Beckett & Co (Leeds)

Beckett & Co (c.1774-1921), established in Leeds, was a past constituent of NatWest.

Brief history

This private bank was established in around 1774 as Wilson, Arthington, Beckett & Calverley; it was also known as Leeds Bank. John Beckett, one of the bank's original partners, came from a family of Leeds woollen merchants. He developed the bank alongside his merchanting interests, which included the import and export of goods to Portugal.

The bank was known as Beckett, Calverley, Lodge & Co in the late 1780s; Beckett, Calverley, Lodge & Wilson from 1790; Beckett, Calverley & Co from 1797; Beckett, Blayds & Co from about 1812; and Beckett & Co from about 1829. The bank issued its own notes.

In 1868 it acquired Cooke, Vernon, Walker, Jackson & Milner of Doncaster, and in 1875 Bower, Hall & Co of Beverley, Hull and Malton. The Beverley business, also known as Beckett & Co, remained independent of the Leeds bank. The Leeds business was also associated with Beckett, Birks & Co of Barnsley, a bank established by John’s brother Joseph in 1796.

By 1919 the bank had a note circulation of £153,690 and deposits of £11m. In 1921 the Beckett family banks amalgamated with London County Westminster & Parr’s Bank.

Branches: The bank opened about 17 branches and sub-branches between 1774 and 1921. At the time of the 1921 merger 8 branches and 9 sub-branches were still operating.

Published histories

TE Gregory, The Westminster Bank through a Century (London: Oxford University Press, 1936)

WCE Hartley, Banking in Yorkshire (Clapham: Dalesman Publishing Co Ltd, 1975)

Summary of our archive holdings

Our archival records of Beckett & Co of Leeds have the reference code BEL.

For help understanding words used here, check our glossary of banking record types (PDF 24KB).

Partnership records

  • partners’ papers 1755-1918
  • partnership agreements 1776-1916
  • partners' private letterbook 1840-1869
  • memorandum books 1840-1892
  • amalgamation papers 1868, 1902, 1918-1923
  • papers re proposed adoption of limited liability 1895
  • partners' meeting minute books 1902-1923

Financial records

  • private journal 1834-1921
  • statistics books 1839-1892
  • private ledgers 1857-1920
  • vouchers posted to private ledgers 1885-1920
  • balance sheets 1891-1920
  • bill register 1904-1914
  • papers re tax 1907-1925
  • investment ledgers 1910-1920

Customer records

  • customer papers 1740-(1915)
  • safe custody and securities papers 1751-1888
  • signature books c.1785-1836
  • customer ledger balance books 1797-1822
  • cheques and cheque forms c.1800-1915
  • customer account ledgers 1813-1825
  • summary of bills paid 1815-1816
  • register of foreign stocks and bonds purchased c.1820s
  • securities register 1830-1845
  • debts in suspense registers 1847-1891
  • securities receipt book 1851-1879
  • customer interview books 1864-1873
  • customer account passbooks 1872-(1915)
  • lists of deposit receipt interest due 1874-1876
  • guarantees for discounted bills 1890-1914
  • interest rate agreement 1895
  • credit slips 1907, 1913
  • foreign brokerage reports 1910
  • drafts, letters of credits, and deposit receipts n.d.

Head office branch records

  • branch letterbooks 1895-1906
  • branch earnings and expenses 1896-1920
  • branch balance sheets 1912-1913
  • branch returns for compiling annual balance sheets 1915-1918

Staff records

  • salary registers 1840-(1915)
  • clerk attendance registers 1859-1911
  • correspondence re staff 1873-1919
  • expenses record of branch inspector 1889-1890
  • salary receipts 1890, 1921
  • staff photograph 1913
  • circulars, staff appointments 1915-1934
  • staff annuity receipts 1921

Property records

  • photographs: Leeds c.1867, Kirby Moorside c.1900, Thorne c.1900
  • drawings: Leeds 1872-1874, Tadcaster 1907, Scunthorpe 1914
  • inventory of fittings, head office and branches 1891
  • papers re building alterations: Leeds 1864-1868, 1914-1916, Doncaster 1914-1916
  • property valuation reports 1891-1898
  • register of tenants 1908-1910

Note issue records

  • banknotes 1799, 1814-1920
  • note issue ledger 1840-1933
  • correspondence re: mutilated note 1865, illegal note issue 1883
  • banker’s licences 1903-1920
  • printing plates n.d.

Branch records

  • selected records