Hardcastle, Cross & Co

Hardcastle, Cross & Co (1818-78), established in Bolton, was a past constituent of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Brief history

This private bank, Bolton's first commercial bank, was established in July 1818 by five Bolton businessmen: Thomas Hardcastle, James Cross, James Ormrod, Robert Barlow and Thomas Rushton. The bank traded as Hardcastle, Cross, Ormrod, Barlow & Rushton, but was also known as Bolton Bank. Initially Barlow ran the business, alongside his insurance agency work, from premises in Water Street. The bank issued its own notes from 1821, but the circulation was never very large as Lancashire merchants and manufacturers favoured the inland bill of exchange. At the end of 1821 the bank had deposits of £44,250 and its London agents were Jones, Loyd & Co. By 1822 the bank was trading from premises in Market Street and the business grew rapidly. In 1824 Barlow's son, Robert Sharpe Barlow, also joined the firm. In 1825 the bank survived the financial crisis, Peter Ormrod succeeded to the partnership upon the death of his father, James, and the bank was restyled Hardcastle, Cross & Co. By 1834 the bank was trading from new premises on Deansgate.

In 1838 Thomas Rushton died and was succeeded as partner by his son, Thomas Lever Rushton. The next year Thomas Hardcastle also died. In 1842 the issue of banknotes was abandoned. Robert Barlow died in 1849, followed by the last of the founding partners, James Cross, in 1850. Barlow was succeeded as managing partner by his son, Robert Sharpe Barlow, in whose hands the business flourished, until he committed suicide in 1858. Barlow's place as managing partner of the bank was taken by Thomas Lever Rushton. In 1864 the bank appointed London & Westminster Bank in place of Jones, Loyd & Co as its London agent. From 1868 temporary premises in Corporation Street were occupied whilst the old Deansgate bank was demolished and replaced by a purpose-built banking house, opened in 1875.

In 1878, with the stability of the business jeopardised by sizeable bad debts on two business accounts, the bank was sold to Manchester & Salford Bank for over £554,000.

Published histories

  • Bolton branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland: The story of Bolton’s first commercial bank (Edinburgh: privately published by the Royal Bank of Scotland, 1993)

Summary of our archive holdings

Our archival records of Hardcastle, Cross & Co have the reference code HC.

For help understanding words used here, check our glossary of banking record types (PDF 68 KB).

  • Partnership records
  • partnership agreements 1827, 1877
  • correspondence re conversion to joint-stock status 1836
  • managing partner's notebook 1842-79
  • letter re London agency transfer 1864
  • merger papers: Bank of Bolton 1836-79, Parr's Banking Co 1875-8, Manchester & Salford Bank 1873-82

Financial records

  • balance books 1818-77
  • private ledger 1830-60
  • papers re property and income tax 1845-78
  • balance statements and lists of bills outstanding and received 1850-78
  • list of additions to the capital and reserve funds 1858-73
  • monthly commission notebook 1859-69
  • half-yearly summary balances 1859-77
  • petty cash book 1864-70
  • annual balance sheets 1875-8
  • notes on the schedules of assets of the bank 1877
  • ledger re partners' holdings 1878
  • account book re bills on hand 1878
  • passbook, Manchester & Liverpool District Bank 1878-8

Customer records

  • customer account ledgers 1818-21, 1858-78
  • government stock customer investment ledger 1822-63
  • cheque 1826
  • opinions received book 1838-70
  • case and opinion re division of partnership capital 1839
  • signing authorities books 1848-78
  • letterbooks 1849-78
  • executorship account ledgers and papers 1856-78
  • passbook 1858-78
  • papers re bad debts 1858-80
  • application for advance 1860
  • transfer of stock ledger 1860-75
  • signature books 1860-78
  • customer correspondence 1860-78
  • cheque books 1862-3, 1872-3
  • fire assurance agency registers 1873-8
  • correspondence re local authority bonds held in safe custody 1875-6
  • agreement re loan 1876
  • receipts and correspondence re release of items held as security 1876-8

Staff records

  • salary lists 1845-76
  • correspondence from staff 1869-71

Property records

  • rent account book 1839-41
  • architectural drawings of proposed new bank building 1868-9

Note issue records

  • unissued banknotes c.1830s

Marketing records

  • presscutting re bank robbery 1825
  • presscuttings books 1836-78