PrimroseThe Countess of Jersey Gold Mining Co.
The Child Bank.

Child & Co.
Trade sign.

Child & Co c.1580s - date.

This private bank traces its origins to the sixteenth century London goldsmith's shop of the Wheeler family. After William Wheeler's death in 1661 his widow married another goldsmith, Robert Blanchard. Their two shops merged under the sign of the Marigold in Fleet Street. Soon the firm's banking outshone its goldsmithing business. Blanchard was joined in partnership at this time by Francis Child. In 1673 Blanchard & Child moved to the bank's present site at 1 Fleet Street, then adjoining Temple Bar (a gateway marking the western limit of the City of London) Child married Blanchard's stepdaughter and in 1681 inherited the entire business, later becoming Lord Mayor of London.
Francis Child's grandson, Robert, had no male issue and the Child fortune was eventually settled on his granddaughter, Sarah Sophia Fane, who married the 5th Earl of Jersey. Lady Jersey had an income of £40,000, and had some London fame as one of the patronesses of Almack's assembly rooms. Sarah was to act as senior partner of the bank for sixty-one years.

An inside view of the banking house of Child & Co.
Illustration taken from the Illustrated London News.

Child & Co remained a relatively small bank through the nineteenth century surviving because of its location in the west end and due to the interest of the aristocracy, politicians and officeholders of Westminster. In 1924 Child & Co. was sold to Glyn, Mills & Co, bankers of London, which was in turn acquired by The Royal Bank of Scotland in 1939. Child & Co has since continued to trade under its own name as an office of the Royal Bank and recently re-established its private banking traditions under the old Marigold trade sign.

The Countess of Jersey Gold Mining Company.

Rt. Hon. Victor Albert George Child, 7th Earl of Jersey was Governor-General of New South Wales from 15th January 1891 to the 2nd March 1893 and with his banking interests it would have been easy to raise their share of the required capital to start a Gold Mining Company. Whether this was a venture by the Earl in his wife's name or a sole venture by the Countess is not know, but for sure either would have spotted the potential profit. It is extremely unlikely that this venture was not related to the Earl and Countess of Jersey, as the use of the name, by anyone else, would not have been permitted, although this said, during the 1890's there were a large number of crooked Gold mining ventures being marketed.