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The use of artefacts in studying bank history

Joint stock banks were a new type of institution, having only been permitted to form after the 1826 Bank Act. In establishing their reputation in the market, banks commissioned portraits of their directors and managers to hang in their branches. These portraits signalled the human face of banking, and showed customers a face they could trust, but also served as a remind to staff that they were being monitored. Moving into the twentieth century, further research examined the collection and display of portraits of past Lloyds Bank Chairmen in the 1960s. The practice continues to this day and the portraits are hung in the corridors surrounding the boardroom in Lloyds Bank’s London Headquarters. Further artefacts being considered are uniforms, introduced by Barclays Bank in the 1970s. Finally, the relevance of bank head office architecture has been analysed. In particular, Gibson Hall, the former headquarters of National Provincial Bank built in 1865, has been considered. This history of this building shows the usefulness and then the obsolescence of such physical structures over time, as the requirements of banking businesses change.