History of Barclays
We have over 300 years of history and expertise in banking. From our beginnings in Lombard Street, London through to the launch of the world’s first ATM and innovative mobile phone payments services.
1690 - The start of Barclays
Barclays traces its history back to 1690, when John Freame and Thomas Gould started trading as goldsmith bankers in London's Lombard Street.
1736 - A family business
In 1736, following John Freame's retirement, his son-in-law, James Barclay became a partner in the bank making it Freame and Barclay.
1896 - Barclays formed through a merger of 20 banks
Barclay, Bevan, Tritton & Co. join 19 other banking businesses to form Barclay & Company Limited. The new bank had 182 branches, 806 employees, and deposits worth £26m.
The majority of the branches were located in the south-east of England, and 192 employees were based at 54 Lombard Street.
1920 - A life of invention
Barclays invests in William Morris, helping him to become the biggest UK car manufacturer.
Barclays saw the potential and invested in young engineer William Morris, helping him become the biggest car manufacturer in the UK, dominating the car industry in Britain.
1958 - Ahead of the times; Barclays appoints the UK's ﬁrst ever female branch manager
Hilda Harding joined Barclays on 18 June 1934 as a shorthand typist in the High Wycombe branch. Hilda then moved into several different roles, including a ledger clerk and general manager's secretary before being appointed the UK's first female branch manager.
1966 - The credit revolution
On 29 June 1966 we launched the Barclaycard, kick-starting a revolution that made money and credit more accessible than ever.
It was a move in tune with the times. As the UK's first credit card, the Barclaycard became a symbol of a more modern way of life.
1967 - We launch the world's first cash machine
A new service of automatic cash-dispensing machines or "robot cashiers" was introduced by Barclays in June 1967, enabling the bank to operate a 24-hour service, 365 days a year.
Barclays was the first of the high street banks to offer such a service.
1977 - The personal touch
Barclays was the first bank to introduce personal bankers to branches, providing impartial, expert advice on all banking products and services.
1986 – Barclays in Switzerland, a world of excellence
Barclays Bank (Suisse) SA opened its Swiss office in Geneva offering private banking, wealth structuring and investment management services to individual and corporate clients across the world.
1987 - Barclays launches the UK’s ﬁrst debit card
Leading the way in payments, Barclays introduced the first debit card in the UK, allowing customers to pay for items without the need for cash.
2001 - Opening of Barclays Capital in Zurich
To offer a comprehensive financial advisory, capital raising, financing, structuring, risk management and execution services to banks, asset managers, pension funds, insurance companies, corporations and governments worldwide.
2007 - Making life easier
The cards enable customers to pay for items costing £20 or less by simply swiping them against a sensor. Barclaycard was the first to introduce the technology on credit cards in the UK, with the launch of OnePulse in September 2007.
2009 - Supporting our communities
Banking on Change is a partnership between Barclays and the charities Plan UK and CARE International UK.
Launched in 2009 to improve the quality of life of people who live with less than US$2 a day, in its first three years, the partnership supported over 513,000 individuals in 11 countries to save and manage their money more effectively.
2012 - Changing the way we pay
Barclays Pingit is launched, the UK’s first person-to-person service for sending and receiving money using mobile phone numbers.
We also launched our award-winning Mobile Banking app in this year.
2012 - Opening of a branch office in Zurich
Barclays Bank (Suisse) SA opened a branch office in Zurich to expand on opportunities with private clients and financial intermediaries, both at the domestic and international levels.