Historical timeline: 1851 - 1900


Coutts event

World event 

1851 The Great Exhibition takes place in Hyde Park and attracts six million visitors during its six month run


William Gladstone presents his first Budget in a five hour speech and is praised both as a financier and as an orator


The start of the Crimean War between Russia and an alliance of Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia
1856 The Victoria Cross is introduced by Queen Victoria to reward valour during the Crimean War

The Coutts Staff Library is  founded with a donation of books from Angela Burdett-Coutts

Charles Darwin publishes his ‘Origin of Species’
1861 Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, dies at Windsor Castle

Building work to expand Coutts’ offices at 59 Strand are completed, including a dining-room for clerks

The London Underground is opened, connecting Paddington with Farringdon Street (now Farringdon)

Coutts now employs 39 clerks

1865 The American Civil War ends and slavery is abolished in America
1866 The bank Overend & Gurney collapses, drawing a large crowd to their Lombard Street office and prompting a run on the business
1867 The Reform Act of 1867 extends the right to vote to male homeowners in England and Wales, enfranchising the urban male working class

One of Coutts’ partners Edward Marjoribanks dies, having worked for the Bank for almost 70 years 

Outside the walls of Newgate Prison, Michael Barrett becomes the last man to be publicly executed in Britain. Barrett was sentenced to death for his part in the Clerkenwell bombings in 1867, which killed 12 people
1869 The Suez Canal opens in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea

Angela Burdett-Coutts is created a Baroness, the first woman to receive such an honour in her own right

The Bank Holiday Act is passed, establishing the first Bank Holidays in the United Kingdom
1872 The Mary Celeste leaves New York and is discovered unmanned and abandoned one month later

Lord Archibald Campbell, the second son of the 8th Duke of Argyll, becomes a partner at Coutts. Known for his charm, he was an artist and a poet with a love for all things Scottish


Coutts now employs 75 clerks

Captain Matthew Webb is the first person to swim the English Channel, swimming from Dover to Calais in 22 hours
1876 The Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell obtains a patent for his telephone

William Matthew Coulthurst, one of Coutts’ senior partners, dies at his home in Croydon. He left £10,000 in his will to establish the Clerks’ Widows and Orphans Fund at Coutts

The American inventor Thomas Edison announces his invention of the phonograph, which could both record and reproduce sounds

Coutts now employs 97 clerks

The First Boer War begins

Angela Burdett-Coutts forfeits the majority of her fortune at the age of 67 when she marries her 29 year old American secretary, William Ashmead Bartlett

Godalming in Surrey becomes the first town in the world to have its own public electricity supply
1882 Following a cricket match near Melbourne, a cricket ball was burnt and placed in an urn which was then given to the English cricketer Ivo Bligh, marking the birth of The Ashes
1884   Greenwich meridian is selected as the official prime meridian at the International Meridian Conference in Washington D.C.
1886 The first successful petrol-driven car is patented by Karl Benz
1887 Queen Victoria celebrates her Golden Jubilee
1889   Construction of the Eiffel Tower is completed in Paris
1891   The first American Express travellers cheque is cashed

Coutts becomes an Unlimited Liability Company 

The Panama Canal Scandal exposes corruption in France’s Chamber of Deputies
1893   Henry Ford produces his first motor car
1894   The Manchester Ship Canal opens
1895   The Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi sends and receives his first radio transmission
1897   Hawaii is annexed by the USA
1898   America declares war on Spain, ending in the signing of the Treaty of Paris. As a result, Spain loses control over its overseas empire

One of Coutts’ partners Hugh Lindsay Antrobus dies at the age of 80

Hugh Burdett Money-Coutts joins the bank as a partner after finishing his final term at Oxford and being warned to prepare for ‘three or four years of rather disagreeable drudgery’

The Second Boer War begins

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