The Organization and Practice of Banking In Cornwall, 1771-1922: Motivations and Objectives of Cornish Bankers
Dirring, John William
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The subject of this study is the period of independent banking in Cornwall, from the formation of the Miners’ Bank in Truro in 1771 to the absorption of Dingley’s Launceston Bank by the National Provincial in 1922. Undertaken within the perspectives of the `New’ Cornish Studies, it aims to provide an assessment of the objectives, strategies, and operational decision-making of banking institutions in Cornwall. A comprehensive analytical narrative of their development forms the core of the study, building on the existing literature and augmented from a range of fragmentary primary and secondary sources, much of it from family archival papers. The nature of this material, and the general lack of quantitative financial data relating to individual institutions, has made a qualitative sociological approach the most appropriate. With the careers of individual bankers predominant, the narrative is also strongly biographical in content and emphasis. An analytical technique based on thick description has been used to enlarge upon the possibilities contained in the often meagre evidence. Both the historical narrative and the subsequent theoretical analysis are conducted from a standpoint situated within a Cornish bank; established in Geertzian fashion from the author’s own long commercial experience in a traditionally-minded business. This experience is aligned with that of contemporaneous writers on nineteenth-century banking practice. In similar manner, a theoretical standpoint within the contemporaneous sociological thought of Tönnies and Weber has been adopted, as being the most appropriate to the consideration of the forms of organization under investigation. From this standpoint, the analysis is projected forwards into the growing corporatism and branch expansion of the amalgamation era. This is undertaken through a game-theoretic evolutionary assessment of decision processes; and a consideration of the roles of path creation and path dependency in institutional development.
PhD in Cornish Studies