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History of Banking in Scotland
By Andrew William Kerr (1908)


IN presenting a reprint of this work, the writer desires to acknowledge the appreciative spirit in which the first edition was received. He has endeavoured to give effect to the kindly criticism which was evoked; and to supply to some extent what was lacking in the first essay.

It has been a great pleasure to him to find that what was a labour of love has been of service to the students, and of occasional interest to the older members of the banking profession. If the present emendation prove as helpful as he is assured the original effort has proved, he will be abundantly satisfied.


THE substance of the following pages appeared as a series of articles in a financial magazine during the years 1880-83. These articles are now presented in a collected form, after revision and extension, in the hope that they may be of service to those who are interested in the progress of Scottish banking.

The author cannot hope that he has escaped making errors, but he has taken all possible care, by collation of authorities and otherwise, to ascertain the correctness of his statements of facts. As to the opinions expressed from time to time, he is, of course, solely responsible.

No similar work having, so far as the writer is aware, been ever before published, allowance will, perhaps, be made for incompleteness and other faults, arising from the difficulty of obtaining information. Scottish bankers, and financiers generally, have, with few exceptions, been slow to record their experiences and opinions. Consequently the data from which such a work as the present must be constructed exist only in a meagre and scattered form. A general idea of the sources of information will be obtained from the footnotes throughout the volume.


SINCE this Edition was set up, the number of banks of issue in Scotland has been reduced, by amalgamations, from ten to eight.

The Caledonian Banking Company, Limited, has been absorbed by the Bank of Scotland, who, in that connection, increased their capital to 1,987,500 subscribed, with 1,325,000 paid up.

The Town and County Bank, Limited, and the North of Scotland Bank, Limited, have united their businesses as the North of Scotland and Town and County Bank, Limited, with a capital of 3,260,000 subscribed, and 652,000 paid up.

In each case the authorised note issues were conjoined, so that the aggregate note issues of the Scottish banks have not been affected.

In 1290 the King of England, Edward IV banished the Jews to France, which in turn drove them out 20 years later. In 1656 after the "puritan" civil war and regicide that created the Commonwealth under Cromwell, the Jews were invited to reestablish themselves in England, who by this time had moved to Amsterdam and Venice. Shortly afterwards the Jewish operating base in the New World, New Amsterdam, became New York. In 1691, two remarkable men, William Paterson and Charles Montagu, appeared to promote, as a solution to England's debt crisis, the creation of the private Bank of England for which Royal Charter was granted through the passage of the Tonnage Act of 1694 the building housing it being built upon the the spot where once stood a temple to Mithras, the Roman God of Contracts.



  • Appendix A
    Earliest Scottish Bank Notes
  • Appendix B
    The Scottish Banks in 1883 and 1901-2 [page not available]
  • Appendix C
    Amalgamations among the Scottish Banks
  • Appendix D
    Note Issues of the Scottish Banks
  • Appendix E
    Note Forgeries not mentioned in the text
  • Appendix F
    Banks Defunct whose notes are still retired
Additional Information

Additional information can be found on individual banking web sites...

See also...

RBS - The Bank That Almost Broke Britain

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