Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Drummond's Bank, at 49 Charing Cross, was subsumed in the Royal Bank of Scotland, on January 24th 1924 but the branch is still called Drummond's Branch and, rather like another RBS branch, Child & Co, at 1 Fleet Street, still has a cachet. Drummond's oldest surviving customer is Meyer & Mortimer, tailors now in Sackville Street. M&M's founder, Jonathan Meyer, of Conduit Street, had been one of Beau Brummell's favourite tailors.
The Drummond's banking records include the period 1800-1815 (when Brummell was in his prime) and his records are there but they are, alas, just on microfiche; the paper ledger records were sacrificed to the War Effort (although what on earth use they were for that, Goodness only knows). Brummell's account was not very active in the twelve months before his flight (on 16th May 1816), so it's all there and, one day I shall give myself a window of a fortnight and transcribe the microfiches. I have a specific enquiry in hand at the moment, in relation to the records and, if I get a result, I shall post it in the blog.
The records after 1815 have been preserved only for every tenth year. However, the surprising thing is that his account remained active through 1825, and down to at least 1835. Maybe, the account was the medium through which his friends responded to his begging letters, in which he complained of having been reduced to 'bran bread' and other deprivations. Again, one day, I shall give myself the time to go through it all and find such things as the night when (and the amount for which), Brummell broke George Harley Drummond, a partner in the bank, over a game of whist in White's Club (the first and, presumably, only time, that G H Drummond played a high stakes' game).
Maybe it is a little surprising that Brummell's recent biographer, Ian Kelly, did not explore these records. Indeed, as I show in History of Men's Accessories, the records of snuff chandler Fribourg & Treyer give a very good idea about Brummell's snuff habits and also his addresses at various stages and are important social documents. However, I cannot say that I am disappointed because, just as Ian Kelly was taking the ferry to Calais to start his researches, I had started my own. Alas! for me that he got into print before I had got very far at all and it all sits in a drawer, sine die. There are, though, outstanding points and many intrigues, I am sure, await discovery and discovering them one fine day will be something to look forward to.
The picture is of goldsmith Andrew Drummond, founder of Drummond's Bank in 1712.
Posted by NJS at 11:15