British bank history
Detail from the articles establishing Lancaster Joint Stock Banking Co, 1826 © RBS 2016
Finding bank archives
This site provides information about all the historical British and Irish banks that became part of today's RBS family of banks, including an overview of records relating to them. You can either search the site or browse our list alphabetically or geographically.
For British banks that are not part of our history, you can identify the likely owner or custodian of any surviving archives by consulting:
- J Orbell & A Turton, British Banking: A Guide to Historical Records (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001)
- The Bankers' Almanac, Register of Bank Name Changes and Liquidations (East Grinstead: Reed Information Services, 1992) – lists bank amalgamations and liquidations since 1750
If the bank went on to become part of a current British bank, its archives may still be held by the successor bank. Most of the large British banks have archive departments; you can find their contact details at Discovery, the archival internet gateway for the UK.
If the bank stopped trading and was not acquired by another bank, its archives may have been deposited in a local or specialist archive. In some cases, this even happened to the archives of a bank that was taken over. You can search for such records at:
Understanding banking history and archives
- bibliography of books and articles on banking history (PDF 18KB)
- glossary of banking record types (PDF 24KB)