Esoteric London

No. 596: Whitecross Street, EC1

Posted in Events, Lettering by esotericlondon on June 11, 2012

Whitecross Street, London, EC1. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

London and Londoners in the Eighteen-Fifties and Sixties – Alfred Rosling Bennett, 1924:

The terrible bank failure of Overend and Gurney occurred in June, the liabilities being eleven millions. I saw a queue of unfortunate customers, including many women, outside the closed doors in Threadneedle Street, apparently hoping against drab dismal fact that the exhibited notice of suspended payment might in some miraculous manner become cancelled and the doors opened again. But, alas! there was no “Sesame” potent enough to influence the portals of that Robbers’ Cave.

[In May 1866, Overend and Gurney, at that time the worlds largest discount house with a turnover second only to that of the Bank of England, suspended all payments and provoked a “panic without parallel in the financial history of England.” Within three months of the event more than two hundred other companies had collapsed. Overend and Gurney itself had debts equivalent to GBP 1 billion at today’s values. R.D.]

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