Mr. Blome, who had to come at 10 and remain till 5, having no dinner hour.

 

·         1833.   New clerks are to live near the banking house.   They are to be paid their salaries quarterly, and never to be allowed to draw on account of same without the knowledge of the partners.

 

·         1871.    Christmas Money. It is now positively ordered that in future no customers shall be asked to contribute.

 

The origin of the firm is interesting. In 1757, Francis Biddulph of Ledbury, who was apparently then carrying on the business of the bank, asked his neighbour at Eastnor, Sir Charles Cocks, to send someone to help him. Sir Charles sent his sons, James and Thomas Somers Cocks, and a new partnership resulted under the style of Cocks, Cocks and Biddulph. The original office of the bank was in the neighbour­hood of St. Paul's, but in 1759 a move was made to new premises at 43 Charing Cross, this address being subsequently changed by the Westminster City Council to 16 Whitehall. They were later joined by Mr. George Ridge, who had formerly been an army agent, and his an­cestor had been Paymaster-General to the Parliamentary army. The iron chest in which he kept his cash for the soldiers is on view in the banking hall.

 

1947 Cocks Biddulph Exterior CU MBM-Su47P04.jpgIn 1776, the partnership was re-formed under the style of Biddulph, Cocks, Eliot and Praed. Mr. Eliot afterwards became Lord St. Germans. In 1792 a further change was made, and the firm became Biddulph, Cocks and Ridge. From this time onwards the busi­ness remained in the Cocks and Biddulph families, although the style of the firm was altered from time to time. Not until 1865 did the firm assume the title of Cocks, Biddulph & Company.  In 1886 the assets of Codd & Co., small private bankers in the City of Westminster, were purchased. Codd & Co. were established in 1802 at Fludyer Street, Westminster, by a Major Codd, who was Chief Clerk at the War Office, but the business never attained great proportions. This gave the bank its army connection. Its navy connection was obtained in 1893 owing to the failure of Hallett & Co., Navy agents, as a result of which the bank opened about 140 new accounts and also gave employment to their head clerk.

 

The firm of Cocks, Biddulph & Co. was itself taken over on 30th December, 1919, by the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Ltd. At that date the partners' capital and reserves totalled £200,000 and the current and deposit balances £1,124,911. Lord Biddulph and the Hon. T. H. F. Egerton, partners, who joined the Board on amalgamation, are still directors, and Mr. Egerton is also manager of Cocks, Biddulph branch, 16 Whitehall.

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The Craven Bank Limited

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By JOHN MASHITER (Manager, Skipton Branch)

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1947 04.jpgCraven Bank (1).jpgWhilst by no means the biggest acquisition of Martins Bank Limited, the Craven Bank was certainly one of the most interesting from the historian's point of view.    It served the area along the Lancashire and Yorkshire border, having its origin in the agricultural district around Settle and Skipton and extending its activities later to the cotton towns of East Lancashire and the Aire Valley of Yorkshire.  The firm of Birkbecks, Alcocks & Co., trading as the Craven Bank Company was founded in 1791 following an agreement between William and John Birkbeck, of Settle; William Alcock, of Skipton; and John Peart, of Grassington. The Birkbecks were wool staplers and leather merchants ; the other two partners were both solicitors. All the families concerned continued their normal activities, but both the Birkbecks and the Alcocks retained their interest in the banking business until 1880. John Peart had no male issue, but his son-in-law, William Robinson, was admitted to the partnership in 1835 and the long connection of this family .with the administration of the Bank was only broken in 1937 by the retirement of Mr. W. Peart Robinson, Director of Martins Bank Limited and great grandson of the original John Peart. Mr. Robinson died early in 1938.

 

1880 ish Craven Bank £10 NoteThe Quaker origin of some of the partners is shown in letters dated 1796, addressed by the partnership to John Isherwood, of Huntroid, Padiham. They are full of the quaint phraseology affected by this sect at that time. These and the copy of the Holy Evangelists printed in 1749, which William Alcock used for administering the oath to his clients, are preserved at Skipton Branch. The first two partnerships were for the term of 21 years, expiring in 1812 and 1833 respectively. This was followed by one for 11 years and two of 1906 Craven Bank Sovreign Box 1 - Dave Baldwin14 years before the last one of all, which began in 1873 and went on until incorporation in 1880. In its early years the Craven Bank Company, later the Craven Banking Com­pany, had many crises to weather. One in particular in 1826 brought much distress to the area and it must have cheered the partners to find on returning one day from a rather gloomy lunch that an influential local gentleman, the Reverend J. Clapham, had in their absence fastened a declaration of his confidence in the Bank to the front door.

 

From its origin, the Craven Bank Company issued its own notes. Until 1817 these depicted the Castleberg Rock at Settle, but in that year the design was most happily changed and all notes bore a representation of the Craven Heifer with Bolton Abbey ruins in the background. This animal, which was bred by the Reverend William Carr, of Bolton Abbey, reached an immense size and was widely exhibited as a freak. 

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1930 August Skipton Cheque Craven Bank heritage Logo - S Walker MBAIt became in time a kind of emblem of the Craven District and its picture on notes and cheques started a tradition which, in course of time, added considerably to the esteem in which the Craven Bank paper was held. To this day there are customers of Martins Bank Limited who insist on their cheque books bearing the sign of the Craven Heifer. The original Head Office of the Bank was at Settle and for a long time the partners were content with this and one branch at Skipton. Burnley Branch was opened about 1824, Clitheroe in 1837 and Keighley in 1840. In 1826 the rival business in Skipton of Chippendale, Netherwood & Carr was purchased.  

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1965 Portrait of Craven Heifer in Banking Hall.jpgThe origin of this firm is obscure, but they were badly affected by the crisis of 1826 and may have been glad to sell out. Further expansion was slow, but Colne branch was opened at some time prior to 1870 and by the date of incorporation in 1880, Ilkley branch too.   In addition the Bank had ten sub-branches.  In 1880, the partners, finding a dearth of suitable successors, decided upon incorporation and the Craven Bank Limited came into being with a nominal capital of £1,200,000 in £30 shares, of which 25,000 were issued with £1 per share paid up. Also in 1880, owing to growing recognition of Skipton as the chief town of the Craven district, the Head Office was transferred to Skipton, where it remained until in 1906 the Craven Bank Limited was absorbed by the Bank of Liverpool Limited. At this date it had fourteen branches and twenty-five sub-branches.

 

With special thanks to Dave Baldwin

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The Equitable Bank Limited

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By JOHN MASHITER (Manager, Skipton Branch)

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Halifax equitable.jpg1949 01.jpgTowards the end of the nineteenth century the Directors of the Halifax Equitable Benefit Building Society, finding that the Society was losing deposits because cheque books could not be made available to members, decided on the establishment of a bank as a separate entity, but closely associated with the normal activities of the Building Society. A limited company was accordingly incorporated on December 5th, 1899, and business was commenced on the first day of the following year at 16 Silver Street, Halifax. The name of the Bank was The Halifax Equitable Bank Limited.  Shares in the new concern were issued only to members of the Building Society and only 2,395 £1 shares were issued, although applications for ten times that number were received. Only those depositors who maintained a minimum credit balance of £50 were allowed to have a cheque book.

 

Equitable Bank ChequeAlthough the business of the Bank was under the same management as that of the Building Society the funds of the two institutions were kept entirely separate, but the Bank gradually extended its interests to many of the towns where the Building Society had an office. On October 16th, 1913, the name of the Bank was changed to the Equitable Bank Limited. At the time of the amalgamation with the Bank of Liverpool & Martins Ltd., in 1927, the Bank had sixteen full branches and eight sub branches spread for the most part throughout Lancashire and Yorkshire, with isolated outposts as far away as Bournemouth and Bristol. The nominal capital on December 31st, 1926, was £205,000 of which £100,000 was issued and paid up.  By special resolution of July 13th, 1927, a general meeting of the shareholders of the Bank of Liverpool & Martins Ltd., approved the amalgamation of the Equitable Bank Ltd., with their own undertaking.

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September 1927 - Three Banks in one

Image © Stephen Walker

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The Halifax Commercial Banking Co. Ltd.

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By JOHN MASHITER (Inspector, Branch Dept., Head Office)

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1947 01.jpgBrothers Swaine and Co NoticeThis bank was the foundation stone of the present Leeds District of Martins Bank Limited,  and although incorporated only just over a century ago the origins of its predecessors go back to the early days of the industrial growth of Halifax and district. Records of these early days are few and incomplete, but mention is made as early as 1779 of a partnership between Timothy Hainsworth, Adam Holden, Robert Swaine and William Pollard of Halifax. Holden died about 1780 and in 1802 Robert Swaine apparently parted company with his other associates and took in his brothers as partners, trading under the style of Bros. Swaine & Co., The Halifax Commercial Bank.  The new firm survived a crisis in 1803 but could not endure a second in 1807, and on July 10th, Bros. Swaine & Co., met their creditors at the Talbot Inn, Halifax. Three of the important creditors and assignees of the firm, William Rawson, John Rhodes and Rawdon Briggs are believed to have purchased the business. At any rate, on July 18th, 1807, these three along with John Rawson, the brother of William, established the Halifax New Bank, in George Street. Rhodes and Briggs were already in partnership at Seville Green and evidently this militated against harmony in the new firm for in 1811 the partnership was broken up, the two Rawson’s taking in a relative and establishing the firm of John, William and Christopher Rawson, which was a forerunner of the West Yorkshire Bank Ltd., and Rhodes and Briggs taking as partner John Garlick, who since 1808 had been a private banker in Halifax. Rhodes, Briggs and Garlick continued successfully until 1815 when John Garlick died and for a year the firm became Rhodes and Briggs, after which it was known as Rawdon Briggs and Sons, presumably because John Rhodes had retired.

 

Halifax Bank £5 NoteIt is known with certainty that on January 2ist, 1818, he died suddenly at Halifax. From 1816 until 1836 the firm of Rawdon Briggs & Sons survived all vicissitudes and even ex­tended its operations ; branches at Rochdale, Huddersfield and Todmorden being recorded. By 1836, however, joint stock banking was spreading throughout the country and following the lead of their rivals the Rawsons, Messrs. Briggs & Sons reconstituted their bank by Deed of Settlement and on June 25th, 1836, it was opened as the Halifax Commercial Banking Company in Silver Street, with a paid-up capital of £50,000.  The new bank, confident in its long standing traditions as a Halifax bank, promptly bought up the Halifax and Cleckheaton business of the Northern and Central Bank of England, which had two years earlier made the mistake of trying to break into local commerce and was by this time glad to escape without further loss. In 1863, the first branch of the Halifax Commercial Banking Company was opened at Brighouse, but it was some years before further extension was made. On January 1st, 1864, the bank was in­corporated under the Companies Act, 1862, and became the Halifax Commercial Banking Company Limited.

 

Hanging SheepWhen in 1881 Halifax Corporation made a number of street improvements the bank agreed to exchange its old premises near the bottom of Silver Street for a better site at Hall End, which was on the corner of Silver Street facing the Swine Market and was later known as No. 2 Silver Street. Six years prior to this the bank had acquired its second branch by purchasing the Bradford business of the Union Bank of Manchester, and now it settled down to a steady but increasing prosperity and expansion. Most of its branches were small, but Leeds branch opened in 1898 and Hull branch opened in 1899 were important.  At the time of the amalgamation in 1919-20 with the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited the Halifax Commercial Banking Company Limited had, besides the Head Office at Halifax twelve full branches and six sub-branches which covered a large area of the industrial part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. The nominal capital was £700,000 of which £400,000 was subscribed and £200,000 paid up.Although negotiations for the amalgamation were completed in November 1919, the actual date of the confirmatory resolution was January 16th, 1920. Mr. T. Henry Morris, the Chairman of the Halifax Commercial Banking Company Limited, joined the General Board of the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited and continued as Chairman of the Halifax Local Board.

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Arthur Heywood, Sons and Company

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By JOHN MASHITER (Manager Skipton Branch)

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1948 04.jpgThe recording in the pages of this Magazine of the histories of the banks which were absorbed to form the great bank in which we serve is approaching completion. In the course of assembling the facts it has been obvious that through death and retirement a great store of interesting anecdotes and reminiscences has been lost and we have had to content ourselves in most cases by placing on record the bare facts. In one or two instances, however, members of the staff of an antiquarian turn of mind have made it their business to unearth things which would otherwise have been buried for ever. This was true in the case of Cocks Biddulph and Company and such was the wealth of material preserved that it was published in brochure form for special issue to those who were interested and has brought much pleasure as well as enabling a permanent record to be made of the human aspect of running one of the old private banks.

 

1949 Drawing of branch from publicity booklet MBA.jpgBy virtue of having spent nearly eighteen years on the staff of Heywoods branch the writer, with the enthusiastic co-operation of the signing officers of the branch, has been able to gather a similar store of interesting data with which to augment the actual history of the old bank, supplied for publication by Mr. John Mashiter, Manager of Skipton branch. We regret that it is only possible to publish an abbreviated version in these pages.  In the vaults of the old bank are stored ledgers which go back to the time of the French Re­volution and signature books which were in use during the ensuing Napoleonic wars.

 

Here were stored private diaries, the entries in which throw an interest­ing light on the bank clerk of an earlier day (prior to 1914). The vaults themselves are, apart from the outside walls, the oldest portion of the original building, which was extensively altered in 1928. The brick-built arches of the Heywood wine cellar may still be seen above the wooden voucher storage racks. The firm embarked on the business of banking in 1773 at Nos. 58 and 59. Hanover Street, Liverpool, but it seems that the partners Arthur and Benjamin had been in Liverpool for some years prior to that, carrying on business as merchants.

 

The Heywood family were of Nonconformist origin, and Nathaniel, the Vicar of Ormskirk, was ejected from his living in 1662 by the Act of Uniformity. Nathaniel's son, Richard, moved to Drogheda where he was joined later by his nephew Benjamin. The latter prospered exceedingly as a merchant and it was his two sons Arthur and Benjamin who, coming to Liverpool in 1731, took their places in Liverpool commercial life, first as traders and later, in 1773, as bankers.

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It is clear that the change to banking had been foreshadowed for some time previously and the Heywoods had not long to wait for success in their new venture. In July of the following year they were singled out of all the bankers in Liverpool by the Government to receive the light gold then in circulation and to exchange for it gold of full weight.From Hanover Street the business was transferred to No. 7, Castle Street about 1776, and in 1784 a branch was established in Manchester. The latter was not a success and was closed in 1786. In 1788, Benjamin Heywood with his two sons left the firm and proceeded to Manchester, where he established a successful banking business which was ultimately taken over by the Manchester and Salford Bank.   Arthur Heywood continued with his own sons until his death in 1795, by which time an employee. Samuel Thompson, had become a partner.

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Key to the old family chest

 

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Signature of Queen Victoria taken from

a Captain’s Commission held by the branch

New premises were completed in Brunswick Street in 1800 and the business was transferred there in the same year.For some years the Bank house was used as a residence by John Pemberton Heywood. From then onwards the bank progressed steadily; partners died and others took their place but the name of Heywood was always associated with the firm. In 1883, the business was sold to the Bank of Liverpool Ltd. Perhaps the most interesting, and prob­ably the most valuable relic which the archives of the old bank have yielded is the letter written by Lord Nelson to a Liverpool business friend. It was written aboard the Victory, off Toulon, and is dated six weeks before the Battle of Trafalga.r

 

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It was found amongst some old papers which were being examined prior to destruction. At that time the sand was still on the writing but with frequent handling it has disappeared and the letter itself has cracked in the folds.   It has now been enclosed in perspex and visitors to Head Office can inspect it in the showcase on the General Managerial corridor.

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Letter written by Admiral Lord Nelson to a Liverpool business friend

a few weeks before the Battle of Trafalgar

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Today it is the exception to have a customer who cannot write, but the signature books of the early years of the nineteenth century contain the names of so many illiterate customers that some method of identification had to be adopted. The method chosen was that of a description of the customer in the space reserved for the signature. Some of these descriptions are some­what trenchant:

 

Little pug-faced woman with a squeaky voice

Rather short and remark­ably plain. A little like a monkey.

Old woman, lame, and stoops. Teeth out in front. Thickish moustache

Afflicted with shaking palsy.

Rings on her fingers. About 12 hands high.

Large nose leaning slightly to the left.

Shows the whites of his eyes all round.

 

But the most revealing of all is surely this description:—Thick-lipped old woman of 45. The average expectation of life has steadily risen with the improvement of medical knowledge and social hygiene. There was a time when it was as low as 28 years. For corroboration of this see Christopher Marlowe's “Faustus”, in which the Doctor is portrayed as bartering his soul for a longer life, the extent of which seems very modest to us nowadays, a mere 26 years. If 45 was considered old in 1800. we can point to at least one direction in which the world has progressed.  It certainly has not progressed in the art of calligraphy and the handwriting in the old ledgers shows that copperplate was the rule rather than the exception. It may have been a more leisured age but there is some truth in the contention of the writing master who instructed the author of this article that it is just as easy to write quickly with a good hand as it is to write badly. It is a matter of determination not to allow standards to be lowered by speed.

 

Arthur Heywood's Pistol.jpgThe last Arthur Heywood used to come to town on horseback and in the nineteen-twenties there was an elderly member of the staff whose job it had been, when a junior clerk in the old bank, to wait for Mr. Heywood's arrival in the morning and take his horse round to the stables at the back. In the evening he had to saddle the horse and bring it round to the hitching post in Brunswick Street. This post may still be seen though the stables have gone in the rebuilding operations which made provision for the Exchange Club.  The weapon depicted (above) was the property of the first Arthur Heywood. The bayonet, here shown extended, folds back and is released when the trigger is pulled, thus providing an additional weapon if circumstances prevented re-loading, which was a lengthy process in those days.  The old bank's Incident Charges, as they called their General Expenses, contain some interesting entries. In 1762 appears an entry in respect of one year's wages for a certain individual. The amount involved is £8 8s. The bank paid the expenses of a writing master for a certain Mr. P ------.  The charge was 13s. 4d.   Lighting seems to have been quite a heavy item for those days, an entry for candles being for the large sum of £7 2s. 11d.  The Errors in Cash Account was known as “Rectifications” and an entry in 1791 reads: “To Bank note missing—£30”.  There must have been alarm and despondency on the day on which that incident occurred!

 

It is interesting to see on the books of the bank the names of people whose addresses are now on the list of properties in the care of the National Trust or the Corporation of Liverpool:— Speke Hall, Allerton Hall, Childwall Hall. From the private diary of Arthur Heywood we discover that in 1767 he paid £4 10s. for ten gallons of rum; twelve shillings for a load of manure; and £16 for the year's rent of a field at Everton, then in the country, in which to graze his horse. From the private diary of a later Manager we read that one Monday morning a certain clerk came in smelling of drink and was reprimanded. A week later the same gentleman figures in the diary again:- “---- came in again smelling strongly of drink.   Reprimanded him severely”.  All misdemeanours, from the sin of unpunctuality to that of intemperance, either of language or of habit, figure therein, and it would appear that amongst the staff of that day no one was without blame.

 

Some of the accounts which figure in the ledgers of the 1790's have titles which give rise to some speculation. One might even say with some degree of cynicism that they do, in truth, reflect a bygone age:

Friendly and Faithful Society

Free and Independent Society

Industrious and Universal Society

Shipwrights' Good Intent Society

True British or Good Intent Society

 

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But although many of the old connections have been severed with the passage of years, it is interesting to note that others have been maintained. Members of the old Heywood family, though living away from Liverpool, have maintained their association with the branch. So have some of the old Liverpool families and they would be interested to know that despite the amalgamation, Heywoods branch has never lost its individuality and its customers still refer to it as "their bank," meaning precisely that. The business connection is an imposing one of which any bank would be proud. As bankers to the Corporation of Liverpool, to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, the University of Liverpool, the Cathedral and the United Liverpool Hospitals, to mention only a few of the important connections, the branch occupies a unique position in the business life of Liverpool.

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In the course of time the old building became infested with rats, coming from nearby buildings. They were repelled by the use of the usual poisons and developed a habit of dying underneath the floors of the main office, to the intense discomfort of the clerks above. Tracing the corpses by means of the smell was a laborious and costly business because air currents underneath the boards would cause the effluvium to rise many yards from the point of incidence.

 

And so, to meet the requirements of a later day, the old building was re-modelled and, in fact, partly rebuilt. Since the days of the last Arthur Heywood the old business has been conducted by a distinguished line of managers. In more recent times there was Percy Geden Davies who, upon his retirement, took up local politics, becoming an Alderman of Wallasey and Mayor from 1939 until his death in 1943. Lt.-Colonel Albert Buckley, d.s.o., c.b.e., j.p., was Sub-Manager under Mr. J. C. M. Jacobs. He forsook banking for the wool trade and later became a Member of Parliament, Junior Lord of the Treasury and in 1923 Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade. Other distinguished old boys are Mr. T. A. Johnson, Liverpool District General Manager; Mr. Ernest Newman, the music critic, and the late Major A. T. Atherton, Daily Mail corres­pondent in the Balkans. The old bank survived the air raids, though buildings on every hand were demolished, windows were blown in or sucked out and debris from as far away as the Pier Head appeared on the floor of the office. In its survival we may surely see a symbol of its enduring quality, built by generations of man on foundations of good faith, integrity, and public service.

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Heywoods through time – from the manual systems of the 1930s to being the first branch

in the country to allocate account numbers and process daily work on a computer.

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Image © Stephen Walker

Image © Martins Bank Archive

 

 

 

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The Lancashire & Yorkshire Bank Limited

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By JOHN MASHITER (Manager, Skipton Branch)

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1946 03.jpgOf all the banks contributing to the growth of the Bank of Liverpool from its small inception in 1831 to the great organisation which became Martins Bank Limited in 1928, none added more than the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Limited. So wide were its ramifications; so many the number of smaller banks which it absorbed itself that it is scarcely possible to do justice to its history in one short article. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Limited was incorporated in 1872 to take over on July !st of that year the established Manchester business of the Alliance Bank Limited. The latter, a London bank established in 1862, had opened branches in Manchester in 1864 and at Liverpool shortly afterwards.

 

1912 L and Y Cheque Dewsbury November MBA.jpgBy 1871 the directors of the Alliance had decided provincial business was not for them and both branches were about to be relinquished. Their Manchester manager, Mr. John Mills, disagreeing with their view became the moving spirit in the flotation of a new company which, as the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Limited with a nominal capital of £1,000,000, took over the Manchester business of the Alliance Bank and “without any payment for goodwill, property or plant”, established itself in the old Alliance branch offices at No. 73 King Street.

 

By the end of 1872 the new bank was firmly established, the paid up capital was £96,400, net profits for the first half year of £3,932 had been earned, and a branch had been successfully opened at Waterfoot. During the following year branches were opened at Pendleton, Shudehill and Sowerby Bridge and this policy of expansion was continued until by the time the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Ltd., effected its first big amalgamation with the Bury Banking Co. Ltd., in 1888 it already had twenty-two branches and sub-branches of its own. 

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THE BURY

BANKING COMPANY

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The Bury Banking Co. Ltd., founded upon the old business of Grundys and Wood, brought a very useful connection in Bury and Heywood, where the Woods and Grundys had been drapers and bankers since 1798, and also branches at Radcliffe, Ramsbottom and Whitefield. In 1889 the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank moved to its new Head Office at No. 43 Spring Gardens, where the building of the old Bridgewater Club had been purchased in 1880 and sub­sequently adapted to its new use.  An Interval of four years now elapsed before the policy of opening branches in suitable towns in Lancashire and Yorkshire was continued with the establishment of a useful chain in the resorts of Southport, St. Annes and Blackpool in 1893, but it was not until 1894 that the next amalgamation took place when the Preston Union Bank Limited, founded in 1869 as the Union Bank of Preston Limited was absorbed. Before the end of the century a further amalgamation, that with the Adelphi Bank Ltd., in 1899, gave a valuable foothold in Liverpool and a small cluster of Manchester branches to add to the already formidable list.

 

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THE ADELPHI BANK

 

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THE WEST RIDING

UNION BANK

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MERCANTILE BANK OF LANCASHIRE

 

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43 SG 68The Adelphi Bank Limited founded in 1861-62 has left one landmark to this day, for the lovely carved doorway and bronze gates of its Head Office are still to be seen at the Castle Street branch of Martins Bank Ltd.  In 1901 appeared the first number of “The Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Club Magazine”, one of the earliest staff magazines to be produced by a bank. It maintained a successful quarterly issue until 1914 when the Great War put an end to it. Next year, 1902, brought amalgamation with the West Riding Union Banking Co. Ltd. The latter was easily the most important of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank's absorptions. Its origin went back to 1799 with the establishment at Mirfield of the business of Ben Wilson. This family business was incorporated in 1832 as the Mirfield and Huddersfield District Banking Company and in 1836 on amalgamation with the business of Hague, Cook and Wormald which had been established in Dewsbury in 1818 and had branches at Bradford and Wakefield, the name of the joint concern became the West Riding Union Banking Co. It was registered in 1879 as a company limited by share liability and at the time of the amalgamation with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Ltd. had ten branches and five sub branches. Not content with this progress the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Ltd. began in the following year negotiations with the Mercantile Bank of Lancashire Ltd. and early in 1904 the fusion was completed.

 

1905 Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank £1 NoteThis newcomer to the fold had, besides a fine office and business in Mosley Street, Manchester, a wide  connection in the Isle of Man, a cattle market business founded on the original business of John Nail and his successors, Wm. Brown and Sons of Salford, and the Southport business formerly held by the London and Lancashire Bank. The Manx business had been acquired by the Mercantile Bank's absorption in 1900 of the Manx Bank Limited established in Douglas in 1882 and it brought with it a privilege which Martins Bank Ltd., subsequently acquired and still enjoys, the right to issue bank notes in the Isle of Man. Following this amalgamation the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Ltd. devoted itself to a period of consolidation and no new branches were opened until 1910, when premises were obtained at Gatley.  The end of the 1914 war brought fresh activity and in 1919 new branches were opened at Colne, Fleetwood, Mill Hill and Slade Lane (Manchester), followed by branches at Harrogate, Liversedge, Whalley Range and Blackpool (South Shore), in the next two years. Finally in 1928 came the amalgamation with the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Ltd., in which the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank Ltd., with its 151 branches, lost its identity.

 

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Martins Bank – 68 Lombard Street

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By EDWARD NORMAN-BUTLER (Liverpool Assistant District Manager)

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1946 02.jpgSir Thomas GreshamAccording to tradition this ancient Bank was founded in 1563 by Sir Thomas Gresham, the great Elizabethan mercer and financier, who also founded the Royal Exchange, where his Grasshopper tops the weather vane. He was a man of the greatest influence in the affairs of his time and acted as representative of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary in the Low Countries. Unfortunately, there are no very early records of Martins Bank, some having been destroyed in the Great Fire of London, and others when the Royal Exchange, where they had been SOG The Grasshopper PAdeposited for safety, was burnt down in 1825.

 

It is known, however, that Gresham was living in Lombard Street in 1560 before he built Gresham House because in April of that year he wrote to Cecil " I have com­manded my factor, Candellor, to be with you by VI of the clocke in the morning every morning, because I have no man ells to do my business and to keep Lombard Street." It is of interest that Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, has banked with Martins as far back as written records go. Gresham was at Gonville Hall himself. He was a friend of Dr. Caius who was rebuilding the college at this period. The Grasshopper was Gresham's crest and in his day, before streets were numbered, business men used to hang out their special signs to mark their places of business.  SOG Arms of Gresham PAAfter Gresham's time there is a gap in the history of Martins until Edward Backwell in 1662. While there  is no written evidence, it is surely reasonable to accept the very old city tradition that there was always a business " at the sign of the Grasshopper " from the days of Gresham even though it passed through several hands.   At any rate there is no evidence against such a tradition, and the continuing goodwill of Gresham's Grasshopper must have been considerable.

 

SOG Arms of Backwell PAThe documentary history of the Bank really starts with Edward Backwell. This prominent goldsmith traded at the Grasshopper and at the Unicorn (67 Lombard Street, now part of our prem­ises), from 1662 to 1672. After the Great Fire in 1666 we can read in an old deed of " all that brick messuage or tenament lately new built by the said Edward Backwell commonly called or known by the name or sign of the Grasshopper." Samuel Pepys mentions frequently that he visited him to buy plate and to deposit or borrow money. Backwell's deposit rates are of interest, 4 per cent, at call, running up to 6 per cent, at 20 days' notice. All the members of the Royal family banked with him, Charles II, Prince Rupert, the Duke of Monmouth, the Duchess of Orleans, the Prince of Orange, and the royal favourite—the Duchess of Castlemaine. He was rash enough to lend Charles II nearly £300,000. In 1672, Charles II SOG The Unicorn PAclosed the Exchequer, offering Backwell an annuity of £17,000 in exchange for his debt.

 

As a result Backwell had to cease business and eventually retired to Holland. The business at the Grasshopper was continued by his apprentice, Charles Duncombe, and Samuel Pepys is thought to have banked with him until 1680 when he transferred his account to Messrs. Hoare and Co. Backwell’s son later became a partner in Messrs. Child and Co. of Fleet Street, who still have possession of Edward Backwell's Lombard Street ledgers. They also took over many of his customers after his ruin. It is of interest that Edward's grandson, William, left Child's in 1740 to start on his own in Pall Mall using the sign of the Grasshopper. This venture did not last long. The “Little London Directory” of 1677, in a list of “Goldsmiths who kept running cashes”, stated that Charles Duncombe and a certain Richard Kent were " of the Grasshopper in Lombard Street." Nine years later Richard Smythe was taken into partnership by Duncombe, and his portrait— a very fine one—still hangs in our Lombard Street Office.

 

SOG Medal of Richard Martin PAIt is at this time that the Martin family begins its connection with the Bank. Martin was already a well-known City name, and it is recorded that in 1558 Richard Martin, afterwards Lord Mayor and knighted, was a goldsmith in the City of London. In about 1694 Richard Smythe of the Gras's-hopper employed a certain Thomas Martin as a clerk, and it is thought likely that he was of the same Martin family. Another employee, Andrew Stone, also began at this time the long connection which the Stone family was to have with Martins Bank. He married a niece of Richard Smythe and was taken into the partnership before Smythe died in 1699. Thomas Martin was made a partner in 1703 and the firm became Stone and Martin in 1706. From this time onwards the Martin family retains a still-unbroken connection with the business, and their name has always appeared in the title of the banking firm. Other families were represented in the firm from time to time, including Ebenezer Blackwell and George Foote, whose portrait by Romney hangs in the London Board room, but apart from the Martins the only family with a long connection was the Stones who were represented until 1851 when George Stone, the younger, left the firm and the family died out in the male line. Frederick and Edward Norman, who became partners in the 1880s were, however, grandsons of a Stone partner and so revived the family connection.

 

68 lombard sent by julie 2In 1888 the banking firm of Vallance & Payne of Sittingbourne, Kent, was purchased and during the next ten years several branches were opened in West Kent, where all the partners lived. The object of this expansion was to attract deposits which could be profitably lent in Lombard Street. On February 25th, 1891, the firm was incorporated as Martins Bank Limited. It continued trading as a highly respected but small bank by modern standards and in 1918 it was amalgamated with the much larger Bank of Liverpool. The present premises, rebuilt in 1929 by the late Sir Herbert Baker, cover most interesting ground.

 

As the business expanded the original Grasshopper "shop" was added to by acquiring adjoining sites in Lombard Street and Change Alley. This alley was the centre of finance during the 17th and 18th centuries and the business of the City was largely carried on in its coffee and chop houses. For example, Garraways Coffee House, now the site of the managers' room, was the scene of the floating of the South Sea Company in 1720. Thus we see that our present important business “at the sign of the Grasshopper" has its roots deep in the past, and assuming we are right in claiming Gresham as its founder, Martins Bank, 68 Lombard Street, is the oldest banking house in England.

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Mr Benjamin Noble Founder NEBC

Mr Benjamin Noble (left) is one of the founders, and the first General Manager of the North-Eastern Banking Company Ltd. At the time of the publication of this article it was noted with special interest by the editor of Martins Bank Magazine, that one of his direct descendants – Major Sir Humphrey B. Noble, Bart., MBE, M.C, (grand-nephew of Benjamin Noble) had recently been appointed as a director of Martins Bank’s North-Eastern Board.  The carving shown here (right) can still be seen at the premises of Martins Bank’s former branch at Felton, Northumberland.

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The North-Eastern Banking Company Limited

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By JOHN MASHITER (Manager, Skipton Branch)

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1946 04.jpgShort as was its history prior to its amalgamation with the Bank of Liverpool Limited, this bank nevertheless had in a brief time built up an individualistic character which even today remains. Possibly the barriers which fence in Northumbria, the Pennines, the Cheviots and the North Sea have had a lot to do with this or it may have been the strong local character of its natives. The fact remains that the North-Eastern District of Martins Bank Limited is still, at heart, the North-Eastern Banking Company Limited. The bank came into being on the 7th February, 1872, as the result of the activity of a group of Cleveland merchants who first planned to establish it at Middlesbrough, but subsequently chose Newcastle-upon-Tyne as a more suitable headquarters and obtained premises in St. Nicholas' Chambers, near the Parish Church, which served until more commodious accommodation in Grey Street was available.

 

North Eastern Banking Company Limited.jpgThe initial capital was £1,020,000 and the new venture was well supported so that a branch at Middlesbrough was immediately opened and by the following year eight more branches were established in towns connected with heavy industry, such as Jarrow, Loftus and Consett. A distant venture was even made at Barrow-in-Furness, but this soon proved a failure and the branch was closed. Great developments in the iron, coal, machinery, chemical and shipbuilding industries brought prosperity to the bank, and after twenty years of growth it had forty-four branches and its interests extended over most of Northumberland and Durham Its prosperity had not, however, come entirely from industry. A most fortunate acquisition in 1875, the business of the Alnwick & County Bank, had given the North-Eastern Banking Co. Ltd., a big stake in agriculture and carried its activities up to the Scottish Border, besides giving it a more balanced share in the life of the two counties.

 

Alnwick and County Cheque.jpgThe Alnwick & County Bank was founded by Messrs. William Dickson and William Woods in May, 1858, at Alnwick, advantage having been taken of the opportunity afforded by the collapse of the Northumberland & Durham District Bank in the previous year. Mr. Dickson was a solicitor in Alnwick, Mr. Woods a banker in Newcastle. It is of interest to note that this connection is still maintained. Branches were established at Wooler, Rothbury, Bellingham, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Belford, Morpeth and Amble. The death of Mr. Woods in June, 1864, left his partner to carry on as sole proprietor until 1875. On 14th May of that year, he too died, and the business was sold at once by his trustees to the North-Eastern Banking Co. Ltd. In 1892, a further amalgamation with Dale, Young & Co., extended the interests of the North-Eastern Banking Co. Ltd., to the South Shields area. This business had been founded in 1858 by Mr. John Brodrick Dale, and had proved more successful than his previous ventures, for he had been the South Shields manager of the unfortunate Northumberland & Durham District Bank which failed in 1857, and had subsequently joined the partnership of Hawks, Grey, Priestman & Co., which survived his advent by less than a year. Trading as Dale & Co., he was joined in partnership in October, 1858, by Mr. John Harrison Miller, and the firm's name became Dale, Miller & Co., of South Shields.

 

Dale and Co Cheque.jpgA further change of partners in 1866 again changed the name, this time to Dale, Young & Co., and by 1882 the style had been amended once more to Dale, Young, Nelson & Co. In the following year the Head Office of the bank was transferred to Newcastle and housed in King Street, Quayside, and eight years later, a further move was made to Grey Street. By this time retirements of partners had caused the firm to revert to its old name of Dale, Young & Co., and under this title it amalgamated with its more powerful neighbour in July, 1892. From this time on, the history of the North-Eastern Banking Company Ltd., was uneventful. Progress was consistent and when on 7th August, 1914, its business passed to the Bank of Liverpool Ltd., it had no fewer than 72 full branches and 27 sub-branches serving an area extending from the Scottish Border to the North Riding of Yorkshire and from the East Coast to the northern fringes of the Pennines.

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The Palatine Bank Limited

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By JOHN MASHITER (Manager, Skipton Branch)

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1948 02.jpg1946 Brown Street exterior from Painting MBM-Su46P20.jpgTowards the end of the nineteenth century amalgamations and failures had reduced the number of provincial banks considerably and it was largely in a spirit of local patriotism that a body of business men in Manchester founded the Palatine Bank Limited, which was incorporated on August 30th, 1899 and commenced business at No. 9, Cross Street, Manchester, on November 6th of the same year. It was felt by the founders that the centralisation in London of banking control destroyed the personal relationship between banker and customer and the success of the Palatine Bank demonstrated that the business men of Manchester agreed with this view and preferred to deal with a local bank.

 

Of the initial capital of £1,000,000 half was soon subscribed and £62,500 Palatine Bank.jpgwas paid up. Despite keen competition the new bank thrived and took a full share of the increasing trade of the city which followed on the opening of the Ship Canal. Branches were soon opened at Oldham, Shaw and Rochdale, followed later by four smaller branches in the southern suburbs around Moss Side and Fallowfield.  In 1910 new premises were completed at 22, Brown Street, on a corner site once occupied by Sewell's Bank, and the Head Office of the Palatine Bank Limited was transferred there in May. The decorations and furnishings of the interior of the new premises were particularly ornate, stained glass windows depicting commercial and industrial activities and chair carvings, inkstands and other suitable objects being stamped or moulded with the design of a knight in full armour. Further expansion followed the removal to Brown Street and more branches were established in the cotton spinning valley of Rossendale at Heywood, Werneth and Buersil. On December 30th, 1919, the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited by special resolution approved the taking over of the business of the Palatine Bank Limited, by which date the latter had, in addition to its Head Offi:e. twelve branches in the Manchester and Oldham areas.

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1910 Interior Feature from Palatine Bank.jpgTHE PALATINE HEAD OFFICE

By A. L. GREGORY (Brown Street, Manchester)

 

The building, now known as 22 Brown Street Office, was opened as the Head Office of the Palatine Bank on May 30th, 1910.   It is of Norman design carried out in Portland Stone and Norwegian granite.   All the windows are Norman arched, and the front view of the building, furnished with battlement parapets and flanked with conical towers supported on stout round pillars, is boldly impressive. The simplicity of the exterior, a picture of which appeared in our Summer 1946 issue, is in direct contrast to the rich colouring of the interior ; this is of white " Carrara " blocks relieved with gold, while a colour scheme of blue and red on a background of gold mosaic adorns the upper portion of the walls.

 

Palatine DomeOn three sides of the Banking Hall the arches are filled in with beautifully coloured panels, a product of the famous pottery firm of Doulton's, which have been painted on and burned into the “Carrara” blocks. One represents shipping, the second deals with cotton, and the third depicts the arts. Surmounting all is a gilded cornice which carries the domed glass ceiling, having the arms and heraldic devices of sixteen Lancashire Boroughs.

 

The sun, shining in through the dome, light­ens on these devices, showing up their lovely colours which, unfortunately, we are unable to reproduce in the photo­graphs. After some research, I discov­ered that the dome contained the arms and crest of Ashton-under-Lyne (bottom centre in photograph), which has no armorial bearings. Those used are taken from the family of Ashton, or Assheton, and are argent a mullet pier­ced sable, in the dexter chief a crescent gules. The heraldic description, being translated, reads : on a silver ground a black star with a hole through the centre, and in tjie top-right corner (left-hand corner facing the spectator), a red crescent. Then, reading clockwise round   the  dome,   those of  Darwin, Middleton,   Salford,   Southport,   Barrow-in-Furness.   Liverpool    Bootle-cum-Linacre Leigh Heywood, Bolton, St. Helens, Accrington, Blackburn and Widnes.

 

One side panel carries the arms of Lancaster (per fesse azure and gules in chief a fleur de lis and in base a lion passant guardant or), Eccles and Preston. The other carries the arms of Nelson (azure, on a chevron argent between two sprigs of the cotton tree slipped and fructed in chief and a fleece in base or, two reed hooks chevronwise proper), Warrington and Bacup. Four other coats of arms are in a window which it proved impossible to photograph without extensive lighting from outside. They are Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and Manchester which, sad to say, is obscured almost completely by the office clock. To old members of Brown Street staff, now scattered throughout the service or in well-earned retirement, the photographs will no doubt revive memories of the happy spirit and good companionship which the office has always enjoyed.

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Wakefield, Crewdson & Co (The Kendal Bank)

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By JOHN MASHITER (Manager, Skipton Branch)

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1947 03.jpgThe Home of this bank was the area around the head of Morecambe Bay with Kendal as its centre. As time went on its business spread through the Furness District of Lancashire to West Cumberland, whilst on the east a few branches were established in centres of importance along the Westmorland portion of the Pennine Chain, but the chief business of the bank always remained in Kendal and it was with the dairy and mixed farming of South Westmorland that it was chiefly concerned. The origins of the bank fey in two firms both established in Kendal on the first day of January, 1788. Maude, Wilson & Crewdsons Bank established in “Farrers House”, Stramongate, combined in partnership three-well-known county families. Joseph Maude, Christopher Wilson and Thomas Crewdson were the original partners ; their business prospered and in 1792 they removed into more commodious premises which had been specially constructed at No. 69 Highgate.

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J Wakefield

W D Crewdson

 

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J Wakefield

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W D Crewdson

 

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Thomas Crewdson died in 1795 and other members of the family were admitted to the partner­ship. In 1801 this was dissolved by mutual consent but the business was continued by the same families. Joseph Maude died at Stricklandgate House in 1803 and a few years later with the retirement of his son, Colonel Maude, this family disappeared from the business. The Wilson family, who lived at Abbot Hall, withdrew in 1826 at a time of crisis caused by a run on the banks known as the " paper panic." Under the style of W. D. Crewdson & Sons the remaining family continued until the amalgamation in 1840 with John Wakefield & Sons.

 

1960 ish Kendal Exterior BGA 30-1458Wakefield's Bank, founded by John Wakefield in Stricklandgate, next door to Stricklandgate House,  enjoyed from the first a very good reputation. Both Kendal banks were immune from the periodic crises of the time but the farmers particularly favoured Wakefields and a “Jacky Wakefield” bank note was reckoned the equal of a gold sovereign. John Wakefield the second, moved the bank to better premises in the same street. This is the only recorded happening in the history of the bank which continued to thrive until its amalgamation with W. D. Crewdson & Sons in 1840, under the style of Wakefield, Crewdson & Company; “The Kendal Bank”.

 

A long period of prosperity followed the amalgamation. New branches were established; this bank favouring particularly the system whereby the chief business man of a village was appointed the bank's agent and combined banking with his other business of lawyer, land agent, factor or parish clerk. An unusual number of sub branches thus resulted.

 

In 1863 the business of Petty & Postlethwaite at Ulverston was taken over. This firm had been established in Theatre Street as wine merchants since 1804 and had combined banking with their other business for many years. Apparently Wakefield, Crewdson & Company were content to leave the wine business in the hands of Petty & Postlethwaite, for an old directory of 1889 still lists them as trading in Theatre Street. 

 

Some years later when the North Western Bank of Barrow failed, Wakefield Crewdson & Company took the opportunity to buy out the Coniston deposits and in 1883 they acquired the premises and business in Lancaster of the Manchester & Salford Bank, when the latter decided to give up this connection.

 

In 1884 a further business was purchased, that of Grice & Company, of Bootle in Cumberland. They were wool and general merchants as well as bankers and members of the Grice family are customers in the Millom area still.  Wakefield, Crewdson & Company had no registered coat of arms, but the design on their cheques of an oat sheaf surrounded by a rake, scythe and sickle surmounting an inverted cornucopia from which fell various fruits of the earth was as familiar in Westmorland as the heifer on the cheques of the neighbouring Craven Banking Company was in the West Riding. Negotiations for amalgamation with the Bank of Liverpool Ltd., were begun in 1892 and a resolution dated June 27th, 1893, of the latter authorised the purchase of the undertaking of Wakefield, Crewdson & Co., which by this time in addition to the Head Office in Kendal comprised seven full branches and fourteen sub-branches spread throughout Westmorland, Furness and South-West Cumberland.

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The Banks that built Martins yielded a huge number of branches of which, in the North of England in particular,

many are still going strong today.  Special thanks to Barclays Group Archives, Barclays Leeds Pensioners’ Club, and Dave Baldwin.

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