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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): LMA/4575
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1852-1985
Level of description: Collection level
Extent: 10.5 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Abbey National Building Society
National Permanent Mutual Benefit Building Society x The National Freehold Land Society x The National Freehold Land and Building Society x The National Building Society
Abbey Road Building Society x Abbey Road and St. John's Wood Permanent Benefit Building Society x Abbey Road Permanent Benefit Building Society


Administrative/Biographical history:

Building Societies receive for investment in Shares or upon Deposit the savings of the people and from this fund make loans to assist individuals in acquiring their own homes. The first building society was founded in the 1770s. Originally most were 'terminating societies' that closed once all the members had been housed. The statutory frame-work relating to building societies dates from the 1836 'Regulation of Benefit and Building Societies Act'. From 1830s 'permanent building societies' started to appear that continued on a rolling basis and a decade later building societies started to accept savings from those not holding a mortgage.

The biggest upheaval to the industry came in 1986 with the 'New Building Societies Act'. As well as granting societies wider powers, the Act gave building societies the option to "demutalise". Abbey National was the first building society to do so in 1989.

Abbey National Building Society:

Formed in 1944 as Abbey National Building Society through the merger of the National Permanent Mutual Benefit Building Society and the Abbey Road Building Society. In 1989 Abbey National took advantage of the provisions of the 1986 New Building Societies Act to demutualise, becoming Abbey National plc. As a Public Limited Company (PLC), the Abbey was the first Building Society to change its status to that of a bank. Santander acquired the company in November 2004 and was rebranded in 2009/10 to become recognisably part of the Santander Group. Head offices: Abbey National House, 219-229 Baker Street (1944-2002); 2 Triton Square, Regent's Place (2002-); with offices in Milton Keynes and elsewhere and branches throughout the United Kingdom.

National Building Society:

The Society was founded in 1849 by a trio of Liberal MPs. The Society was officially registered as the National Permanent Mutual Benefit Building Society and commonly known under the authorised name, The National Freehold Land Society (rather than The Metropolitan Freehold Land Society which was the name which was first proposed). In 1894 the commonly known title changed to The National Freehold Land and Building Society, and again in 1930 to The National Building Society. In 1856 the Society formed a subsidiary, The British Land Company, which parted from the National in 1878, marking the National's transition from land society to a building society. Head offices: 11 Poultry (1849); 2 Moorgate Street (1850; 14 (afterwards 25) Moorgate (1852-circa 1914); 39 Moorgate; Coleman Street; National House, 12-18 Moorgate (1930-1943), all City of London; an emergency wartime office was opened at Pewley Fort, Pewley Hill, Guildford, Surrey.

Abbey Road Building Society:

Founded in 1874 as the Abbey Road and St. John's Wood Permanent Benefit Building Society, based in a Baptist church on Abbey Road, Kilburn. Incorporated 1878. President was Reverend William Stott (from before 1886-1920). Later became Abbey Road Permanent Benefit Building Society, then renamed Abbey Road Building Society. Head offices: Abbey Road (1874-); 45 Fordwych Road, West Hampstead (1886-1890); 16 Finchley Road (before 1894-1927); Abbey House, 219-229 Baker Street (from 1927, with later extension and re-opening in 1932); Limpley Stoke, Wiltshire during Second World War. Gilbert Lane, Secretary (-1921); Harold Bellman, Secretary (1921-1926) General Manager (1927-1929) and Managing Director (from 1929).


Scope and content/abstract:

Abbey National Building Society, records from 192- - 1985 including:

General meeting minutes, 1944-1982; board meeting minutes, 1944-1978; finance committee minutes containing customer account details and cases, 1944-1962; mortgage accounts committee minutes, 1953-1954; instruments of union, rules and memorandum 1943-1985; annual returns, 1944-1974; mortgage account register, 1946-1948; deposit account register, 1939-1949; no main series of staff records: employee rules and magazines, 1944-1977 and records for individual named staff only (1928-1976); press adverts, leaflets and photographs 1944-1970, with history display 192- -194-; premises plans, 1965-1975.

National Permanent Mutual Building Society (see LMA/4575/G - K), records from 1852-1943, with some letters to 1945 including:

Members' annual general meeting minutes, 1862-1943; finance committee meeting minutes containing customer account details and cases, 1933-1941; property committee minutes, 1852-1854; merger meeting minutes, 1942-1943 with some letters to 1945; balance sheets, 1931-1943; general ledger, 1914-1929; deposit accounts decisions book, 1937-1940; no main series of staff records, except staff newsletters, 1935-1943; 'Freeholders' Circular', 1852-1943 including plans and details of estates for purchase by members, and proceedings of annual general meetings. No records of subsidiary British Land Company are held although references appear in minutes and circulars prior to 1878.

Abbey Road Building Society (see LMA/4575/L - R), records from 1875-1944 (includes personal share account record booklets to 1979):

General meeting minutes, 1929-1940; board meeting minutes, 1883-1943; advertising/finance committee meeting minutes containing customer account details and cases, 1921-1939; premises committee meeting minutes, 1938-1941; publicity committee meeting minutes, 1938-1943; mortgage accounts committee minutes, 1937-1940; survey and arrears committee meeting minutes, 1920-1927; correspondence relating to Josiah Stamp (President), 1924-1942; correspondence, minutes and other papers related to merger, 1942-1944; balance sheets, 1905-1943; annual reports and accounts, 1875-1942; no main series of staff records except salary books for two branches, staff rules and newsletters, 1930-1943; 'Abbey Road Journal', 1932-1939.

Documents relating to the merger of Abbey Road and National Building Societies and impact of wartime can be found in both the National (LMA/4575/G/05) and the Abbey Road (LMA/4575/L/10) sections of the catalogue.

Building Society Association, records from 1904-1986: London section co-operation group meeting minutes, 1930-1933; correspondence, 1931-1941, subscription papers and printed material 1904-1986.

ACCESS: note there is a 100 year closure concerning records containing information on staff and customers. London Metropolitan Archives has interpreted this as a closure of 85 years from the end date of each document, given the likely minimum age of 16 years for most staff and customers.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

LMA/4575/A Abbey National: Corporate
LMA/4575/B Abbey National: Finance, Shares and Operations
LMA/4575/C Abbey National: Staff and Employment
LMA/4575/D Abbey National: Publicity
LMA/4575/E Abbey National: Premises
LMA/4575/F Abbey National: Branches
LMA/4575/G National Mutual Benefit Building Society: Corporate
LMA/4575/H National Mutual Benefit Building Society: Finance and Operations
LMA/4575/I National Mutual Benefit Building Society: Staff and Employment
LMA/4575/J National Mutual Benefit Building Society: Publicity
LMA/4575/K National Mutual Benefit Building Society: Branches/Agents
LMA/4575/L Abbey Road Building Society: Corporate
LMA/4575/M Abbey Road Building Society: Finance, Shares and Operations
LMA/4575/N Abbey Road Building Society: Staff and Employment
LMA/4575/P Abbey Road Building Society: Publicity
LMA/4575/Q Abbey Road Building Society: Premises (Head offices)
LMA/4575/R Abbey Road Building Society: Branches
LMA/4575/S Building Societies Association.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in May 1999.

Allied Materials

Related material:

LMA holds other building society records including: ACC/1975 London Grosvenor Building Society and CLC/B/155 Longton and Fenton Permanent Benefit Building Society.

Publication note:

For further details see: George Elkington: The National Building Society 1849-1934. Cambridge : W Heffer and Sons Limited, 1935 (LMA/4575/J/04/001) and Reid, Margaret: Abbey National : conversion to PLC : the inside story of Abbey National's Co.. London : Pencorp Books, 1991. (Pencorp management series) [LMA Library: 33.22/(ABB)].

The records have been used for the following: Scott, Peter and Newton, Lucy Ann: 'Advertising, promotion, and the rise of a national building society movement in interwar Britain', Business History. Routledge, 2012.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Catalogued by Jo-Ann Vietzke.

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:
Added to AIM25 in October 2012.

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