The Baring Archive in Exeter

Until Wednesday 31st October the Devon Heritage Centre is displaying an exhibition of material drawn from The Baring Archive to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of Barings Bank.

Barings was founded in London and Exeter in 1762 by John, Francis and Charles Baring, the three sons of Johann (later John) Baring, a wool merchant who had moved from Bremen in Germany to Exeter in 1717. The bank grew to be one of the most significant financial institutions in the world, a status it maintained until the final decade of the twentieth century before being forced into liquidation as a result of unauthorized trading by one of its employees in 1995. Indeed, such was the status of Barings in the early nineteenth century that the Duke of Richelieu reputedly said: 'There are six great powers in Europe: England, France, Prussia, Austria, Russia and Baring Brothers'.

The exhibition consists of a screen depicting a timeline of the bank's history and a number of original items from the Archive which have been loaned to the centre for the duration of the exhibition. These include a sale catalogue and some photographs of Membland Hall, a house which stood at the centre of a large estate in Revelstoke, south Devon, and which was bought by Edward Baring in 1877. The estate was sold off in stages after the financial crisis of 1890 and the house was demolished in 1928. The exhibition of original documents also features a share certificate relating to the purchase of shares in the Devon County School Association by Edward Baring in 1879 and a survey of the manors of Heavitree and Mount Radford in Exeter, drawn in 1816 and from the Devon Heritage Centre's own collections.

Posted on Wednesday, 26th September 2012

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