Child & Co.
|Industry||Private banking and wealth management|
|Products||Wealth management, lending and savings|
|Parent||The Royal Bank of Scotland Group|
Child & Co. is a formerly independent private bank that is now owned by The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. The Royal Bank of Scotland incorporating Child & Co., Bankers is based at 1 Fleet Street in the City of London. Child & Co. is authorised as a brand of The Royal Bank of Scotland by the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Child & Co. is the third oldest bank in the world and is the oldest bank in the UK.
Child & Co. is the oldest independent financial institution in the UK, and can trace its roots back to a London goldsmith business in the late 17th century. Sir Francis Child established his business as a goldsmith in 1664, when he entered into partnership with Robert Blanchard. Child married Blanchard's stepdaughter and inherited the whole business on Blanchard's death. Renamed Child and Co, the business thrived, and was appointed the "jeweller in ordinary" to King William III.
After Child died in 1713, his three sons ran the business, and during this time, the business transformed from a goldsmith's to a fully fledged bank. The bank claims it was the first to introduce a pre-printed cheque form, prior to which customers simply wrote a letter to their bank but sent it to their creditor who presented it for payment. Its first bank note was issued in 1729.
Sarah Fane, Countess of Westmorland
By 1782, Child's grandson Robert Child was the senior partner in the firm. However, when he died in 1782 without any sons to inherit the business, he did not want to leave it to his only daughter, Sarah Anne Child, because he was furious over her elopement with John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland earlier in the year. To prevent the Earls of Westmorland from ever acquiring his wealth, he left it in trust to his daughter's second surviving son or eldest daughter. This turned out to be Lady Sarah Sophia Fane, who was born in 1785. She married George Child-Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey in 1804, and upon her majority in 1806 she became senior partner. She exercised her rights personally until her death in 1867. At that point the Earl of Jersey & Frederick William Price of Harringay House were appointed as the two leading partners. Ownership continued in the Jersey family until the 1920s.
Later Periods & Glyn, Mills & Co.
In 1923, George, 8th Earl of Jersey sold the bank to Glyn, Mills & Co., a London-based commercial bank. Williams Deacon's Bank acquired Glyn's in 1939 (both subsequently taken over by the Royal Bank of Scotland and known as Williams & Glyn's Bank from 1970 to 1985), retaining Child & Co. as a separate business.
Child & Co. occupies a grand Grade II* listed building, designed by eminent architect John Gibson, at 1, Fleet Street in the City of London. The bank has traded from the same Fleet Street site since 1673. Its current home was opened on the site in 1880 and transformed in 2015.
Over their 350-year history Child & Co has attracted an exclusive client base including The Honourable Societies of Middle Temple and Lincoln's Inn, and numerous landowning families. Scholars of the Inns receive their awards by cheques drawn on Child & Co, and many barristers continue to use the bank throughout their professional lives. Several universities including The London School of Economics, Oxford University, and Imperial College London are reported to hold accounts. Until 1979 there was a 'representative office' (technically not a branch) at St. Giles’, Oxford. This was conveniently near the richest college in Oxford, St John’s College, who still bank with them today.
References in Culture
It is believed that the bank became the model for Charles Dickens' fictitious Tellson’s Bank, in 'A Tale of Two Cities' (1859).
Relationship with Royal Bank of Scotland
Child & Co. is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority for the purposes of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme as a brand of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Other private banks owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group:
- Philip Clarke The FIrst House in the City (1973)