History Of The Society

1853 – The Skipton Permanent Benefit Building Society is established at a public meeting in Skipton, West Yorkshire, held at the old Town Hall (unpredicatably, now a pizzeria).

Samuel Farey (1822-1895) a cotton mill owner and George Kendall, a timber merchant, are amongst the founders of the Society. They are benevolent, wealthy industrialists who have prospered from the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, establishing the new Society as a safe place to deposit savings, with a return on investment offered.

1854 – First Annual Meeting of Skipton and District Permanent Benefit Building Society is held. The Society has 223 Members and £2,951.16s.8d in balances. (Charles Dickens writes Hard Times and Florence Nightingale goes to aid those wounded in the Crimean War.)

1879 – 1,185 members, £47,129 balances. (The telephone has been around for three years by now! You can ring up to check your balance, if you own one of those new-fangled talking machines.)

1892 – Head Office moves to 11 Newmarket Street from its home at the Old Post Office. (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is published and, co-incidentally, the world’s first fingerprinting bureau opens… in Buenos Aires.)

1895 – Samuel Farey dies, aged 73. (Thereby missing out on the introduction of HP Sauce and the lowest ever recorded temperature in the UK: −27.2 °C / −17.0 °F up in Braemar.)

1903 – The Society becomes incorporated. It now boasts 1,532 Members and £82,305 in balances.
1921 – The Head Office moves a few yards along the street to numbers 5 & 7 Newmarket Street, Skipton. (They probably moved it all on hand carts.)

1922  – Branches open in Nelson, Blackpool and Lytham, soon followed by branches in other towns and cities. (Over in Egypt, Howard Carter discovers the tomb of Pharoah Tutankhamun.)

1923 – Henry Smith’s (the draper’s shop at 59 High Street) is bought in Skipton, with a view to demolishing the shop to make space for a brand new Head Office. (Over in California, The Walt Disney Company is founded and a big sign goes up in Hollywoodland.)

1928 – The new Head Office in Skipton town centre is opened by The R.t Hon. Philip Snowden, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government. (Loved for reducing taxes on commodities and popular entertainment.)
1929 – In the year of The Wall Street Crash, the Society holds assets of £1 million. 
1945 – The Second World War ends and the Society holds assets of £5 million.
1950 – Assets double in five years to £10 million. (Rationing is still in place in Britain. Over in the USA, the very first payment is made on a Diner’s Club charge card. The poet and author, Blake Morrison, is born in Skipton.)

1953 – The Society celebrates its Centenary, holding assets of £11.7 million. (It’s Coronation Year too.)

1956 – Assets rise to £14 million. (The first Eurovision Song Contest is held and Australians get television, just in time for the Olympics from Melbourne.)

1958 – Assets stand at £15 million. (Something else to sing about – it’s the year in which the cassette tape is launched.)

1963 – Assets grow to £25 million. (The Dartford Tunnel opens and The Flying Scotsman steams into retirement.)

1967 –  Inventor of the ATM, John Shepherd-Barron, suggests using a PIN for vending machines to dispense cash. His wife favours a four digit code, which becomes the most commonly used PIN length.

1969 – The first cheque guarantee card is introduced in the UK; it has a limit of £30. (Barclaycard holders have now been using the UK’s first credit card for three years.)

1974 – Assets have now reached £100 million. (The Oil Crisis ends; ABBA wins Eurovision in Brighton with Waterloo and the BBC launches Ceefax. England and Lancashire cricketer, Greg Chapple, is born in Skipton.)
1977 – Assets stand at £150 million. The cheque guarantee card limit rises to a staggering £50. (And we hold street parties for The Queen’s Silver Jubilee.)

1978 – A five-storey extension to the rear of the High Street Head Office is built, to house over 200 staff. It occupies part of the site where the first office opened in 1853 (in Providence Place). This year also sees the installation of the very first computer (a Burroughs B3700) in the new Skipton Administration Centre. Skipton Building Society now has 32 branches and 75 agencies throughout the UK, holding more than 125,000 accounts.

1981 – The first Grassington Festival is held; an annual arts festival supported by the Society. Celebrities as diverse as Jo Brand, Lesley Garrett and Jack Dee have performed at this acclaimed event, which runs for a fortnight each June.

1989 – Barclays introduces the UK’s first debit card Connect (later merged into Visa.) Changes to banking laws now allow building societies to offer banking services equivalent to high street banks. The Society holds assets of £1.6 billion.

1990 – The Bailey, the Society’s modern new premises on Harrogate Road, Skipton is built. Tim Berners-Lee creates the first web page on the world’s first web server.

1998 – The Bailey is further extended. (The first Euro coins are minted and Google is founded.)

2000 – The Skipton Building Society Charitable Foundation is launched, to support registered charities in the UK. The Society holds assets of £6 billion at the start of the new millennium. (The last Mini rolls off the production line at Longbridge. Few can predict the rebirth of this iconic car.)

2004 – Skipton Building Society Camerata, a professional chamber orchestra, is formed under the leadership of Ben Crick; bringing high-quality, accessible classical music to audiences as far apart as Harewood House near Leeds, to London’s Globe Theatre.

2005 – Skipton Building Society offers financial support to the North’s biggest literary festival, The Ilkely Literature Festival. The Society remains a headline sponsor of this annual event, which brings celebrity authors to the festival every autumn.

2009 – The Society steps in to take over the former Scarborough Building Society. (Life in the UK begins without the cheque guarantee card system.)

2010 – Skipton Building Society merges with The Chesham Building Society – at the time, the world’s oldest surviving building society, founded in 1845. The Society saddles up with the region’s biggest annual equestrian and rural event, the Skipton Building Society Horse Trials.

2012 – Seven rowers from the Skipton Building Society-sponsored Molesey Boat Club all return from London 2012 as Olympic medallists. The Society scoops Best National Building Society Award for a second year running.

2013 – Skipton Building Society celebrates its 160th Anniversary and launches The Big 160 Grassroots Giving – a funding programme aimed at community organisations across the UK.