AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/207-02
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Date(s): 1894-1976
Level of description: sub fonds
View parent record
Extent: 1091 production units comprising 307 volumes and 784 bundles/envelopes/files
Name of creator(s): Bank of British West Africa xx Bank of West Africa xx Standard Bank of West Africa


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Bank of British West Africa Ltd (BBWA) was registered as a limited liability company in March 1894. The Head Office was in Castle Street, Liverpool until 1910, 17 Leadenhall Street from 1910-22 and 37 Gracechurch Street thereafter. There had been a British bank in West Africa since 1891, run by the African Banking Corporation and then by Elder Dempster and Co, which was known from 1893 as the Bank of British West Africa. The Crown Agents for West Africa, however, were not prepared to let a private bank import silver or act as Government banker and their pressure resulted in the Bank's registration as a limited liability company.

Branches were set up first in Nigeria, then Sierra Leone, Ghana (Gold Coast) and the Gambia. Often agencies were established and run for a few years to ascertain the amount of business before the Bank committed itself to setting up a branch. In this way, BBWA expanded its remit with branches at Hamburg, Fernando Po (part of Equatorial Guinea) and the Canary Islands and in Morocco, Egypt and Cameroon. A New York agency was operated by Standard Bank of South Africa on BBWA's behalf.

In 1912 the Bank of British West Africa took over the business of the Bank of Nigeria, an early rival. (The records of the Bank of Nigeria prior to the take-over are listed separately as Mss 24523-4 [CLC/B/207-03]). The Bank's name changed in 1957 to Bank of West Africa Ltd because the old name evoked a colonial relationship which did not reflect the emergence of independent West African states. BBWA merged with Standard Bank of South Africa in 1966, resulting in another name: Standard Bank of West Africa. In 1969-71 separate companies were incorporated as Standard Bank of Nigeria, Standard Bank of Ghana and Standard Bank of Sierra Leone. The business of the Bank of West Africa in the UK was transferred to Standard Bank in 1973 and the branches in Cameroon were closed in 1974. Standard Bank of West Africa Limited continued with two branches in Gambia until 1978 when it was taken over by Standard Bank of the Gambia.

Geographical range: Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Cameroon and Canary Islands.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Bank of British West Africa including administrative, staff, financial and publicity records and photographs.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records are arranged broadly as follows :-
Memoranda and articles of association; minutes; annual reports and accounts Mss 28514-25
Secretary's papers and agreements with other banks Mss 28526-40

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

48 hours notice required for access

PLEASE NOTE: Permission to access records less than 45 years old should be sought from the depositor.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright is held by the depositor

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The archives of the Bank of British West Africa were deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library by Standard Chartered Bank in August 1989. The board minutes and records of shareholders were retained by Standard Chartered. In addition, further records listed in L S Pressnell and J Orbell, "Guide to the Historical Records of British Banking" (1985) have not been deposited. The whereabouts of these other records is not known.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

For further details see R Fry, "Bankers in West Africa : the story of the Bank of British West Africa Limited" (1976). A copy of this history is held in Guildhall Library (332.12).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

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 January 2014

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"