#FromtheArchives - Northbrook Papers

Francis Baring was no stranger to the idea of working from home.  From the establishment of Barings in 1762 he lived above his business premises in the City of London. In the early years these addresses included Queen Street, St Paul's Church Yard and 35 Mark Lane. Marriage and family life led to a move to 6 Mincing Lane. Francis and his wife Harriet Herring lived there for 23 years and 11 of their 12 children would be born at Mincing Lane.  A further move to 11 Devonshire Square followed in the early 1790s but it wasn't until the early 1800s that Francis Baring would move his main London residence to Hill Street in the West End of London.

A complication of living above your business is that private papers can become intermingled with business papers. This meant that when Francis Baring moved his domestic residence away from the business, he ended up taking away many of the papers relating to the early history of Barings. These papers are now known as the Northbrook Papers (NP.1) and are on loan to The Baring Archive. They have recently been digitised and can now be explored on the Archive's digital platform.

One important section of the papers relates to the Louisiana Purchase of 1803-04. A highlight is a letter from Henry Addington, the British Prime Minister. In a beautifully written letter dated 16 December 1803 he instructs Barings to withdraw from the Louisiana financing. Britain was once again at war with France and the British Government did not look favourably on a transaction that would fill Napoleon's war chest. 

This is just one example of how this important collection is a key resource for historians providing insight into the early years of Baring businesses and Francis Baring's wider work with the East India Company and his role as an adviser to British governments.

Discover more:

A letter addressed to Francis Baring at his Mincing Lane address.
A letter addressed to Francis Baring at his Mincing Lane address.

Posted on Wednesday, 1st September 2021

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