Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section

Newly catalogued collections:

December 2003

Corporation of Foreign Bondholders

In 1988 the Corporation of Foreign Bondholders (founded in 1868) went into liquidation and its archives were transferred (between 1976 and 1998) to the Manuscripts Section (Guildhall Library Mss 15748-814 and 34586-830). Although many of the earlier files were lost before they came to Guildhall Library, the archives include an extensive collection of correspondence files, reports, accounts and press releases relating to the Corporation’s duty (as defined by an act of Parliament in 1898) to watch over and protect the rights and interests of holders of foreign government bonds and of making, for this purpose, representations to foreign governments. The Council of the Corporation consisted of 21 ordinary members, six of whom were appointed by the British Bankers’ Association, six by the London Chamber of Commerce, and nine co-opted by the Council as a whole. The Corporation worked in close co-operation with independent bodies which dealt with particular countries or loans, such as the League Loans Committee, the Chinese Bondholders’ Committee and the Committee of British Long-Term and Medium Term Creditors of Germany.

The language of the records is predominantly English, but also includes items in French, German, Spanish and other languages. A closure-period of 30 years has been assigned to the archive but many items which are less than 30 years old are available for public consultation as they do not include confidential information. Please contact the Manuscripts Section for more details.

Newspaper cuttings files (on microfilm), reports of the Council and collections of press cuttings produced by the Corporation are held by the Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library.

August 2003

Merchant Taylors’ Company archives

The archives of the Merchant Taylors’ Company, the bulk of which were deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library in 1996, have now been catalogued (Guildhall Library Mss 12683, 34000-34378). The Company is one of the ‘Great Twelve’ livery companies, and its records date from the 14th century (it was originally the ‘Fraternity of St John the Baptist…called the Tailors and Linen Armourers of London’). The tailors received their first royal charter in 1327, and their charter of incorporation in 1408. The Company is believed to have lost all contact with its trade during the 17th century.

The collection includes extensive membership records. These detail apprentices and freemen from 1398 (although records are inconsistent until 1583 for apprentices and 1530 for freemen). Also covered by the records are the numerous charities and estates of the Company. These include the boys’ school founded from its own funds in 1561, known as Merchant Taylors’ School, with which it retains very close links. The school is now based at Northwood, Middlesex.

Further information can be found in the various introductory notes in the catalogue. Note that the Company has retained various archive items at the Hall. These are outlined in the main introductory note to the catalogue. Note also that written permission from the Clerk is required for access to post-1965 material, and for a few items of an earlier date which remain confidential.

August 2003

British Bankers’ Association

The vast archive of the British Bankers' Association has now been catalogued as Mss 32001-467. The archive comprises the records of Bankers' Clearing House Limited (est. 1770s), the Committee of London Clearing Bankers (est. 1821) and the British Bankers' Association itself (est. 1919). It also contains some records of the Central Association of Bankers (est. 1895), the Association of English Country Bankers (est. 1874) and the London Joint Stock Banks Committee. There are also records relating to organisations closely associated with British Bankers' Association and Committee of London Clearing Bankers such as the Banking Information Service and the Inter-bank Research Organisation (IBRO). It was agreed that only records up to and including 1985 would be deposited, although a few items date to 1988. Please note that the archive is subject to a 30 year closure period which means that permission has to be sought from the British Bankers' Association for access to material less than 30 years old. In addition the records of the British Bankers' Association are held in an out-store and require at least 24 hours notice for access. Further information is available from the Manuscripts Section,

The original object of the British Bankers’ Association was to better promote the interests of the banking community by having just one responsible association. Until 1972, membership of the British Bankers' Association was open only to British (including Dominion and Colonial) banks. After 1972, it was enlarged to include representatives of all recognised banks operating in the United Kingdom. In 1991, the Committee of London and Scottish Bankers, formerly the Committee of London Clearing Bankers, was subsumed into the Association. The British Bankers' Association archive also includes records of a number of other organisations including the London Clearing House, later known as the Bankers' Clearing House Limited, and the Committee of London Clearing Bankers which oversaw it.

The Committee of London Clearing Bankers, known in its early days as the Committee of Bankers, was established to oversee the work of the London Clearing House. However, it also came to represent the interests of London private and joint stock banks (the London Joint Stock Banks Committee transferred its functions to the Committee in 1900). The Committee grew in influence, particularly following the emergence of the "Big Five" clearing banks just after the First World War. The Bank of England increasingly referred to the Committee on matters affecting the control and supervision of the banking system.

Both the British Bankers' Association and Committee of London Clearing Bankers were concerned with foreign exchange. In 1936 the Foreign Exchange Committee (formerly the Committee of Foreign Exchange Managers est. 1931) was set up under the auspices of the Committee of London Clearing Bankers and in 1975 it was incorporated into the British Bankers' Association. It was the banking system's representative body in all discussions with the Bank of England on exchange control and exchange market matters.

The archive of the British Bankers’ Association is a valuable addition to Guildhall Library’s holdings which also include the archives of the Council of Foreign Bondholders, the Accepting Houses Committee, the Issuing Houses Association, the London Stock Exchange, the Institute of Bankers and a number of merchant banks.

November 2002

Sion College and Sion Hospital

Further records of Sion College, and of Sion Hospital which was formally separated from Sion College in 1875, have recently been catalogued (Guildhall Library Mss 33439-588), and join material already deposited (G.L. Ms 9208, 9251-6, 10504-41, 10 543-52E and 10816). Sion College was a society of Anglican clergy, formed from the bequest of Thomas White in 1630 and renowned for its largely theological library. The library was closed and its contents dispersed in 1996 (pre 1850 volumes to Lambeth Palace Library, post 1850 to King's College, London). The archives were passed to Guildhall Library. Records include court registers and account books from the College's establishment, as well as material relating to its library, estates and almspeople. Sion Hospital, set up to administer the charitable payments to almspeople from the revenues of estates given to it in 1875, was wound up in 1957.

Last updated December 2004

Newly catalogued collections 2004-2005

Newly catalogued collections 2006-2007

Newly catalogued collections 2008

Newly catalogued collections 2009

Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section