Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Child and Co

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of 1, Fleet Street, London, E.C. Bankers

The oldest Banking House in London (1914).

The business began in the 16th century with a firm of goldsmiths of the name of Wheeler.

By 1649 the goldsmith Robert Blanchard was trading in the Strand, London

By 1661 his premises were known by the sign of the Marygold.

c.1665 Blanchard was joined by Francis Child

1673 Blanchard and Child moved, taking their trade sign with them, to a new building at the west end of Fleet Street.

In common with some other goldsmiths of the period, the firm kept "running cashes" for their customers, and with them began the banking business.

By 1677 Francis Child had joined Blanchard in partnership and had also married Blanchard's step-daughter.

1681 Francis Child inherited the entire business.

1689 Child was knighted and appointed "jeweller in ordinary" to King William III. Supported by the patronage of the Earl of Dorset, who was Lord Chamberlain, he regularly advanced large sums of money to the Treasury.

1713 Child died and his three surviving sons ran the business in succession until the 1750s.

1788 The historic " Devil Tavern," where the Apollo Club met under the presidency of Ben Jonson, was purchased by the firm, who erected houses on the site called Child's Place.

Child and Co remained a relatively small, private bank throughout the nineteenth century. The firm survived many acute banking crises thanks to its aristocratic partners and their connections. The bank's proximity to the Inns of Court attracted many customers from among the legal profession and links were developed with a number of Oxford colleges.

Francis Child's grandson Robert had no male heirs and so the Child fortune was eventually settled on his granddaughter, Sarah Sophia Fane, who married the 5th Earl of Jersey. Sarah acted as senior partner of the bank from 1806 to 1867.

1880 When Temple Bar was moved and the street widened, Child and Co built an elegant new banking house which opened in 1880.

1914 The sign of the house was still the Marygold, the original sign being preserved at No. 1, Fleet Street.

1924 the 8th Earl of Jersey sold the firm to Glyn, Mills, Currie, Holt and Co. Child and Co continued to trade independently.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  • RBS Heritage [1]