Jonas Dearnley Taylor, Secretary of the Halifax
In 1852, a group of men met at the Old Cock Inn, Halifax, to form the Halifax Permanent Benefit Building Society. This eventually overtook the Leeds as the world's largest building society.
The Halifax enjoyed a hugely successful first year, far exceeding the expectations of its founders. By March 1854, it had 584 members and a further 144 ad hoc depositors. More than £9,000 had been lent, and branches had been opened at Sowerby bridge, Thornton and Queenshead.
Secret code book for telegraphic messages.
BANK GETS CONNECTED
In 1853, Bank of Scotland became one of the first Scottish banks to use the new electric telegraph service. To ensure confidentiality, a secret telegraphic code was devised.
Introduced in the 1840s, the telegraph was the 19th century equivalent of e-mail - it allowed instant communication for the first time.
In the early days, telegraphs were sent from public offices. Wary of compromising customer confidentiality, banks developed codes that reduced messages to a few unintelligible words. The Bank of Scotland code included words such as ‘Blossom’, ‘Absinth’ and ‘Bagpipe’. ‘Achilles’ stood for Bank of Scotland’s Head Office.
First Halifax mortgage (detail), May 1853. Image: Antonia Reeve.
FIRST HALIFAX MORTGAGE
On 26th May 1853, Esau Hanson became the first person to get a mortgage from the Halifax Permanent Benefit Building Society.
Coincidentally, the ground on which his house once stood was repurchased by the Halifax, many years later. It was used for an extension to the Society's head office, in 1988.
Assignment of James Taylor’s share of business to Lloyd family, 1853.
LLOYDS LOSES TAYLOR
With the death of James Taylor, grandson of one of the founders, the association between the families ended. The bank was renamed Lloyds & Company.
James Taylor’s health had broken down as a result of worries about his business affairs. These were, in fact, largely imaginary. But in 1853 he took his own life. James' son, also called James, declined the offer of a partnership, partly due to his mother’s concerns about him going into commerce. The Taylor family name was removed from the bank’s title.
Proposed elevations for houses in Akroydon, 1861.
MODEL HOUSING IN HALIFAX
In 1861, Edward Akroyd, a wealthy mill owner, started a model housing scheme for workers. He called it 'Akroydon'. The Halifax Permanent Benefit Building Society advanced three quarters of the money.
William Gladstone, architect of Post Office Savings Banks Act, c.1860.
TSBs FACE COMPETITION
William Gladstone’s Post Office Savings Bank Act was passed in 1861. Within a year, more than 2,500 Post Office savings banks had been established.
However, the remainder survived because of the additional benefits they offered depositors. TSBs paid more interest on savings, and it was easier to make withdrawals. Moreover, their staff were specialists, whereas Post Office officials had many other duties to perform.
Minutes of first meeting of directors of Lloyds Banking Company Limited, 1865.
LLOYDS GETS SHAREHOLDERS
After 100 years in business, Lloyds & Co. converted from a private partnership to a joint-stock bank. It became Lloyds Banking Company Ltd.
Bank of Scotland's London office by W. W. Gwyther, 1892. Image: Antonia Reeve.
BANK OF SCOTLAND IN LONDON
London was fast becoming an international financial centre, and in the 1860s, Scottish banks began to open offices there. Bank of Scotland established a permanent office in 1867.
Initially located in Old Broad Street, the Bank moved in the 1890s to extremely grand, purpose-built premises in Bishopsgate. These were designed by architect W. W. Gwyther.
Women depositing money at Liverpool Savings Bank, c.1910.
WOMEN KEEP THEIR SAVINGS
In 1870, the Married Women’s Property Act was passed. For the first time, married women were allowed to keep their own savings.
Operators at Glasgow Central Exchange, 1880s. Courtesy of BT Heritage.
Alexander Graham Bell patented his design for the telephone in 1876. In 1881, Bank of Scotland became the first Scottish bank to utilise this new-fangled technology.
Cartoon from staff magazine showing black horse and beehive, 1920.
INHERITING THE BLACK HORSE
Lloyds Bank inherited the famous black horse symbol in 1884. This sign dates back to the 17th century, when it was used by a goldsmith in the City of London.
The Bank's first symbol, the beehive, continued to be used alongside the black horse until the early 20th century. It still appears on some bank buildings.
Reward notice for information on the banknote forgeries of 1888. Image: Antonia Reeve.
In 1885, a chemistry professor at Edinburgh University produced a series of Bank of Scotland notes which were 'protected against photographic forgery'. But three years later, forgeries appeared…
The 1888 forgeries were traced to 74 year-old John Hamilton Gray Mitchell, a talented artist and engraver. His fakes were excellent, flawed only by the quality of the paper. Mitchell was sentenced to seven years, but only served one because of failing health.
Press cutting announcing discovery of the fraud, 1886.
The savings bank movement was rocked in 1886 by the discovery of a major fraud. The actuary at Cardiff Savings Bank had embezzled £30,000 - 15% of the total deposits.
Members of the TSB Association at Eaton Hall, Chester, c.1900.
TSB ASSOCIATION ESTABLISHED
In 1887, the Trustee Savings Banks Association was established. This was partly a response to the Cardiff Savings Bank fraud the previous year.
Twinings tea warehouse and bank, The Strand, London, 1837.
The Twining family, famous for its tea business, also established a bank. This was eventually acquired by Lloyds in 1892.