Bury St Edmunds has the only Lloyds Bank branch in the country without a black horse!
This building in Buttermarket was built in 1796 by banker Robert Carss; he went bankrupt in 1797 after the Bank of England suspended the payment of specie (banknotes against gold coin). This followed a land speculation bubble that had burst in the USA and amid fears of a French invasion.
The hanging sign outside Lloyds Bank is special. It has three major components; two pineapples, one on each side that indicated wealth, prosperity and greeting.
This was from times when the pineapple was an extremely expensive and rare fruit and to offer it to your guests showed how prosperous and generous you were.
Secondly, on top is an Oak tree, for the Oakes family. James Oakes had founded a successful banking business in the late 18thC and with his son Orbell it became the Bury and Suffolk Bank in Buttermarket. Orbell’s son Henry became involved and the bank eventually merged with Brown Bevan & Co.
Thirdly, a Beehive, a “Bee” standing for Bevan of The Rookery, Rougham later to become Ravenwood Hall. However not quite so, because when Lloyds formed in 1765 after a Samuel Lloyd II and John Taylor set up a bank in Birmingham they chose a beehive, this representing industriousness.
In 1865 Lloyd & Co ended the Taylor connection, taking over another bank in 1884 that had a Black Horse symbol. In 1918 they acquired the Bury firm Capital & Counties Bank that had assimilated a few years earlier the Oakes, Bevan, Tollemache (an Ipswich partner) bank.
Interestingly the Lloyds Bank Okehampton branch has a sculptured stone beehive on the wall but Bury St Edmunds has the only branch in the country without a black horse!