Paisley Banking Company

Scope and Content

Collection includes:

General Ledgers, 1822-1832

Journals to the Private Ledgers, 1795-1821

Banknote Records, 1783-1838: registers of notes, banknotes and forged notes.

Administrative / Biographical History

The town of Paisley expanded rapidly in the 1780s, rivalling Glasgow in both commerce and banking. Its population had risen sharply from 4,000 in 1738, to 25,000 by 1786. The town's main industry was the manufacture of textiles, including silk, gauze, muslin and the renowned 'Paisley pattern' shawls.

Against this background, the Paisley Banking Company (also known as the Paisley Bank) was formed as a private partnership, in 1783. There were originally nine partners, including two local landed lairds, four Paisley merchants and two others from Glasgow.

One of the founding partners was Andrew Thomson of Faskin, a coal merchant. He had also been a partner in the Ship Bank since 1776. Faskin and his two sons went on to found the private banking firm of A. G. and A. Thomson in Glasgow, in 1785. But this failed in 1793, as a result of the economic crisis of that year.

By 1787, the Paisley Banking Company had established at least one branch, at 13 Trongate in Glasgow. This was under the agency of Archibald Hamilton. Further branches were opened at Dundee, Stranraer, Irvine and Alloa. Indeed, the early success of the Dundee branch inspired the setting up in the town of other banks, such as the Dundee Commercial Bank (1792).

The Paisley Bank also operated through 'correspondent' banks in Edinburgh and London. Its Edinburgh correspondent was initially the Royal Bank of Scotland, while Smith, Payne and Smith fulfilled that role in London.

In September 1788, a second bank was founded in the town - the Paisley Union Banking Company. There was intense rivalry between the two, resulting in a banknote war.

During the first half of the 19th century, a number of large-scale joint-stock banks began to emerge in Scotland. By the 1830s, the Paisley Banking Company could no longer compete. Its business, including its branch network, was acquired by the British Linen Company in 1837.


The collection is arranged into the following series:

  • PBC/1: General Ledgers
  • PBC/2: Journals to the Private Ledgers
  • PBC/3: Banknote Records

Access Information

Access is by appointment only, and at the discretion of the Archivist. Closure periods apply to some records less than 100 years old. Please e-mail for further information.

Other Finding Aids

An item level catalogue is available - please e-mail for further details.

Please note that this catalogue replaces and expands upon the NRAS survey of the Paisley Banking Company records undertaken in the 1970s (NRAS945).

Conditions Governing Use

Copying of material is permitted at the discretion of Lloyds Banking Group Archives.

Related Material

GB1830 BLB1: records of the British Linen Bank, which took over the Paisley Banking Company and its branch network in 1837. The Paisley Bank's head office became the British Linen Bank's Paisley branch.

GB1830 PUBC: records of the Paisley Union Banking Company. In particular the letter books which include copies of correspondence between the two Paisley banks during their banknote war period.


  • C. W. Boase, A Century of Banking in Dundee; being the annual balance sheets of the Dundee Banking Company, 1764-1864, (Dundee, 1864) - information on the Paisley Banking Company's Dundee branch on p.28
  • S. G. Checkland, Scottish Banking; A History, 1695-1973, (Glasgow, 1975)
  • Charles A. Malcolm, The History of the British Linen Bank, 1746-1946, (Edinburgh, 1950)
  • Charles W. Munn, The Scottish Provincial Banking Companies, 1747-1864, (Edinburgh, 1981)