The cheques of some private banks are very hard to come by or even non-existent and today we have to be content with a deposit slip or banking correspondence.
A case in point is a receipt for cash paid into the Derby Bank, A W Bellairs, Sons & Co on 11 March 1814 by John Potter. Together with the receipt was a newspaper cutting depicting a £1 note issued by the bank issued in 1812 and querying its origin. Both the receipt and the banknote carry the same vignette of a "buck in the park", and the press report refers to Glover's History of Derby, published in 1833 which mentions a tradition that a Jew kept a bank in Derby as early as 1750 and that he was supplanted by a speculating company. Bellairs' had only existed from about 1783 so the concern referred to was probably Crompton, Newton & Co, established in 1685.
Bellairs' commenced banking in the 1780s at Stamford in Lincolnshire, where they traded as dealers and chapmen. Branches were subsequently opened at Derby and Leicester, the latter as Bellairs, Welby & Co, later George Bellairs. Although their business had a high reputation, a run developed on the Stamford Bank in July 1814, which forced closure after only one and a half hours. The Leicester branch failed the following day, and the Derby office the day after that. The assets were sufficient to satisfy all creditors within two years. Contemporary banks at Derby during this crisis were Samuel Smith & Co, Crompton & Co, Evans & Sons.
John Potter's deposit of £40 seems to have been a little unfortunate in that it was just before the liquidation. On the reverse of the slip is stamped "In re Bellairs & Sons Exhd. Before Commissioners", suggesting that this was one of the many claims for payment. Commissions of bankruptcy were issued against all five partners.
Click here for a bigger picture of the Derby Bank deposit slip.
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