[From Manx Sun Dumbell's Bank, 1900]
The Career of
DUMBELL'S BANKING COMPANY
and its collapse
Account of the Trials
The Early Days of Manx Banking
The Effect of the Collapse on Trade
COMPARED with the old established institutions of the mainland and Continent, banking in the Isle of Man is but of recent origin. At the beginning of the century, the whole of the Insular banking business was confined to the firm of Littler, Dove, and Co., and Beatson and Copeland; but, in a few years, the business was divided, by Messrs Quayle, Taubman, and Kelly, who carried on business in Castletown, which was then, in name and in fact, the Metropolis of the Island. All these ventures were, however, short-lived, for the second decade of the century found them extinguished.
The archives deposited in the Rolls Office reveal the fact that in 1817 no less than
were authorised to transact banking business and issue notes in the Island, among them being John and Alexander Spittall, Gawne and McWhannell, "Forbes Bank," and the better known "Holmes' Bank."
In 1837 a company was formed to carry on the banking business of "Forbes' Bank" under the name of the "Isle of Man Joint Stock Banking Co.," but whether the concern was insolvent at its institution or not, in 1843 there was a terrible collapse, the memory of which still lingers amongst the older inhabitants of the Island.
The year 1854 witnessed the absorption of the Isle of Man Commercial Bank in the establishment of the
a branch of the City of Glasgow Bank, which did a sound and safe business here until the failure of its parent institution at Glasgow in the year 1878 stopped its operations in the Isle of Man.
In November of 1854 came the crash of "Holmes' Bank," or to give the full title, "James, Henry, and John Holmes," which occurred on the death of James Holmes, the debacle of which was attributed to the losses of the partners in their trading speculations; for in the earlier times banking was very frequently only a subsidiary portion of a general trading concern. The businesses carried on by the Messrs Holmes included the running of passenger and cargo vessels, coal, salt, iron merchants, grocers, wine and spirit dealers, etc., etc.
Briefly, the history of is still well remembered in the Island and always bore a reputation of soundness -which had become proverbial, was given by the High-Bailiff Harris, then a practising advocate, as follows "Henry, the father of the brothers James, Henry, carried on the business with their assistance, up to 1809 at which time he left the concern in their hand. In 1826 the elder Holmes died, leaving legacies to be paid by his estate of £20,000. At the time the Bank closed £12,000 of this was still owing. The three sons carried on the business with satisfaction to themselves and possessing the confidence of the people of Liverpool and the Isle of Man up to the year 1845 when they became lenders cf money on railway scrip. They continued to advance to a large amount during 1845 1846, and 1847, and it was supposed that losses occurred through brokers, who did not understand the business any better than themselves. Mr Henry Holmes died in 1848 leaving his property to his brothers."
The amount on deposit with Holmes at the suspension was £206,000; notes in circulation £20,000 and other liabilities making a. total of more £300,000.
The opportunity given by the closing of Holmes' Bank was seized upon with avidity, for the establishing of a successor by Mr George William Dumbell, then an advocate practising in Douglas, and a prominent member of the House of Keys, who immediately applied for and obtained a licence from the Lieutenant-Governor, and opened a new bank in St. George's Street, in premises now a coach-house. The style of the business was "The Douglas and Isle of Man Bank," the partners being George William Dumbell and Louis Geneste Howard, and the licence operated on the 1st November, 1853, their first notes being issued on January 7th, 1854. The licensed note issue was £5,000 and £8,800 in notes were circulated within one month.
Mr Dumbell was the active partner and manager, his chief clerk being Mr Robert Shimmon, the father of Mr John Shimmon, the late. secretary and manager of the defunct concern.
Towards the end of the, first year of operation, the note: issue licence was exceeded, and fresh powers were obtained in November anthorising an issue of £15,000. and .in December some, £8,000 of notes were in circulation,
In January of the next year branches of the Bank were opened in Castletown and Ramsey, with the result, that the business done was considerably increased, and the circulation of the notes further extended.
It was in 1854 that Mr Dumbell introduced into the Keys a Bill dealing with the Law of Banking. His speech on this occasion was really an impeachment of the Governor and Council, whom he charged with having treated his Bank unfairly, and with having imposed restrictions and conditions in granting his licence to issue notes, for which there was no legal authority. The whole speech was pervaded by a bitter tone and a feeling of personal grievance.
These conditions are very interesting, and we cannot but regret that their imposition was not insisted on, as without doubt they would have prevented, to some extent at least, the calamity which has fallen upon the Island in these latter days. By the. conditions attached to his licence, the Government provided for a supervision of the financial position of the Bank. The books and vouchers were to be open to the examination of the persons appointed by the Governor, and were subject to what was practically a Government audit.
At this time the most formidable opponent of Dumbell's Bank was the Bank of Mona, which, in November, 1855, opened magnificent premises (now occupied by the Legislative Buildings) at the corner of Finch Road and Buck's Road. The competition was very fierce, and all means were utilised to obtain customers, and the keenest jealousy existed between the supporters of the rival concerns, which was aggravated when the directors of the Bank of Mona went to the length of banqueting their principal customers in the Castle Mona Hotel. At the end of the year the returns from both Banks were: Bank of Mona : bills, £1,991; notes, ;£26,940; licence, £42,343. Douglas and Isle of Man (Dumbell's) : bills, £769; notes, £16,703 ; licence, £19,000.
Again in 1857 talk was indulged in as to whether success would attend another banking company if launched under favourable auspices, and profiting by the lessons of the past. Mr Dumbell soon got to hear of the matter, sought out those most prominent in the movement, and urged that the project should embrace the absorption of his private bank, the new company thus starting with a connection al ready made. He stipulated however, that he should be managing director of the new concern. Some of the promoters looked askance on this proposed Dumbell amalgamation, and the project did not come to fruition. .
In the last week of August, 1857, only four years from its institution, a notice appeared on the Bank door at Douglas, as follows:
" The Bank is compelled to suspend business for the present. No doubt need be felt that everyone will be paid in full, and that very speedily.
GEO. W. DUMBELL.
Douglas, 22 August, 1857."
There was a scene of considerable excitement, followed by several informal meetings. At one of these, supposed to be composed of depositors, but really composed of customers of both classes borrowers and depositors Mr Dumbell made a statement which so convinced his audience that they closed the meeting with a vote of thanks to him, and a resolution was passed confirming his appointment of Mr S. Harris and Mr Jas. G. Gelling to be trustees. The statement read to the meeting by Mr Harris, showed a balance of £10,000 to the good.
This year (1857) was to see a. second stoppage, for on Hollantide Day the Bank of Mona suspended, following on a panic in Scotland, occasioned by the failure of the Western Bank, a Scotch institution. A scene of immense excitement, and of panic and alarm, beyond exaggeration, was witnessed which was not allayed until in a few days the Bank re-opened.
In the next week Mr Dumbell called a meeting of the depositors of the recently suspended Douglas and Isle of Man Bank, and as a result, on the 18th of November, 1857, the Bank re-opened with the same partners in its former premises, under control of Mr Dumbell, and in July of the next year they obtained a license authorising a note issue of £10,000.
The business of the Bank of Mona was very successful, and at the beginning of 1859 it had £32,411 of bills and notes in circulation Dumbell's at the same time, having only £9,394.
In October, 1861, Messrs Dumbell and Howard, removed their business to the premises on Prospect Hill, which they continued to occupy until the final crash, and from this date the business of the Bank rapidly increased. In the following year the Great Laxey Mining Company's account, one of the best accounts held by the Company, and which it continued to hold to the close, was secured.
The Great Laxey Mining Company was floated, with Mr Dumbell as its chairman, and the account opened was particularly valuable because of the outlet which it gave for the circulation of the Bank's notes, every miner whose wages exceeded 20s. being paid with one of these.
Another good account which the Bank continued to hold down to its closing days was that of the Isle of Man Bank for Savings. This has proved to be a useful institution under the management of a number of local gentlemen, with Mr James Spittall as secretary. It has steadily continued its business for nearly half a century, and in the nineties, with its accumulated profits, purchased and presented to the town of Douglas a large area of land on Douglas Head, which has been laid out as a public pleasure ground.
In. September, 1864, Mr Wm. Dumbell, the eldest son of the founder, was admitted as a partner in the firm, which became known as " Dumbell, Son, and Howard.''
With great promptitude, on the passing of the Companies Act, 1865, the prospectus was issued in the columns of "The Manx Sun" inviting subscriptions for shares in the Isle of Man Banking Company, Limited, the issue consisting of 10,000 £10 shares, of which £2 was to be called up.
The provisional committee was composed of W. Callister, H.K., Ramsey, grandfather of Mr J. D. Clucas, advocate; Samuel Harris, now High-Bailiff of Douglas; W. F. Moore, H.K., father of the present Speaker of the House of Keys; H. B. Noble, Villa Marina, Douglas; and M. H. Quayle, then Clerk of the Rolls, Castletown. The committee subscribed one-fifth of the capital, and the first directors were Messrs Callister, Harris, Moore, Noble, and Dalrymple (late of Union Mills, and uncle of the present Chairman, Mr Dalrymple Maitland). The advocates were Richard Sherwood (afterwards Deemster) and Jno. Quayle. The offices were in Athol Street, in the place where its business was carried on until the end of the century. The London agents were the London and Westminster Bank. Reference was made to the principle of limited liability and to the advantages to be derived therefrom; also to the approval by the commercial community in England, Scotland, and Ireland, where so many of the largest and wealthiest banks had registered themselves under the Act which had been passed by Parliament in 1862. It was further stated that the Articles of Association contained a permanent fundamental rule which compelled the election of an English professional accountant to act as auditor, and to report yearly to the shareholders.
The Company was successfully floated, the list being closed on the 19th August, having been considerably over-subscribed; in a few days its shares were at a premium, and so continued until the final collapse o£ Dumbell's, at, which time they were selling at £12 for each share, on which only £2 had been paid.
This Bank commenced business on the 1st November, 1865, and was ever the formidable rival of Dumbell's. It was supported largely by the officials, gentry, and moneyed classes of the Island, though, as a "tradesmen's" Bank, it never attained the position which Dumbell's held. The principle reasons for this, we believe to be, that greater care was exercised by its management in the selection of customers and a quieter and, as events proved, a safer business was courted.
The first officials of the new Isle of Man Banking Co., which in time came to be popularly known as "The Limited," were carefully selected, but, from its inception, the directors assumed and maintained an intimate and effective control of all the ramifications of the business, so that at no time during its whole career could it be said that the managing officials were the masters of the situation.
Mr John James Karran, one of the well known Manx family, the Karrans, of Balingan. Marown, and up to then an assistant to Mr John Stanway Jackson in the Bank of Mona, was appointed manager, with Mr Archibald Clarke as his cashier and second officer at the head office; while Mr W. E. S. Moore controlled the Ramsey Branch, and Mr John Corrin the Castletown Branch. At the Douglas Branch over £10,000 was deposited on the opening day, November 1st, 1865.
At the end of the year 1865, after two months' work, the Limited had £5,132 in notes and bills in circulation, while the corresponding figure on Dumbell's return was £18,072. The first published list of shareholders in the Limited Bank gives the number at 220, the largest holders being the High-Bailiff of Douglas (Mr Harris), Mr H. B. Noble, and Mr E. M. Gawne, each holding 600 shares.
It is difficult for us to conceive in this day the pre-eminent position which Mr Dumbell held in political, social, and financial circles of the Island' at this, the hey day of his life. Naturally of a haughty temperament and a domineering disposition, his position earned him the title of the Lord of Man. His patronage was sought for all new enterprises in business matters, mining speculations, or benevolent schemes. So he was upon the board of directors of every new company, and woe betide the man who dared to cross his will. In Manx Society his influence was in the ascendant, the splendour of his entertainments made him facile princeps in social circles, in which his patronage was no less courted than in business and political life.
In 1866, on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter, Louisa, to Mr Elliott, of the Indian Civil Service, the most lavish expenditure was indulged in. The SUN columns described the bride's dress as being of "white satin, trimmed with three rolls of satin round the skirt, bodice trimmed with Bruxelles point lace, with crystal buttons, Bruxelles lace veil, wreath of orange and myrtle, pearl ornaments, etc. She was attended by eight bridesmaids, and the wedding party completely filled the church at Braddan. A troop of workmen had been for weeks employed in erecting a. monster marquee in the grounds at Belmont, which were illuminated and decorated with fairy-like grandeur." The wedding festivities terminated on the fourth day with a great ball in the Castle Mona Hotel.
Hitherto the Manx Banks had been content to restrict to notes of the value of £1, but in 1867 the Bank of Mona commenced the issue of £5 notes, which continued to be largely used in the Island until that institution suspended.
Up to 1869 the Clerk of the Rolls was. the custodian of the Chancery Court Funds, but in that year arrangements were made, in order to relieve him of liability and, for the better security of the funds, that all monies in the hands of the Court should be lodged in the Bank of Mona, which thus attained and held to its close the position of bankers to the Government, At its closing, the Insular banks were asked to tender. Dumbell's offered 3 per cent., afterwards reduced to 2½ per cent., and security. The "Limited," being more independent, could not see its way to give security and interest both, and, as a. result,, the account was transferred to Dumbell's Bank.
The next five years of banking history witnessed many phases of the keenness of the struggle between the Banks, not only in the ordinary routine of banking business, but to the extent that opposition Forties were formed in public bodies and companies. Perhaps the most noted of these battles occurred in connection with the Great Laxey Mining Company, of which Mr G. W. Dumbell was chairman. For several years there were difficulties in the management, which were accentuated by a strike in the early seventies. The strike lasted a long time. A committee of shareholders
was led by Mr Richard Sherwood (afterwards Deemster), and there were stormy scenes at many meetings; it being openly stated by the other side that his action was prompted by the hope of securing the banking business for "The "Limited." There were also frequent endeavours to withdraw from. "Dumbell's" the Town and Harbour Commissioners, the New Street Board, and other good accounts.
In 1874, in spite of endeavours as a private bank to hold the field, Messrs Dumbell were compelled to resort to the provisions of the Companies Acts, and to issue a prospectus which appeared in the columns of THE MANX SUN in August, 1874. This interesting document we give in full.
Dumbell's Banking Company, Limited. Incorporated under Act of Tynwald, intituled the "Companies Act, 1865." The liability of the shareholders is limited.
Subscribed capital £180,000, in 30,000 shares of £6 each, of which £2 per share to be paid, namely, £1 on application and £1 on allotment, making a paid-up capital of £60,000.
In arranging the number of shares, their value, and the amount to be paid up, the directors have been principally influenced by two considerations first, that of limiting the liability of the shareholders to the very small sum of £4 per share; and next, by the importance of having a bona-fide paid-up capital to work upon, that the business may not be entirely dependent upon deposits.
Directors: Ridgway Harrison, Esq.; Woodside, Receiver-General of the Isle of Man; G. W. Dumbell, Esq., M.H.K., Belmont, Managing Director; Wm. Baring Stevenson, Esq., J.P., Balladoole; Richard Penketh, Esq. M.H.K., Hampton Court; James Spittall, Esq., Ballaughton House.
Bankers : Messrs Glyn, Mills, Currie, and Co:; London; North-Western Banking Co., Liverpool; National Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh; Cumberland Union Banking Company, Carlisle; Munster Bank, Dublin.
Solicitors: Messrs Adams and. Dickinson, Douglas.
Auditor: Mr James Haining, Douglas.
This Company is formed, for the purpose of carrying on the banking business in the Isle of Man at present and for more than twenty years carried on by the firm of "Dumbell, Son; and Howard," under the title of the "Douglas and Isle of Man Bank," to which the directors have become entitled by purchase from the said Dumbell and Company upon very reasonable and advantageous terms. The purchase money is £5,000 in cash, and one thousand shares upon which £2 per share has been paid up. In the arrangement for the purchase it is provided that this Company shall open entirely new books, and shall only take over from the said Bankers such accounts and debts as the directors approve of and think proper to adopt.
The inducement for the Bankers to part with their business is to relieve the senior partner from a portion,of his responsibility as a private banker, and to satisfy the public desire that by the formation of a Limited Company the business shall be established upon a more permanent footing.
The business of the Company will be conducted in precisely the same manner as the present Bank, which will ensure to the public the same attention and consideration heretofore experienced and so universally acknowledged by all persons.,
The head office of the Company will be in Douglas, in the premise's erected by Messrs Dumbell and Co. for the. express purpose of their Bank, and which stands in the best position for business that could be selected in the town.
Prospectuses and forms of application can be obtained from any of the Bankers before named; from Messrs Dumbell and Co.; or the solicitors of the Company to any of whom applications far shares, with the deposit required, may be forwarded. All applications must be made previous to 8th September:
Any further information required may be obtained from Messrs Dumbell and Co. Douglas, 17th August, 1874. ,
Mr Spittall resigned his position as director in a few days, Mr Alured Dumbell, a son of the founder, afterwards Clerk of the Rolls, being appointed in his place.
It will be seen that the prospectus is of the baldest character; no statement of the business done by the Bank is included, and not even an estimate of the prospects is given, Notwithstanding this, the confidence of the public in Mr Dumbell's personality and capacity was such that the capital was much over subscribed, and was allotted among 420 shareholders.
The first list of shareholders was issued an the first Saturday of 1875, from which we have abstracted the names of all holders of 50 shares and over.
Adams; Alfred Walter, Springfield, Braddan, Isle of Man, advocate 100
Braddock, Alfred, 25, Derby Road, Douglas, Isle of Man, gentleman . 100
Braddock, Joseph, 45, Derby Road, Douglas, Isle of Man,. gentleman . 100
Broughton, Hugh, 17, Bay View, Mount Havelock, Douglas, Isle of Man, gentleman .. . 200
Brown, John, The Green, Castletown, Isle of Man, gentleman 150
Caine, Charles, Market Place, Douglas, Isle of Man, chemist ... 110
Christian, Edward, Northop, German, Isle of Man, yeoman ... 100
Clayton; William, Crosby, Marown, Isle. of Man, gentleman ...... 200
Cleator, Charles, Stanley Villa, Derby Road, Douglas, Isle of Man, cabinet maker . 100
Clucas,. Thomas, Malew Street, Castletown, Isle of Man, watchmaker . 150
Corkill, William, Dale Street, Ramsey, Isle of Man, grocer .... 60 ;
Corlett, John Joseph, Circular Road, Douglas, Isle of Man, cabinet. maker... 100
Corrin, Daniel, Market Place, Douglas, Isle of Man, draper....: . 100
Cottier, Robert Griffin, 15 and 17, Duke Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, draper. 500
Cubbon, Joseph, Sydney Mount, Douglas, Isle of Man, saddler ...150
Deacon, Elizabeth Ann and Mary Jane, Villa Bella Vista, Onchan, Isle of Man:, spinsters 150
Dumbell, George William, Belmont,. Onchan, Isle of Man, banker ., 4000
Dumbell, Alured, Ramsey, Isle of Man, High-Bailiff .... 200
Dumbell, William, Ballaughton Cottage, Braddan, Isle of Man, banker . 100 Dymond, Thomas, Burntwood Hall, near Barnsley, Yorkshire, England, gentleman .. 200
Fell, John Andrew, 2, Marathon Terrace, Douglas, Isle of Man, gentleman . 150
Fleming, Thomas, 18, Finch Road, Douglas, Isle of Man, cattle dealer . 150
Gladsby, William., Hurley, near Atherstone, Warwickshire, .England, gentleman .. 100
Gelling Edward, Ballacottier, Braddan, Isle of Man, farmer ..100
Graham, William, 9, Duke Lane, Douglas, Isle of Man, general dealer .. 100
Harrison, Ridgway, Woodside, Douglas,, Isle of Man, Receiver-General... 150
Jones, Joshua, D.C.L., King William's College, Castletown, Isle of Man, clerk . 75
Jones, Gilbert Morewood, Ballanard ..,Onchan, Isle of Man, farmer .. 60,
Jones, John George, Summerhill, Douglas. Isle of Man, gentleman . 60
Keig, William, Castle Street, Peel, Isle of Man, grocer 60
Kissack, James John (in trust), Belmont Terrace, Douglas, Isle of Man, merchant 100
Kneale, Thomas, 20, Parliament Street, Ramsey, Isle of Man, draper .. . 100
Lay, George, Duke Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, clothier 200
Lewin, Edward, The Bridge, Douglas, Isle of Man, blacksmith ...... 100
Lewis, Abel, Prospect Hill, Douglas, Isle of Man, photographer 350
Marshall, Robert, Fairfield, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, mill owner 200
Moore, Thomas Edward, 23, King Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, baker .. 100
Morrison, George, West View Terrace, Douglas, Isle of Man, tailor and draper 100
Morrison, Charles, Athol Street, Peel, Isle of Man, grocer ...... 100
Mylchreest, James, Bayview, Castletown, Isle of Man, merchant 130
Mylrea, John, 6, Derby Terrace, Douglas, Isle of Man, bookseller 100
Orford, Thomas, 65, Shaw Street, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, steam packet agent ..... 100
Orford, Elizabeth, 65, Shaw Street, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, widow. 60
Parkes, John, Star Hotel, Douglas, Isle of Man, hotel keeper ... 200
Penketh, Richard, Hampton Court, Braddan, Isle of Man, gentleman .. 200
Penketh, James, Lime Grove,St. Helen's, Lancashire, England, timber merchant 100
Roney, Richard, 14, Duke Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, merchant .. 100
Roose, Joanna Bently, 17,Waterloo Road, Ramsey, Isle of Man, spinster . 225
Shimmin, James, Remedios, Cuba, West Indies, engineer . 100
Spittall, Jane, Laureston, Onchan, Isle of Man, spinster ... 150
Stevenson, William Baring, Balladoole, Arbory, Isle of Man, gentleman . 200
Taylor, Francis Howard, Middlewood Hall, Barnsley, Yorkshire, England, gentleman ...200
Teare, John, Peel, Isle of Man, ship chandler . 100
Todhunter, William, and Elliot, Andrew, Douglas, Isle of Man, ironmongers... 100
Turner, Frederick Holden, 40, Bedford Row, London, Middlesex, England,solicitor .. 100
Warburton, Richard and Holmes, George, Wellington Buildings, Douglas, Isle of Man, Tobacco manufacturers .. 100
Young, William Eaton, 5, Richmond Terrace, Stretford Road, Old Trafford, Manchester, Lancashire, England, gentleman ...... 150
(1st January, 1875.)
The first meeting of shareholders was held on November 19, 1874, and was presided over by Mr Ridgeway Harrison. The utterances of some of the speakers, in view of recent occurrences, are particularly interesting.
Mr Dumbell: said: "It will be my business particularly to watch over the branches. We have a great variety of checks to ensure safety, especially during our time, so as to prevent any business being done at the branches that is not known at the head office. There is no business done at the branches that is not known at the head office on the following day. Every transaction at the branches goes through our own books and under our own eyes at the head office. It is greater trouble, but it is greater security. We keep a perfect tally by weekly and monthly accounts, showing every shilling that has been advanced and the names of the individuals, and a check is kept showing every man's balance as debtor or creditor, and what security there is for every advance."
Subsequent revelations have shown that this careful system was either exaggerated by the speaker or soon fell into desuetude.
The following is also significant; speaking of the proposed directors, Mr Dumbell said "Our great object is to have gentlemen that are not in business, so that there cannot be any question that they will be for ever prying into this matter, and letting out the business transactions of the Bank. I hope my co-directors will not be offended by my saying this, but I wish it to be understood clearly that these gentlemen will not be allowed from mere curiosity to pry into tradesmen's accounts (tremendous cheers) in order to learn the exact state of the business of other people. Every new account will be submitted to them, which involves the risk of money, and it will be my duty to lay it before them so that they may . say "Yes" or "No" to the transaction; but unless there is risk or difficulty, I shall never show the working accounts."
Mr Stevenson said: " We have gone through the whole of the accounts, and Mr Dumbell has submitted to us every account, every bill, and every draft, and we have perfectly satisfied ourselves that there is ample security for every overdraft. . . The bills are all good bills, and for my own part, I must say that I was perfectly satisfied to find the excellent business that was being done by the bank.
I shall not insist on making a prying enquiry into tradesmen's accounts. I do not think the directors have any right to pry into these matters. If a new account is opened, then it becomes the duty of the directors to see that all is right in connection with it."
Capt. Penketh endorsed what Mr Stevenson had said.
Mr Higgins, an advocate practising in Peel, raised a note of discord and protested against the doctrine laid down by Mr Dumbell. "He should not like it, he said, ' to go forth that it was a settled principle that people in trade and merchants were to be excluded from a seat on the Board." . . "He did not wish it to go forth that one of the fundamental rules of the company was that the directors must be excluded from looking into the accounts.'
There is no doubt that the preliminary conditions of a successful venture, as far as it is possible in such a limited community as the Isle of Man, were possessed by the newly constituted bank. It had an established business, a capable manager, an interested proprietory of 420 persons, all of whom would exert their influence for the benefit of the Bank, and it held some of the best and most profitable accounts in the Island.
Among the initial accounts were Great Laxey Mines, Foxdale Mines, the Great North Laxey, the Government Account, the Highway Board, Douglas Town Board, the Harbour Board, the New Street Board, the Savings' Bank, the Railway, Gas, and Steam Packet Companies, and, singular to state, every hotel in Douglas, excepting the Imperial Hotel, then owned by a director of the "Limited." In the face of these advantages only the grossest mismanagement or misfortune could have prevented success.
for a full half-year were presented to the meeting of shareholders held on August 9th, 1875, and we give a copy of the balance sheet submitted to that meeting and a copy of that submitted to the meeting of shareholders at the end of the half year, prior to the liquidation ; a comparison of these will show how the form had been entered for reasons which are now unfortunately obvious.
Profit and Loss.
20th January, 1876.
Examined and found correct, WILLIAM ALDRED, JAS. HAINING,
WM. BARING STEVENSON, Chairman. RICHARD PENKETH,
GEO. W. DUMBELL,
Directors. JOHN SHIMMON, Secretary.
Profit. and Loss.
WM BARING STEVENSON,-J J. A. MYLREA,
A. P. PENKETH, Directors.
28th July, 1899.
We :have examined items of the foregoing balance sheet and profit and loss account in detail,; and find them to be correct; we have also examined and satisfied ourselves as to the bills and securities abovementioned and find tbent to be satisfactory and in order; and we further report and certify that npon a full examination of the books and certified branch retuir'ns, we, believe that the balance sheet exhibits a true and correct view of the state of the Company's affairs at the date thereof.
WM. ALDRED, SON & Co., Chartered Accountants, Manchester.
JOS. D. ROGERS, Auditors.
The years 1875 and 1876 were mrked by several important law suits in which Dumbell's was engaged, and in most of which the Bank was unfortunate. The more important were that against Mr Robert Clucas, now M.H.K., in which the Bank sought to recover ¼ per cent commission on cheques drawn by Mr Clucas and paid in England; and that of the Bank of Mona v. Dumbell's Bank in respect of light gold, both of which were decided against the local bank.
In January, 1877, Mr J. A. Fell resigned his position as director, causing a vacancy which his colleagues supplied by the appointment of Mr Chas. Cleator, a cabinet-maker, in a large way of business, whose premises were on the North Quay, in Douglas. At this time shares were selling at from £3 7s. 6d. to £4 10s., while Limiteds were bringing £8 10s.
The leading events of this year were the securing of the Manx Northern Railway account, the fact that the note circulation reached £25,600, a larger issue than that of any other bank, and the purchase of the Keys Chamber, at Castletown, for new bank premises.
The great Bank Robbery occurred in April of 1878, when A. W. Gray, the cashier of the Bank of Mona, robbed the strong room of that Bank of £8,873, for which, after a protracted trial, he was sentenced to ten years' penal servitude.
The late manager of the Bank, Mr William Dumbell, the son of the founder, died in 1878.
A crisis occurred in the financial world in 1878, which shook to the foundation many of the most firmly established banks of the kingdom, and which seriously affected the Island, when it was learned that the City of Glasgow Bank, of which the Bank of Mona was a branch, had suspended payment. This proved a most calamitous affair, as the Bank was well established in the Island and many people had deposits in the different branches, and though the, ultimate loss was small; yet the delay brought ruin to scores.
As a necessary copsequence, there was a run on the other local banks, which the Limited prepared for by chartering a special steamer to convey some £20,000 in gold, but Dumbell's outrode the storm apparently without special provision.
Mr Bruce was manager of the Ramsey branch of the Bank of Mona, and was there held in high esteem, so much so that at a meeting of depositors, held on the failure, a resolution, of sympathy with him was passed. He was at, this time appointed to the position of general manager of Dumbell's, which he held until its liquidation.
Mr Chas. Cleator died in 1879, and his place at the Board was filled up by Mr Thornton Duesbery.
Extensions were, in the year, made at Laxey, and the then rising village of Port St. Mary, when a branch was opened which soon gathered a comfortable business, especially as at that time the fishing industry was at its height.
In 1880, Mr Alured Dumbell, son of the founder, who practised as an advocate in Ramsey, was appointed the second Deemster, and was, therefore, unable to continue his services as a director of the Company, his place being taken by Mr C. W. Shaw.
The "Limited," in 1865, the second year of its institution, appointed an English professional auditor to examine the Bank's accounts, the first of these being Messrs G. E. Holt and Son, jointly the auditors of the Manx Bank. From 1869 to 1876 the accounts were audited by Mr Mather, of the firm of Messrs Parkinson and Mather, the present, auditors of the Mercantile Bank of Lancashire. From 1879 to the present the "Limited's" accounts have been examined by the well-known firm of Messrs Turquand, Youngs, and Co.
The question of following the example of the Limited Bank in engaging professional auditors, was raised at several meetings of Dumbell's shareholders, about the year 1880, but the proposal, supported by Mr Bruce, was fiercely opposed by Mr Dumbell. However, on the death of Mr Goldsmith, who had acted as professional auditor for many years, Mr Wm. Aldred, of Manchester, was appointed at the February meeting of 1881, and he was referred to in the directors' report as being held in high repute among the profession of that city.
The qualification of a director was, in 1882, reduced from 100 to 50 shares, at the instance of Mr Dumbell.
In 1882 a rival appeared in the field in the Manx Bank, Limited, whose head offices were in Victoria Street, Douglas, and which instituted branches in Ramsey, Castletown, Peel. and Port Erin, and which, during its short life, did a business among the smaller tradesmen and middle class generally. It was never, however, a serious rival to Dumbell's, and few people were surprised when at the end of the year which witnessed Dumbell's failure it was absorbed by the Mercantile Bank of Lancashire, Ltd., which became purchasers of the concern, " lock, stock, and barrel," at a price equal to the par value of the original shares.
For several years the price of shares in Dumbells had been on the increase, until in 1883 they had reached the sum of £6 10s., which, with the dividend at 10 per cent. on the original £2 per share paid up, only meant a much smaller dividend to the purchasing shareholders. The "Limited" was, at this time, paying 20 per cent., and the new shareholders in Dumbell's were quietly agitating for a. rise in the dividend. To this Mr Dumbell was very much opposed, and his speech on this subject is interesting when considered in relation to the fact that almost immediately his control was withdrawn from the Bank the dividend began rapidly -to in-crease. Addressing the February meeting in 1883, he said: "I hope it will be a long time, before you are greedy enough to ask for more than 10 per cent. dividend. My own opinion is that 10 per cent. is a very nice per centage to lay by and to enable you to lay by and invest your money instead of putting all into your pockets. If any difficulty should occur, or any serious loss, you would have plenty to fall back upon, instead of spending it all. Take my advice-I may not be in the land of the living very long-I advise you not to be over anxious to increase your dividend; 10 per cent. is considered a very good and handsome return. And don't raise the price of shares; I don't want to see the price of shares raised to a fictitious extent. I might make a good deal of money by selling shares. I don't intend to do it."
It was in this year that Mr Stevenson (the chairman), referring to the auditor (Mr Aldred) said: "Perhaps you are not aware that it is the duty of an auditor not merely to go. through the figures, but also to look into the different securities in the Bank books; and I understand that Mr Aldred has discharged that duty thoroughly and efficaciously."
The influence of the Dumbells in the Island was now still further increased on the death of Mr A. W. Adams, Clerk of the Rolls, whose office was filled by the appointment of Deemster Alured Dumbell, Richard Sherwood, the leading advocate at the Manx Bar, being appointed Second Deemster in his place.
The death of Mr Duesbury, in 1883, caused a vacancy on the Board of Directors, which was filled up by the appointment of
advocate; Ramsey. Mr Nelson was a personal friend of Mr Bruce, since the time when he had been manager of the Bank of Mona in Ramsey, and it was doubtless on his suggestion that Mr Nelson was asked to join the Board. By many the event of his joining the Board is fixed upon as the "beginning of the end," and it certainly seems from this time that the down grade of mismanagement and plunging speculation commenced.
1884 was a great year of company promoting, and in the many and various schemes for which companies were evolved, Dumbell's figures largely on the promising prospectuses as bankers, and, unfortunately, participation m these ventures ultimately resulted in more than one great loss to the Bank. In one week no less than four companies were placed on tfie market, to three of which Dumbell's acted as bankers, and subsequently they became bank-ers to the fourth. The one which caused the greatest loss to Dumbell's was the Isle of Man Chemical Co., who purchased for about £10,000 the chemical works near Peel, then carried on by a company which was relinquishing the business. The new company carried on a small business for a few years, and then died out. The works were shut down and an overdraft amounting to £8,000 stood to the debit of the company in Dumbell's books, .or which the complaisant bankers took over the concern, and treated it until the smash as a good asset for the amount of the overdraft, with its ever-increasing compound interest, whereas in fact it was not worth £500,
After Mr Nelson had joined the Board, and the health of Mr G. W. Dumbell restricted his grass; of the business of the Bank, specu-lation was more freely indulged in. The well-remembered Brewery boom commenced at this time, and the infection for investments of this class seems rapidly to have reached our little island. When Samuel Allsopp and Sons, Ltd., was put on the market for further subscription, it was immediately largely oversubscribed, no less than three syndicates were formed in Douglas and £25,000 left the Island with application forms in one week. So numerous were the applications from the Isle of Man, that if all had been granted, it would represent a sum of £2 per head for every man in the Island. When Guinness Breweries were offered, over £130,000,000 in shares were applied for. Although these facts were known at the time, it was little thought that the Bank's money was being used for private speculation by a director and two trusted managers, yet on the liquidation it was shown that Messrs Bruce, Shimmon and Nelson had brought by this plunge a loss of no less than £21,000 cin the Bank which they controlled.
Nothing which occurred in recent years contributed so much to give tone to the reputation of the Bank as the addition to the Board of Mr John Allen Mylrea, who in 1887 took the place rendered vacant by the death of Mr CW. Shaw. Mr Mylrea was even then well-known in Douglas, which he represented in the House of Keys; an advocate who had retired from practice, and known as an able business man, an excellent speaker, and whose character was above suspicion, his presence at the Board was thought on all hands to secure careful and efficient control of all details of the Bank management. It was with intense surprise and the bitterest disappointment that the public heard Mr Mylrea declare on the stoppage of the Bank that he had not exercised any control or taken any detailed interest in the management of the Bank with which he was entrusted, but that on the other hand he had trusted implicitly in Mr Bruce and Mr Shimmom We believe we are not in any way exaggerating public feeling when we say that it was strongly felt an injustice was being done to the shareholders and the public that up to the time of our going to press no steps of any kind had been taken either by him or against him, by which any restitution could be obtained, a feeling which was aggravated by the facts made public during the proceedings, that from us joining the Board up to within a few days of the stoppage, he himself had had an overdraft
[p11-12 missing tbd]
Shortly after this, the Bank absorbed the adjoining premises and provided additional ac accommodation both for public and staff.
Up to 1896, Manx bankers' terms had been specially favourable to their customers whose accounts showed them to have a balance to credit; allowing theirs interest at the rate or 3 per cent.; so that many people had been in the habit of treating a bank account as an assured investment at 3 per cent., and not seeking outside securities. This, however, was a higher rate than could be afforded by institutions working on true banking lines; and after having unsuccessfully endeavoured to obtain unanimity among the Insular banks as to their proposal, the Limited: and the Manx, in 1896, reduced their interest on deposits to 2½ per cent., and their interest on overdrafts to å per cent. No explanation is now required of the reasons which actuated Dumbell s management in declining the overtures of its compeers in this matter.
In the banking world Dumbell's had been looked upon with great suspicion for some years, and those in the inner circles were prepared for its default even earlier than it occurred. This knowledge doubtless influenced the directors of the Union Bank of Liverpool, who, in 1896, made a bold bid to purchase the Manx Bank, but for reasons which have never transpired, the negotiations were declared
'` a new business for itself with premises in Victoria-street, midway between Dumbell's and the Manx Bank. The business of the Liverpool Union Bank was in 1900 purchased by Lloyds Bank, Limited.
From the institution of the Bank until his death in 1897 Captain Richard Penketh, of Hampton Court, Port Soderick, had been a director of the Bank. He was during his career much trusted and respected, was a member of the House of Keys for Middle Sheading; a Justice of the Peace, and Director of the Isle of Man Railway Company. But it is now admitted that he did not possess the necessary business shrewdness and acumen to fit him for the position. For some time after his death the vacancy on the Board was not filled up, and it was with considerable surprise that the public received the announcement that his son, Mr Alfred P. Penketh, had been appointed in his place. The younger Mr Penketh was entirely unknown in the Isle of Man in any business connection. The shareholders, however, raised no question, and his appointment was confirmed.
It is impossible in the space at our disposal to go into the details of the later years of the bank's history. It is sufficient to say that, among the general public at least, confidence in the Bank was maintained to the last. It is, however, impossible to close this brief, history without reference to what must be considered the main factor in bringing down the Bank, even though that might have been but, as the proverb has it, " the last straw which broke the camel's back."
We have before referred to the pre-eminence of Dumbell's Bank among company promoters, and this position it year by year increased. Among these ventures were those without mention of which we think our remarks would be incomplete. We refer to the Palace and Derby Castle Company, Limited, the Isle of Man Tramways and Electric Power Company, Limited, and the Isle of` Man Breweries, Limited.
Mr. Laughton, the present High-Bailiff of Peel, set. the ball a rolling which transformed the character of the Isle of Man as a pleasure resort when he opened the Derby Castle Dancing Saloon in 1877. Previous to this time. the visitors to the Island were satisfied, in the way of amusements, with the niggers [Minstrels] on the beach, the band on the Iron Pier, and an occasional visit to the old Theatre Royal in Wellington-street : but, from the introduction of the Dancing Saloon, the atmosphere changed. Soon the concern was too big for Mr. Laughton, and perhaps a little infra dig , so that it was transferred to a company, and subsequently the company was floated to the public and the shares quickly subscribed for. Then Falcon Cliff was similarly transformed from a quiet residential hotel to another "Hall by the Sea," and by-and-by the immense rival, the Palace, threatened to outdo them all.
In 1892 these places of public amusement numbered six, viz., The Palace, Derby Castle, Falcon-Cliff, Olympia, Belle Vue, and the Marina ; and it will readily be seen that the thing was overdone. Olympia., Belle Vue, The Marina, and Falcon Cliff succumbed, and a syndicate then became the purchasers of The Marina, Falcon Cliff, Derby Castle, and The Palace. The first was transformed into the Gaiety Theatre, the second became a hydro and a building estate, while the other two outside of the Grand Theatre obtained a monopoly of the patronage of the pleasure-seeking public. In this transaction Dumbell's financed the speculators, and though we do not wish it to be understood that we attribute the failure of the Bank to any particular concern, we give the circumstances a place here, as instancing how the Managers of the Bank departed from sound banking and financial principles in encouraging this class of speculative business.
In 1874 Mr. Thomas Lightfoot obtained powers from the Tynwald Court authorising the construction of the Douglas Bay Tramways, and for some years shrewdly and carefully worked them, with success. He was, however, induced to sell them to a company, which for some time carried them on with equally profitable results. But in the height of the speculating mania an opportunity for a grand coup was seen. Mr. F. G. Callow, of Onchan, the owner of the Howstrake Estate, was captured by the fascinating personality of Mr. Bruce, the trusts and directions of his father's will were nullified ; a grand drive was laid out through his estate, which was put on the market as building land; an electric tramway was constructed along it to Laxey ; the old Tramway Company was bought out, and a new company, with enlarged capital and unlimited memorandum of association, was floated, and the shares were greedily taken up.
Soon a group of directors of the Tramway Company, with a few particular friends, made a little syndicate among themselves for constructing a similar electric tramway to Snaefell, from the top of which "you may," in the words of one of them, "see six kingdoms at a glance." They purchased rights from the Crown to exploit the mountain, built their line, and sold it at a handsome profit to their fellow-shareholders in the Isle of Man Tramways, Limited, to whom it became a " white elephant." Mr Bruce, for his share in this reputable transaction was presented with a magnificent service of solid silver, which was afterwards sold under the hammer of Mr. Thomson, by order of the Bankruptcy Court, and of which we give an illustration.
Similarly the extension to Ramsey was carried out, after buying off a company which had pre-empted the scheme, and the venture was again palmed off on the shareholders of the Isle of Man Tramways.
The part which we consider this company had in bringing about the debacle of the Bank we will refer to later on.
In the spring of 1898 the air was filled with "amalgamation" rumours. The Palace and Derby Castle had been a great success, and its promoters had reaped a rich harvest ; but "much will have more," and these men were not satisfied ; so, in a quiet way, individuals and small sub-syndicates were acquiring grocery stores, public-houses, hotels, and breweries, and in June, 1899, the prospectus of The Great Combine appeared, asking a capital of £550,000, in shares and debentures, to acquire three breweries, Forty-six licensed houses, and a number of other properties.
The directors were Messrs. John A. Brown, T. M. Dodd, J. T. H. Cottier L. Dursley, J. D. Rogers, and R. Stott. Mr. Bruce and Mr. Nelson were members of this syndicate, though their names did not appear.
The effect of the appeal for capital was not successful, and nearly half the stock remained in the hands of the promoters.
Ostensibly the Tramway Company was a success; it issued an interim and supplementary dividend each year. On the face of the balance sheet, as certified by Messrs Aldred and Son, it was a flourishing success; but events have proved that it was a constant drain on the financial resources of its foster-mother the Bank, and, on the stoppage of its source of supply, it died of inanition. The Breweries may also have been a sound financial undertaking. and might eventually have become a dividend-earning concern. But the public did not so esteem it, and the properties the syndicates had purchased had to be paid for; so, that at the end of 1899 hundreds of thousands of the Bank's funds were locked up in the advances made by the Bank to the directors of the one and the promoters of the other; so that on the' 2nd of February, when the historic Jemarid was made at the head office of Dumbell's Bank, the wherewithal to meet it was not available, and
Hence these lines, and hence the suicide, death, insanity, misery, poverty, and depression that have followed that truly black Saturday, the 3rd day of February, 1900.
The following were the dividends declared half-yearly from the foundation of the company:- June, 1875, to December, 1876, 6 per cent. per annum; June, 1877,, to December, 1878, 7 per cent. ; June, 1879, 8 per cent. ; December, 1879, to December, 1880, 9 per cent.; June, 1881, to December, 1888, !b per cent.; June, 1889, to June, 1890, 15 per cent.; December, 1890, to June, 1894, 16 per cent.; December, 1894, to December, 1895, 17 per cent.; June, 1896, to the last in June, 1899, 18 per cent.
The effect of the suspension on the trade of the Island was immediate, and far reaching. As we have already stated the earliest to feel the strain were the working people, many of whom were without their wages on the Saturday, but this matter was arranged in every case quite early in the following week. In larger matters utter stagnation was prompt, auction sales were of necessity postponed, for no one would buy, tradesmen carried on business in fear and trembling, for no one knew who was involved or who was not, and each feared to trust his neighbour. All spirit of enterprise and speculation was smothered, orders for spring and. summer trade were largely cancelled, and in the interval between February and Whit-Week, the cargo traffic on the Isle of Man Steamers., did not equal by one half, the traffic of the previous year, and it was not until well on in summer that even the ordinary retail trade assumed any approach to normal conditions.
Perhaps the market most affected was that in stocks and shares, which to all intent and purpose was extinguished and no transactions of any kind took place for weeks, nor was any real recovery noticeable up to October. Shares in breweries, hotels, and resorts were quite unmarketable . for many months, while transactions in rails, mines, steamers, and banks, showed such depreciation, that no sales were effected except under absolute compulsion. Between February and October, Tramway shares fell from 27/- to 1/-; Steampackets, from 19/- to 12/6; Palace, from 20/- to 12/6; Amalgamated Breweries, from 20/- to 11/-; while securities, which had often been characterised by a leading broker as sufficiently sound for "'widows' and orphans' funds," fell woefully; I. O.M. Rails dropped fully 10/-, I.O.M. Banks slipping down from £12 7s. 6d. to £7 10s., and Manx Banks from £3 15s. to £2 2s. 6d'. ,
It had been early anticipated that the building trade would suffer much, and to a certain extent the forecast proved accurate; certainly as far as the market value of speculative buildings is concerned, for all attempts to procure purchasers for the large terraces and blocks of houses, which had been run up by builders for sale purposes, utterly failed, and the many persons who had financed the builders, had before the coming winter, largely resigned themselves into taking over the property and making the best of a bad job. But this in no way applies to the sounder class of house property, such as was situated in leading thorough fares, along the promenades, and in similar good positions, because in this class of investment there was little, if any, depreciation.
Perhaps the most striking result in the effect on investments was the appreciation in the value of landed securities, which justified and emphasised this position which had been largely taken by several local valuers for some years past. The reason of this is easy to divine. The utter distrust of personal securities which prevailed, the doubts and rumours which were in constant circulation as to the stability of other financial concerns, induced a very large number of investors to withdraw their deposits from the local banks, and their anxiety led them to decline any but first-class landed securities. Thus it came about that there was no depreciation in the value of agricultural lands, but rather an increased confidence in, and demand for, the one security which is considered to be beyond the reach of temporary fluctuation and the panic of the money market.
The Isle of Man has been described as "Lancashire by the Sea," and so intimate are :the existing relations. that it was impossible that a circumstance so affecting the Manx trade, could fail to depress the reputation and credit of the Manx business community, in those markets where most of the Insular tradesmen derive their supplies. Little surprise was, therefore, felt at the caution displayed by Liverpool and Manchester merchants, in the dealing with their local customers. When commercial travellers visited us it was in the hope of collecting cash, and not for the purpose of taking orders, which for some months were not sought, except from customers whose financial position was above any possibility of disaster, while some large Manchester warehousemen and a few Liverpool provision merchants, withdrew their travellers from the Island and closed all accounts there.
As was inevitable, many cheques had been drawn on the broken bank, which had not boon cashed at the time of the failure, some because they had been received too late and others because the holders had neglected to pass them in to credit of their account. For some time there was much uncertainty as to the liability for these, and the question was not set at rest until several cases had been decided by the High. Court.
One of the most lamentable features in con nection with the failure, was the fact that Dumbell's, on the failure of the Bank of Mona in 1878, succeeded in securing the business of the Government, and, as already mentioned not that any loss ensued on this account, but because of this circumstance: An additional confidence had been reposed, based on the assumption that the public funds would not have been entrusted to a bank, the financial position of which had not been thoroughly ascertained by the best experts. It was a frequent occurrence that possible and doubtful customers would be reassured with the statement, that " this is the Government bank, you know, and your money will be quite safe.
Not only was: injury done in this way, but at the time of the failure very large sums of Chancery, Bankruptcy, Post Office, and General Revenue funds were in the bank on deposit, and many months elapsed before the persons entitled to these were able to obtain their proportions.
This matter, however, was the subject of legal proceedings which are dealt with in another portion of this work.
The first persons to show the visible effect of the failure, were those who were largely indebted to the Bank and were unable to arrange with other financial institutions to take over their liability to Dumbell's. Naturally the most unsound were the first to fall, and an unfavourable opinion was formed from these cases of the value of the overdrafts which the Bank had allowed, so that when it was seen how utterly absurd were the credits given to these people, the false conclusion was drawn that these were a fair sample of the debtors to the Bank.
Many of these people, on the appointment of the Liquidator, made no attempt to meet their liabilities, but in their own initiative, by bankruptcy or other method, put their creditors into possession of their assets, or made arrangements with their creditors. The first to fail was Thos. Clague, boat owner and grocer, of Peel, a member of the House of Keys, whose gross liability to the Bank was £21,000. Other; followed in rapid succession, including Wm. Moore, boat owner and barker [of nets], Peel, liable to the Bank for £17,000; Moore & Burr, drapers, Douglas, £2,000; Wm. Callister, draper, Douglas, £18,000; Daniel Corrin, dealer, Douglas, £25,000; L. G. Hannay, printer, Douglas, £15,000; Richard Roney, grocer (the oldest tradesman in Douglas), £19,000; D. Anderson, builder, Peel, £1,500; Thos. Kelly, baker, Peel, £5,600; A. M. Kneale, grocer, Douglas, £4,000; C. B. Heyes, publisher, Ramsey, £2,000; Alexander Bruce, J.P., managing director of Dumbell's, £12,000; C. B. Nelson, another director, £35,000. Other firms which came to grief were: Jacob Kelly, grocer, Douglas; S. H. Marsden, hotel keeper, Douglas ; John Shimmon, bank manager, Douglas; J. R. Craine, builder, Douglas; Douglas Bay Hotel Company, Limited; Douglas Bay Estate Company, Limited; and the Isle of Man Boot and Shoe Company, Limited. In the wake of these came a host of smaller people, shopkeepers, restaurant keepers, hotel and boarding-house keepers, and up to the time of our going to press the long list of bankrupts is unfortunately still being added to.