Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,518 pages of information and 233,949 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

British Linen Bank

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1746 The British Linen Company was established in Edinburgh by royal charter in 1746. The Company was empowered to "carry on the Linen Manufactory in all its branches" and was granted limited liability. The word 'British' in its title was an attempt to deflect the suspicion aroused by all things Scottish, after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.

Late 1760s: Although the company's initial aim was to promote the linen industry, it moved into banking in the late 1760s, and began issuing its own notes.

1765 Formally accepted as a bank by the Royal Bank of Scotland. But recognition from the Bank of Scotland was only achieved in 1771.

The great strength of British Linen was its spread of agents throughout the country.

By 1780, it had a total of nine agencies, or branches.

1808 The Company moved to a new head office at 38 St. Andrew Square.

The British Linen Company survived relatively unscathed through the turbulence of the 19th century.

1906 Formally changed its name to the British Linen Bank.

By the early 20th century, Scotland had become over-banked: eight different companies, each with extensive branch networks, served only 4.8 million people. A series of amalgamations between Scottish and English banks took place between 1917 and 1926.

1919 the British Linen Bank became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barclays Bank. British Linen retained its board of directors in Edinburgh, its own separate structure and its note issue.

1969 Bank of Scotland agreed to acquire the British Linen Bank (concluded in 1971).

1977 Permitted to resume activities as the merchant banking arm of Bank of Scotland. It continued as such until September 1999.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Lloyds history