Portrait of Raikes Currie as a young man, 1820s. © RBS 2015.
Raikes Currie (1801-81) was a banker and politician. He was a partner in the London banks Curries & Co and Glyn, Mills, Currie & Co.
Background and early life
Raikes Currie was born on 15 April 1801, the second son of the banker Isaac Currie and his wife Mary Anne Raikes, daughter of East India merchant William Raikes. Mary Anne’s brother Robert was one of Isaac Currie’s banking partners. Raikes Currie was educated at Eton.
In 1826 Raikes Currie and his brother Isaac George became partners in the family bank, which was known thereafter as Curries & Co.
Following his father’s death in 1843, Raikes Currie took responsibility for managing the bank. His two eldest sons, George Currie and Bertram Wodehouse Currie, later joined him in the bank. The latter quickly became the leading force in the bank, and negotiated its merger with Glyn, Mills & Co in 1864. Both Raikes Currie and Bertram Wodehouse Currie became partners in the merged bank.
In 1837 Raikes Currie was elected as Liberal Member of Parliament for Northampton, a seat he held until 1857, when he unsuccessfully contested a seat for the City of London.
He mostly followed his party’s line, but supported Robert Peel’s financial policy, including his repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. He contributed to debates on matters relating to currency and banking reform, working to bring in the Bank Charter Act of 1844. He also spoke in debates relating to South Australia, in which he was very much interested. He was a follower of Jeremy Bentham and regularly stated that his aim in parliament was ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number’.
Raikes Currie served as a magistrate for Middlesex, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hampshire and Kent. He also served as a deputy lieutenant for Middlesex. He was a director of the Sun Fire Office.
He was involved in a number of ways with South Australia: he was a founding director of the South Australian Company; a director of the Van Diemen's Land Company; treasurer of the South Australian District Committee of the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; and a member of the South Australian Church Society, the Provisional Committee of the South Australian Association and the South Australia Literary and Scientific Association.
He was also an avid collector of books and art.
On 28 June 1825 Raikes Currie married Laura Sophia Wodehouse, daughter of John Wodehouse, 2nd Baron Wodehouse of Kimberley, and his wife Sophia Berkeley. They had two daughters and four sons together, including:
George Wodehouse Currie (born 1826)
Bertram Wodehouse Currie (1827–96)
Maynard Wodehouse Currie (1829–87)
Philip Henry Wodehouse Currie (1834–1908), 1st Baron Currie of Hawley
In 1846 Raikes Currie bought Minley Manor near Farnborough in Hampshire where he employed the architect Henry Clutton to design a new house, completed in 1860. His wife Laura died in 1869.
Raikes Currie died on 16 October 1881 at home at Minley Manor.
Related publications and online sources
Bertram Wodehouse Currie 1827-1896, Recollections, Letters and Journals, vol. 1 (Manresa Press, 1901)
R Fulford, Glyn's, 1753–1953: Six generations in Lombard Street (London: Macmillan & Co, 1953)
‘Curries & Co. in the nineteenth century’, Three Banks Review, June 1964
Eric Gore Browne, The History of the House of Glyn, Mills & Co (London: privately printed for Glyn, Mills & Co, 1933)
‘Raikes Currie’ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography