THOMAS SMITH, (1631-99), Cropwell, became the founder of the bank at Nottingham. His father died when he was ten years of age, and he was placed under the care of relatives of the Collin family. He married Mary Hooper, and in 1658 he purchased from Thomas Littlefear, for £210, the house and shop at the East end of South Parade, being the corner of Peck Lane. (It may here be mentioned that in 1822 Lord Carrington sold this shop for £1,155). Here he commenced business as a mercer, which then meant a dealer in any kind of goods or wares, and by his industry, enterprise and fair dealing he built up a reputation, and secured the confidence of both town and county people. He found that he could do an extended business with more capital, and as people had no banks or places where they could deposit money they began to bring Thomas Smith their spare money, and ask him to take care of it, and he gave them promissory notes and allowed them interest, and then either lent his customers money, or gave them credit. Financial matters grew apace, and rents and taxes were collected. Now a better provision must be made for taking care of money and securities. During the reign of Charles I. the merchants in London had been in the habit of depositing their bullion and cash in the Tower for convenience and security, under the guardianship of the Crown; but the King, in order to pay his debts, seized their property to the amount of £30,000. This act caused great consternation, and the merchants decided in future to keep their capital under their own control. So says Mr. Easton in the "History of a Banking House," p. 57. This is precisely what Thomas Smith did. He lived on the premises, and underneath the shop was a basement kitchen. Beneath this he made in the solid rock sandstone, three separate cellars, approached by a trap-door and ladder, and another set below them approached by steps, and partly under the public street, and the basement wall shows that there was once access to the basement of the adjoining house, for the business so increased that additional room had to be provided, and then the two kinds of business—the mercery and the banking, had to be divided, and other premises were secured thirty yards more to the South-west, Thomas Smith had a conscience, and when the charter of James II appointed him to be an alderman, and it was necessary, in order to qualify for the office, that he must receive the Sacrament according to the Church of England, he (with eight others) attended the council meeting, and expressed his willingness to serve the Corporation to the best of his power and skill, but he could not qualify as required, and was therefore dismissed.

In 1681 when he was fifty years old, his wife having died, he married again, and this wife was Fortune, the daughter of Laurence Collin (died 1715) and from that union there have descended the families of Smith-Dorrien, Bromley, Pauncefote, Carrington, (now Marquis of Lincolnshire), Hely-Hutchinson-Smith, the banking families that are, or were, in Derby, Lincoln, Hull; the London firm of Smith, Payne & Smith, and many notable Members of Parliament, Governors of Colonies, or other high State officials.

THOMAS SMITH the younger (1682-1727) was only eighteen when his father died, but he was a thoroughly staid, conscientious young man. He carried out the trusts of Abel Collin's will as a good steward, and the alms-houses in Park Street were well built. He afterwards, with the moneys of the Trust estate bought the land formerly belonging to the Greyfriars Priory in Broad Marsh, and now Carrington Street. (See Collin).

Trade invoices are still extant, dated 1718, for the mercery business carried on by Thomas and Abel Smith, and charging for canvas, crape, gloves, small-wares, stationery, etc.

He lived some time at Broxtowe Hall, and was in 1717 High Sheriff of Leicestershire. The tablet in St. Mary's Church justly tells of a "man of exact Integrity and skill in his extensive Business," and how the charity entrusted to him "received an increase by his Prudence and Generosity."

Abel Smith (1717-1788)
Abel Smith (1717-1788)

ABEL SMITH, the younger (1717-88) son of Abel the brother of Thomas, established the London Bank of Smith & Payne, and also banks at Lincoln and Hull. He was a man of great energy and ability, and was highly esteemed. His ambition was "to found a house which should be equal in credit to the best houses in England."* He was M.P. from 1774 to 1785 for different constituencies. A life-sized portrait is on a panel in the Royal Exchange. The inscription says the bank was established in 1688.

ABEL SMITH, Junior, (d. 1779) was in 1775 elected M.P. for Nottingham, and he was carried through the town in a chair decorated with white lace, followed by the whole body of framework knitters, preceded by a flag having painted on it a stocking frame with the words "Strength, fortitude and unity surmount the greatest difficulties."

Robert Smith, first Lord Carrington (1752-1838)
Robert Smith, first Lord Carrington (1752-1838)

ROBERT SMITH, (1752-1838), was elected M.P. for Nottingham in 1780, and on three successive occasions, one election lasted seven days, and was attended by a riot. He was one of the leading bankers of the day, and had great influence in the money market. He became Lord Carrington in 1796. It was he who built the Carrington Street almshouses.

JOHN SMITH was elected M.P. for Nottingham in 1803, and twice later, and at the time of the Luddite riots in 1812, was re-elected, when it was stated that his opponent, Mr. Arkwright, spent £20,000 on the election. The poll continued from the 7th to the 17th October. In like manner in 1806 the poll had continued from October 31st to November 10th. The system was mischievous and led to much evil. Mr. Smith spoke in the House strongly against the bill to make frame breaking punishable by death. He contended that middle-men, and the truck system, were really the cause of the violence shown.

FREDERICK CHATFIELD SMITH was the last M.P. for North Nottinghamshire, the constituencies being, in 1885, re-arranged. He built Chilwell Church.

* Easton, p. 14.

The Bank was, in 1878, rebuilt on a much enlarged scale, involving the removal of several shops, and the formation of Exchange Walk. In 1902 it amalgamated with the Union Bank of London, retaining the word "Smith" in the name, but in 1917, on a further amalgamation with the National Provincial Bank, the name was buried under £170,000,000 of deposits with the united concern.

In Eton College is a memorial tablet to those Etonians who fell in the Great War, and one is to the memory of nine "sons of Eton and descendants of Thomas Smith of Nottingham, 1631." Thirty Etonian members of the family served in the War.

The foregoing reference is to a few only of the members of the family who have been connected with the premises on South Parade, and to a still smaller proportion of the widely scattered family. Suffice it to say that "their family politics have been for the most part in accordance with the sound principles of civil and religious liberty," their influence has been exercised for the good of the locality, as well as for that of the nation, and for two and a half centuries has supplied men of integrity who have helped to develop local resources, and to encourage local industries. (See Old Notts. Suburbs, "Wilford," p. 287).


ICHABOD WRIGHT, (d. 1777) was an Ironmonger on Long Row, Nottingham, and apparently he thought that as the Smiths had added Banking to Mercery, he might, add Banking to Hardware, so in 1764 he founded a Bank, a step which required capital, capacity, character and confidence, and at the same time promoted the public good.

ICHABOD WRIGHT, (1767-1862), son of the foregoing, was only ten years of age when his father died. As a young man he took an active interest in the affairs of the town, and so was, in 1791, made a freeman of the borough. He served as Captain Commandant of a troop of Volunteer Yeomanry Cavalry enrolled in 1794, when the public safety seemed to be in danger, and many years later he presented the "Mapperley Cup" as a prize for the best marksman in the Robin Hoods. He built Mapperley Hall, enclosed the Park, and planted the trees, some of which are still growing. He and his family promoted, and were large donors to the building of Carrington Church and National Schools. He lived to his ninety-sixth year.

His wife was a veritable mother in Israel, for they had ten daughters and three sons, all of whom cooperated in gifts for the furnishing of Carrington Church, to the opening of which the mother looked forward with much interest, for the old parish church was two miles off; but when the new building was consecrated she was dying, and her's was the first funeral.

JOHN SMITH WRIGHT, (1774 (?) -1848) brother of the foregoing, joined in the management of the Bank, and in addition, took an active part in social and religious work, such as the establishment of the Mechanics Institution, the Ragged School in Newcastle Street, the building of Holy Trinity Church, etc., towards which he was a large donor. "In his hands," says Bailey, "wealth was a trust," and he honourably discharged it. His second wife was the Dowager Lady Sitwell, of Rempstone Hall, and she founded the Midland Orphanage for girls at Lenton.

ICHABOD CHARLES WRIGHT, (1795-1871), M.A., F.R.S.L., son of Ichabod, was educated at Eton and Oxford, joined in the management of the Bank, and wrote some pamphlets on Banking. In his leisure time he studied Italian literature, and in 1833 published a metrical translation of Dante's "Divina Commedia," and many years later he gave a translation of the first part of the "Iliad" of Homer, done into English blank verse. He was a Director of the Midland Railway. A peculiarity of his, in advanced life, was holding an umbrella over himself when it rained and he was riding on horseback.

FRANCIS WRIGHT, (1806-1873) was the son of John Wright who built Lenton Hall. He was the grandson of the first-named Ichabod. He became the principal proprietor of the Butterley Ironworks. Francis was High Sheriff in 1842, was a donor of £3,000 and the land for the building of the new church at Lenton. He removed to Osmaston Manor, where he built a large hall, and assumed the name of Osmaston.

FRANCES, CHARLOTTE and ANNIE WRIGHT, three sisters of Francis, built and lived in the house adjoining Lenton Church; built the Infant School, and lived lives of active benevolence and religious work.

THE REV. HENRY WRIGHT, M.A., (b. 1833), Sector of St. Nicholas', Honorary Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, was drowned in Lake Coniston.

HENRY SMITH WRIGHT, (1839 (?) -1910) was M.P. for Nottingham (South) nine years. He translated Virgil, as his father (I. C. Wright) had translated Dante and Homer.

For "Fellows, see "Families"