Cheque of Barclay's Bank

London, England, AD 1898

The banking history of one address in the City of London

This simple unissued cheque tells part of the history of a well-known British bank. The 'One Penny' revenue stamp on the right of the cheque shows that it was printed in 1898. This was two years after Barclays absorbed the London bank of Goslings and Sharpe. Indeed, you can see that the association of the two banks has been explicitly stated on the cheque, perhaps to keep the loyalty of existing customers. Goslings had been a long-lived bank, and since at least 1743 it had been based at No. 19 Fleet Street, London, the address at the top of the cheque.

In the top left-hand corner is an attractive emblem of three bushy-tailed squirrels. This refers to an even earlier stage of the business at No. 19 Fleet Street. The British Museum holds a cheque issued from No. 19 in 1725, when Mr Abraham Fowler worked as a goldsmith-banker there. He refers to the address as the 'Signe of the Three Squirrils'.

Mr Fowler himself was continuing an existing business, for there had been a goldsmith there from the middle of the seventeenth century. Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), the famous English diarist, recorded a visit to 'Mr. Pinckney the Goldsmith', who worked at this very same address, the Sign of the Three Squirrels. Today Barclays Bank still have a branch at 19 Fleet Street, known as the Goslings branch.

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More information


P.W. Matthews and A.W. Tuke, History of Barclays Bank Limit (Blades, East and Blades Ltd., 1926)

J. Williams (ed.), Money: a history (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)


Width: 181.000 mm
Height: 83.000 mm

Museum number

CM CIB 8640


Chartered Institute of Bankers Collection


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