Greg’s first cousin 5 times removed was James William Gilbart (1794 – 1863),  an English banker and author,  who became General Manager of one of the first joint-stock banks in England, the London and Westminster.

Gilbart J W 1846

Portrait of James William Gilbart by Fanny Corbeaux 1846 in the collection of the British Museum retrieved from

Gilbart’s theory and methods, set out in his many books, most notably ‘Practical Treatise on Banking‘ (1827), came to be widely adopted. He advocated ways of improving the British banking system, laying the theoretical foundations of modern publicly owned retail banks and Building Societies.

James Gilbart started work as a junior bank clerk in 1813. When this failed in the financial crisis of 1825 he lost his job worked for a short time in Birmingham and two years later published his ‘Practical Treatise‘, which described and compared the banking systems of England, Scotland and Ireland. For the next six years he worked in banks in Ireland before moving back to London.

The London and Westminster Bank was the first firm founded under the auspices of the Bank Charter Act 1833, which allowed joint-stock banks – those owned and controlled by shareholders – to be established in London. Gilbart was its first general manager.

James Gilbart was frequently called upon to give evidence before  Parliamentary committees on banking. His views, held in high regard, helped to shape the English financial system.

London and Westminster Bank Throgmorton Street

The City office of the London and Westminster Bank in 1838. The office was at 38 Throgmorton Street. It was designed by Charles Robert Cockerell. The building was replaced in 1932.

James Gilbart retired in 1860 and died in 1863 at his house at 56 Brompton Crescent.

Gilbart Illustrated London News

“The Late Mr Gilbart.” Illustrated Times [London, England] 22 Aug. 1863: 117. from British Library Newspapers.

He never married, but he provided for some relatives and friends in his will. The Codicil mentions :

  • his first cousin James Gilbart,
  • James William Gilbart the son of his first cousin William Gilbart,
  • James William Gilbart the son of his first cousin Thomas Gilbart,
  • his first cousin Elizabeth Polkinghorne, and
  •  his niece Sarah Figgis Smith and her children
AtoZ map J

Map showing the branch of the London and Westminster Bank in the city, the home of James William Gilbart in Brompton Crescent Knightsbridge to the west and the West Norwood cemetery to the south marked with black xs.

The Westminster and National Provincial Bank merged in the late 1960s becoming the National Westminster Bank Limited from 1 January 1970. NatWest, as it became known, is now part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

Further reading