Our history in Yorkshire

Business historian Professor Leslie Hannah talks about Barclays' long history and its role in society during this time.

Barclays first entered Yorkshire directly from 1896 onwards, but had been acting as London agents for a number of Yorkshire banks before this e.g. Scarborough Old Bank, Roper & Priestman, Leatham & Tew; and for Backhouses. A number of the constituent Yorkshire banks go back to the late-18th century, the earliest of these being Pease and Co. of Hull, founded in 1754, the second-oldest provincial bank in the Barclays group.

Banks merged with or acquired by Barclays with significant presence in Yorkshire (the historic county comprising West, North and East Ridings – now West, East, South and North Yorks, with modifications of boundaries). More significant banks in bold; dates are of banks becoming part of Barclays.

Barclays Hull staff

Hull staff, 1902

1896-1918: Barclays’ most rapid period of growth by M&A activity, by the end of which it had become one of the ‘Big Five’ clearing banks.

1896: Backhouses of Darlington (est. 1774): mainly a Durham bank but had branches at Middlesbrough and Northallerton

1896: Woodall, Hebden & Co. [Scarborough Old Bank] (est. 1788)

1902: Roper & Priestman, Richmond (est. c1792)

1899: Swaledale & Wensleydale Banking Company [Hutton, Other & Co.] (est. c1806)

1902: York Union Banking Company (est. 1833): based in York and branches in larger towns of North and East Yorks (Hull, Beverley, Scarborough, Pickering, Whitby, Driffield, Malton, Selby, Thirsk)

Constituents of York Union: Pease & Co., Hull and Beverley [merged with York

Union Bank 1894] (est. 1754)

Simpson, Chapman & Co., Whitby [merged with York Union Bank 1892] (est. 1785).

1906: Leatham, Tew & Company [West Riding Bank] (est. 1800): main branches at Wakefield and Pontefract; also at Goole

1916: United Counties Bank: significant presence in West Yorks (Bradford, Barnsley, Bingley, Leeds, Sheffield, Wakefield); also at Harrogate, Knaresborough, York and Ripon)

Constituents of United Counties: Wakefield and Barnsley Union Bank [merged with United Counties 1906] (est. 1832)

Bradford Old Bank [merged with United Counties 1907] (est. before 1803)

Harrison & Co., Knaresborough [merged with Bradford Old Bank 1875] (est. 1785)

In 1920 the only northern Barclays Local Head Offices (LHOs) were in Yorkshire or the North-East: Bradford, Pontefract, Wakefield, York, Hull, Newcastle and Darlington - all based on the above banks.

1918-1970s: Barclays opened additional branches in Yorkshire to expand its presence there.

By 1970 the Yorkshire LHOs were consolidated into Leeds (West Yorks local board) and York, both within the new North-East Region of Barclays. By 1950s, 40% of advances in York District were for agriculture and fishing.

1911: Barclays acquired an interest in the Yorkshire Bank, an old penny savings bank that had got into difficulties and was rescued by the clearing banks in that year.

By 1970 Barclays had a 32% holding in the bank, and this was sold in 1989.

1968: Martins Bank: brought additional business in Yorkshire to Barclays, including branches of the old Lancashire & Yorkshire Bank (est. 1872, merged with Martins 1928), West Riding Union Bank (est. 1799, merged with Lancs & Yorks 1902), Craven Bank (est. 1791, merged 1906), and Halifax Commercial Bank (est.1779, merged 1920), all in West Yorkshire; plus business in the region developed by Martins since 1928.

2000: The Woolwich (former building society): brought Barclays a large home mortgage and savings business across the country including a Yorkshire presence (early branches at Hull 1938, Leeds 1946, Sheffield 1951, Bradford 1961, York 1965).

Foreign and Overseas business: Barclays UK created its own Foreign Department in 1918-19 to enable British-based customers (corporate and personal), to transact business overseas (e.g. import/export, correspondent banking, FOREX etc.), and as the business of Foreign Dept. expanded, opened several provincial Foreign branches at major trading centres - Bradford Foreign Branch was one of the first of these, opened 1923, presumably much of its business being to finance customers in the textile industry. In 1972 the Foreign branches of Barclays UK were absorbed by Barclays Bank International (BBI). BBI subsequently opened another international branch at Sheffield.