Catalogue description Million Bank Documents

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Details of C 46
Reference: C 46
Title: Million Bank Documents

Records of the Million Bank which passed to the Six Clerks Office when the bank was wound up in 1796.

The documents include the 1695 indenture establishing the bank, the 1696 indenture by which its capital was increased, a schedule of tallies and orders for annuities of 1702, and a specimen file of dividend warrants.

The series also includes a large wooden chest which formerly contained records of the bank.

Date: 1695-1712
Related material:

For Lottery Office records see Division within IR

The ledgers, minutes and other records of the bank may be found in C 114

Separated material:

An incomplete set of keys to the locks which secured the chest in this series are in SC 16

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Bank on Tickets of the Million Adventure, 1695-1796

Physical description: 2 bundles and chests
Administrative / biographical background:

'The Bank on Tickets of the Million Adventure' or Million Bank was founded in 1695 to invest in the 1694 Million Lottery Loan and to act as a bank. However, the company withdrew from banking in 1696 and thereafter concentrated on investment in annuities.

The company's strategy was to use the profit it made (consisting of the difference between the thirteen per cent return it received from discounted Million lottery shares and the smaller dividend that was paid out to its stockholders) to buy the reversion of single life annuities issued by the government in 1693 and 1694. In this way an investment in the Million Lottery Loan, which was terminable after sixteen years, was converted into a long-term investment, the hoped-for securing of which was the reason Million Bank investors had been prepared to sell their lottery shares to the company at a loss in the first place.

The purchase of life annuity reversions, which by the time they were bought could be converted into ninety-five year annuities (calculated from 1694) on the payment of additional sums, gave the bank its long-term security. Until 1728 five per cent dividends were paid; thereafter four per cent were disbursed. By 1796 all the original annuities had expired, and except for the receipt of dividends from its investment in government and other stocks (built up with the proceeds of its sinking-fund over the years), and the distribution of these to its members, there was no longer any reason for the bank to continue.

Accordingly, by the Million Bank Act of 1796 the company was wound up and the assets (which by successful management considerably exceeded the original capital) were divided amongst its stockholders. The act transferred the unclaimed balance of funds to the accountant general of the court of Chancery and the records of the bank to the six clerks of Chancery.

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