Saturday, 16 September 2017

Historical Delhi and London Bank building, Delhi

Delhi & London Bank - Delhi,www.flickr.com/

Have you ever heard of Delhi and London Bank operating in India? In the present banking scenario, it may look sound strange. Yes, such a bank did exit during the early colonial period in India when East India Company had begun to rule the roost. This bank was established in London in 1844  and its branch was functioning in its own very-British-looking  single story building in old Delhi's prime location - Chandni Chowk. The historic plaque outside the building points out that this Bank had begun the operation here in 1846 two years later after its inception in England.

Delhi & London Bank - Delhi,a1902 advertisement

The bank was operating in India at a time when the political situation was explosive in the wake of rampant racial discrimination in the army and poor treatment of the Indian rulers by the English company officials. The simmering hatred against the unjust East India Company at last reached the crescendo and a large-scale  rebellion broke our first in Meerut Cantonment and later it spread to other parts of north India. 

The information on the plaque confirms the existence of this bank during the worst political crisis in India. The story goes: The then bank Manager George Beresford became a fighter and had to vainly draw swords against the rampaging  mob of armed Sepoys and criminals on 11 May 1857 in the early days of the Indian Mutiny. Beresford,  along  with his wife, his Sub-Deputy Manager H Churcher and the Inspector of Post Offices at Jullunder, Mr Dalton  made a  desperate attempt to overcome the fury of the mob from atop the roof of an out-house but were, at last  overcome by the mutineers. While Beresford was fighting with a sword against the mob, his wife Mrs. Beresford, it is believed, killed two of the assailants by running them through with a hog spear before she herself was killed. Pathetically, the other victims included  three of the Beresford daughters; two other daughters were taken prisoner and later murdered.  Thus manager Beresford of Delhi and London branch of old Delhi and his poor family fell a victim to the violent mob during the Sepoy Mutiny

The bank got separated in 1916 with many of the Indian branches and merged with Alliance Bank of Simla (established in 1874). As for the the London branch, it was bought by the Boulton Brothers. The bank was liquidated in 1924 following heavy financial loss.

From 1929, Imperial  Bank of India operated from this building  and later  its successor the State Bank of India came into operation in 1955.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/23268776@N03/4337292259/in/photostream/