C. Hoare & Co

C. Hoare & Co.
Industry Finance
Founded 1672
Headquarters London, England, UK
Key people
Richard Hoare
Henry Hoare
Alexander S. Hoare
Products Financial services
Number of employees
Website www.hoaresbank.co.uk

C. Hoare & Co. is an English private bank. It is the oldest bank in the United Kingdom and the world's fourth oldest bank. Founded in 1672 by Sir Richard Hoare, C. Hoare & Co. remains family-owned and is currently managed by the 10th and 11th generations of Hoare's direct descendants.

The bank provides private banking, financial planning and investment management services that include loans, mortgages, savings accounts and investment advisory services as well as tax and estate planning services. The bank's clients typically are high-net-worth individuals and families.[1]

C. Hoare and Co. has two branches, located at 37 Fleet Street and 32 Lowndes Street in London.[2]


Sir Richard Hoare, the bank's founder.

17th century

Richard Hoare, the founder of the bank, began his working life apprenticed to a goldsmith.[3] He was granted the Freedom of the Goldsmiths' Company on 5 July 1672.[3] This date marks the foundation of Hoare's Bank as it was around then that Richard Hoare established his goldsmith's business at the sign of the Golden Bottle in Cheapside, London.[3]

In 1690 Richard Hoare moved the business to new premises in Fleet Street, on the main thoroughfare halfway between the City of Westminster and the City of London, but still within the City of London.[3] He continued trading at the sign of the Golden Bottle (a gilded leather bottle that hung outside the shop): street numbering was unknown in those days and signs were used to distinguish one business from another.[3]

Goldsmiths had secure premises and had always been the storehouses for cash and valuables so they were in a unique position to evolve a system of banking: in 1677 some 58 goldsmiths kept "running cashes".[3] They also started to lend their customers' money for interest.[3]

Famous customers of the 17th century:

18th century

Henry Hoare (The Magnificent)

During the 18th century the bank prospered. Richard Hoare was knighted by Queen Anne in 1702 and became Lord Mayor of London in 1712.[6] After Richard's death, two of his sons (Henry, known as "Henry the Good", and Benjamin)[7] continued the business but it was Richard's grandson, Henry Hoare, who dominated the family through his wealth and personal charisma.[8] Henry was a partner in the bank for nearly 60 years: his nickname "Henry the Magnificent" derived from his generosity as a great patron of the arts and also from his expenditure on Stourhead in Wiltshire, a country house and estate bought by his father.[9] The gardens were admired as a showplace[10] and, although there is no record of his carrying out work there, Capability Brown, the renowned landscape gardener, was familiar with the garden.[4]

Messrs. Hoare gradually introduced many aspects of modern banking and, in particular, issued printed cheques.[11] Famous customers of the 18th century included:

19th century

In 1829 the premises at Fleet Street were rebuilt; the new banking house was designed to accommodate the business and a private house.[14] Following the Bank Charter Act 1833 many of the 4,000 or so private banks disappeared.[15] In the first half of the century Hoares maintained a steady business latterly under the leadership of Charles Hoare (died 1851), the last senior partner to enjoy the practice of having the name of the bank styled after him.[16] In the second half the partners running the bank almost brought it down with unsuccessful speculation and poor management. During the middle of the century there were two partners (Henry of Staplehurst and Peter Richard of Luscombe).[15] Both were deeply religious men but with differing views. Henry was Low Church and Peter Richard was High Church.[15] Owing to their differences they took it in turns to run the bank, each being in charge for a six-month period.[15] Their sons, who became partners, rebelled against their deeply religious upbringing and proved to be financially unreliable, placing the future of the bank in peril.[15]

Famous customers of the 19th century:

20th century

C. Hoare & Co. in Fleet Street, London.
C. Hoare & Co. in Lowndes Street, London.

A revival of fortunes for the bank took place in the 20th century with the early years seeing the credibility of the bank restored.[18] After the First World War most of the remaining private banks were absorbed by larger banks.[18] Hoares took a decision not to merge and today is the sole survivor as an independent bank. The bank was a partnership until 1929, when the partners adopted its current structure, forming themselves into a private unlimited liability company in which they were the sole shareholders.[18]

During the Second World War the bank's employees evacuated their offices, including the headquarters at 37, Fleet Street. A fire broke out during an air raid and thanks to a few brave employees the historic building was saved.[19]

Alexander S. Hoare, the former CEO of the Bank, represents the 11th generation to manage C. Hoare & Co. He has been replaced by the first non-family member in an executive position: former head of Credit Suisse Private Bank Jeremy Marshall.[20]

C. Hoare & Co. announced selling its Wealth Management business to Cazenove Capital Management, owned by Shroders, in October 2016.[21] The sale is due to complete in February 2017.[22]

In Georgette Heyer's 1965 Regency Romance novel The Grand Sophy, Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy, the father of the heroine Sophy, banked with Hoare's.

"My bankers are Hoares" is one of Jack Aubrey's favourite puns in several of the books from the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian.

In Tahir Shah's 2012 historical novel, Timbuctoo, C. Hoare & Co. were the bankers to The Royal African Committee. Several scenes take place at Hoare's Bank on Fleet Street.[23]


  1. Merrell, Caroline (2005-10-22). "Billionaires join queue to sign up for bank that likes to say: 'Maybe'". London: The Times. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
  2. "In a rich man's world". The Spectator. 8 November 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Victoria Hutchings, Messrs Hoare, Bankers: A History of the Hoare Banking Dynasty (2005), pp. 10-11, 15.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Henry Peregrine Rennie Hoare, Hoare's Bank: A Record 1672-1955 (1932, new edition 1955), p. 70.
  5. Hoare (1932), p. 75.
  6. Hutchings, p. 29.
  7. Hutchings, p. 37.
  8. Hutchings, p. 49.
  9. Hutchings, p. 51.
  10. Hutchings, p. 55.
  11. Hutchings, p. 74.
  12. Hoare (1932), p. 79.
  13. C. Hoare & Co., A History, p. 6.
  14. Hutchings, p. 114.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 C. Hoare & Co., A History, p. 11.
  16. Hutchings, p. 126.
  17. Hoare (1932), p. 66.
  18. 1 2 3 C. Hoare & Co., A History, p. 15.
  19. "C. Hoare & Co., England's Oldest Private Bank". Wordpress. 18 December 2011. Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  20. C. Hoare & Co. - Company Profile. Reference For Business. Accessed 24 September 2009.
  21. "Cazenove buys C Hoare & Co's wealth arm". Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  22. "Cazenove Capital acquires C Hoare & Co's wealth management arm - Fund Strategy". Fund Strategy. 2016-10-03. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  23. Shah, Tahir (June 2012). Timbuctoo (First ed.). London: Secretum Mundi. pp. 42, 177, 179, 347, 391, 392, 398, 399, 400, 503. ISBN 0957242905. Retrieved 16 December 2014.

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