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 148,363 pages of information and 233,846 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Bank of Scotland

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1695 The Bank of Scotland was founded by an Act of the Scottish Parliament - it was Scotland's first and oldest bank, and post-dates the Bank of England by just one year. The Bank was set up primarily to develop Scotland's trade, mainly with England and the Low Countries. The 172 original shareholders (including 36 based in London) were largely from Scotland's political and mercantile elite. They hoped to create a stable banking system, which would offer long-term credit and security for merchants and landowners alike.

1696 Bank of Scotland became the first commercial bank in Europe to issue paper currency. The Bank's note issue continues to this day.

The bank's early years were turbulent ones - after its monopoly expired in 1727, a new bank was founded by royal charter, in 1727 - the Royal Bank of Scotland. There followed a generation of intense rivalry as the two banks competed to drive the other out of business.

During the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, the Bank of Scotland was forced to close its doors when Bonnie Prince Charlie's army occupied the City of Edinburgh. All the Bank's papers and valuables were transferred to Edinburgh Castle for safe-keeping. There they remained for two months, until the rebel army finally departed.

1774 The first branches were opened, in Dumfries and Kelso.

1860 The number of branches had reached 43 .

1867 Bank of Scotland opened its first permanent office in London.

The bank weathered the crisis in confidence engendered by a number of failures amongst the Scottish banks.

The early years of the 20th century brought new business to Bank of Scotland. Companies such as British Aluminium and Barr and Stroud sought sophisticated finance, on a scale previously unknown.

Post-WWI proved difficult

1939 The bank had 265 branches

Post-WWII the economic climate improved.

The 1950s sparked a series of mergers and acquisitions across the financial sector.

1955 Merged with the Union Bank of Scotland.

1958 Expanded into consumer credit with the acquisition of North West Securities (later Capital Bank).

1959 The bank was the first UK bank to install a computer for processing its accounts centrally

1971 merged with the British Linen Bank.

Early 1970s set up its own specialist Oil Division, financed exploration of the Forties Field, and played a leading role in establishing the International Oil and Energy Bank.

1975 Bank of Scotland started expanding overseas

2001 Bank of Scotland merged with the Halifax to form HBOS plc.

2009 Following unprecedented turbulence in the global financial markets, HBOS plc was acquired by Lloyds TSB. The new company, Lloyds Banking Group plc, immediately became the largest retail bank in the UK.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Lloyds history