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City of Glasgow Bank

People's Palace, Social History File

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City of Glasgow Bank

A subscription of £50 by James Y Richardson to the Edinburgh Fund for the Relief of Sufferers by the Failure of the City of Glasgow Bank.

The City of Glasgow Bank was founded in 1839 and eventually opened over 130 branches across Scotland. Its success was more apparent than real, however, as the business lost heavily through speculation and complicated business transactions in North America and the Far East. Bank officials attempted to disguise the difficulties by resorting to "creative accounting" but were unable to maintain the confidence of their customers. The bank closed its doors without warning on 2 October 1878, and 1,819 shareholders who had invested in the business discovered to their horror that not only had they lost their investments, but the Bank had losses of over £6 million pounds for which they were liable in proportion to their shareholdings.

A public subscription was set up to help the shareholders, almost all of whom were bankrupted by the disaster. Many businesses with accounts at the Bank also failed.

Reference: SP.2000.15.2

Reproduced with the permission of the City of Glasgow, Glasgow Museums

Keywords:
bank failures, bankers, banking, bankruptcies, banks, City of Glasgow Bank, creative accounting, Edinburgh Fund for the Relief of Sufferers by the Failure of the City of Glasgow Bank, public subscriptions



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