Records of Commercial Bank of Scotland Ltd, bankers, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scope and Content

Records of J A & J L Campbell & Lamond acting as agents in Edinburgh, Scotland for Commercial Bank of Scotland Ltd:

  • General banking business records 1814-1856
  • Debtors records 1818-1861
  • Legal papers 1786-1858
  • Correspondence 1813-1856

Administrative / Biographical History

Commercial Banking Company of Scotland was founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1810  , as a co-partnership to provide banking facilities to commercial, industrial, and agricultural businessmen of modest means and was to be "the bank of the citizens". As a joint stock bank with substantial capitalisation and shareholding it presented a considerable challenge to the existing public banks which had tended to do business only with individuals or companies of substance. From the outset, it issued its own notes and began to establish branches over a wide geographical area. By 1815, it had fourteen branches and had moved from the suburban environs of Leith Walk, Edinburgh, into a head office in High Street, close to Edinburgh's commercial centre. J A & J L Campbell & Lamond , solicitors, Edinburgh, acted as the banks agents.

Commercial Banking Company of Scotland grew rapidly acquiring the Caithness Banking Company (est. 1812) of Wick, Highland, Scotland, in 1825  . It secured a Royal Charter in December 1831  , and changed its name to Commercial Bank of Scotland . By 1840, the bank boasted forty-five branches and, in 1844  , took over the Arbroath Banking Company (est.1825), operating in Arbroath and Forfar, Angus Scotland. In 1843, the bank acquired property in George Street, Glasgow, Scotland, where, four years later, it opened a purpose-built head office designed by architect David Rhind in the style of a Greek temple decorated with pillars and pediment. By 1850, it had fifty-three branches, the second largest network of any Scottish bank. Despite its substantial presence in Glasgow, the Bank was virtually unaffected by the failure of Western Bank, Glasgow, (est.1832), in 1857 but, in 1879, following the collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank, Commercial Bank Of Scotland registered under the Companies Act trading with limited liability from 1882  as Commercial Bank of Scotland Ltd . In 1883, following the example of other Scottish banks, Commercial Bank of Scotland Ltd opened an office in London, England, and by 1900 had 138 branch banks. During the First World War one sixth of the bank's staff were killed on active service, but the business continued to thrive, increasing the number of its branches to 240 by 1920. During the inter-war period it became the second largest bank in Scotland in terms of liabilities, deposits, and advances. Despite its success and large number of branches, the bank's capital resources were modest, its interests undiversified, and its management aware of the acute need to find a suitable trading partner. In 1951-1952, desultory talks were held with the Bank of Scotland and Union Bank, and later with Barclays Bank and British Linen Bank. However, in 1953, a new general manager, Ian Wilson MacDonald, determined to broaden the bank's interests. He recognised that hire purchase companies were profiting from funds borrowed from bankers, and in 1954  , negotiated the purchase of Scottish Midland Guarantee Trust, which administered the hire purchase agreements of Scottish Motor Traction Co Ltd, road transport, Edinburgh. Commercial Bank of Scotland Ltd thereby became the first British bank to take a direct financial interest in a hire purchase firm, and the other banks were quick to follow. In 1959  , a merger agreement was reached with National Bank of Scotland (est.1825) to form National Commercial Bank of Scotland Ltd. This bank merged with the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1969 to become The Royal Bank of Scotland Ltd which continues to trade in 2002.



This material is arranged into series, which consist of numbers of items related by function and/or format. Within series, the items are generally arranged chronologically.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Loan : Thomson, Dickson & Shaw and JA & JL Campbell & Lamond, CS, Edinburgh: 1962

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom.

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)) and London (NRA)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Custodial History

Deposited by Thomson, Dickson & Shaw, WS in 1962 with the Economic History Department, Glasgow University. Management of the collection was transferred to the Glasgow University Archives in 1975.


None expected

Related Material

GB 248 UGD 037/1 Records of J A & J L Campbell & Lamond

GB 1502 CS Records of Commercial Bank of Scotland Ltd ( Royal Bank of Scotland plc archive)


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

No alterations made to date