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William Tennant and Co. Belfast Commercial Bank


Banknotes of the Irish Private Banks
William Tennant and Co. Belfast Commercial Bank
1809-1827 merged



Belfast, Ireland mapBelfast Commercial Bank

Belfast Commercial Bank - 3 Series, 4 Partnerships



Tennant's Bank


The Belfast Commercial Bank was established on 1st June 1809. The original partners were William Tennant (1759–1832), Robert Callwell, Robert Bradshaw, John Cunningham, John Thompson and John Stewart. The Bank went through a number of partnership changes before merging with the Belfast Bank of Narcissus Batt & Co. (formerly David Gordon & Co.) on 1 August 1827 to form The Belfast Banking Company.

Prior to entering banking, William Tennant was a successful businessman in Belfast, and joined the Belfast Chamber of Commerce in 1783. He was also a leading member of the Society of United Irishmen, and had spent some time in prision in Scotland having been arrested just prior to 1798 rebellion. Tennant was released in January 1802 and returned to Belfast.

He resumed his business career which included starting the bank in 1809. Tennant also co-founded the Belfast Academical Institution in 1810, which sought to provide affordable access to education for the less well off including women. He eventually became one of the city's wealthiest businessmen.


Tennant's Bank Note issues


Tennant's Bank was an important note-issuing bank in the north east of Ireland in the early 1800s. Along with the other two banks established in Belfast in the same period, Gordon's Bank (established in 1808) and Montgommery's Bank (established, 1809), it's note issues replaced gold in circulation. This was a modernising change in banking in Belfast and the north, which previously relied on specie rather than paper money.

Issued banknotes of Tennant's Bank are very rare. A few examples of proof and specimen notes are known.


Three Series of notes known for Belfast Commercial Bank

There are three Series by design, and four Types by partnership.

Series 1. Denominations recorded: £1.
Series 2. New design. Denominations recorded: 1 Guinea, 35 Shillings.
Series 3. New modern design. Denominations in British Pounds.

Four Types by partnership.
Type A. 1809-1815. William Tennant, Robert Callwell, Robert Bradshaw, John Cunningham, John Thompson, John Stewart.
Type B. 1821-1822. William Tennant, Robert Callwell, Robert Bradshaw, John Cunningham, John Thompson.
Type C. 1823-1824. William Tennant, Robert Callwell, John Thompson, James Luke, John Thompson Jnr.
Type D. 1824-1827. William Tennant, Robert Callwell, James Luke, John Thompson Jnr.

Denominations recorded: £1, 25 Shillings, 30 Shillings, £20. Others likely


Series 1, Type A

Ireland, National Bank Limited, One Pound 1922
Belfast Commercial Bank, William Tennant & Co., One Pound, 13th July 1811

This note was payable in Dublin at Messrs. Croker, Darling & Co. This agent was based at the time in Townsend Street, Dublin.


Series 2, Type D

Belfast Commercial Bank. One Guinea 1825
Belfast Commercial Bank, Tennant's, One Guinea, 4th March 1825


Belfast Commercial Bank. 35 Shillings
Belfast Commercial Bank, 35 Shillings Proof, ca1824-1825



Series 3, Type D

Belfast Commercial Bank. One Pound Proof ca1826
Belfast Commercial Bank, One Pound Proof, ca1826. Denominated in Pounds British


Belfast Commercial Bank. 25 Shillings 1826
Belfast Commercial Bank, 25 Shillings Proof, ca1826. Denominated in Pounds British

Belfast Commercial Bank. 20 Pounds 1826
Belfast Commercial Bank, 20 Pound Note Proof, ca1826. Denominated in Pounds British, with 'British' spelt in an older style using a ligature for sh




References
Young, D. (March-April, 1981). The Private Banks and Their Notes, Belfast Commercial Bank 1809-1827, Irish Numismatics Magazine, No. 80. pp. 99-101.






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