Barclays Bank: records of Lombard Street branch

Scope and Content

Although no current account ledgers survive before the mid-1800s, the series of discount and loan ledgers runs continuously from 1768 to 1894. Early books in this series include entries under profit and loss account, partners' accounts, investments, and accounts for the Friends' Meeting. There is also a comprehensive set of signature books from 1830 onwards, providing a key to the variety of customers of the bank in the Victorian era.

  • Discount and loan ledgers 1768-1894
  • Current account ledgers 1840-1852
  • Register of customers 1814-44
  • Signature books 1830-1909
  • Safe custody registers 1873-1925
  • Managers' diaries (memoranda of interviews with customers) 1882-1914
  • Staff registers c1815-1945, including pensioners 1868-1918 and apprentice clerks 1897-1903
  • Salary lists 1867, 1890, 1892, 1937
  • Examples of cheques 18th century-1888
  • Photograph albums of staff at work and play including sporting teams and choir, and of premises c1900-c1918
  • Photographs of premises 1950s, 1970s

Administrative / Biographical History

The present Barclays Group traces its origins from John Freame and Thomas Gould, two Quaker goldsmith bankers who started a business in the heart of the City at Lombard Street in 1690. The partnership was one of the most successful amongst the early banks, and 'is generally recognised as the pioneer of re-discounting bills sent by provincial bankers to London'; by the late-1700s the partners were 'primarily involved as bill discounters for merchants'. Success sprang at least in part from what has been described as Quaker competitive advantage.

In the 19th century the partners developed a general advances business, against a background of demand for loan capital as the economy and its banking system grew. Despite competition from the new joint stock banks Barclays expanded steadily, and survived the financial crises and banking failures of the era, notably in 1825 and 'Black Friday' in 1866.

Until 1888 there was only one 'branch', numbered by the early-19th century as 54 Lombard Street, and this became the head office of the firm when it was incorporated as a joint stock company as part of a merger with a number of other banks in 1896. After that date, 54 remained as the principal branch in the City (and a local head office, records of which are described in a separate entry), dealing with important corporate and some personal customers.

Although the division of records between Lombard Street as a branch and the Bank's partners is somehat artifical, and involves some overlap, the material classified here as branch records relates mainly to customers' transactions and identity.

Access Information

Barclays Group Archives is open to access for bona fide research visitors throughout the year, by appointment. E-mail: mailto: Full contact details: Barclays Group Archives, Dallimore Road, Wythenshawe, Manchester M23 9JA. Telephone 0330 1510159. Fax 0330 1510153.


Customer records are subject to extended closure/access conditions.

Acquisition Information

Former historical records section of company secretary's office, and branch

Other Finding Aids

Searchable catalogue available locally on BGA's 'Archives' database; bespoke lists may be generated from specific search requests.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction or publication of records is subject to the written permission of an archivist.

Custodial History

Barclays had a historical records section in head office from at least the 1960s, managed by an official with the title of archivist. In 1989 the first professionally trained archivist was appointed, with the remit of centralising historical records and collecting additional material deemed worthy of permanant preservation.

It is recorded that a substantial cull of old records was carried out in the last century, which explains the lack of a more comprehensive series of ledgers, such as survives for one of the constituent partnerships in the 1896 merger, namely Goslings of Fleet Street (see entry for GB 2044 C FLEET STREET).

Related Material

Records classified as belonging to the partnership are described in a separate collection level entry: see GB 2044 A01A. Records produced by the Lombard Street local head office are described in a separate entry: see GB 2044 D LOMBARD STREET


The official published histories of Barclays, especially the most recent volume, are based largely upon the archives:

  • M Ackrill & L Hannah, Barclays: the business of banking 1690-1996 (Cambridge: University Press 2001); this volume won the Wadsworth Prize for business history
  • P W Matthews & A W Tuke, History of Barclays Bank Limited: including the many private and joint stock banks amalgamated with it (Blades, East & Blades 1926)
  • A W Tuke & R J H Gillman, Barclays Bank Limited 1926-1969 (Barclays Bank Ltd. 1972)