Maberly Phillips.

A history of banks, bankers, & banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire, illustrating the commercial development of the north of England, from 1755 to 1894, with numerous portraits, facsimiles of notes, signatures, documents, &c online

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Online LibraryMaberly PhillipsA history of banks, bankers, & banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire, illustrating the commercial development of the north of England, from 1755 to 1894, with numerous portraits, facsimiles of notes, signatures, documents, &c → online text (page 21 of 57)
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Norham Church, Christopher Reed, of Chipchase, Esq., to Miss Blake, eldest
daughter of Francis Blake, of Twizel, Esquire — an agreeable and well-accomplished
young lady with a fortune of ^10,000." How the fortune was conveyed to


Chipchase is not known, but an account is on record of a lady, who in a neighbour-
ing county brought her husband a fortune of a hke amount, " in a waggon heaped
over with straw, accompanied by two stout fellows at the side, who were accoutred
with flails and pretended that they had been thrashing." The eldest son of
Christopher Reed and Miss Blake was the Colonel, who inherited the magnificent
estate of Chipchase Castle. At the time of the failure of the bank he parted with that
property, and lived a quiet and retired life as distributor of stamps for the Newcastle
District. He attained a great age, his death being thus recorded : — " February
2oth, 1842, Died at Felton Vicarage, John Reed, Esq., of Prestwick House, and
formerly of Chipchase Castle, aged 83 ; and on Sunday, the 28th, at the same
place. Miss Reed, sister to the deceased, aged 85, much regretted. His remains,
and those of his sister, were interred in the family vault at Bell's Close, in the
parish of Newburn, near Newcastle. The attendance of the gentry of the county
of Northumberland in their carriages on the mournful occasion was very numerous,
as was that of other classes connected with the immediate neighbourhood, all
being anxious to pay the last tribute of respect to those venerable, exemplary, and
deeply lamented persons." John Reed's eldest son, Christopher, became Vicar of
Tynemouth, and died at Kingston, Surrey, July 21st, i!

ARCHIBALD REED. — The seventh child and youngest son of Christopher
Reed, of Chipchase Castle, was given the family name of Archibald. He was

educated at the Grammar School, Newcastle, and
served his time with a member of the Merchants'
Company, beginning business on his own account
in 1790 on the Sandhill. He was elected Sheriff
in 1794 — Alderman in 1796 — Mayor in 1799, 1806,
181 9, 1826, 1830, and 1 83 1 — six times in all, and
was undoubtedly one of the most popular men of
his day. It was during his fourth mayoralty that
the Duke of Wellington visited the town. At this
time the salary of the Mayor was ^2, 100— free use
of the Mansion House— carriage and horses — state
barge, &c. At the close of his year of office in
1832, he was presented with a silver tureen valued
at /lOO. It bore the following inscription —
" Presented to Archibald Reed, Esq., Mayor of the
Town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, on the occasion of his sixth mayoralty by his
friends and well-wishers — burgesses of that town, as a mark of personal regard,
and a tribute to his high character and valuable services as a magistrate."

{-^y?,} ^___

Mr, Reed died December 13th, 1842. He had lived some years at Whorlton,
but at the time of his death was residing in Leazes Terrace, Newcastle. He was
interred in Jesmond Cemetery, where in March, 1844, a handsome monument was
erected by public subscription, while a bust and tablet by Davies was placed in St.
Nicholas' Church to his memory. His portrait given here is by Thomas Bewick.

WILLIAM REED.— A relative of John and Archibald Reed. His father was
John Reed, who died at 39, Dockwray Square, North Shields, where he lived with
his son. William Reed's son, Thomas, was articled to Mr. Dale, solicitor, who
acted locally for the bank, and practised in North Shields for some years. His son
William joined his father, and still carries on his profession there.

ROBERT HEPPLE.— Probably Robert Hepple of Black Heddon, who
purchased West Bellasis (near Morpeth) and resided there. He married Dorothy
Cook, and had issue Ann, who married William Crawford of Newcastle ; Mary,
married to Edmond Cook of Foumart-law ; Rebecca, married to Daniel Teasdale ;
and Dorothy, who married Matthew Hunter of Byker Hill. The three daughters
— Ann, Mary, and Rebecca — inherited West Bellasis in thirds.

SIR FRANCIS BLAKE.— The second baronet of Twizel, died May 22nd,
1818, and was buried at All Saints, Newcastle. In the pedigree (Raine's " North
Durham," p. 316) he is said to have been buried on June 2nd, 18 18, aged 81. He
was related by marriage to the Reed family.

Bajeter ^ Co. ' Dariinaton.

Founded prior to Proprietor, Failed February,

1823. yohn Baxter. 1826.

MR. HENRY SPENCER in " Men that are gone from the Household of
Darlington," on page 56 says : — "After the death or removal from the
High Row, of Dr. Trotter and his widow, there used to stare one in the
face, from the front of the house, on the face of a big signboard, in huge glaring
gilt letters, the word BANK." This was the establishment of Mr. John Baxter,
who conducted a bank or loan office for a few years in Darlington. The first
record that I have of him is from a Directory for 1823, Messrs. Glyn & Co. being
his London agents. It is highly probable that he was originally a clerk with
Messrs. Lumley, Wilkinson, & Co., bankers, of Stockton. A note of theirs for ;^5,
dated October 19th, 1814, is entered by John Baxter. Lumley & Co. failed in
181 5, when Baxter appears to have entered the bank of Sir M. W. Ridley & Co.,


In a " Book of Autographs," belonging to Mr. John Ord, of Haughton Hall, is
the signature of John Baxter, with ^

the following remark against it : — Z^^^^ y^^ ^

"A gentleman who was in the bank ^<y'^^^/^'^^ yy^^/^y^^

of Sir M. W. Ridley in Newcastle- t^::^ ^ ^ ^'^ ^^ "^ .

upon-Tyne, 1817."

The signature corresponds with that upon the note of Messrs. Lumley & Co.
Probably soon after the date named he opened the bank at Darlington upon his
own account.

Dame Fortune did not smile upon his efforts, as he appears in the
Bankruptcy Court, February 23rd, 1826. I am informed that he removed to
London, and was in 1839 an agent for a coal merchant in the City Road. He
died there, March, 1843.

John Baxter married Miss Robinson, whose parents lived in the one house that
then represented the present town of Middlesborough.

Bell, Cooft^on, Carr, S, Hire^,


Founded 1755.

Matthew Bell.
John Cookson.
Ralph Carr.
Joseph Airey.
Joseph Saint.
John Widdrington.
Isaac Cookson.

James Wilkinson.

Thomas Gibson.

Sir John Eden.

Sir M. W. Ridley (i).

Matthew Bell.

George Gibson.

Chas. Wm. Bigge.


Purchased by the

Northumberland and

Durham District Bank

IN March, 1839.

Thos. Hanway Bigge.

William Boyd.

Sir M. W. Ridley (2).

Charles John Bigge.

Robert Boyd.

John Spedding, jun.

Sir M. W. Ridley {i).

IN pages 2^ and 24 of this work I have shown the circumstances that led to
the formation of this bank. A further account will also be found in my
paper upon " The Old Bank " in Archaeologia Aeliana, vol. xvi. In these
accounts I claim that this was the first instance upon record of a number of
provincial gentlemen (i) entering into partnership ; (2) individually subscribing a
fixed capital ; and (3) opening premises for the specific purpose of conducting a


banking business ; also that all previous provincial financial matters had been con-
ducted by manufacturers or tradesmen, who had, in conjunction with their other
business, from time to time undertaken monetary transactions until they developed
into bankers. In some cases they retained their old business, and in others
relinquished it for banking pure and simple. Since the first of these pages went to
press, Mr. F. C. Smith, of Nottingham, has kindly forwarded me documents that
show the very early foundation of the well-known Nottingham banking establish-
ment of Samuel Smith & Co., out of which developed the London house of
Smith, Payne, & Smiths. He mentions that the statement of the origin of their
firm given by Lawson in his " History of Banking" (page 264), and since copied
by many writers, is incorrect.*

The documents before me contain many interesting references to a ver^' early
banking business, but being out of my district I must forego the pleasure of
extracting further from them.

I have stated on the pages quoted that the bank was founded by Mr. Carr
upon the suggestion of his London agent, George Campbell, who had succeeded to
the business of Messrs. Middleton. They were originally goldsmiths in St. Martin's
Lane, near St. Martin's Church. They are named in 1692, when George
Middleton had a partner, John Campbell. George Middleton died prior to 1748,
when George (or John) Campbell took his clerk, David Bruce, into partnership.
In 1753, George Campbell was trading alone; he had a niece. Miss Polly
Peagram, with whom James Coutts, a young Scotsman from Edinburgh, fell in
love, and eventually they were married.f

About this time Mr. Campbell took his nephew into partnership, the firm being
Campbell and Coutts. The house of business was near Durham Yard in the
Strand. James Coutts was the second son of John Coutts, of Edinburgh, whose
portrait is in the possession of his great-grand-daughter the Baroness Burdett-

» Mr. Smith claims that his ancestors, who were manufacturers at Nottingham, were also bankers as far
back as 1688, and furnishes the following extract from an interesting letter written by Abel Smith at Nottingham
to John Payne his partner, with a proposition of extending their banking business, December 16th, 1760:—

" You already know my sentiments in regard to making our business in London general, and wish you had
thought this a proper time to make a beginning, as I could bring a capital of £30,000 or £40,000 into the business
if it would be wanted, that I think there could not be much hazard in making the experiment. The Banking
business was begun here before the Revolution which has been carried on to this time with the greatest credit.
That I am of opinion with care and diligence we should in a few years be equal in credit to the best houses in

\ Newcastle Journal, May 10th to 17th, 1755:— " Edinburgh, May 8th. On Saturday se'nnight was married at
St. George's Church, Hanover Square, London, Mr. James Coutts, of Jeffrey's Square, merchant, son to the
deceas'd John Coutts, esq., Lord Provost of Edinburgh, to Miss Polly Peagram, of Knlght's-Bridge, niece to
Mr. Campbell, Banker in the Strand, an amiable young lady, with a fortune of £30,000, and that day the
new-married couple set out for Bath."


Coutts. To her courtesy I am indebted for the copy here given, which was
specially taken for this work, and the value of which is enhanced by the inscription
she wrote beneath it. John Coutts had four sons, John, James, Patrick, and Thomas.

1^77 ^

With this knowledge of the London fimi, we can now fully understand
an account of the formation of the Newcastle bank, written by Ralph Carr,
some years later. He says, "The bank has also made many thous^
pounds by the interest of money in their hands, for I most assuredly charged
them with no interest for a great many years, being my Hobby Horse, and solely
begun by myself, on Mr. Campbell's recommending my beginning a bank in
Newcastle, to take his nephew, the present rich banker, James Coutts, as first my
apprentice, and after three years as a partner, for their father, my worthy friend
John Coutts, esq., had beg'd me to be a Father to his four sons, this accident gave
me the first notion of a bank, and it proved both advantageous to us and of the
utmost service to the country till too many others started up." We see, then, that
the idea of a bank pure and simple for Newcastle originated with Mr. Campbell,
who was an early partner in Coutts & Co., and that the Newcastle bank might
have had for its first "junior," " James Coutts, the present rich banker." Acting
upon the suggestion of Mr. Campbell, Mr. Carr eventually entered into partnership
with three other gentlemen of Newcastle, to carry on the business of " Bankers
and Dealers in Exchange." The first partners were Matthew Bell, John Cookson,
Ralph Carr, and Joseph Airey. The first known deed of partnership, which is
still in existence, is for ten years from January 1st, 1756. The banking premises
were to be at the residence of Mr. Joseph Airey, in Pilgrim Street.* The paid up
capital would be considered marvellously small in the present day, ;^500 for each
partner, or ;^2,ooo in all, but they were all men of considerable wealth and
position. Unfortunately there is some little uncertainty about the time of their
first opening. The date has hitherto been ascribed to 1755, but it is possible that it
may have been earlier. The Newcastle Coiirant, for August 23rd, 1755, announces
that " Yesterday, Notes were issued from the Bank Established in this Town by a
Company of Gentlemen of Character and Fortune, which will be of infinite
advantage to this place." And both the Courant and Journal of November 22nd
1755, advertise the following : — " Notice is hereby given that the Newcastle Bank
will be opened on Monday next, at the house late Mr. Robinson's, in Pilgrim
Street, where all Business in the Banking and Exchange Way will be transacted as
in London." This announcement has hitherto been held as proclaiming the
opening of the first bank in Newcastle, but as it was recorded on August 23rd that
the bank was then issuing notes, I think the announcement of November 22nd

* Miss Airey, of Bath, •writes to me as follows, January 10th, 1894 :— " I have re-read the will (at Durham) of
my great-great grandfather, Thomas Airey of Newcastle and Killingworth, the father of your Joseph Airey, the
banker, and in it, dated 1770, he leaves his leasehold dwelling house with the appurtenances situate in Pilgrim
Street, which he then inhabited, for the remainder of the term unexpired at his death, to my great grandfather,
Henry Airey, There is no number or description of the house given by which it can be identified."



simply speaks of a change of premises, so that we are not yet certain of the
precise time or place that saw the birth of the first bank in our town.

In 1762 or 1763, Mr. Joseph Saint became a partner, and the firm was then
Bell, Cookson, Carr, Airey, and Saint. Mr. Airey died near the end of the year
1770, and his place was taken by Mr. John Widdrington (a nephew of Mr. Carr)
on January 2nd, 1771 ; the firm then being Bell, Cookson, Carr, Widdrington, &
Saint. The capital was divided into eighteen parts, the three old partners holding
four shares each, and the two new partners three shares each. " Messrs.
Widdrington & Saint had to attend to the daily business of the bank without
extra remuneration."

In 1772 there occurred in the metropohs a terrible money panic, which was
not long in spreading to the provinces. Only one other bank was in existence in
Newcastle, and both required public support. (See page 28.)

In 1775 another deed of partnership was entered into, the capital being
divided into thirty-two shares : Messrs. Bell, Cookson, Carr, and Widdrington, each
held seven, and Mr. Saint four, the latter to attend gratis to the business of the
firm. In the Directory of 1778, the bank is described as "The Old Bank," and
occupying premises in Pilgrim Street, near the end of Silver Street, probably the
same that they moved to in 1755.

Mr. Cookson and Mr. Saint both died in 1783. On January 1st, 1784, a new
partnership was entered into between Messrs. Bell, Carr, Cookson (Isaac, son of
John, the late partner), Widdrington, James Wilkinson, and Thomas Gibson, Mr.
Cookson, taking the place of his father, Messrs. Wilkinson and Gibson being
admitted in Mr. Saint's room. "Each of the first three partners held four shares
out of eighteen, Widdrington held three, while the two last named held three half-
shares each, and were bound to attend daily without remuneration. The style of
the bank was to be Messrs. Bell, Carr, Cookson, Widdrington, & Co."

Mr. Carr retired from the bank on 31st December, 1787, but he has left letters
and papers that afford a full and most interesting record of the bank's transactions.

The balance sheets for the early years of their trading are still in existence,
and from them it appears that at the end of 1756 the note issue was
^13,523 i8s. 4d., "the odd money may be from the cost of production being
included." The deposits exceeded ;^io,ooo, ^11,502 2s. 7d. was in the hands of
Messrs. Vere, Glyn, & Halhfax, London, and /505 with Coutts & Co. ; cash in
hand, ^3,000 ; discounts, ;^i3,ooo. There was one overdraft of about ^1,000. The
profit for the year was ;^i,oi7 19s. 7d. Lord Ravensworth, Robert Ellison, jun.,
the Newcastle Infirmary, and Marine Society were amongst the depositors. In


the year 1758, the profit was ^3,522, which constituted the first dividend. There
was difficulty in employing the " deposits profitably in genuine banking business
in the neighbourhood/' and on April i8th the following resolution was passed : —

Whereas the sums advanced by us on notes and accepted bills are found insufficient to employ the
cash in our hands, we have agreed that any sum or sums of money not exceeding £7,000 be lent out.

A letter of September 15th, 1767, to Mr. John Moses, of Hull, shows how the
note circulation was increased.

Our bank remits for many of the large estates in these counties at the two terms in bills at 40 days
at J per cent., which in fact is receiving and remitting their money for nothing, as it always happens
in May, that bills are J per cent, premium, and we are then obliged to send many thousand pounds by
land carriage to London. Our only advantage is, that the gentlemen in Northumberland order their
tenants to take payment for their corn in our notes, but no trade of this kind is carry 'd on in the
county of Durham. Our Gentlemen have formerly suffered greatly by their agents taking bad bills.

The manner in which overdrafts were negociated is shown by a letter (March
15th, 1768) to Messrs. Charles and Robert Falls, of Dunbar : —

Our bank at the closing of their books last year resolved to keep stricktly to their original rules,
which they find absolutely necessary, one of which was that all single Merchants or Houses having
cash accounts sh"* give a bond to the bank with some other person as a security for the re-payment of
all money that may be due to the extent agreed upon, and this is accordingly comply'd with by the
first people in this country, and therefore no possibility that any can take it amiss being an established
practice at all banks.

The balance sheet for 1771 gives a total of /■i4i,340 ; discounts, ^53,202 ;
bills of exchange, ;^43,66o ; 20 overdrafts ; 42 depositors ; note issue, close on
^82,000 ; profit, j^3,705. During the year 1772 occurred a serious panic. In
1773 the business fell to ^^140,000 ; note issue, ^102,000 ; and a profit of only
;£"3,ooo remained.

Business revived in the next year, the balance sheet showing ^234,660 ; the
capital had been increased to ;^8,ooo ; and the note circulation had risen to

In 1776 the turnover was ^278,708 ; cash in the bank, ^"53,853 ; bills of
exchange, ^"49,744 ; with Hallifax, Mills, Glyn, & Co., ^"36,093 ; Castell,
Whately, & Powell (bankers, London), ;^i 1,767; na\y bills, /i4,6o9 ; bank
stock, ;^8,50o ; 3^ per cent, annuities, ;^i,799 ; at the Bank of England, ^443 ;
overdrafts about ^38,000 ; the note issue was about /i 8 0,000 ; the capital, ^8,000 ;
52 depositors, ^■85,000 in amount ; profit, ^'5,712. Amongst the names of the
customers are Bigge, Riddell, Williamson, Collingwood, Askew, Isaacson,
Ravensworth, Headlam, Loraine, Clennell, Ellison, Fawcett, Dockwray, and

In the next year there was a great falling off, probably from other banks
starting ; total, ^183,037 ; deposits were ;^48,ooo less ; and notes less by ;^52,ooo.


From a letter that was lost in the post, containing two bills, which were advertised
for in the Newcastle paper, March, 1778, we find that one of the missing
documents was drawn at thirty days after date upon Castell, Whately, & Powell,
bankers, London (who failed about 1802). " Signed for Bell, Cookson, Carr,
Widdrington, and Self, Jos. Saint."

Mr. Carr's reasons for quitting the bank are shown by the following accounts
left by himself :■ —

Too often I have lost many thousand pounds by having large sums in their (the bank's) hands,
and wanted to buy stocks or other advantageous purposes. They could not pay me on the peace with
America of which I had early intelligence. This prevented my buying stock to the amount of 12 to
£15,000, by which I evidently lost, as I showed to them circa £6,800, for, on examining their discounts
then in 1785 with Mr. Gibson, we found discounts of near a hundred thousand pounds Intirely locked
up and they could not pay me and the same has repeatedly happen'd. I always had large sums in the

bank, and Messrs and .... were generally greatly in debt to the bank, and were

in fact the cause of my loss. I also lost by Mr upwards of £5,000, for when I bought ....

of him at £17,000, I ordered the bank to sell out £12,000 3 per cent, stock, then at 97 per cent., and
they got the licences from the Bank of England for that purpose, and it is in their hands to this day,

but Mr could not make a title for me till 1793, when stock had fallen to £48, and I still

have that stock to my great loss.

On December 31st, 1787, Mr, Carr writes : —

Having from this time quitted the bank, and turned over my share to Sir John Eden and Sir
Matthew Ridley, for if I had continued a banker it should have been on such terms so as to have
taken in no other Partners, nor were they necessary, as my fortune alone of near a Hundred Thousand
Pounds, was a sufficient security to the Publick as not being under settlements. The annual
settlements of our Banking Accounts are in Small Books to which I refer, as I always placed my
Bank Profits out to Interest with other savings. I calculate I have at this day made more than Forty
Thousand Pounds by my concern in the bank, but now that so many Banks are begun here and
everywhere, the business is spoiled and must be attended with daily hazard, and their competitions
disgraceful. I wish my nephew J. W. was clear of it.

In May, 1784, street alterations were commenced, which ended in 1789 in
the formation of Mosley and Dean Streets, and by 1790, the bank was established
at the south corner of Mosley and Pilgrim Streets, and these premises have been
used for banking purposes from then until the present time. Mr Bell's eldest son
came of age towards the end of 1791, when his name was added to the firm, also
that of Sir Matthew White Ridley, Bart., who now became a partner in his own
right, the firm being Ridley, Cookson, Widdrington, Bell, and Co. Sir John Eden's
name drops out, but as he had been only a partner as trustee for young Mr. Bell,
who had attained his majority, the omission is accounted for.

We now come to the eventful year 1793. In April, the commencement of
hostilities with France operated unfavourably upon public credit, and caused a
serious run upon the provincial banks. On the 8th of the month, all the Newcastle
banks had to suspend payment in specie. The same day a public meeting was
held, and every effort made to restore public confidence. It was resolved that the


banks " were of unquestionable credit, and entitled to the confidence of the public
in the fullest extent," and those present would readily accept their notes. A
committee of sixteen gentlemen was appointed to investigate the affairs of the
banks generally, and to report. (See page 48.)

On the following day a guarantee was entered into by the merchants and
townspeople. Similar meetings were held in the neighbouring towns, public
confidence was somewhat re-established, and cash payments resumed on Saturday,
April 2oth. In 1797 another panic occurred, which was met and tided over in a
similar way.

Mr. Cookson retired in 1796, and Mr. Widdrington died in 1797. The firm
then became Ridley, Bell, Wilkinson, and Gibson. Mr. Wilkinson died in 1800
(another account says 1802), and the firm became "Ridley, Bell, and Gibson." On
January ist, 1803, George Gibson, brother of Thomas, entered the firm. In June
of this year, trouble again occurred in the Newcastle banks. On the 30th of this
month, Messrs. Surtees, Burdon, & Co. were obliged to close their doors. On the
same day a public meeting was held, and signatures solicited of those who would
undertake to accept the notes of the remaining banks. The list sets forth the
names of some four hundred firms and private individuals, who pledged themselves

Online LibraryMaberly PhillipsA history of banks, bankers, & banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire, illustrating the commercial development of the north of England, from 1755 to 1894, with numerous portraits, facsimiles of notes, signatures, documents, &c → online text (page 21 of 57)