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 36 of 57)
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that the partnership was dissolved, and the business taken over by another bank
that then existed in Durham.

"Notice is hereby given that the Partnership between Henry Mills, Hendry Hopper, and Thomas
Chipchase, of the City of Durham, Bankers, was this Day dissolved by mutual consent, and that all
Notes issued by them which are now in Circulation will be paid by Messrs. Wetherell, Mowbray, & Co.,
Bankers, in the said City. — Dated this 12th Day of May, 1802."

flDowbra^, Ibolling^wortb, S, (To. ©aritnoton.

(see Richardson & Mowbray),

flDowbra^ S, (To, Berwtcft-upon-UweeO.

Founded about 1803. BERWICK BANK. Extinct about 1820.


^ohn Mowbray. Christopher Mason.

G. L. Hollingsworth, John Bailey.

John Wetherell. jfohn Langhorn.

IN the early years of the present century the above bank appears to have been
opened at Berwick. It is highly probable that they took up the local
business of Messrs. Surtees, Burdon, & Co., who failed in 1803, and who
then styled their establishment in the border town the "Berwick Bank." Houlden's


Directory for 1802 announces Surtees & Co., Berwick. The same Directory for
181 1 has — Berwick and Kelso, Mowbray & Co. London Agent, Everett & Co.

The first-named fom^ gentlemen who constituted the firm were also partners
in the "Durham and Darlington Bank." (See Richardson and Mowbray.)
Mr. Mason retired from the Durham bank prior to its collapse in July, 1815.

^r^ ^^ Mr. Langhom was previously

£v^* Z^ ot^^^^</^i^^xl^^^' '^vi*!?— -^ ^ clerk with Sir J. Lawson & Co.,

y^/ A/' y^^ // ^ bankers, Richmond. A paid

C^ ^^V^ ^/<crl _ ^,x>r:r: « voucher of Surtees, Burdon, & Co.

upon Barclay & Co., dated March
22nd, 1800, is endorsed p. pro Sir
J. Lawson, Bt.,& Co., J. Langhom.

Upon the failure of the Durham Bank, complications appear to have arisen,
which called forth the following circular : —

Messrs. Mason, Bailey, and Langhom, feel it a duty they owe to themselves and to the Public, to
state that the Extent issued against the Partners of the Durham Bank, for the Sum of Five Thousand
Seven Hundred and Forty Five Pounds, Seventeen Shillings, and Eleven Pence, in aid of a Debt due
to the Crown by Messrs. Reed, Batsons, and Company, directed to the Mayor and Bailiffs of the
Borough of Berwick upon Tweed, by virtue of which, the Effects of the Berwick Bank have been
attached, is of no efficacy whatever in consequence of the Bankruptcy of the parties against whom the
Extent was issued ; such Bankruptcy having taken place antecedent to the teste of the Extent.

Messrs. Mason, Bailey, and Langhom, make this Communication, to remove from the Public
mind any anxiety or alarm which the Extent may have occasioned ; and they repeat with confidence,
their ability to discharge every demand upon the Berwick Bank.

BEBVfiCK, July 28th, 1815."

Of the ftiture history of this bank I have no reliable record, but the probability
is that about 1821 Mr. Mason died or retired from the firm, and that Mr. Langhorn
then joined Messrs. Batson, Berry, and Wilson, and formed the "Tweed Bank" at
Berwick. A further account of him will be found under that heading.

The notes for the Berwick Bank were printed by Thomas Bewick. In the
"Bewick Gleanings," many records will be found of communications between
Bewick and Mr. Mason, who, as well as being a banker at Berwick, was land
steward for the Earl of Tankerville at Chillingham. He was an intimate
personal friend of Bewick.* Mr. Mason's daughter became the wife of Mr. J.
Langhorn, her father's partner.

* " It was when staying with him in 1789 that Bewick made his sketch for the Chillingham Wild Bull, and to him
the first copy on vellam of the only ten printed before the block split was ^ven."— Bewick Gleanings, p. 62.


The copy of a note here shown is from a plate by Thomas Bewick. The
accompanying letter from him to Mr. Mason, has some interesting references to
the "cross hatching" which the renowned engraver thought was very difficult
to imitate.

7i^-<\( C


Mj/u/^u &2^^-i^/io7y?^

" Newcastle, 5th February, 1818.
Dear Sib, — I have had a painfzilly busy time with the notes for the Northumberland Bank ;
for, not knowing that my first two plates would so soon wear out, I felt taken by surprise that
5,000 finished one of them and 7,000 the other, and was much grieved to find that their
demand for a fresh supply was urgent in the extreme.

We have, however, by working unremittingly late and early, Sunday and Warday (sic),
very nearly finished two plates, and with which we expect to be at work on Monday morning —
if our printer is well enough to stand to the work ; if otherwise, I shall feel a continuation
of the extreme anxiety with which the New Year has set in upon me. I find we must
instantly set to work with other 2 new plates, and these, from the manner in which we shall
engrave and etch them, shall print almost till doomsday. As soon as these are done — and I
think that will be nearly about a month (more or less)— then I shall use the same kind
of exertions (if that time will suit you) to get your 20s. one done. But there has been
something ominous or unlucky hitherto in everything I have had to do with ' Berwick Bank.'
I think I have lost about ^ a year's work to no good purpose. However, I still hope for better
in time to come. I think, as you intend to change your device, I would recommend the 20s.
note to be done something like this — [here followed a sketch] — with the white cross hatching
done slantingly like a net hanging over a view of Berwick. But I wou'd like well if you
cou'd send a finished drawing, done so as to please the Gentlemen of the Bank, as I shall in
that case have nothing to do but fall to work with it, and endeavour to give you and them
satisfaction. The net-work I wou'd do with both white and black cross hatching, so as to cut
out a pretty job for the imitation of (any) either pen and ink, wood-cutting, or engraving
villain to imitate it. I have long had it in contemplation to do bankers' plates in such a
manner as to wear until they were tired at looking at the sameness — thousands and tens of
thousands of impressions, and not in the slight way you recommend. This, I hope, I shall
accomplish when the now neglected ! Fables are out of hand."


IFlational provincial Banh of iBriGlanb. iRewcastie-upon-Trpne,

Founded 1833. SiC, S<C.

THE history of this bank should be of interest to all North-countrymen, as it
was formed mainly through the exertions and perseverance of Thomas
Joplin and George Fife Angas, both Newcastle citizens. The scheme was
conceived by the former, and the money necessary for preliminary expenses,
advanced by the latter gentleman. The first mention of its formation that I have
met with is in the Times for May ist, 1833, where is announced the following : —

"Prospectus of a National Metropolitan Establishment for Banking in the Country. In 1830 a
Meeting took place, Sir H. Parnell, Bt., M.P. in the chair,

When the following gentlemen formed themselves into a Committee to take the steps necessary
to promote the formation of a Metropolitan Joint Stock Company for Banking in the Country. (The
names of sixteen influential gentlemen, of whom Thomas Joplin is one, are recorded.)" A long
statement is then given showing the advantages to be derived from Joint Stock Banking, and quoting
the price of the shares of many of the banks then existing. It continues : — " From these results the
disposition of the public to subscribe to such undertakings cannot be doubted, more especially to one
on a large scale such as proposed, which will divest banking of nearly all risk and reduce its profits
to an average certainty.

Under these impressions, steps are now being taken for the immediate formation of such an
institution, and at a meeting held for this purpose a Committee was chosen to carry it into effect.
The object of the Committee is, therefore, to form such an institution as has been described —
namely, which shall spread its branches in all directions, and not only carry banking on its best
principles, into the agricultural as well as commercial districts, but, in times of difficulty, form a stay
and support to the existing private banks wherever its branches may be established, &c., &c. It is
therefore proposed : —

1. That a Metropolitan Establishment shall be formed for Banking in the Country.

2. That it shall have its supreme seat of direction in London.

3. That it shall have branches in the Provincial towns where they now, or hereafter, may be

admitted by law, and where they can be formed with the prospect of advantage to the

4. That the Board of London shall consist of twenty-four or such other number of acting

directors as may bo hereafter agreed upon, together with Honorary Directors, President,
&c., with such power as may be hereafter determined.

5. That the business of the branches shall be conducted by Boards of Local Directors on

principles to be hereafter agreed upon."

The Original Capital was to be one million, provision being made for increasing the amount as
required. Notice is given that prospectuses can be obtained from solicitors in a great many of the large
towns in England, Messrs. C. and P. Fenwick at Newcastle, and Bayley and Newby at Stockton, being
amongst the number. Provision is made that "these terms and conditions shall be subject to any
alteration or modification which may be thought advisable."

Probably the name of the bank was one of the questions considered, as it
seems to have been altered several times before it assumed its final form.


The next notice that I have met with is from the Times of June 21st, 1833 ;
it states : —

" Pkovincial Bank op England, Levant House, St. Helen's Place, Bishops-gate, June 21st, 1833. —

The Directors of the Provincial Bank of England give notice, that the Holders of the Provincial Bank

Shares may obtain Scrip Certificates for the deposits on their shares in exchange for their letters upon

application at the above office.

T. LA.MIE MURRAY, Hon. Sec."

The deed of settlement is dated September 23rd, 1833. The directors
recorded were : —

" Douglas Gordon Hallyburton ; George Fife Angas of Jeffrey's Square, London ; George Barnes ;
Edward Blount ; Sir Robert Campbell of Argyle Place, London ; Sir William Conway of Sandgate, Kent,
Knight ; James Gordon Duff, Mark Lane, London ; Oliver Farrer, Lincoln's Inn Fields ; Andrew
Leith Hay ; William James of Barrock Lodge, Carlisle ; Thomas Joplin of Levant House, St. Helen's
Place, London, the a>-iginator of the Company (so stated in the deed of settlement) ; Samuel Eustice
Morgan of Hornsey, Middlesex ; George Richard Robinson, Broad Street, London ; James Garthorne
Remington ; Horatio Ross of Rossie Castle, North Britain ; Joshua Scholefield, Birmingham ;
Edward Stewart and John Wright of Henrietta Street, Covent Garden ; all of whom are parties to
these presents and each of whom is a holder in his own right of twenty shares or upwards in the
capital of the Society or Co-partnership, shall be and they are hereby appointed the first and present
Directors of the said Society or Co-partnership."

Though the originator of the bank, Joplin did not long remain a director. A
correspondent favours me with the following : —

" He (Joplin) informed me that there was a great disagreement between himself and the Directors
while the Deed of Settlement was being prepared. That he, judging it necessary from his past
experience, insisted that a clause should be inserted securing to him an annuity in the event of the
Bank paying a Certain Amount of Dividend, and that the annuity should increase with an increase
in the Dividend (there was also something about an increase of the capital). In short that he should
in some degree share in the prosperity of the undertaking. Whilst on the other hand the Directors
maintained that any such clause in the Deed would militate against their getting shareholders and
that he might safely rely upon the honour of the Bank to do him justice. I do not know to what
extent the battle raged."

From the very first the National Provincial Bank had an extensive business,
numerous branches being established. Darlington and Stockton were both
invaded on August 23rd, 1836, by the "National" taking over the business
of Messrs. Skinner, Atty, and Holt, who for many years had banking houses
in the towns named. In 1846 the Stockton connection was augmented by the
addition of the remnants of the business of the " Stockton and Durham County
Bank." Stokesley, Hartlepool, North and South Shields, were soon after occupied.

Towards the close of 1865 the Newcastle-upon-Tyne branch was formed, and
in December of that year a sub-branch was commenced in Gateshead, being the first
bank to open in that borough. The lead was immediately followed by Messrs.
Lambton & Co. and Messrs. Woods & Co., bankers at Newcastle.


The event called forth the following letter to the Editor of the Gateshead
Observer : —

" Eyton Basks, Disember th' eyt, 1865.
Ti Th' Edditob o' Th' Gyetsed Obsarvor.
Deer Sob, — Aw's not fond ov swherin, but what for ye did'nt send word ye'd shifted yor offis. The
milk laddie browt my lettor back agyen, an' if it haddent been the manadge man ye waddent hev had
my lettor this week. Mind, when aw beer the particklars aw forgie ye, but will ivorybody dee that,
aw ax, an' answor yes, 'cas ye've gyen oot ov yor pleyce ti' myek room for a new bank, which like a
Scotchman has a lang nyem an' greet conneckshuns. But, sor, it nivor rains but it poors, there's
byeth Woods' and Lamtin's gannin' ti hev a bank a peece iv yor borro'. Noo, whee wad hev thowt ov
three banks iv Gyetsed ; wey the brass '11 rowl intiv yor pockets whether ye will or not. Yor new
bank mun be forst-rate, 'cas iv maw day they wor consithor'd sumbody that was cumpinny for the
Lamtins. But, sor, aw see yor drift iv ye gannin' tiv a new offis, ye'U be next door tiv the telegraft
offis, iv Wellington Street, aside the end ov the High Level. Ye knaw what yor aboot, an' ye'll hev
news afore onnybody else, and then iverybody 'ill want the Obsarvor. Yor a queer un."

In 1844 the bank's authorised note issue was fixed at ^442,371, but this they
had to relinquish upon the opening of their London establishment in January, 1867.
This was by far the largest note issue ever surrendered.

The development of the bank is something phenomenal. At the close of
1893 its position was: — Subscribed capital, ;^i 5,900,000 ; paid-up capital,
;£"3,ooo,ooo ; reserve fund, ;^2,ooo,ooo ; partners, 11,544; branches, 168; sub-
branches, 45.

IRewcastle Commercial 3oint Stock Banking Co.

Founded 1836. Failed 1856.

IN the spring of 1836, the newspapers were flooded with announcements of the
formation of companies of every conceivable description, to be carried on
under the Joint Stock principle.

Two new banks jostled each other in the advertisements of the Newcastle
Chronicle of May in that year — the "Newcastle Commercial Bank," and the
" Newcastle Joint Stock Bank." The former had the priority by a day or two, so
it claims our attention first.

The prospectus is dated May 21st, and it will tell its own story.

" The advantages of Joint Stock Banks having been so thoroughly tested during the last ten years,
and the public voice so loudly declared in their favour, it is superfluous on the present occasion to
prove the soundness of the principle on which they are founded, or to point out in detail the
incalculable benefits they have conferred and are likely to confer on the commercial and agricultural

[3i6j ^___

classes of society. The security which Joint Stock Banks afford the public and the subscribers has
never been doubted. The subscribers know that it is their own capital that is employed and managed
by directors under their own control, while it is the duty of such without partiality to assist the
subscribers from temporary embarrassment on sufficient security being handed them. The experience
of 10 years shows not a single failure amongst the Joint Stock Banks, and from an official source a
table is given of their approved value. It might be here shown that these establishments are required
in a place like Newcastle, more than in a place of less commercial importance, where several such
institutions have been advantageously formed. It is however sufficient for the purpose to state that
the public hailed with satisfaction the announcement of a second establishment on Joint Stock
principles. The shares were speedily bought up at a high premium, and every necessary step was
taken to commence operations, when, to the surprise of many shareholders and the public, it has just
been announced that a juncture has taken place with a wealthy Banking company on condition of
being allowed certain shares therein, and one of the partners appointed as manager. The public and
shareholders have thus been disappointed by the apparent monopoly. The advantages anticipated
from branches of adjacent towns are only to be held in common with a party admitted as share-
holders, and who must be actual competitors in every such town, the interest of one party of
shareholders being diametrically opposed to that of the other. Such proceedings the public cannot
countenance, and the advantages of another Joint Stock Bank being as evident now as when the one
alluded to first originated, a number of individuals of commercial influence have determined that one
shall be formed under the denomination of the Newcastle Commercial Banking Co."

The allusion in the circular was to the Northumberland and Durham District
Bank, the prospectus of which was issued in the March previous, and arrangements
subsequently made for incorporating the Newcastle business of Messrs.
Backhouse & Co.

The proposed capital of the Commercial Bank was ^500,000, to be raised in
;^io shares, the company to be considered formed when the shares subscribed for
amounted to ^10,000. Allotment of shares to be made under the management
of the provisional committee. Application for shares to be made to Mr. Fordyce,
share-broker, 48, Dean Street. Geo. Wm. Cram, solicitor.

On June nth, it is announced that "upwards of 25,000 shares have been
applied for, but applications from individuals who can promote the business of the
Bank will continue to be received." A manager is also advertised for. On the
1 8th the provisional committee inform the shareholders that a general meeting
will be held at Mr. Lough's, Queen's Head Inn, on the 22nd inst., to appoint
directors ; and a meeting on July 5th, to agree to the draft of the deed of
settlement. The directors appointed were George Edward Sawyer, James Dent
Weatherley, Edward Twizell Wawn, and George William Cram, the manager being
Lawrence Black. Business was to be commenced on August ist, in the upper
part of the premises at the Bridge End, lately occupied by the Savings' Bank ; this
position being chosen for the convenience of the Gateshead shareholders and
clients, of whom the bank had a strong contingent.


The capital of the bank was ultimately fixed at ^100,000 (instead of ;^5oo,ooo),
^75,000 being called up. The first call of £2 los. was to be made by the opening
day ; shares not paid up in 10 days after to be forfeited.

The bank issued its own notes until 1840, when they were withdrawn, and
only the notes of the Bank of England circulated. The business was small, and
the subscribed capital being more than they could utilise, in July, 1845, it was
reduced to ^50,000 by the repayment of £2 los. per share to the shareholders.
In 1847 Mr. Peter Davidson had become the manager, and he retained that
position for some years.

By 1855 the business of the bank had dwindled away so much that suggestions
were made to wind it up. On October 5th a meeting of the shareholders was
held to consider the matter. The proposition was however abandoned, and it
was stated that the directors had opened communications through Mr. Alderman
Kennedy with influential capitalists in London, who were willing to purchase the
interest of all or any of the existing shareholders at the par price of £c^ per share.
The shareholders expressed their approbation of this step, and a new board was
constituted of Messrs. R. H. Kennedy, R. Keating, M.P., Farmery John Law,
James Sadleir, M.P., and F. Valiant of London ; and W. Walker of Gateshead.

This new constitution was the beginning of the end of the ill-fated Commercial
Bank. The local men were made the dupes of the notorious John Sadleir, and
the ruin of the bank formed part of the gigantic frauds carried out by him. Before
the negotiations for the purchase of the shares were completed, the local manager
had instructions to pass various sums of money to the London representatives, and
in this way, almost the entire local capital found its way to London, and was made
use of to prop up the "Tipperary Bank," then in the last stage of its existence
in consequence of its vast advances to Sadleir. In August following, the bank was
compelled to stop payment. Fortunately, the liabilities were only ;^24,ooo, so
that no very great inconvenience was felt locally. On the 27th of August, 1856,
the following circular was issued : —

" Sir, — It appears by the books of the Newcastle Commercial Bank, that the Company are indebted to
you as a customer. I regret to be obliged to claim your indulgence on behalf of the shareholders and
myself, and to ask you to stay the pressure of your demand for a short time to enable the directors to
collect money due to the company. You are doubtless aware that upwards of £50,000 belonging to the
company have been fraudulently misapplied by a portion of the late London Board of Directors. The
assets of the company are however sufficient to meet all demands against us, and in a short time
the amount duo to you will be paid with 5% interest from this day to date of payment. The amount
owing by the company to the public is under £24,000— our shareholders are upwards of 100 in number,
and many of these are individuals possessed of considerable means. The fortune of each shareholder
is available for the creditors of the bank until every debt is discharged. Wm. Walker, Managing


The winding-up of the bank extended over a considerable time, and led to
many disputes, charges, and counter-charges amongst the directors and shareholders.
Mr. Walker appears to have advanced considerable sums of money while the
bank was tottering, which advances were afterwards disputed by the other directors.
Before me is a circular issued by Mr. William Walker, from Walker Terrace,
Gateshead, dated October 20th, i860. It is a four-paged quarto, with double
columns, and is addressed to the Shareholders of the Newcastle Commercial
Banking Co. It is much too long to insert, but a few quotations will show its
purport : —

" Gentlemen, — In laying before you the facts and observations contained in this circular, I do so for
the purpose of clearing my character from the stigma that has been attached to it from various
circulars which have been issued during the last fev? years. The •whole of the charges that have been
preferred against me have been proved in the various courts to be totally unfounded, being only
supported by the false evidence of malignant men."

Judging from Mr. Walker's statement, he certainly had many difKculties to
contend with. He reviews the whole of the circumstances that occurred after
the introduction of the London men, and gives copies of numerous letters, &c.
He also shows the position of the London people when they opened negotiations.

" The first gentleman — one of the three on the agreement — was the introducer of the whole party, and
was both an Alderman and Sheriff of London, of undoubted wealth, even up to the present time, with
a pension of about £1,000 a year from the East India Company. . . . The second was a director
of the London and County Bank ; the third, a landed proprietor who married an English lady with
£10,000 fortune. He was at the head of the Tipperary Bank and an M.P. Three others were men of
standing, and solicitors for the London and County Bank. The seventh, John Sadleir, was a large
landowner, and Chairman of the Directors of the London and County Bank, and had lent on mortgage
£130,000 on an English Duke's estates, and was an M.P., and had held the high situation of one of the

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 36 of 57)