Extract from '' The Glasgow Anecdote ''
(1912) by D.Malloch
I thought ,in this present climate of 'Financial
suicide' by our Scottish banks and banking
system as a whole,it would be fun to look
back at Glasgow's first banks .
As this tale unfolds ,we'll soon see that things
have not changed a great deal in the past
250 years or so!
We will see that banks have collapsed many
times and that ,banking fraud and forgery
I'll post a page or two each day.
MONEY IS THE LIFE-BLOOD OF COMMERCE,
and Glasgow is a commercial city. It there-
fore follows that banks and bankers occupy an im-
portant place in the community. Glasgow is now well
supplied with banks-too well supplied,some bankers
may think. But the business of banking in the City
ls not yet hoary with antiquity. Prior to 1750 there
were no banks in Glasgow, and the business men of
the town seem to have managed to get along without
them fairly well. But the increasing prosperity of the
local merchants and the growth of intercourse with
England and the Colonies at length made greater
financial facilities indispensable, and also rendered it
necessary that these facilities should be granted by
financial institutions whose standing would be re-
cognised not only by the whole local business com-
munity, but also by bankers and merchants in other
places and countries where Glasgow merchants did
business. Thus was brought about the establishment
of the first bank in Glasgow, the famous Ship Bank,
now absorbed in the Union Bank.
But prior to the establishment of the Ship Bank
attempts had been made from Edinburgh to set up
banking facilities in Glasgow. In 1696,and again in
1731, the Bank of Scotland had opened an office in
Glasgow,. But mindful of the text, " Can any good
thing come out of Nazareth? ” the Glasgow merchants
held coldly aloof and the Bank for the time being
abandoned Glasgow. But in 1750 the Ship, and later
in the same year the Glasgow Arms Bank,began busi-
ness, each with a strong local backing; the Thistle
Bank began in 1761 ; and the Merchants’ Bank was
established in 1769, chiefly for the accommodation
of the increasing class of smaller traders. Both the
Ship and Thistle are now merged in the Union. The
Glasgow Arms and the Merchants’ Bank failed in
1793, but paid their creditors in full.
When the Ship Bank was established in 1750, An-
drew Buchanan,who was one of the original partners,
got his old tutor’s son,then a smart lad about fourteen
years of age, a situation as message boy and general
assistant in the quaint old Briggate establishment.
more to follow tomorrow..........