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British Banking History Society

West England and South Wales Bank

In 1818, Richard Twining II and his brothers George and John Aldred of the fourth generation succeeded their father and uncle in the management, and in 1825 added banking to their tea business. The first entry in the Bank books was on 12th November 1825.

The Twinings of successive generations had banked with Hoare's Bank, 37 Fleet Street from 1725 to 1766 and Goslings Bank, 19 Fleet Street from 1766 to 1826.

Goslings Bank was established in 1650 at the 'Sign of Ye Three Squirrels', now 19 Fleet Street. It amalgamated with Barclays Bank Ltd in 1896, but is still known as Gosling's Branch.

Twinings Bank started in a small room adjoining the warehouse in Devereux Court; a safe, desk and one clerk constituted the bank, originally founded for business among the Twining family and their connections.

George Twining gave special attention to the bank. He became a member of the Goldsmiths Company in 1826 and after holding several offices, he was Prime Warden in 1838. In 1835, as Junior Warden, he was present at a special dinner to the Court and Livery of the Company on 15 July, to celebrate the opening of the Goldsmiths Hall, when the Duke of Wellington was the chief guest; Richard Twining (his brother) and the Reverend G B Twining (elder son) were also honoured with invitations and were present.

From examination of the early ledgers and other documents it would seem that, although Twinings were not officially bankers prior to 1825, some sort of banking was undertaken by them, and there are records of some customers having cash accounts which go back as far as 1717, and there were purchases and sales of East India Bonds in 1753-58 and purchases and sales of tickets in the 1755 and 1756 lotteries; tickets were sold at 10 each.

From 1709, the Government ran annual lotteries authorised by Parliament, which raised large sums of money. The prizes were in the form of terminable or perpetual annuities. The 10 tickets were sold at a premium of, say, 40 per cent to contractors who resold them in retail, sometimes in one-sixteenth parts. In 1826, through the efforts of Lord Lyttleton and others, a strong public opinion was formed against them, and they were finally prohibited.

In 1766 John Mills, who married Hester Carter, a grand-daughter of the founder, Thomas Twining, set up as a Tea Merchant in Colchester. In the "Universal British Directory" for 1793, the following entry under Bankers is shown:

"Colchester. Messrs Richard and John Twining and John Mills, their bills are payable in London at Messrs Goslings, 19 Fleet Street."

This was one of the earliest banks opened in Essex. On 14 November 1787, John Mills entered into an extraordinary partnership with his first cousins, Richard and John Twining, and so far as it affected the Twinings, it rendered them immune from any claims which may be made against them. The title of the bank was to be "The Colchester and Essex Bank - Richard and John Twining and John Mills". The latter was entitled to all the profits and subject to all the losses arising from the business, whilst the Twinings were indemnified by John Mills in every respect. This partnership lasted for ten years, being dissolved on 8 July 1797.

The records of Gosling's Bank show accounts for Twining and Mills of Colchester from 1787 to July 1797, when the account is shown as Mills and Co, which continued with Gosling's until 1808. In 1875 it was known as Mills, Errington, Bawtree and Co, it finally closed in December 1891.

To revert to Twinings Bank, this grew rapidly so that in 1835 they commenced building their new banking house at 215 The Strand. In "The Observer" of 2 November 1834, the following paragraph refers to this:

"Messrs Twining, whose banking concern has hitherto been conducted in Devereux Court, are about to erect a more commodious banking house in the Strand, close to their celebrated warehouse."

A further paragraph in "The Observer" of 22 November 1835 reads:

"The Banking House of Messrs Twining in The Strand which is now approaching completion, is one of the greatest improvements, both in point or architectural appearance and public convenience, which has recently been effected in the vicinity of Temple Bar. Messrs Twining have been induced to make these alterations upon public grounds, and from a desire to improve the site of their warehouse, which has been occupied by members of their family for considerably more than a century."

Another newspaper cutting (source unknown) dated 1835 reads:

"Devereux Court, Strand: We are glad to find that the intended new banking house of Messrs Twining, in the Strand will shortly be commenced. A Jury was impanelled on Wednesday at the Crown and Anchor, to sanction an alteration in Devereux Court which leads from Temple Gate (and is the private property of Messrs Twining) into the Strand. A decided improvement in this passage is to be made and the Jury at once found a verdict in favour of the alteration. The increasing business of Messrs Twining's banking concern renders the alteration imperative, not only with regard to their own convenience, but to that of their customers, who can now only approach their banking establishment by a tortuous and very awkward passage, formerly rendered notorious by "The Sun Public House", the rendezvous of a 'cock and hen club' long back shut up by Messrs Twining, and ever since unoccupied."

The Jury met on 15 April 1835 and the document sanctioning the alteration in the passage, approved by the Privy Council, dated 24 August 1835.

There was an inside connecting door between the shop and the bank. Cashiers were often called upon to change cheques partly in cash or notes and the balance in tea or coffee.

George Twining died in 1850 aged 68. His younger son, William Brewster Twining, was also a member of the Goldsmith's Company and became a partner in the firm in 1846, but he only survived his father by a year, dying in 1851. William's son, Arthur Bovill Twining, like his father and grandfather, a member of the Goldsmith's Company, was a partner in the firm from 1876 to 1887.

Twinings Bank
With trading and banking ceasing to go hand in hand, Twinings Bank, which had been in existence for 67 years, was amalgamated with Lloyds Bank in 1892, and was known as Lloyds Bank, Twinings Branch, 215 The Strand, until 1895, when it moved to 222 The Strand and is now merged with Lloyds Bank, Law Courts Branch. For many years the cheques of this branch showed 'formerly Praeds and Twinings'. Praeds Bank was founded in 1803 at 169 Fleet Street; it was taken over by Lloyds Bank in 1891.

Richard Twining III was appointed a director of Lloyds Bank. The old premises at 215 The Strand are now in the possession of the Law Accident Insurance Society Ltd [1956].

Herbert Haynes Twining, the eldest son of Samuel Harvey Twining, entered the business in 1869; became a partner in 1876, he became joint manager of Lloyds Bank, Law Courts Branch until he retired in 1917. Born at 215 The Strand in 1849, he used to bowl his hoop through Temple Bar, which stood at the juncture of The Strand and Fleet Street, being an entrance to the City. It was removed in 1878, and set up in 1888as the entrance to Theobald's Park, near Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

Herbert Twining was for many years on the committee and Honourary Treasurer of King's College Hospital and Justice of the Peace for the County of London. He died in 1935, aged 85.

His brother, Samuel Twining, who was also in the firm on the banking side, on the amalgamation of the Bank, opened the first branch of Lloyds Bank at Castle Square, Brighton in 1896, and for a time managed it; he died in 1916 aged 63.

Herbert Twining's eldest son, Cecil Francis Harvey Twining, entered Lloyds Bank Law Courts Branch, in 1909. While serving as a Captain in the 1st Bn, The Hampshire Regiment, he was killed in action near Zonnebeke, near Ypres on 3 May 1915, aged thirty, and thus ended Twinings connection with banking.

Herbert Twining's second son, Richard Hayes Twining, was Vice-Chairman of the Stock Exchange in 1956 on the Committee of the MCC and President of the Middlesex County Cricket Club.

Reproduced with permission

Click here for pictures of Twinings Bank cheques.

Copyright 2010 BBHS