Our Heritage

Our roots run deep.

At your service since 1695.

A lot has changed during the 300 year history of our brands and while we have much within our heritage to be proud of, we can’t be proud of it all. Like any institution that is so interwoven with our country’s history, we must acknowledge and learn from our past. 

Understanding our past to build a better future

The Black Lives Matter movement is prompting many of us to reflect, learn and understand more about the active steps we must take to drive positive change.

One way is to equip ourselves with knowledge. We cannot ignore Britain’s colonial past, however uncomfortable this makes us feel. The use of slaves was an industry based on prejudice and racism and while outlawed by the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833, this past still influences the country we are today.

In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries many fortunes were made around the world through the slave industry. Banks and other companies that were established at the time of slavery were connected to this trade.  And when slavery was finally abolished, businesses and individuals were compensated by the government for the loss of “property” – namely men, women and children.  

We're working to identify the direct and indirect connections of some of our legacy companies and their customers to slavery.

Here’s what we know:

Today we strive to create a fully inclusive environment for all of our colleagues, customers and communities; one that is truly representative of modern day Britain. We stand against racism, slavery and discrimination in all its forms and truly believe that by reflecting, understanding, promoting and valuing the diversity of our colleagues, we will deliver better results for our staff and customers.