Union of London & Smiths Bank Ltd

Union of London & Smiths Bank Ltd (1839-1918), established in London, was a past constituent of NatWest.

Brief history

This joint stock bank was established at 8 Moorgate Street, City of London, in 1839 as Union Bank of London with a paid-up capital of £211,500. In 1841 it acquired the business and premises of Metropolitan Bank (est. 1839), bankers of London. Branches were opened in Argyle Place (1839), Pall Mall (1840), Charing Cross (1841), Temple Bar (1855), Chancery Lane (c.1868), Holborn Circus (1870), Bayswater (1882), Fenchurch Street (1886), Tottenham Court Road (1886), Sloane Street (1888) and Southwark (1892). The head office was moved to Princes Street, City of London, in 1844.

It acquired Dixon, Brooks & Dixon in 1859; Chasemore, Robinson & Sons in 1891 and London, Commercial & Cripplegate Bank in 1900. The company was severely undermined by a £250,000 fraud in 1860. The bank assumed limited liability in 1882 as Union Bank of London Ltd. In 1887 a new head office building was erected in Princes Street. By 1902 there were 24 branches in London and its suburbs.

In 1902 the bank amalgamated with Smith, Payne & Smiths and its country connections: Samuel Smith & Co of Nottingham; Smith, Ellison & Co of Lincoln; Samuel Smith, Brothers & Co of Hull; Samuel Smith & Co of Derby; and Samuel Smith & Co of Newark. The new bank was called Union of London & Smiths Bank Ltd. In 1903 its paid-up capital was £3.55m, its balance sheet totalled over £41m and it had 51 branches. In 1903 it acquired Wigan, Mercer, Tasker & Co of Maidstone; London & Yorkshire Bank; and Prescott's Bank of London.

In 1918 the bank amalgamated with National Provincial Bank of England to form National Provincial & Union Bank of England.

Branches: In 1917 231 branches were operating.

Published histories

  • W Howarth, The Banks in the Clearing House (London: E Wilson, 1905)
  • W Howarth, Our Leading Banks (London: W R Skinner, 1894)

Summary of our archive holdings

Our archival records of Union of London & Smiths Bank Ltd have the reference code UNI.

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

Corporate records

  • prospectus 1839
  • share receipt 1839
  • deeds of settlement 1839-1916
  • half-yearly and annual meeting reports 1839-1920
  • directors’ meeting minute books 1839-1920
  • lists of proprietors 1858-1860, 1870
  • dividend warrants 1878-1918
  • register of directors’ remuneration 1881-1917
  • dividend warrants 1890
  • company regulations 1894
  • share ledger 1901-1903
  • amalgamation papers 1901-1931
  • letterbooks: governor 1902-1905, secretary 1903-1905
  • memorandum book re staff, branches, share issues 1902-1918
  • certificates of incorporation 1908, 1937
  • indemnities re lost share certificates 1912-1917
  • agreements with other banks 1907, 1914
  • dividend committee reports 1917-1918

Financial records

  • profit and loss books 1839-1920
  • general ledger 1840-1842
  • investment ledgers 1853-1918
  • unpaid bills of exchange 1865-1883
  • promissory notes 1867
  • monthly statements of account 1891-1918

Customer records

  • cheques c.1839-1920
  • securities for advances agreements 1866-(1915)
  • various forms 1860s

Head office branch records

  • procedural instructions 1902-1911

Staff records

  • staff report books 1867-1900
  • widows’ and orphans’ fund rules 1897-1910
  • register of members of widows’ and orphans’ fund 1897-1919
  • photographs: managers 1898, sports clubs 1911-1913, 1918
  • staff concert programme 1900
  • staff Christmas money lists 1902-1918
  • staff cricket team match list 1908
  • staff dinner menu 1910
  • list of staff in forces 1914

Property records

  • branch architectural drawings c.1897-20th century
  • branch photographs: Tottenham Court Road c.1904, Netley c.1905

Marketing records

  • advertisements 1839-1844
  • leaflets re trustee and executor services 1908-1917
  • map of London branches c.1910

Branch records

  • various branches 1841-1918