*                                            Banks and Businesses                                        *

*                                                   Introduction                                           *

The sub-menus below begin with a section on banking.
Between 1650 and 1700 the basics of banking in the United Kingdom began when goldsmith-bankers in London established the practice of paying interest on deposits that people made with them and using the deposited funds to make loans. Depositors could access their accounts with 'drawn notes' (cheques), and the bankers also issued promissory notes (banknotes).
The Bank of England was founded in 1694.

'I am informed by a considerable bank in the County of Devon, that according to the best opinion they can form, the quantity of bankers notes payable on demand to bearer, issued in their county, may have been in 1792 [£] 120,000...I have obtained information...from other banks in a variety of parts, viz. Ashburton, Carlile, Exeter [etc.]...Each of these issue ordinarily notes to bearer on demand, though the quantity issued by several of them is never considerable.'
Report of the Lords' Committee of Secrecy, 1797, p75

The earliest reference that I have so far for a specific bank in Ashburton is 1810, and sadly the bank was in trouble. Banks could and did fail, leaving their depositors penniless.

Trade is as old as civilization itself, and the sub-menus continue with individual businesses, which range from self-employed individuals exchanging their skills for money to large enterprises employing a large number of people. Businesses could also prosper or fail, and their success or otherwise often depended on outside factors - the involvement of the wool merchants with the East Indian Company is an example. When individuals went bankrupt (and the London Gazette details many of them) it was a personal tragedy for them and their family; when large employers were in trouble, it had devastating effects on the whole community.