Wilts & Dorset Banking Company records

Scope and Content

Records of Wilts & Dorset Banking Company relating to:

  • Establishment (1835-1909): deeds of settlement, memoranda and articles of association, provisional committee minute book, banker’s licence, papers of William Samuel Fussell and his Milford Hill Estate;
  • Operation (1835-1927): annual reports, general ledgers, liabilities and assets register, stock ledgers, banknotes registers, seal registers, notes on overdrafts;
  • Amalgamation (1898-1945): amalgamation agreements, correspondence, transfer of outstanding assets, valuation of stock and securities;
  • General (1835-1940): publications on the history of the bank.

Administrative / Biographical History


Wilts & Dorset Banking Company was founded in Salisbury, Wiltshire, in 1835. It was the first joint-stock bank to be established in the area.

When it was set up, Wilts & Dorset had 400 shareholders, or ‘proprietors’ as they were known. These included a large number of farmers and millers, as well as grocers, solicitors, merchants and surgeons.


The bank was quick to establish a branch network, opening 24 new offices within its first year. Salisbury became its head office.

From the start, Wilts & Dorset was in direct competition with another newly-formed joint-stock bank, the North Wilts Banking Company. Both companies were keen to be the first to establish a foothold in towns in the area. However, both also recognised that opening too many rival branches could harm their respective businesses. Wilts & Dorset proposed a scheme whereby each bank would agree to only open in certain towns. However, despite lengthy negotiations, North Wilts eventually pulled out of the deal. It preferred to fight it out on the high street.

Wilts & Dorset also inherited branches by taking over private banks in the area. The first one was Luce & Co. of Malmesbury, in 1836. It also took over Pinckney Bros. This private firm had been the very first bank to open in Salisbury, in 1811. Its last takeover, in 1897, was R & R Williams & Co. (est. 1786).


Lloyds Bank took over Wilts & Dorset in 1914. By this point, the latter had absorbed 10 private banks, and had a network of 100 branches that stretched from Gloucestershire to Dorset. This was Lloyds’ largest takeover to date.

Incidentally, North Wilts, with which Wilts & Dorset had once been in fierce competition, was also eventually absorbed by Lloyds.

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Geographical Names