Hastings Old Bank

From Historical Hastings

Founded in 1791 at 90 High Street by a number of partners; Messrs Tilden, Shadwell, Hilder, Harvey and Gill. William Gill (1749-) was originally a clocksmith and married to Ann Carswell. William Gill had two children, James, and Ann who married William Scrivens senior, bringing him into the partnership[1].

The bank rapidly became the main financial institution in the town. During 1842 the bank moved to 9 Pelham Place. Without notice, the bank closed its doors on the 26th of June 1857[2], leaving many companies and individuals owed large sums of money; the bank holding over £530 of the St. Leonards Commissioners' money, requiring the setting up and collection of a voluntary rate from residents, among other sums[3]. The bank had loaned £17,000 - although Brett gives a figure of £18,000[4] - to a farmer from Salehurst, Richard Smith, who was related to Francis Smith, Francis being one of the partners in the bank. In fact James Smith, Tilden Smith and Francis Smith were indebted to the Bank to the extent of £40,000 and there was also a property in Pelham Crescent that had been assigned to Mrs. Smith[5]. The bankruptcy of Mr. Smith was said to be the cause of the bank's failure; the hurried sales of the various land-holdings not being sufficient to meet his creditor's demand[6]. As a side-effect of the bank's closure, many eminent local churches, associations and other organisations had to hurriedly find a new treasurer or book-keeper - the partners in the bank being variously employed in such roles.

The closing of the doors almost certainly prevented a run on the bank[7] and enabled a higher dividend being payable to the creditors than would perhaps have been achieved should the bank have continued to attempt to trade.

By December of that year, all creditors had been paid, in part due to the actions of Mr. Scrivens and Francis Smith. Francis, at the suggestion of Mr. Scrivens had closed the doors of the bank to prevent a run and further indebtedness. Both Mr. Scrivens and Francis Smith were given First Class Certificates stating that the bankruptcy was due to no fault of theirs - Mr. Scrivens being singled out by the Judge for praise in his overall conduct[8][9]. At a later hearing it was revealed that although Tilden Smith owned the large property of Vinehall, his other debts meant that very little was able to be reclaimed from his estate and the paralysed Tilden Smith was only granted a Second Class Certificate[4].

Following the closure of the Pelham Place site, it was sold on to Mr. E. W. Stubbs for £2,800[10].

The High Street address is now a hotel, and the Pelham Place, an amusement arcade.


References & Notes

  1. Square Toes and Formal (Christopher Langdon) Google Books
  2. Baines' Index Book
  3. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 6 Chap. 57
  4. a b Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 7 Chap. 60 Pg. 59
  5. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 6 Chap. 58 pg. 205
  6. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 6 Chap. 58 pg. 207
  7. British Newspaper Archive Sussex Advertiser 22 December 1857 Pg. 0003
  8. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 6 Chap. 58 Pg. 206
  9. British Newspaper Archive Sussex Advertiser 22 December 1857 Pg. 0003
  10. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 6 Chap. 58 pg. 208