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Founded in 1890 with a head office at temporary premises in Guardian Buildings, Cross Street, Manchester, with capital of £1m, its early growth reflected the continuing industrial prosperity of Manchester. The completion of the Manchester Ship Canal resulted in over 200 new accounts, and on 30 June 1891 the bank reported a net profit of £2,806. Several branches were opened in the Manchester area, as well as others across Cheshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire. In 1900 branches were acquired on the Isle of Man by amalgamation with the Manx Bank. Soon after, however, the Mercantile Bank began to run into difficulty, partly due to the effect of the Boer War on investments. The board of directors saw that as a relatively small bank, they could only survive by further amalgamation. In the early part of 1904, several meetings were held with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank, and on 1 July the business of the Mercantile Bank was transferred to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank.

Material available at Group Archives:

  • board minutes
  • shareholders' minutes
  • instructions for managers
  • bank notes