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A History of Banks for Savings in Great Britain and Ireland

William Lewins

334 pages
Library of Alexandria
The present volume is offered as a contribution to the history of a number of provident schemes, which, though quietly working in the country for many years, and affecting to no small extent the social condition of great masses of the people, can scarcely be said to have found an annalist. I think I may fairly consider that the ground covered by this work has not previously been occupied. In saying so much, I do not forget the only book which has hitherto emanated from the British press on Savings Banks. Mr. Scratchley's Practical Treatise on Savings Banks deals, however, with the question technically, and is meant avowedly as a text-book for actuaries and those employed about Savings Banks. The present volume, on the contrary, while it may be supposed to possess some interest even for this limited circle, is not meant to take the place of the above, but seeks its public amongst general readers, and amongst those who, either from inclination in that direction, or through connexion with them as employers, take an interest in the progress of the industrial classes of our country. Treating as this volume does of useful practical schemes and matter-of-fact topics, I have sought to avoid all matters of speculation, to speak in very plain terms and without waste of words, and, whilst noticing in their proper order all the different proposals having to do with the subject, to refrain from venturing upon any myself. My aim has been to give a full and accurate account of the early history of Savings Banks; and as subsequently to their origin the discussions in Parliament with regard to them and kindred subjects were no incorrect reflex of the feeling in the country at different periods, I have also dealt fully with the parliamentary history of these institutions. In this way Savings Bank reformers, both in and out of Parliament, and their measures of reform—many of them ending in the establishment of different kinds of supplementary banks—are made to pass under review; and the names of those who framed the original schemes, as well as of those who tried to improve upon them, are rescued, for a brief space at any rate, from a state of obscurity, if not of oblivion.