Hodgkin, Barnett, Pease & Spence
The Newcastle firm of Hodgkin, Barnett, Pease, Spence & Co. was founded in 1859, in the aftermath of a banking crisis. The year 1857 had seen the collapse of the last remaining joint-stock bank in the town - the Northumberland & Durham District Bank.
This failure reflected the lack of confidence that people of the north-east had in joint-stock banking. As a result, the setting up of a new private bank, owned by its partners rather than shareholders, was greeted with enthusiasm.
The founding partners were already experienced in banking; one was the former manager of a bank (albeit recently failed), whilst two others were sons of partners in prominent London firms.
With the recent failure of so many joint-stock banks in the area, Hodgkin & Co. had a ready-made customer base. Early customers included the large engineering firms based on Tyneside, and before long, the major ship builders had joined them.
The firm was able to expand rapidly. Branches were opened across the north-east, making it one of the largest financial institutions in the region. By 1903, it had 30 offices.
Despite its regional prominence, Hodgkin & Co. struggled to compete against the larger banks, which had nationwide branch networks. It was taken over by Lloyds, in 1903. One of the partners, J.W. Beaumont Pease, joined the board of directors. He later served as chairman, from 1922 to 1945. A portrait of Pease still hangs in the Head Office of Lloyds Banking Group in London.