The Baring Archive
The Baring Archive is one of the finest archives of a financial institution anywhere in the world. It contains material from the establishment in 1762 of the London merchant house of John & Francis Baring & Co, later known as Baring Brothers, through to the firm’s acquisition by ING in 1995.
The documents illustrate the range of Barings’ business activities. For much of the nineteenth century, the firm specialised in issuing bearer bonds for overseas governments and businesses, especially railway companies. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, work for domestic companies commenced, beginning with the flotation of Arthur Guinness Sons & Co Ltd in 1886.
In the twentieth century, when the London capital market was closed for long periods to overseas borrowers between the wars, transactions for British businesses became much more important. After 1945 corporate finance work for British businesses, banking, and fund management for pension funds, institutions and individuals formed the firm’s three principal divisions. From the late-1970s and the abolition of exchange controls, the firm’s business once more became internationally spread.
This material is not only of interest to economic, business and banking historians. For example, plans and drawings of the firm’s offices are of interest to architectural historians; staff papers are used by social and family historians; those relating to the financing of governments are of obvious relevance to political historians as are papers relating to clients who were statesmen; papers arising out of bond issues for railway companies and from the ownership and management of ships are used by transport and maritime historians.
Correspondence received from overseas agents provides graphic accounts of the economy, politics and society of innumerable countries.
The documentary archive is complemented by a group of historical portraits of key figures in the firm's history.
The entire collection of this archive is a Designated Collection of national importance.
The Baring Archive is open to the public by prior appointment only, for research and educational purposes.
The Baring Archive is open to the public, by prior appointment only, for research and educational purposes.
If you wish to consult material in the Archive, you should send an email to the Archivist with details of your reasons for wishing to access the Archive. Access may be refused at the discretion of the Archivist. You should note that research places are limited and you should attempt to give as much notice as possible of your wish to visit the Archive. You will be required to sign a copy of our standard conditions of access on or before your first visit as a condition of access.
There is no established formal closure period within which archives are unavailable for research; the great diversity of information contained within the archives makes this unsuitable. The availability for research of all series and individual groups of archives is considered on an individual basis. However, archive material dated after 1930 is not generally available to researchers.
The entire collection of the Baring Archive is a Designated Collection of national importance.
The Baring Archive is one of the finest archives of a financial institution anywhere in the world and is a vital resource for England’s economic and business history. The archive contains material from the establishment in 1762 of the London merchant house of John & Francis Baring & Co, later known as Baring Brothers, right through to the firm’s acquisition by ING in 1995. The firm’s business was international from the outset of the company, with clients based in all the major international trading centres. Correspondence received from overseas agents and stored in the archive provides graphic accounts of the economy, politics and society of innumerable countries.
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
The Baring Archive
60 London Wall
City of London
020 7767 6021
020 7767 6721
020 7767 7186