Bishops' House

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Ken's Curiosities!

A Scandal in Norton

When the Parker Shore Bank ceased trading in 1843 it caused something of a local scandal. Here was Sheffield’s oldest bank which had been operating, apparently successfully, for thirty years. What had happened? The reasons, when looked at, were several. There had been an economic depression for many years. In 1825, 93 provincial private banks closed; some 15% of the total for England and Wales. In April 1837 the trade of Sheffield was said to be ‘much depressed.’
It was reported that ‘owing to the long continued commercial depression and the heavy losses which their banking house has sustained in preceding years, they are under the necessity of suspending payment.’
Of the original partners, by 1800 only John Shore survived and was running the business with his younger brother William. When the bank’s finances were investigated it was found that that John Shore the elder had a personal debt of £13,550 [about £600,000 in 2005]. John Shore the younger had been even more profligate with the bank’s money. When he was forced out in 1828 he owed £29,790 [about £1.3 million in 2005]. Both these amounts were recorded as assets of the bank rather than being written off. This resulted in a false reading for more than twenty years. Like his father, John junior must have been using the bank as a personal account with inadequate checks from the other partners as to his ability to repay.
Other Shores had joined the bank and with its demise came the collapse of the Shore family fortunes. Offley Shore had joined the bank in 1818 on the retirement of his great uncle William. His father Samuel Shore was one of a succession of Shores who made their fortunes as steel makers and merchants in Sheffield.
Following the collapse of the Shore family fortune the Meersbrook Estate was sold and there were proposals to build a housing estate and demolish Bishops House. In the end Sheffield Corporation bought the land and the park opened in 1887.


Source: Neville Flavell [2009] A Sheffield Banking Scandal. The Fall of the House of Parker Shore. Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society v 25 p 45-52.

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