Son of William Tuke, and referred to by at least one financial journalist as ‘The Iron Tuke’, Anthony William (1897-1975) was the second of his distinguished banking and business family to steer the Barclays helm. Educated at Winchester, he saw service in World War One and joined Barclays in 1919. From a local directorship in Luton District in 1923 he was promoted as a general manager in 1931. A seat on the main board in 1946 (with vice-chairmanship), and election as deputy chair in 1947, signified his succession to Sir William Goodenough.
Anthony Tuke’s chairmanship was a period of unchecked growth for Barclays, as Britain emerged from the difficult period of post-war austerity into the boom years of a consumer economy. New branches were opened across the country, modern advertising methods were adopted, and a start was made to introduce computer accounting (Barclays being the first bank to order a mainframe computer). By the time he stepped down Barclays was the biggest of the UK clearing banks, deposits having risen from £300m to £3000m.
Despite the rapid growth of the bank Mr Tuke was a cautious man who foresaw the perils of inflation and proliferating credit. He also saw Barclays as a national institution, guardian of its customers’ money, an influential factor in the economy, and a potential force for good in society.
After eleven years as Chairman he continued both on the main board and as a local director in Southampton District for a further decade, retiring finally from the bank in 1972. Interested in the arts, the national heritage, and the theatre, Tuke was also co-author of the first two published volumes of the official history of Barclays: The History of Barclays Bank Limited (1926) and Barclays Bank Limited, 1926-69 (1972).