Timeline

1763 John and Francis Baring & Co, Merchants opens for business
The firm was established on Christmas Day 1762 and opened for business on New Year's Day 1763.
1768 Barings begins accepting bills of exchange
Francis Baring took the first steps towards becoming a merchant bank by "accepting" bills of exchange.
1776 The American Declaration of Independence is signed
This is the key moment in the creation of the United States of America. Over the next few years, exports from Britain to the North American markets are halved, causing unemployment in the industrial towns.
1783 Contract to supply stores to British army in North America
The contract to supply British troops brings both prestige and profit to the firm.
1785 Links begin to be forged with the Dutch merchant bankers Hope & Co
Hopes are the leading merchant bankers in Europe a this time, and at some point in the mid-1780s Barings begin forging a very close link with the Amsterdam banking house, based on mutual trust. In due course this association would put a huge amount of business Barings' way.
1793 Offices move to Devonshire Square
Barings move their offices from Mincing Lane to Devonshire Square. They remain at this address until 1806.
1793-1815 Wars with France
The French Revolution soon propels Europe into a series of long wars, in which Britain takes a leading role. The most famous events are the Battles of Trafalgar (1805) and Waterloo (1815). Barings plays a leading part in financing the British war effort, as well as British commercial expansion during the war.
1795 Hope family flee to Britain
French armies invade Holland and the Hope family flee to Britain, setting up their business virtually as a branch of Barings. This close association brings with it immense prestige throughout Europe and close ties with many European courts.
1796 Barings begins issuing loans for the British Government
Issuing bonds and other kinds of loans for the British Government would continue to be a lucrative part of Barings' business into the early 19th century.
Barings acquire one million acres of land in Maine, North America
With this purchase Barings sought to diversify its investments. However land prices fall and the deal does not work out as expected. The venture leads to a close relationship with the US government, which between 1808 and 1813 will provide 70-80% of Barings' commission income.
1801 A new house for Francis Baring
Francis Baring spends £150,000 on the purchase of an estate in Hampshire from the Duke of Bedford.
First bond issue for an overseas government
Barings handles a bond issue for the Kingdom of Portugal. This is the first of many bond issues for overseas governments and other overseas clients.
1803 The Louisiana Purchase
One of the greatest business deals in all history, this transaction doubled the size of the USA. Find out more by playing Would you invest?
1804 Sir Francis Baring retires
Sir Francis retires, leaving the bank under the management of his sons Thomas, Henry and Alexander. He says of his sons that "...they all possess abilities and although differing from each other...each has something which the other wants...they will act with the most perfect cordiality in support of a common cause."
1806 Barings move to No 8 Bishopsgate
This would remain Barings' address until 1995.
1807 The bank's name changes to Baring Brothers & Co
The change reflects the new management.
Abolition of the Slave Trade
Parliament declares the centuries-old transatlantic slave trade to be illegal. This would eventually lead to the rise of legitimate trade with West Africa, which Barings helps to finance.
1810 Sir Francis Baring dies
On his death he is described by a senior British politician as "unquestionably the first merchant in Europe". He leaves an estate worth £625,000, most of that being land.
1813 Barings buys Hopes
Hopes' business was been badly affected by the Napoleonic Wars. Alexander Baring buys the company and decides to keep it in operation as an active trading partner.
1817 The Sixth Great Power
The Napoleonic Wars end and France is required to pay damages to the victors. Barings' has a crucial role in arranging loans to help France make these payments. The French prime minister, the Duc de Richelieu, describes the six great powers of Europe as "England, France, Russia, Austria, Prussia and Baring Brothers".
Purchase of The Grange
Alexander Baring buys The Grange, an estate adjoining his brother's property at Stratton, for £136,620. The house was entirley remodelled by William Wilkins, the architect of the National Gallery.
1824 First bond issue for Argentina (Province of Buenos Aires)
This is Barings' first of many dealings with this South American country.
1825 Stockton-Darlington Railway
This is the first commercial railway in which carriages are drawn by a steam locomotive; it marks the start of the greatest transport revolution in history.
1827 Reorganisation at the top
New partners are appointed at Barings including Thomas Baring and Joshua Bates. Together they would lead the bank for decades and prove to be the greatest partnership in its history.
1833 Barings becomes a shipowner
Already active in providing finance for the East Indies trade, Barings decides to purchase and build ships for that trade. By 1835 the bank will own five vessels but its involvement with shipbuilding would prove brief.
1837 Financial crisis
A financial crisis hit Britain and America in 1837. Many of Barings' competitors were crippled, but Barings survived, thanks to Joshua Bates' foresight. Even so it made a large loss in that year.
1844 Parliamentary act allows joint stock companies
The new act of 1844 enabled joint stock companies to be formed more easily. When in 1856 limited liability became possible, it laid the ground work for private companies to be floated on the stock market. Guinness was the first flotation of this kind handled by Barings in 1886.
1845 Famine in Ireland
As the scale of a great famine in Ireland becomes apparent, the government asks Barings to buy £100,000 of 'Indian corn and meal' in the USA which was then shipped to Cork. The whole deal is done almost in secret to prevent corn prices going up following such a large purchase.
1846 The Weardale Coal and Iron Company
Barings makes one of its few forays into venture capitalism by financing this company. It does not go well because of a series of technical hitches. "There are more difficulties in Iron making than I ever dreamed of," wrote Joshua Bates.
1849 St Petersburg to Moscow Railway
Barings was asked to invest in a railway project to link the two great cities of the Imperial Russian Empire - the capital city of St Petersburg and the former capital of Moscow. Find out what happened by playing Would you invest?
1852 The Canadian Grand Trunk Railway
This is Barings first major issue of railroad bonds. To discover how things turned out play Would you invest?
1863 Northfleet Shipbuilding Company
Barings were approached to invest in the Northfleet Ship Building Company, a new venture being set up to build iron and wood ships as well as marine engines, situated on the Thames near Gravesend, Kent at the Northfleet Dockyards. To find out more play Would you invest?
1864 Joshua Bates dies
Although not a member of the Barings family, Joshua Bates made one of the greatest contributions of any man to the prosperity of Barings. Following his death, Francis Baring leaves the board and the effect of the loss of these two stalwarts sees the house's capital fall from £1.4 million to a little over half a million pounds.
1867 Barings merges with the banking house of Finlay Hodgson and Co
This step was taken by Thomas Baring to rebuild the capital of the company after it had been weakened by the death and retirement of several partners, especially Joshua Bates. The merger brings Kirkman Hodgson, former Governor of the Bank of England, to the partnership.
1873 Thomas Baring dies
Thomas Baring, along with Joshua Bates, had led the firm with great success since the late 1820s. Effective leadership of the company is now in the hands of Russell Sturgis, E.C.Baring and T.C. Baring.
First women clerks join the staff of Barings
The newly refurbished offices at 8 Bishopsgate had a purpose built ladies entrance and a ladies dining room.
1873 Around the World in Eighty Days
This year sees the publication of the novel by the French writer Jules Verne, "Around the World In Eighty Days". The hero, Phileas Fogg, draws on his personal "unlimited account" with Barings to finance his journey.
1886 The Guinness flotation
This was Barings first public flotation of a private company; similar issues followed for other famous breweries such as Whitbread & Co. and Combes & Co. To find out how this deal turned out play Would you invest?
1887 Russel Sturgis retires
The leadership of the bank was now firmly in the hands of Edward Charles Baring, now 1st Lord Revelstoke, assisted by Thomas Charles Baring.
The Manchester Ship Canal
The Manchester Ship Canal was one of the greatest engineering projects of the 19th century. The aim was to allow large ships to transport goods between Manchester and Liverpool. Barings were invited to invest in this project. To find out what happened play Would you invest?
1888 The Buenos Ayres Water Supply & Drainage Company
Barings considered a proposal to invest in the supplying of water and sewage systems to the rapidly growing capital city of The Republic of Argentina, Buenos Ayres. Find out what happened by playing Would you invest?
1890 Reorganisation of Barings
The failure of several large issues leads Barings to run out of cash. Complete disaster is averted by a Bank of England loan, the liquidation of Baring's assets and the establishment of a limited company in place of the old partnership. 30-year old John Baring (later 2nd Lord Revelstoke) takes the lead in re-establishing the firm.
1899 American Bicycle Company
This was one of several issues to reorganize large US companies. Barings worked on these deals with their US partners Kidder Peabody of Boston and Baring Magoun of New York. To find out how this deal worked out play Would you Invest?
1901 London United Tramways
Barings had a long association with transport companies in London. To find out how this particular deal turned out play Would you invest?
1904 Russo-Japanese War
War breaks out between Russia and Japan. Japan wins decisively. Barings finances both governments.
1905 American Telephone and Telegraph Company
An opportunity arose for Barings to invest in American Telephone and Telegraph company, the leading telephone company in America. It was seeking to expand its business by developing long-distance telephone lines, creating a network to cover the entire United States. To find out how this deal worked out play Would you invest?
1914-1918 The First World War
Of the 56 Barings staff who served in the war, 10 are killed and 10 seriously wounded. Barings' acts as the agent for the Russian Imperial government, raising wartime finance and handling the banking arrangements required for the government's sterling purchases of war supplies. This work came to an end with the Russian Revolution in 1917.
1917 The Russian Revolution
This Revolution brings about the fall of the Tsar, the rise of Communism, the end of Russia's involvement in the First World War.
1918 - 29 Post-war
Barings is active in the financial management of the reorganization of British industry after the war years. Clients include WG Armstrong Whitworth. The firm is also involved in the rebuilding of central European economies such as that of Czechoslovakia.
1927 Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company
This was the year the American Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Company proposed to establish a subsidiary company to manufacture tyres in the UK. Find out what Barings thought of the deal by playing Would you invest?
1929 Wall Street Crash
The events of October 1929 signal difficult years ahead for the finance industry. The crash is the start of the twelve years of the Great Depression. Because of Barings decision not to invest heavily in the recovery of Germany in the 1920s they suffered much smaller losses than many other finance houses and came out of this period in a strong position.
2nd Lord Revelstoke, dies
John Baring, 2nd Lord Revelstoke, dies. He is succeeded by Edward Peacock.
1930 London Underground Electric Railway
The London Electric Underground Railway was in need of expansion and a number of the stations needed to be modernized. Barings were invited to finance these improvements. Find out what happened by playing Would you invest?
1930's Supporting British Industry
The worldwide slump shakes sterling; new issues from overseas are much reduced, and there is much more focus on British corporate borrowers. The bank's work in helping restructure important sections of British industry is crucial in allowing them to survive these difficult times.
1939-45 The Second World War
Normal economic activity comes to an end during this, the greatest war in world history. The Axis powers, Germany, Italy, Japan and their allies, are ranged against the Allied powers led by Britain, the USA and the Soviet Union. The bank was used by the government to liquidate assets in the USA and around the world, in order to provide funds for the war effort. Normal banking activities were much reduced. The Bishopsgate office was evacuated to Stratton Park in Hampshire. Only routine day-to-day work continued, such as the payment of dividends and looking after client accounts. All partners were involved in war work.
1945-79 Post-war Barings
Barings focus on issues for UK companies. From 1970s, Barings is active in the new Eurobond markets.
1954 Sir Edward Peacock retires
He is followed by a succession of senior partners including Evelyn Baring (1954-63), Lord Cromer (1967-71) and Sir Edward Reid (1963-67).
1969 The Baring Foundation is established
The Foundation receives 74% of the equity of Baring Brothers & Co Ltd. The Foundation's purpose is to give money to charities, with a particular emphasis on social welfare. Of the eight members of the board of the new Foundation, five are members of the Baring family.
1979-86 Abandonment of Currency Exchange Controls
With abandonment of currency exchange controls, Barings is able to focus once again on overseas issues, and is active in bond issues for Finland, Sweden and other countries. Within the UK, the bank played an increasingly significant part in corporate finance, particularly in mergers and acquisitions. It is also increasingly active in investment management for private clients and organizations.
1980 DOS
Microsoft's DOS (Disk Operating System) allows personal computing to take off by enabling ordinary people to communicate directly with a screen. Desktop computers were soon being sold in their millions, and the Internet followed within a few years.
1985 Barings PLC
A holding company structure is adopted with The Baring Foundation at the top level in the structure.
1986 Big Bang
The liberalisation of the City of London, known as "Big Bang", makes London once again into one of the leading financial centres of the world. It brings the world's largest banks to London and sees a change from open-outcry to electronic, screen-based trading. rnrnBarings establishes its securities business.
1995 Barings declared insolvent
Barings employee, Nick Leeson, loses £827 million due to speculative investing, primarily in futures contracts, at the bank's Singapore office. This is twice the bank's available trading capital. Barings is declared insolvent on 26 February 1995.
ING Barings established
Barings is taken over by Dutch bank, ING and continues business as ING Barings.
2002 ING Barings becomes ING
The Barings name is dropped and the bank continues business as ING.
2004 MassMutual Financial Group and Northern Trust Corp buy Baring Asset Management from ING.
By 2004 ING had integrated the majority of Barings' business. Some parts of the business, such as Baring Asset Management, were sold.
2008 Credit Crunch
A financial crisis leads to banks to stop lending to one another and to businesses. The result is a credit crunch which threatens to bring the world economy to a standstill. The threat is avoided, but the western economies remain in a deeply troubled state.
The Baring Archive Limited established
The archive of Barings, with associated historical portraits, is loaned in perpetuity to The Baring Archive Limited, a charitable trust set up to manage and promote the archive collections.