Annual EBHS Conference, 39th Annual Economic and Business History Society Conference

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Colwyn, Control and Cotton: The Union Bank of Manchester and Barclays Bank, 1919-1939
Mark Billings

Last modified: 2014-05-26


This paper explores the history of one of Britain’s smaller and geographically-concentrated commercial banks, the Union Bank of Manchester(UBM), in the period between the First and Second World Wars.  Barclays Bank, one of the ‘Big Five’ joint-stock commercial banks, acquired full ownership of UBM in 1920, but for reasons of public policy was forced to keep UBM as separate entity until the outbreak of World War Two.  The paper examines Barclays’ control of its acquisition and adds to our understanding of the interwar banking environment, marked by difficulties in the cotton industry, to which UBM was heavily exposed.