Other notable names that banked with Goslings include Edward Austen, later Edward Knight, the brother of novelist Jane Austen; Thomas Longman, founder of the publishers Longmans; and the painter Sir Edwin Landseer.
St Johns College, Oxford, and St Johns College, Cambridge, both founded in the 16th century, had accounts with the bank, as did The Times newspaper, The Law Society, the Stationers Company and the Society of Licensed Victuallers – the formal name for pub landlords or others selling alcohol.
Other accounts reveal interesting detail about the time. One was set up to collect donations for people affected by the ‘Great Beer Flood’ of 1814, which happened when a huge vat of beer at Meux and Co’s Horse Shoe brewery on the corner of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road in London collapsed, sending millions of pints of beer flooding through nearby streets and buildings.
Because of its location near an overcrowded and poorly built slum known as the ‘rookery’, the flood caused huge damage, killing at least eight people and injuring many more. The accident cost the brewery about £23,000.
Well meaning individuals also set up accounts for the poor of Ireland and for the victims of a fire in Montreal, Canada, in 1665, which destroyed 108 houses. The Jennerian Society for Vaccine Innoculation, which was at the time attempting to rid the UK of smallpox, was also an account holder. Another account, for Penitent Prostitutes, was apparently never particularly well subscribed.