General Manager -Mr. J. T. BYNG.                            Head Office—St. Peter's Gate, NOTTINGHAM.

THE handsome and massive building in the occupation of the Nottingham and District Bank Limited, is amongst the most substantial and imposing structures devoted to business purposes in the city, and, with the extensive alterations recently undertaken, now provides every convenience for the steadily-increasing transactions of the Bank proprietors. The Company was formed, under limited liability conditions, in 1889, and now includes on its directorate the following well-known gentlemen:—Thomas Hill, Esq., Chairman; Sir W. A. Blain, Henry Gee, Esq., William Goddard, Esq., and James Snook, Esq., with Joseph T. Byng, Esq., General Manager. From time to time new branches have been opened at 36 Hockley, Sneinton; 1A Arkwright Street, Meadows; 66 Alfreton Road, Radford; 24 Gallowtree Gate, Leicester; Market Place, Loughborough; 1 Strand, Derby; Bath Street, Ilkeston; Market Place, Eastwood; Cromford Road, Langley Mill; Station Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield; Wharf Lane, Pinxton; Melton Road, Syston; and, recently, at Worksop, Shirebrook, and Hucknall Huthwaite. The subscribed capital of the Bank is £570,000, of which £95,000 is paid-up; the reserve fund standing at £12,000, with uncalled capital (additional security to depositors) £475,000; the shares being held by 416 proprietors. The present assured position of the Bank will be readily understood from the following figures, extracted from the last annual report of the Directors. From this it appears that, with the paid-up capital, reserve fund, and account due to the Bank on current, deposit, and other accounts, the liabilities of the Company were £752,652 8s.10d., while on the other side the assets consist of cash in hand, and with agents, £114,921 6s. 4d.; bills of exchange, advances on current accounts, etc., £562,361 12s.; English railway stock and other debentures, £43,698 1s.; and freehold premises, fittings, furniture, etc., £31,671 9s. 6d.; the profit and loss account shewing a net profit of £8,435 15s. 6d. for the year's trading. The Bank transacts all the usual branches of business in the form of current and deposit accounts, discounting approved bills, issuing drafts, the purchase and sale of shares, stocks and securities, and the collection of coupons and dividends, together with undertaking the safe custody of valuables for customers (specially-constructed strong rooms, by Chubb and Co., being provided for this purpose). The London agents of the Company are the London Joint Stock Bank, Limited.


The Old Nottingham Bank, Market Place, NOTTINGHAM.

THE handsome and imposing building commanding the corner of the Market Place and Exchange Walk is the modern home of the oldest banking business in the provinces, and indeed one of the oldest institutions of the kind in the kingdom. The history of this ancient house furnishes an exceedingly interesting chapter in the chronicles of old country banks. It traces its origin, in common with all the older establishments of a similar nature, to quite a different branch of mercantile enterprise—the founder, Thomas Smith, son of a yeoman who bought a farm from Sir Thomas Hutchinson, at Cropwell Butler, in 1623. In 1658 he purchased the house in the Market Place, at the west corner of Peck Lane, where he pursued his business until his death in 1699. Possessed of exceptional shrewdness and thoroughly business capacity, his customers placed such implicit confidence in his integrity that he became the custodian of their spare moneys, and before 1688 had developed a considerable banking connection. Originally descended, as it is believed, from an old Essex family, who possessed considerable estates also in Leicestershire, and of whom one was created Viscount Carington by Charles the First, with the first surplus capital that he could spare he re-purchased a considerable estate at Gaddesby, which had been sequestrated by the Parliamentarians from the Smiths of Ashby Folvile, and to which both he and his son afterwards added as opportunities occurred. On the death of the founder in 1699 the Nottingham Bank passed in succession to his eldest son, Thomas, who, in right of the Gaddesby estate, was appointed High Sheriff of Leicestershire in 1717, when the coat of arms now used by the family was granted to him and his brothers, Samuel and Abel, who at his death, in 1728, became the proprietors of the business. The answer of Thomas Smith to a commission of enquiry instituted in 1711, by the Court of Chancery, relative to the ownership of moneys deposited in his hands by a person named Kinsman, and which is too lengthy to quote in extenso, shows the nature of the banking business conducted up to that time by his father and himself.

Samuel, the elder brother, had for some years been engaged as a goldsmith and banker in London, where he continued to reside, leaving at his death a large fortune to his son, at one time member of Parliament for Worcester, having a seat at Asfordby in Leicestershire. The Nottingham business was managed by Abel Smith, the younger brother, who in course of time was joined in partnership by his sons, George and Abel. At that time the business was not only without a rival in the county, but also provided banking accommodation for all parts of the Midlands as far north as Leeds, from whence and even Manchester the leading firms of merchants and manufacturers had their bills discounted by the Smiths of Nottingham. The firm also collected the taxes and the rents of the large landed estates in the county, and for this purpose kept a stud of horses until a comparatively recent date.

Upon the marriage of his eldest son, George, in 1748, Mr. Abel Smith settled upon him the estate of East Stoke, near Newark, who, after his father's death, having been made a baronet, retired from the bank to live at Stoke. The remaining partner, Abel, largely developed the business, and in 1758, desirous of opening up a fresh London agency, he joined in partnership Mr. John Payne, the firm then adopting the title of Smith and Payne of London, and also of Nottingham. To this partnership was also due the extension of the business by establishing a bank at Lincoln, and in connection with the Wilberforces, to whom he was related by marriage, another bank at Hull, where that family resided. In the following generation a branch bank at Derby was established, and since then others have been opened at Newark, Mansfield, Ilkeston, and other places.

During the partnership with Mr. Payne, Mr. Abel Smith had been elected member for Aldborough, and as illustrative of the position of the firm at the time the following letter addressed by him to the former is of interest. In this communication Mr. Smith states that:—"Having to be in town for his Parliamentary duties, he could take some share in the management of the business. That he did not think there was any occasion to introduce much fresh capital, but, having £40,000 by him, he could employ that amount if wanted. That the Nottingham Bank, which had been established some years before the Revolution (1688), had succeeded by careful management, and he thought there was a good opening through the failure of certain firms in London recently for enlarging the business." This partnership was continued until the death of Mr. Payne's son in 1765.

Mr. Smith's eldest son, Abel, died soon after his election as member for Nottingham in 1779, and the next son, Robert, who was elected in his place, was subsequently raised to the peerage under the title of Lord Carrington. At that time the Parliamentary influence of the family had so increased that in one House of Commons they held seven seats.

Lord Carrington retired from the firm, and the management of the business devolved principally on his next brother, Mr. Samuel Smith, of Woodhall Park, Herts, who for many years represented the borough of Leicester in the House of Commons.

The present partners in the Nottingham Bank are descendants from the parent stock of which we have given the genealogical order, and comprise the grandsons and great grandsons of the late Mr. Samuel Smith.

In its more modern aspect the business of the firm may be said to embody all the usual departments of an old-established county bank, acting as the agents of many of the principal families and important commercial and industrial concerns in the district.

Newstead Abbey.
Newstead Abbey.