Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/032

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1860-1968

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 198 production units.

Name of creator(s): Brown, Shipley and Co Ltd | merchant bankers


Administrative/Biographical history:

Brown, Shipley and Company, merchant bankers, of Founders' Court, Lothbury, originated with the establishment of William Brown and Company, merchants and shippers, in Liverpool in 1810, by William Brown. In 1814 William was joined by his brother James to form William and James Brown and Company. Joseph Shipley became a partner in 1825 and in 1837 the company changed its name to Brown, Shipley and Company. Although originally formed to act as agents for the American business interests of Alexander Brown (William and James' father), the company soon became involved in the exchange and credit business. Its merchant banking interests developed rapidly and by 1860 had become more important than its mercantile and shipping interests. Consequently a London office was opened at Founders' Court, Lothbury, in 1863, where the company has remained ever since. It changed its name to Brown, Shipley and Company Limited upon incorporation in 1946. The Liverpool office was closed in 1888. The surviving archive of the London office dates from 1864.

Until 1914 the company was a branch of the American company Brown Brothers and Company, and partners were individually members of both the American and English companies. In 1914 the articles of association were changed so that each company became a partner in the other. This arrangement became impossible after the Registration of Business Names Act became law in 1916 in England, and new taxation laws became effective in the United States, so on January 1st 1918 Brown, Shipley and Company withdrew from Brown Brothers and Company, and the latter withdrew from Brown, Shipley; but they continued to work in close co-operation as correspondents and agents.

In April 1900 the company opened an office at 123 Pall Mall to deal primarily with letters of credit for American travellers. Records of this branch are catalogued as Ms 20151-153 (CLC/B/032-02). The decline in the issue of letters of credit due to the growth in the use of travellers cheques led to the closure of the branch in 1955.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Brown, Shipley and Company Limited, merchant bankers. These archives relate to the Founders' Court and Pall Mall offices. They comprise some articles of partnership, minutes, correspondence, customer account records, financial material and some office plans.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Material arranged in two sections: CLC/B/032-01: Brown, Shipley and Company Limited; CLC/B/032-02: Brown, Shipley and Company Limited Pall Mall Branch.

Conditions governing access:

Access by appointment only. Please contact staff.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

These records were deposited by the Company in 1981.


Related material:

Some records, mainly modern, are retained by the company, and the records of the Liverpool office are in the custody of Liverpool Record Office, City Libraries, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EW.

Publication note:

A history of the company can be found in Heir of Adventure . The Story of Brown, Shipley and Co, Merchant Bankers, 1810-1960 by Aytoun Ellis (privately published by the company, 1960).

DESCRIPTION NOTES Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: November 2010 to January 2011.

Bankers | Bank employees | Business people | People by occupation | People
Banks | Financial institutions | Finance
Business records | Documents | Information sources
Merchant banking | Banking | Occupations
Banking x Banks

Personal names

Corporate names
Brown | Shipley and Co Ltd | merchant bankers

City of London | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe