If you are interested in the history of a community in which one of our constituent banks traded, we may hold information that could contribute to your research.
Using bank archives for local history
This page outlines the types of records that might be of particular interest to local historians. Please bear in mind that the quantity and quality of surviving information varies widely between our constituent banks. For some, we have no archives at all, whereas for others we have quite detailed sets of records.
On this site
You can browse our list of banks, either alphabetically or geographically (by head office location). Each bank's page gives a brief summary of the records relating to it in our archives. Please note, however, that these summaries are just a general guide; they do not guarantee that records are complete or comprehensive.
The following notes give an introduction to the types of records that might be of particular interest to local historians. For more information about some of the record-types described here, check our glossary (PDF 68KB).
If a bank was strongly connected with one place, the history of the bank itself may be of interest. In some communities banks were among the most important businesses, closely tied to changing local economic and social conditions.
The most useful records for gaining an overview of a bank and its activities over the years are likely to be partnership agreements, deeds of settlement, memoranda and articles of association, annual reports, board or partnership minute books and accounting records. The page about each bank on this site includes an indication of whether records of these types survive.
In some cases the banknotes issued by local banks included a small vignette featuring a local scene or image, which may be of interest in the study of local topography. These images can be quite accurate portrayals of streets and landscapes that have now vanished forever.
Even if the bank in your area was a branch of a larger bank, its history may be relevant to your research. We hold details about most of the branches that were operated by our constituent banks, although the amount of information available varies widely.
Banks were among the most prominent buildings in Victorian and early 20th century towns and villages. Many are of considerable architectural interest, and may now be protected by listed building status.
For many of our constituent banks we hold property records, which may give information about architects, builders and other contractors; expenditure or building or alterations; and details of previous owners and uses of buildings. For some of our constituent banks we also have extensive collections of premises photographs and architectural drawings. The page about each bank on this site includes an indication of whether records of these types survive.
In some cases it may be possible for us to provide you with copies of images from our archives, subject to completion and submission of the appropriate forms.
Significant people in the history of your community may have been founders, partners, shareholders or officials of a local bank. If so, details about them may appear in partnership deeds, minute books, annual reports, deeds of settlement or shareholder records. The page about each bank on this site includes an indication of whether records of these types survive.
We may also have information about individual members of bank staff.
In general we do not hold customer records, but for some of our older constituent banks we may have information relating to 17th and 18th century customers. Please be aware that access to these records is restricted because they relate to the bank's confidential relationships with customers. You can contact us for further advice.
Businesses and institutions
For some of our older constituent banks we may have information relating to 17th and 18th century corporate or institutional customers. The accounts of hospitals, schools, turnpike trusts, canal and railway companies or local charitable subscriptions may be of interest to local historians. Please be aware that access to these records is restricted because they relate to the bank's confidential relationships with customers. You can contact us for further advice.