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British Banking History Society

Henry S King

Since Lloyds Bank originated in Birmingham, it is perhaps not very surprising that constituent parts of the "Family Tree" in London were relatively few in number. In fact, there were a total of only fourteen, which included Lloyds itself.

One of the smallest "twigs" was Henry S King & Co. According to R S Sayers, the founder became a partner in Smith Elder & Co. of 65 Cornhill, London, in 1857. Smith Elder & Co. had existed since 1816, trading as booksellers, stationers, East India agents, shippers, and bankers. In 1868, the banking and India agency work were taken aver by Henry Samuel King, and established as Henry S King & Co.

Connected businesses were in Bombay and Calcutta, to which were added Port Said, Delhi and Simla at a later period. After the death of the senior partner in 1878, his son Henry Seymour King replaced him. He continued as the sole partner for forty-five years due to lack of family interest until in October 1922, Sir H Seymour, a director of Lloyds since 1909, arranged an amalgamation with arch rivals, Messrs Cox & Co. This merger was absorbed by Lloyds in February 1923. The foundation of the Eastern Department of Lloyds resulted from this acquisition, and the India business of both Cox and King led to sixteen main branches in India, Pakistan and Burma.

Sir H Seymour had been created a Knight Commander of the Indian Empire in 1892, and was later created a Baronet in 1932, in recognition of his services as "Chairman of the Income Tax Commissioners for the City of London".

Messrs. Henry S. King & Co. were noted for the employment of women as typists, as early as 1887, whereas most banks resisted this trend until the First World War.

Mal Tedds

Click here for pictures of Henry S King & Co cheques.

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