The history of Lloyds Banking Group: timeline
Use our timelines to explore more than 300 years of history.
The story of Lloyds Banking Group stretches back to 1695. Uncover this rich and unique heritage by taking a look at our timeline.
1695 - 1900
Taylor & Lloyds founded
1765 - Lloyds Bank
Lloyds Bank began life as Taylors & Lloyds in Birmingham, in 1765. It was founded by Sampson Lloyd II, John Taylor and their two sons. Each invested £2,000.
Sampson Lloyd’s father had fled Wales for Birmingham at the end of the 17th century, to escape persecution for his Quaker beliefs. Sampson, also a prominent Quaker, followed his father into the iron trade. John Taylor was a Unitarian and a cabinet maker. He was also well-known for his exquisite snuff boxes. But from 1765, the men concentrated entirely on the bank. For the first 100 years, this prospered from a single Birmingham office.
Traveller cheque invented
1772 - Lloyds Bank
Robert Herries established a bank in London’s West End, in 1772. He went on to invent the 'circular note', forerunner of today’s traveller’s cheque.
Before the circular note, obtaining money while abroad could be time-consuming and expensive. Herries’ business thrived in an age when the aristocracy viewed the Grand Tour as a rite of passage for their sons. So successful was the note that other banks were soon obliged to offer the same service.
Herries, Farquhar & Co, as it was latterly known, was acquired by Lloyds in 1893.
1774 - Bank of Scotland
In 1774, Bank of Scotland successfully opened its first branch offices in Dumfries and Kelso. But transporting money to and from branches could be a dangerous business.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, highwaymen posed one of the greatest threats to road travellers. The large sums of money carried by Bank messengers made them a tempting target. Deliveries to Dumfries, for example, usually consisted of £6,000 in banknotes – about £380,000 today. Small wonder then that the messengers were accompanied by armed guards. Their weapons of choice were flintlock pistols or a blunderbuss.
First female bank clerk
1785 - Bank of Scotland
Eleanora Hog was taken on as a 'Day Book' clerk at the British Linen Company in 1785. This is the earliest known record of a female bank clerk in Scotland.
Her appointment was unique. It was almost certainly related to the fact her father, Walter Hog, was manager of the Company. But Eleanora was good at her job - she was subsequently promoted to Ledger Clerk, and then to Book-keeper. Her salary in each case was equal to that of her male counterparts.
Eleanora retired in 1816. It was to be another 99 years before a female clerk was employed again!
Lines written on a note
1786 - Bank of Scotland
On the brink of financial ruin, Rabbie Burns wrote a poem lamenting his lack of money. He penned the lines on the back of a Bank of Scotland guinea note.
Almost penniless after a series of setbacks, Burns planned to emigrate to Jamaica. It was a painful decision:
'I leave this much-lov'd shore, Never, perhaps, to greet old Scotland more'.
But Burns' fortunes were about to change. A friend encouraged him to publish some poems to raise money for the trip. The resulting work, 'Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect', was an instant success.
The artist forger
1788 - Bank of Scotland
In 1788 Thomas Watling, an art master in Dumfries, was accused of forging Bank of Scotland guinea notes. Facing the death penalty, he volunteered to be transported to Australia.
Watling was sent to the penal colony in Sydney Cove. His artistic skills, which had enabled him to produce convincing forgeries, were quickly put to use. He was assigned to Surgeon General John White, an amateur naturalist. Watling made more than 100 drawings and paintings of flora and fauna. They are considered some of the best early depictions of Australian wildlife by a European artist.
The first savings bank
1810 - TSB
The Revd Henry Duncan opened the world’s first self-supporting savings bank in Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire. He aimed to persuade his poorer parishioners to save for times of ill-health and old age.
This savings bank differed from those that had gone before. It was based on business principles, rather than relying on charitable donations. Interest was paid on deposits, and there were bonuses for regular savers. However, savers who made irregular deposits were fined, and no withdrawals could be made without the approval of the trustees. Duncan’s savings bank model soon spread across Scotland, and into England and Wales.
Scottish Widows founded
1815 - Scottish Widows
The 'Scottish Widows' Fund', Scotland's oldest life assurance office, officially opened for business in January 1815. It went on to become the largest mutual life office in the UK.
Originally proposed in 1811 as a fund for 'widows, sisters and other females' in Scotland, its remit quickly expanded. Instead it was to be 'a General Society, the benefit of which may be extended to all parts of the United Kingdom'. The Fund issued its first life policies in 1814, but for business reasons the directors named 2nd January 1815 as the official start date.
Explosion of growth
1818 - TSB
The idea of the savings bank spread rapidly. Just eight years after Henry Duncan set up his bank, a staggering 465 had been opened across Britain.
These new savings banks followed Duncan’s original business model. They were set up by public-spirited individuals who took on the role of trustees. Having seen the success of savings banks elsewhere, they wished to bring the same benefits to the poor in their own communities. The trustees took on the expenses of opening the bank until it became self-supporting.
1822 - Lloyds
The original symbol of Lloyds Bank was a beehive. It was introduced in 1822, following a highway robbery in which £4,002 of Taylors & Lloyds’ banknotes were stolen.
The notes were taken from a mail coach, en route from London to Birmingham. Their loss prompted the partners to make their banknotes more distinctive, so that they would be more easily recognised. The symbol of the beehive was chosen, for its connotations of thrift and industry. From that point on, it appeared on banknotes, furniture and stationery.
1824 - Halifax
The Medical, Clerical and General Life Assurance Society, as it was originally known, was set up in 1824. It was aimed at the middle classes, in particular clergymen and medical practitioners.
The Society differed from other providers. It was prepared to offer life assurance to people in ill health, by adopting the revolutionary practice of 'rating up'. No fewer than nine doctors served on the Board. This gave the Society an expertise that rival companies lacked – the directors could predict life expectancy with far greater accuracy, and set their premiums accordingly.
Clerical Medical was acquired by the Halifax in 1996.
Last duel in Scotland
1826 - Bank of Scotland
On 23rd August 1826, the last duel in Scotland was fought at Cardenbarns, Kirkcaldy. The duellers were David Landale and his bank manager, George Morgan. The banker was killed.
Morgan was the Bank of Scotland agent (manager) at Kirkcaldy. He had challenged Landale, a customer, to a duel following a long-standing quarrel. When Morgan was killed, Landale stood trial for murder. He was acquitted on grounds of self-defence.
Happily, the Morgan-Landale feud was not perpetuated. Morgan's nephew (who later also served as the Bank's Kirkcaldy agent) married one of Landale's daughters.
Scottish pound note saved
1826 - Bank of Scotland
In 1826, Sir Walter Scott lead a campaign to save the Scottish £1 note. Banknotes for under £5 had already been outlawed in England and Wales.
Large numbers of English provincial banks were failing and the Government blamed the proliferation of small notes. It planned to pass similar legislation in Scotland, where the £1 was widely used. There was an outcry. Scott led the protests, writing pamphlets under the name of 'Malachi Malagrowther'.
The campaign was a success and the proposal was dropped. For this reason, Scott's portrait appears on Bank of Scotland notes today.
Scottish Widows go South
1832 - Scottish Widows
In 1832, facing increased competition in Scotland, Scottish Widows decided to expand south of the border. The Fund targeted 'places in England where an extensive Scotch connexion is known to exist'.
Scottish Widows already had a network of nine 'agencies' (branches) across Scotland, stretching from Kelso to Lerwick. Within three years of its decision to expand south, agencies were established in Bradford, Huddersfield, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and London. The peaceful invasion of England was a success.
Murder in Newcastle
1838 - TSB
At two o'clock on a cold December morning in 1838, the fire engines were called to Newcastle Savings Bank. Inside, the bloody body of Joseph Millie, Assistant Actuary, was discovered.
Actuary Archibald Bolam was also found, alive but badly injured. At first glance, it appeared that a robbery had gone badly wrong. However, at the subsequent inquest, evidence suggested that Bolam had in fact murdered his colleague. He had then slit his own throat to deflect suspicion.
The actuary was eventually convicted of manslaughter and transported to Australia. The motive for his crime, however, was never uncovered.
The penny bank is born
1847 - TSB
Penny banks were for people who couldn’t afford to join a regular savings bank. The first was set up in Greenock, Scotland, in 1847.
Most savings banks required a minimum deposit of £1. Penny banks, however, allowed customers to deposit as little as a one penny. Once they had saved a pound, an account would be opened at the parent savings bank. The idea quickly caught on, and penny banks were established up and down the country, in Sunday schools, schools, mechanics’ institutes, and social clubs.
Leeds permanent founded
1848 - Halifax
‘The Permanent Second Leeds Benefit Building Society’ (later the Leeds Permanent) was founded in 1848. Within ten years, it was the largest building society in the world.
Like many industrial towns, Leeds had a rapidly expanding population and a chronic shortage of housing. Building societies were set up help remedy this. They provided people with funds to build or buy their own homes. The Leeds Permanent replaced an earlier 'terminating' society (i.e. one which closed once all its members were housed). It remained one of Britain's leading building societies until the merger with the Halifax, in 1995.
Cheltenham & Gloucester
1850 - Lloyds
The Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society was founded in 1850. For the first 20 years, it had no office of its own, but operated from the Belle Vue Hotel in Cheltenham.
The directors met at the hotel once a month to approve mortgages and accept investments. By the 1890s, the Society was ready to expand. It opened a branch office in Gloucester, and began a programme of acquiring smaller building societies. These acquisitions continued into the 20th century.
In 1995, Cheltenham & Gloucester was itself taken over by Lloyds Bank.
Building societies reform
1850 - Halifax
With the passing of The Great Reform Act in 1832, a number of building societies actively sought to extend the franchise, through the promotion of home ownership.
The Act extended the vote in boroughs to male householders who owned or rented property worth more than £10 a year. The Leeds Permanent was one of the building societies which sought to promote the right to vote. Its first annual report in 1850 records that 'upwards of sixty persons have been placed in a position to claim the franchise, if they think proper, by the aid of this Society alone.'
1852 - 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.
Among the founding fathers was Jonas Dearnley Taylor, a solicitor's clerk. He became the Society's first Secretary, a position he retained for nearly 50 years.
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.
Bank gets connected
1853 - Bank of Scotland
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
1853 - Halifax
On 26th May 1853, Esau Hanson became the first person to get a mortgage from the Halifax Permanent Benefit Building Society.
The mortgage was for the princely sum of £121 – about £7,000 today. Hanson, a local textile manufacturer, used the money to buy land for a house. The loan was repaid over 13 years, at a rate of 5% interest.
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.
Lloyds loses Taylor
1853 - Lloyds
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.
Model housing in Halifax
1861 - 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.
Akroyd had observed that working class housing in Halifax was 'generally… of an inferior class'. He engaged architect George Gilbert Scott, who produced designs of a very high standard. All homes had two or more bedrooms, gas and running water. Prospective purchasers had only to provide a small deposit; the remainder was lent by the Halifax. Akroydon was one of a number of such schemes in which the Society assisted.
TSB faces competition
1861 - TSB
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.
Many of these were in direct competition with existing trustee savings banks. Within ten years, more than 200 TSBs had been forced to close.
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.
Lloyds gets shareholders
1865 - Lloyds
After 100 years in business, Lloyds & Co. converted from a private partnership to a joint-stock bank. It became Lloyds Banking Company Ltd.
Lloyds had only opened its first branch the previous year. However, serious expansion was just around the corner. With 148 shareholders now investing in the company, its capital base was much stronger. This resulted in a period of unprecedented expansion. Over the next 50 years, Lloyds took over more than 50 competitors.
BOS in London
1867 - Bank of Scotland
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.
The Bank had originally opened a London office in 1696, a year after its foundation. Its 36 London-based shareholders met there. But the office had closed by 1703, and it was another 164 years before Bank of Scotland re-established its presence.
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 keep their savings
1870 - TSB
In 1870, the Married Women’s Property Act was passed. For the first time, married women were allowed to keep their own savings.
Prior to this, any money that a woman held on marriage automatically became the property of her husband. The new Act allowed women to keep their savings, up to the value of £200 – about £9,000 today. Unlike the commercial banks, savings banks had always attracted female savers in large numbers. With the passing of the Act, the demand for savings accounts was even greater.
1881 - Bank of Scotland
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.
Telephone exchanges were opened in both Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1879. Three years later, Bank of Scotland instructed the National Telephone Company to install a 'wire' in its head office in Edinburgh. The cost was £15 a year – about £700 today.
Within months, the branch manager at Glasgow requested a telephone too. The directors agreed, on condition that the instrument was not used for the 'management of money transactions'.
Inherits the black horse
1884 - Lloyds
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.
Lloyds adopted the black horse with the take-over of Lombard Street bankers Barnetts, Hoares & Co. The sign of the black horse had originally hung above the shop of Lombard Street goldsmith Humphrey Stokes, from as early as 1677.
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.
1885 - Bank of Scotland
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.
Professor Crum Brown had found the perfect combination of colour, ink and design to prevent photographic forgery: but it couldn’t stop forgery by more traditional methods.
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.
1886 - TSB
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.
The fraud was only discovered on the actuary’s death. The Bank’s trustees handled the investigation poorly, enraging depositors by refusing to repay the money in full. The crisis escalated, and the whole savings banks movement came under scrutiny, from the press and public alike. In the wake of the scandal, the TSB Association was set up, partly to ensure any future crises were properly managed.
1887 - TSB
In 1887, the Trustee Savings Banks Association was established. This was partly a response to the Cardiff Savings Bank fraud the previous year.
The Association had two aims: to protect the interests of depositors, and to increase co-operation among savings banks. Initially, only 26 banks signed up. But the Association's role steadily grew as more banks joined. By the late 1920s, it had become a registered limited company. It also published the 'Gazette', a magazine for staff working in the savings banks.
1892 - Lloyds
The Twining family, famous for its tea business, also established a bank. This was eventually acquired by Lloyds in 1892.
In 1706, Thomas Twining opened the UK’s very first tea shop on the Strand, in London. The firm later diversified into banking, offering services mainly to family and friends. This side of the business grew, and in 1824, the bank was established as a separate entity. The Twining family was still heavily involved some 70 years later, when the bank was acquired by Lloyds.
A bank for Scotland
1695 - Bank of Scotland
Bank of Scotland was founded by an Act of the Scottish Parliament, on 17th July 1695. It is Scotland's first and oldest bank.
The Bank was set up primarily to develop Scotland's trade with England and the Low Countries. It began business in February 1696, with a working capital of £120,000 Scots (£10,000 sterling). Most of its 172 shareholders (including 36 based in London) were from Scotland's political and mercantile elite. They hoped to create a stable banking system, offering long-term credit and security, for merchants and landowners alike.
Paper money launched
1696 - Bank of Scotland
In 1696, Bank of Scotland became the first European commercial bank to successfully issue a paper currency. Its earliest banknotes were in denominations of £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100.
None of these first notes survive. The earliest example we hold is a £1 note from 1716. Its value is expressed in ‘pounds Scots’. Scotland had its own unit of currency until 1707, with £12 Scots equal to £1 sterling. Though abolished by the Act of Union, 'pounds Scots' continued to be used as an expression of money for many years. The Bank's note issue continues to this day.
Coat of arms granted
1701 - Bank of Scotland
Bank of Scotland was granted a coat of arms, in March 1701. It features a shield bearing the Saltire cross, supported by the twin figures of 'Justice' and 'Plenty'.
Around the cross are four gold 'bezants' representing money (coins). The motto 'Tanto Uberior ' means 'so much the more plentiful' or 'the more to prosper'. It is from these arms that the Bank's present-day logo derives.
The Bank's office was down a dark and narrow alley in Edinburgh's Old Town. The arms were used to decorate the signboard outside, identifying the business and attracting potential customers.
Bank under siege
1745 - Bank of Scotland
On September 1745, Edinburgh was occupied by Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite army. Alarmed by these events, Bank of Scotland transferred its cash and valuables to Edinburgh Castle for safekeeping.
In anticipation of the invasion, the Bank had already stopped lending, and destroyed a large number of its banknotes. The Jacobites occupied the city for two months, during which time the Bank ceased business entirely. But Edinburgh Castle (with the Bank's cash safely inside) was never breached by the Rebels.. The Jacobites were eventually defeated at Culloden in 1746.
British Linen Company
1976 - Bank of Scotland
The British Linen Company (later the British Linen Bank) was established by a Royal Charter from George II, in 1746.
The Company's purpose was the promotion of the linen industry in Scotland. By the 1750s, however, the Company had moved into banking. This dismayed its two rivals, Bank of Scotland and The Royal Bank. For years, they refused even to recognise it as a bank.
In 1906, the British Linen finally changed its name from 'Company' to 'Bank'. It merged with Bank of Scotland in 1971.