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 43 of 57)
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The statements of his housekeeper, Mary Walker, were so contradictory, that
she too was given into custody, and eventually charged as accessory after the fact.
The bank officials offered —

" a reward of £100 to any person who shall give such information as will lead to conviction, &c., &c.
Lord John Russell will advise Her Majesty to give a free pardon to any but the actual murderer."

The prisoner Bolam came up at the Spring Assizes on March 4th, 1839, Baron
Parke and Baron Alderson being the Judges, and Sir Gregory Lewin, Public
Prosecutor. Counsel for the defence applied for a postponement, and the removal
of the trial to the county, public feeling being so strong in Newcastle against the
prisoner. After a long altercation this was arranged. So great was the anger and
indignation of the crowd that it was only by a ruse that Bolam was safely conveyed
to gaol.

The new trial commenced on Monday, July 28th, 1839, Baron Maule
presiding. Bolam pleaded not guilty, but the evidence adduced, though wholly
circumstantial, was terribly strong against him. In due time the Judge summed up,

" And in so doing proceeded to strike out all the strong points against the prisoner, accounting for some,
assigning plausible reasons for others, and denying many of the arguments which had been adduced by
the public prosecutor. Indeed, his whole address was more like a speech for the prisoner than a
review of the evidence. He concluded by intimating that if the jury really foimd him guilty, then
could he convict him but of manslaughter, and if they did not think him concerned in the death of
Millie, then would they give him a verdict of acquittal." Richardson's " Table Book," vol. v., page 69.

After an absence of three hours, the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter.
On the following day he was sentenced " to be transported beyond the sea for the
term of his natural life." The prisoner remarked, " My Lord, I regard that
sentence as my death." The trial created intense excitement. The Times went
to the expense of expressing the trial the whole distance to London.

On August 31st, Bolam was placed on board the "Attwood," and conveyed
to the hulks until his sailing for Botany Bay. The wretched prisoner survived his
sentence many years, and apparently gained his freedom some time before his
death. He is said to have presented a sun-dial to the Botanic Gardens in Sydney.


The Newcastle Chronicle, March 30th, 1863, contained the following
announcement among the deaths : —

" At his residence, 5, O'Conneli Street, Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales, on 25th December, 1862,
Mr. Archibald Bolam, in his 67th year, a native of Northumberland (Harbottle), and for some years
resident in Newcastle, and Actuary of the Savings Bank."

A subscription was opened for the four children left by the unfortunate Millie,
which eventually exceeded ;^i,ooo, Messrs. C. H. Cook, John Bulman, David
Akenhead, and James Finlay being appointed trustees. The last-named
gentleman for many years took a deep interest in the welfare of the children.
For a long period Millie's father kept a hardw^are shop in North Shields ; he failed at
one time, but some years afterwards most honourably paid all his liabilities in full.

Though the business of the bank was much inconvenienced by the terrible
tragedy, every effort was made to allay public alarm, and fortunately with success.

As time passed on, the premises in the Arcade were found to be inconvenient.
When Grainger Street was extended to the Central Station, the bank directors
early secured at a cost of ^2,200 the site on which the present magnificent
building stands. On May 3rd, 1862, the business was transferred from the
Arcade, and now the Newcastle Savings' Bank occupies one of the most handsome
banking establishments in the town. The gross cost of building and site was
;^io,367. Subsequently the Arcade premises were sold for ^3,500.

Mr. G. M. Masterton was appointed to succeed Mr. Bolam, and retained the
position until October loth, 1856 ; he died about twelve months afterwards. Mr.
James Fletcher was appointed 26th November, 1856, and retained the position
until his death, January 25th, 1892. At the death of Mr. Fletcher, many
applicants clamoured for the appointment, and the directors, on February 4th,
1892, unanimously elected a gentleman who had the greatest claim to the
position, namely, Mr. H. Piper, who had acted as cashier in the bank since
January 30th, 1869, the appointment giving general satisfaction, both in and
outside of the bank.

Sbielt)0, Willianu Burbam.

Probably merged into
Mowbray & Co.

Founded prior to 1790.

THE British Directory for 1790, gives under Durham, William Shields,
Mercer, Draper, and Banker. Presumably he was the gentleman who
subsequently became a partner in Mowbray, Hollingsworth, & Co.. A
further account of him will be found under " Richardson & Mowbray." (See
page 3S3-)


Simpson, Cbapman, S, (To.

Founded prior to


Purchased by York
Union in 1892.

Wakefield Simpson. Thomas Simpson. John Chapman Walker.

Abel Chapman. John Chapman. Henry Simpson, jun.

Henry Simpson. Henry Simpson. Thomas Wakefield Simpson.

THIS establishment was one of the pioneers of banking in Whitby. It
successfully weathered the storms and panics of over a century, and when
these pages were commenced was still a flourishing private bank using its
own notes, though it has now passed over to swell the ranks of the " Joint Stocks."


'' ' \lnMM^^^^^rM^ /cVM





The bank was originated by Wakefield Simpson, of Whitby, draper and grocer,
who "did banking business," as it was then expressed, in a small counting-house
"off" his shop in the Market Place. Bailey s Northern Directory for 1781, under
"Whitby," names no bankers, though at that time Wakefield Simpson was
receiving money on deposit and drawing bills on his London Agent. In 1785 he

took as his partner Abel Chapman, a
member of a wealthy and influential
Whitby family, and commenced regular
banking business. It is highly probable
that at the same time Wakefield
Simpson's son Henry was made a partner, as the British Directory of 1790, gives
Simpson, Chapman, and Simpson, bankers, Whitby. They opened their bank in
Grape Lane, in the same premises that are now occupied by their successors.



Grape Lane is a very narrow thoroughfare leading off from the Bridge End
on the east side of the harbour. In front, the estabhshment has the appearance

of a private house. During
banking hours the door
stands open, but a "Httle
green gate" swings across
the entrance, and seems
to say, "No admission ex-
cept on business." Proceed-
ing along the passage, the
bank premises proper are
reached, they being in the
rear — light, airy, and com-
modious — with many win-
dows that overlook the
harbour. Here the bank
has flourished ever since its
foundation in 1785. I am
informed that the house was
formerly an old inn, known
by the sign of "The Grapes,"
that it had an entrance from
the harbour, and duplicate
cellars underneath, a most
convenient thing in the days
of smuggling, for which
Whitby had an unenviable

Wakefield Simpson died April 20th, 1806, and his executors paid on May 8th
of the same year the legal fine of 50/- for his being buried in linen. This mode of
burial was also contrary to the rules of the Society of Friends, of which body
Mr. Simpson was a member.

The note represented on the previous page must have been signed a very short
time before his death. The vignette represents the grand old abbey with the
great west window which fell during a gale on the 12th November, 1794.

Another guinea note before me, dated August ist, 181 1, is signed by Abel
Chapman. It was found in the secret drawer of an old cabinet in Pickering. It



Abel Chapman.

WAKEFiEiiD Simpson.

Henbt Simpson.

John Chapman.

Thomas Simpson.

Henby Simpson.

Henbt Simpson, Jun.

John Chapman WaijKeb.

Thomas W. Simpson.


was cancelled in 1884, and had probably been in its hiding-place more than
seventy years.

There does not appear to have been any deed of partnership between the
original founders (a Chancery suit in after years being the consequence), so that
the exact date of the changing of the members of the firm cannot be given.

On the death of Henry Simpson in 1826, his son Thomas Simpson joined the
firm, John Chapman, son of Abel, also becoming a partner. Thomas Simpson
was succeeded by his son Henry Simpson, in 1848 the firm being — Abel Chapman
(the founder), John Chapman (his son), and Henry Simpson (great-grandson of
Wakefield Simpson). Abel Chapman died in 1852 at the patriarchal age of 96,
having been a partner from the foundation of the bank in 1785 — a period of 67
years. During this time what changes must have occurred in Whitby, and in the
banking world generally !

The two remaining partners, John Chapman and Henry Simpson, were the
only members of the firm until 1871, when John Chapman Walker (great nephew
of John Chapman) and Henry Simpson, jun., joined the bank. The next year John
Chapman died, and was followed in 1877 by Henry Simpson jun., whose place in
the firm was soon after taken by his brother, Thomas Wakefield Simpson. In
1890, John Chapman Walker retired, leaving only Henry and Thomas Wakefield
Simpson. Two years later, the business was consigned to the York Union Bank,
Mr. John Chapman Walker, one of the late partners, returning as manager. The
old premises were retained, but " Simpson's Bank," which had been a household
word in Whitby for over a century, was no more.

In 1805 their London Agents are given as Elton & Co. I do not find the
name amongst the London banks of that date, but possibly the firm was Elton,
Hammond, & Co., Wholesale Tea Dealers, 21, Milk Street. In 1816
Barclay & Co. had the agency, and retained it until the transfer of the bank.

Simpson, Chapman, & Co. had a considerable note issue in various
denominations — £\, £1 is., and £^. In 1844 the issue was fixed at ;^i4,258,
which was retained till the transfer, when the issue lapsed.

In the neighbourhood of Whitby the notes were alwa3^s taken with the
greatest confidence, and much preferred to those of the Bank of England.

A friend told me that about 1855 he went to Mrs. Wilson, Esk Inn, Bog Hall, Whitby, where he was
well known, and asked her to oblige him with change for a Bank of England £5 note. She replied,
" No 1 I'll ha' nought to do with them things, I knaw nought about them ; now if it had been a
' Simpson,' I would ha' changed it with pleasure."


The good people of Whitby were evidently proud of their bank notes, and
gave the name to their vessels. In January, 1827, the *' Heart of Oak " and the
" Bank Note," both of Whitby, were wrecked upon the Scaur, near that port.

Wakefield Simpson married a daughter of John Walker, shipowner and Quaker.
By this marriage he became possessed of several ships, one being the "Free Love,"
the vessel on which Capt. Cook served his apprenticeship.

The Chapmans at one time belonged to the Society of Friends. They
afterwards seceded it is said, for the following reason : — As shipowners they could
not charter their ships for the transport of troops and stores, a lucrative business
during the great war, unless they carried guns on board. The early Quakers were
as much advocates of peace as they are now, and they resolved that the
Chapmans must give up their guns or the "Society" ; they apparently chose the

The Chapmans, Simpsons, and Walkers have often intermarried, and have
been intimately connected personally and by marriage with some of the leading
banking families of the country. Marriages occur with the Barclays, Gurneys,
and Frys. Edward Henry Chapman was a director of the Bank of England.

The last head of the old bank did not long survive his retirement into private
life. He died at his residence, Meadowfield, Whitby, June loth, 1893, in his
77th year, having been born May loth, 1816.

Like many Whitby men, when young, Henry Simpson was apprenticed to the sea. In 1834
he was second mate of the East Indiaman " Earl of Eldon," and on this vessel he had a narrow escape
from death. While on a voyage from Bombay, by the Cape to London, the " Earl of Eldon " was
destroyed by fire. There were in all, forty-six souls on board ; they were obliged to take to the boats,
Mr. Simpson being in charge of one of them. They sailed for Roderigues, a distance of over
1,000 miles. One of the two crafts got damaged by a heavy sea, so the passengers and provisions it
contained were taken into the remaining boat. The occupants were literally wedged together. The
sufferings of all were beyond description. The heat of a tropical sun by day, cold winds by night,
scarcity of provisions, drenching rain, and heavy secui all added to their distress. After enduring such

♦ The story is not at all improbable. In the Quaker burial ground at Cullercoats, was a stone to the memory
of the wife of Lawrence Haslem. When writing the account of this ground, I found the following incident
noted in the records of the Society : " Monthly Meeting 10 day 11 month 1693. Lawrence Haslem came to
this meeting, and friends had some discourse with him about his having Guns in his ship, and tenderly
admonished him of the evil consequences of it, and its inconsistency to the principles of truth, wth desire
that he may dwell under the weighty consideration of the matter soe as to come into the unity of ffriends in
his judgement and practice therein, and that ffriends who have the exercise of truth in this particular upon
them, may further deal with Lawrence as in ye wisdom of God they may see necessary, and give account to
this meeting."

Haslem was interviewed, and soon after it is recorded. "12 day 1 month 169f, Jeremiah Hunter
and Lawrence Weardale having spoke Lawrence Haslem about carrying Guns, does certify this Meeting that
he gives them an account that for the satisfaction of friends he has sold bis Gans and is to deliver them
very shortly."



hardships thirteen days, they reached land. It is remarkable that not a life was lost, although amongst
the number were three ladies, one of whom had a young baby. An account of their voyage was
subsequently written by Major Hart, one of the passengers. From the hardships he endured then,
Mr. Simpson's eyesight became impaired. He left the sea, and a place was found for him in the
old bank.

Simpeon, Sanberson, ^ai^Ioreon, (Brainier, &Co.


Founded 1796.



Wound up in 1802.

Thomas Simpson. John Sanderson.

William Taylorson. Joseph Grainger.

AN advertisement in a Yorkshire paper announces : — " The Commercial
£^^ Bank, Stokesley, opened this day under the firm of Thomas Simpson,
John Sanderson, William Taylorson, Joseph Grainger, & Co. Stokesley,
November loth, 1796."

Before me is a five guinea note dated from Stokesley, 4th day of November,
1796 (a few days before the opening), and is signed— " For Thomas Simpson,
William Taylorson, John Sanderson, Joseph Grainger, & Co. Thos. Simpson."

From this date until their failure six years afterwards (June 5th, 1802), I have
no record of their proceedings. Their affairs were then in the hands of Mr. Clarke
of Stockton, who wound up the estate.


Sfiinner, att^, d Ibolt stocftton.

Founded 1815. Purchased by Nat. Prov.

Partners. Bank of England, 1836.

William Skinner. William Skinner, j'un.

— Atty. John Holt Skinner.

William Holt.

THE failure of Messrs. Lumley & Co. in July, 18 15, left Stockton with only
one bank (Messrs. Hutchinson and Place), and notwithstanding the fact
that two other banks in the county had collapsed almost at the same time,
gentlemen of position were still to be found who were willing to risk their fortunes
in the precarious business of banking. On October 2nd of this fatal year, " The
Commercial Bank of Stockton " was announced to take the place of the down-
fallen " Stockton and Cleveland Bank ; " Messrs. Skinner, Atty, and Holt being the
proprietors. A branch was subsequently opened at Darlington, and another at
Barnard Castle.

The general panic of 1825 tried the resources of the bank to the utmost. A
newspaper of the day announces : —

" The establishment of Messrs. Skinner & Co, of Stockton and Darlington Commercial Bank at
Darlington, suspended its pajTnents on Tuesday last (Dec. 13th), but resumed them again on Thursday
morning, and confidence with regard to the firm was completely established."

It appears that payment never ceased at the head office, for on Wednesday
morning —

" a number of persons apparently of the description of those who might be supposed to hold a solitary
note assembled at the door of Messrs. Skinner's Bank at Stockton. The confused group continued
there until a little after three o'clock, at which time a post chaise, drawn by four horses, arrived from
London with a supply of cash. The gentlemen inside the chaise were immediately cheered by the
populace, who in less than half an hour departed, perfectly satisfied with the honourable proceedings
and stability of Messrs. Skinner & Co."

At this time very great excitement prevailed in London, and on Sunday,
December i ith, an unusual sight was seen in Lombard Street, many of the banks
being open, with post-chaises at their doors ready to carry specie for the eager
excited country bankers, who were fortunate enough to obtain it from their
London agents.

The post-chaise that dashed up at such an opportune moment for the
Stocktonians, left London early on Monday morning as soon as the bank opened.


A manifesto was issued by the Stockton people that would greatly help to allay
the excitement.

" CoMMEBCiAL Bank. — We, the undersigned Merchants, Tradesmen, and others, being highly pleased
with the handsome manner in which Messrs. William Skinner and Co. have met the sudden and heavy
demands upon them, and being fully satisfied with their stability and resources, will gladly take their
NOTES AS USUAL." The list has about 130 signatures attached.

In 1827 the Darlington establishment was on the High Row ; the firm also
had branches at Barnard Castle, Yarm, and Stokesley. A considerable business
appears to have been done.

Doubtless the numerous panics that swept the North of England from time to
time, would affect Messrs. Skinner as well as other bankers. It is stated that on one
occasion, a run upon their Darlington branch was checked by the action of Mr.
Pease, who we are told, went behind the counter of Messrs. Skinner & Co., and
wrote the following in a book lying on the table : —

" Edward Pease & Co. keep their account at this Bank, and are so satisfied of its solvency that they
hereby engage to indemnify creditors of the Bank to the extent of ten thousand pounds."

This promise stayed the withdrawal of deposits and the presentation of notes.
It is said that Messrs. Skinner never forgot their obligation.

Soon after the introduction of joint stock banks, Messrs. Skinner & Co.
transferred their business to one of these establishments. The National Provincial
Bank of England was founded in 1833, and the promoters were anxious to open
branches all over the country. Overtures were made to Messrs. Skinner & Co. for
the disposal of their business, and on August 23rd, 1836, it was announced that
the National Provincial Bank had succeeded to the business of the Commercial
Bank, that branches would be opened at Stockton and Darhngton, and that they
would be under the management of Mr. Wm. Skinner, jun.

The Skinner family originally belonged to Whitby, but became connected
with Stockton through marriage into the family of the late Richard Walker of that
place. Amongst other businesses they were connected with the whale fishing.
They owned the " William and Anne," and some of the voyages this vessel made
were most successful. In 1808 she returned with twenty-five fish, which produced
209 tons of oil. The Skinners were shipowners at Whitby for some years after
they opened the bank at Stockton.

In 1762, John and William Skinner purchased the Ferndale Fields at Whitby,
from Commodore Hayes, and soon after commenced the handsome street that leads
to the West Cliff, which bears the name of " Skinner Street." William Skinner,
jun., married at Stockton, April 23rd, 1825, Mary, daughter of the late James


Walker, Alderman of that Corporation. The families were further connected by the
marriage of Richard Walker of Stockton with Mary, second daughter of William
Skinner, formerly of Whitby, July 19th, 1827.

In reference to the timely arrival of gold from London in 1825, I received
an interesting letter from Mrs. Skinner of Moray House, Ryde, Isle of Wight,
dated January 25th, 1894, from which I extract the following: —

" I have just been reading your manuscript to my dear husband and he is immensely interested in it.
He well recollects that exciting drive to London in the post chaise and four, accompanied by Mr.
Wilson (Radcliffe Wilson, I think), solicitor to the Bank, each one armed with a pair of loaded pistols,
for highway robbery was no uncommon thing in those days, and a coach returning with specie from
the Bank was very liable to be attacked, but the good hand of his God was over him then as it has been
on very many other occasions. He believes it was early on Monday morning that he reached the
London Bank, and that he and Mr. Wilson were the first to drive away from it. Majiy a time has he
told the exciting story with great animation and sparkling eyes to my nephews and nieces. He loves
to tell of the whale fishery too. We have a picture of the " William and Anne," the " Armwell," and
the " Lively." His father, with others, had shares in them. He will give you his autograph."

/; ^ /p /^AX^ • ^^ ^^ exceptional to get a personal

( y^Jz^At. ^^:T& ^/a,^<-n£^ ~> narrative of an incident that hap-

^ pened in 1825, now very nearly
seventy years since.*

The Atty family appear to have belonged to Whitby also. In 1803, Mr.
Atty was venturing in the whale fishery, but his vessel does not appear to have
had much success. In other shipping interests they were much more prosperous ;
being large transport owners, their vessels proved very remunerative during the
time of the wars in the early part of the present century.

The Stockton bankers were much interested in municipal matters, as has been
shown in the review of the two former Stockton banks. Messrs. Skinner were no
exception. William Skinner, sen., was Mayor in 1820, and William Skinner, jun.,
was elected Mayor in 1825 and 1826.

It was during his term of office that Wellington " the great Captain of the age " visited Stockton, on
September 24th, 1827. The town was en fete; " Welcome to the Hero of Waterloo " was the motto of
the day. " The Assembly Room in which refreshments were served up, was elegantly decorated. At

♦ A correspondent sends the fcllovring :— " The Skinners owned or held shares in the following ships :— 1752—
'Briton,' 1781 to 1806— ' William and Anne,' 1782— ' Eliza,' 1786— ' Lorrel," 1788 to 1793— ' London,' 1789— 'Delilus,
1794—' Cerez.' It was the custom for the ship apprentices to live in the house of the owners, and Mr. Skinner had
them as guests when the ships were laid up for the winter. When not engaged on board they did house work,
including the nursing of the children, of whom there were fourteen. . . . This information of the ownership
of the vessels is gathered from what remains of the Whitby Poorhouse accounts for the delivery of oakum,
which happens to be the only available record of ships, those of Whitby Custom House, up to the year 1811,
sharing the fate of other ports in the fire of the London Custom House about 1832. It is related of Thomas
Dove, carpenter of the " Eliza," that on boring a treenail hole he discovered a massive over-glove ring with a
miniature portrait of the Dauphin of France. It was supposed to have been hidden away by some refugee
passenger from France."


the higher end of it, was a beautiful canopy of crimson and yellow cloth, raised on a platform. Under
this sat the chairman, the Mayor of Stockton (Wm. Skinner, jun., Esq.), having on his right hand the
Duke of Wellington, the Marchioness of Londonderry, &c., &c."

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 43 of 57)