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This ancient City partnership traces its ancestry to a goldsmith called Henry Pinckney, who traded as a goldsmith at the sign of the three squirrels in Fleet Street, London, around 1650, and who is mentioned in Pepys' diary a few years later. Goslings can thus claim a lineage older than that of Barclays itself. In 1742, Sir Francis Gosling became the first member of his family (who were in the stationery trade) to join the partnership. From then to 1896, the name Gosling predominated. Benjamin Sharpe became a partner in 1794 and was succeeded by other members of that family. From 1794, the name of the bank was Goslings and Sharpe but the Sharpes remained junior partners with no right to nominate their successors. Goslings was the fourth largest of the banks that joined together in 1896 to establish Barclay and Co Ltd as a joint stock bank. Today, Goslings remains the oldest branch in the Barclays Group and still occupies its original site in the City.

This partnership is one of the best documented early banks in the Group Archives, the records including:

  • a run of profit and loss ledgers and balance books from the mid-1700s onwards
  • examples of early cheques
  • correspondence
  • a rare near-complete set of customer ledgers from 1717 to 1896 (which is of international scholarly significance)
  • amalgamation papers 1896

Further information about this collection is available at the Archives Hub (link opens in new window).