Papers of J. Henry Schroder & Co.

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The records principally consist of legal and other documentation associated with bond issues and other financial operations for sovereign and corporate clients from the mid 19th century onwards. The international scope of the firm's business, with interests in Germany, South America and elsewhere, is reflected in these papers.

The firm's balance sheets and associated financial information, from 1861 onwards, are also held.

Administrative / Biographical History

The brothers Johann Friedrich Schröder (1780-1852) and Johann Heinrich Schröder (1784-1883), sons of the successful Hamburg merchant Christian Matthias Schröder (1742-1821), came to London in 1800 and 1802 respectively. Alongside mercantile activities, specialising in sugar, their firm acted from the outset as an acceptor of bills of exchange. After his elder brother's retirement in 1817, Johann Heinrich Schröder set up his own firm, J. Henry Schröder & Co. in 1818, and maintained close ties with Germany through his Hamburg firm of J.H. Schröder & Co., set up in 1819. In 1853 the firm began issuing bonds, at first for overseas railway construction and from 1863 for sovereign states.

Johann Heinrich Schröder was succeeded as senior partner by his son Baron Sir John Henry William Schröder (1825-1910) who in turn was succeeded by his nephew Baron Bruno Schröder (1867-1940). In 1923 the partnership set up a commercial bank in New York, the J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation and related investment banking entities. The German declaration of a moratorium ('Standstill') on the repayment of foreign debt in 1931 caused the firm in London to severely curtail its business activities.

It was not until 1953, under Baron Bruno's son Helmut Schroder (1901-1969), that recovery of the Standstill debts could begin to be made and the firm could restructure. In 1955 it became a private limited liability company, and in 1959 the partnership was dissolved and a publicly listed holding company, Schroders Limited, was set up to take ownership of the firms of J. Henry Schroder & Co. Ltd. and the J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation. In 1960 Schroders Ltd bought the investment bank Helbert, Wagg & Co. Ltd. and in 1962 it was merged with J. Henry Schroder & Co. Ltd. to form J. Henry Schroder Wagg & Co. Ltd.

Conditions Governing Access

Records created before 1930 will normally be made freely available to bona fide researchers, however all access is subject to the archivist's discretion. Visits are by appointment only. Email: caroline.shaw@schroders.com

Custodial History

The majority of these records accumulated within the corporate records management system of Schroders plc and its predecessor and related entities, in various storage facilities. Most had been identified as being of historic value by the historian Richard Roberts in the course of his research for Schroders: merchants and bankers (1992). Further records were identified after the appointment of an archivist in 2010.

Significant losses of material have occured, probably as a result of paper recycling during the second world war. Few records before the last quarter of the 19th century survive, and even then the collection is a little austere until the post-war period.

Bibliography

Roberts, Richard Schroders: merchants and bankers London: Macmillan, 1992