Background and early life
Andrew Berkeley Drummond was born on 13 September 1755, the eldest son of at least 11 children of Robert Drummond and his wife Winifred Thomson.
He was brought up in London and educated at Winchester School. From the age of 15 he continued his studies in Arnheim under a French protestant clergyman. He subsequently moved to Amsterdam to acquaint himself with the world of business before returning at the age of 16 to London where began to work at the family bank, Messrs Drummond, in which his father was a partner. When he came of age in 1776 he spent a year in Vienna with his father's friend Sir Robert Murray Keith, who was the British envoy-extraordinary and plenipotentiary there.
He later recalled that his father had 'informed me of the necessity of adhering strictly to business…I did this in obedience to his commands as far as attendance was concerned, but…truth obliges me to confess that my heart was not as much in it as it should have been,' and that whilst wishing to please his father, 'I inwardly disliked my line of life, & though I did my duty I merely did it'.
In 1787 Andrew Berkeley Drummond became a partner in the family bank. His attitude towards life as a banker changed markedly after his discovery that the borrowings from the firm by its existing partners, including his own father, jeopardised the financial stability of the bank. He later recalled that the discovery of the extent of his father's debts in particular 'made me at least so far a man of business as to determine me to turn the whole bent of my mind and thoughts to the investigation of my father's affairs and those of the house.'
From that time on he devoted himself to ensuring that the firm was run on the best possible lines. In 1788 he not only offered to forego his own income from the firm to help relieve its financial troubles, but also devised a scheme to rectify the situation. As a result, a month later the partners signed an undertaking to provide proper security for, and reduce at the earliest opportunity, their debts to the bank.
Within a few years, however, it became apparent that the agreement was not delivering the desired outcome. Andrew Berkeley Drummond decided that a more wide-ranging review was required, and in 1792 produced a series of regulations for the conduct of business, setting out the principles on which the business should be run. Topping the list was: 'The first rule never to be departed from on any account whatever is to make the welfare of the customers the first object.'
To reinforce these rules, Drummond regularly wrote to new partners, advising them of their responsibilities when joining the business. He also worked to ensure that only family members who demonstrated capability in controlling their own personal finances were allowed to join, or remain in, the partnership.
In 1812, addressing Henry Drummond on his joining the firm, Andrew Berkeley Drummond wrote: 'what is deposited with you is not yours – no. It is the property of the confiding friend who places his reliance on you. It is the property of the widow & the orphan who regard it as safe in your hands, & in our case moreover it is the property of the sovereign of the country who selects us for the deposit because he expects … to find in us, the nice honour of gentlemen added to the common honesty & integrity of men of business.'
This letter was sent shortly after Andrew Berkeley Drummond had been appointed Privy Purse to King George III. Although the king was at that time incapacitated, and the Prince Regent was ruling in his place, he had earlier expressed a wish that Andrew Berkeley Drummond should look after his finances after the death of Lord Cardigan, the existing Privy Purse. Refusing the salary associated with the position, Andrew Berkeley Drummond continued to undertake the role until Queen Charlotte's death in 1818.
King George III had opened his account with Drummonds in 1800, and on occasion dealt directly with Andrew Berkeley Drummond concerning his finances. In the autumn of 1804, shortly after Andrew Berkeley Drummond had inherited the Cadland estate from his father, the king and queen visited him and his family there en route from Weymouth to Windsor. Although a repeat visit was arranged the following year, it was cancelled due to the king’s failing eyesight.
On his father's death in 1804 Andrew Berkeley Drummond became head partner in the bank, though he had effectively taken over leadership of the business some years earlier.
His eldest son, Andrew Robert Drummond (1794-1865), also became a partner in the bank.
On 2 April 1781 Andrew Berkeley Drummond married his cousin Lady Mary Perceval, daughter of John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont and his second wife Catherine Compton, Baroness Arden. Both Andrew and Mary were great grandchildren of Sir Berkeley Lucy, and in 1761 Mary’s aunt Elizabeth Compton had married Andrew Berkeley’s uncle Henry Drummond. Mary’s brother, prime minister Spencer Perceval, was assassinated in the lobby of the House of Commons in 1812.
Andrew and Mary had four children together:
- Mary Drummond, born 1793
- Andrew Robert Drummond, 1794-1865, who married Lady Elizabeth Frederica Manners, daughter of the 5th Duke of Rutland
- William Charles Drummond, 1796-1881
- Catherine Isabella Drummond, born 1799
In 1804 Andrew Berkeley Drummond inherited his father's country estate at Cadland near Fawley in Hampshire, and it became the family home.
Character and death
Andrew Berkeley Drummond was scrupulous in his personal and business affairs, and fiercely loyal to both family and bank. Looking back in 1812 he wrote 'I did not disgrace my line of life by extravagance…from my first entrance into life…I have never borrowed a farthing that I could not repay in an hour if necessary.'
Having served as a partner in the bank for almost 47 years, he died on 27 December 1833. He was survived by his wife Mary, who died six years later.
- Drummonds: A History (Edinburgh: privately printed by the Royal Bank of Scotland, 2002)
- H Bolitho and D Peel, The Drummonds of Charing Cross (London: George, Allen & Unwin, 1967)
Summary of our archival holdings
- Customer account ledgers of the bank, including the personal account of Andrew Berkeley Drummond 1775-1825
- Articles of partnership of Messrs Drummond, signed by the partners including Andrew Berkeley Drummond, 1787-1827
- Correspondence and agreements between the bank’s partners concerning the ownership of the firm, admission of new partners, division of profits and partners’ debts to the firm, including correspondence of Andrew Berkeley Drummond and his ‘Rules for the conduct of business’ (1792) and partnership ‘Constitution’ (1822), 1788-1833
- Letters to Andrew Berkeley Drummond from his father Robert Drummond, commending him for his actions in relation to the firm, 1788-1802
- Agreement concerning Andrew Drummond’s succession to the bank’s premises at Charing Cross, London, 1789
- Papers of Andrew Berkeley Drummond marked for the attention of his son Andrew Robert Drummond in the event of his death, 1825-34