[From Hugh Stowell Brown, 1888]



ONE of the most satisfactory steps that my Church has taken has been the establishment of our workman’s bank, with the full concurrence and under the patronage of some of the most experienced and careful men among us. The Institution was formed in the year 1861, and since that period nearly 3000 persons have become depositors. There has been entrusted to us an aggregate sum of £80,000 of the working people’s money, because I may say that with few exceptions our deposits belong to the working classes. And here perhaps I may be justified in identifying one result of my Concert Hall lectures. I think that in some measure, and a considerable measure, the working men, in so far as they have made this bank the depository of their savings, have done so through the knowledge which they and I got of one another, and the good understanding established between us on those Sunday afternoons; and I cannot but believe that the habits of saving which have thus been fostered, have been the salvation of hundreds from intemperance, from poverty, and from degradation. I think that our depositors were to a large extent composed of the very choicest of the working people, because I have observed that however bad the times may be, the amount of money paid in is very little less, and the amount withdrawn very little more, than usual. I believe I am justified in saying that that institution, and all institutions of that sort, ought to be conducted with the utmost care and with all the precautions and the safeguards that are practicable. I hope that such may always be the character of its management. It is a great satisfaction to me to feel that we have so far secured the confidence of a very large number of working people. We have had two runs upon the bank. When Barned’s Bank failed one depositor ran upon us and demanded the ten shillings we owed him; and when the Royal Bank broke up we had to stand the rush upon us of another fifteen shillings. This, I understand, is the extent to which our institution has been viewed with diminished confidence during the recent terrible times. It is satisfactory to be so confided in, and although I am myself neither director, trustee, or official of any sort, there is nothing in connection with the place that I am more anxious to maintain than the perfect safety of all money that may be entrusted to our care. All that any of us desired was to foster habits of thrift and economy, and with very little idea that the concern would ever become what it is; expecting, or rather hoping, that perhaps two or three hundred of the working people would be encouraged to save something out of their earnings, we ventured upon this step, and I hope above all things, that we shall never see reason to regret having done so. I am sure that it is in good hands now; may it always continue in hands equally as good as long as it continues to exist.*

* The establishment and extension of the Post Office Savings’ Bank finally led to the winding up of the Workman’s Bank.—ED.


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