Retro: The early days of banks

A banknote issued by the Thrapston & Kettering bank in 1887
A banknote issued by the Thrapston & Kettering bank in 1887

Banks weren’t always multi-national, billion-dollar enterprises – most towns and cities had their own.

Thrapston was one such town.

Barclays Bank in Market Street, the original site of Eland and Eland

Barclays Bank in Market Street, the original site of Eland and Eland

More than 200 years ago, George Eland had a drapers shop in Thrapston.

He evidently combined his business with banking because in 1812 he was described as a banker as well as a draper.

In that year he formed a partnership with the directors of the Stamford and Rutland Bank to form a banking business under the name of the Thrapston and Northamptonshire Bank.

The day-to-day business of running the Thrapston Bank was left to George Eland.

Ten years later George, who had for many years been both banker and linen draper, leased his premises to his eldest son, also called George, to carry on the business of linen draper.

However, he reserved for his own use the rooms used by the bank.

When George died in 1833, his son took over the banking side of the business.

The connection with the Stamford and Rutland Bank ceased one year later and George entered into a partnership with John Yorke forming the bank known as the Thrapston and Kettering Bank.

The change of name was because they opened a branch in Kettering.

The Charter Act of 1844 limited the banknote issue by local banks but John Yorke and George Eland of the Thrapston and Kettering Bank were given permission to issue notes to the value of £11,559.

In 1863 Robert Fowler Eland, George’s son, was taken into the partnership.

The following year, John Yorke’s name ceased to appear and the business became known as Eland and Eland.

A deed of December 31, 1864, refers to the “building recently erected for the purpose of carrying on the banking business”.

This is probably the current Barclays Bank building in Market Square.

George Eland died in about 1872 but the banking business continued for a further 16 years, until they found themselves in financial difficulties.

Their statement of affairs on August 3, 1888, showed assets of £64,000 to meet liabilities of £84,000.

The liquidators accepted the offer of the Stamford Spalding and Boston Banking Co to pay unsecured creditors 15 shillings in the pound and to take over the premises and goodwill at valuation.

In 1911, the Stamford Spalding and Boston Banking Co amalgamated with Barclay and Co which, in 1917, became Barclays Bank.

Barclays branches in Thrapston and Market Place, Kettering, are the successors of Messrs Eland and Eland.


A heritage weekend with historical exhibition takes place at the Plaza in Thrapston on Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20.

Visit or email for more details.