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Electric van with Bankers Clearing House logo on the side


Electric van with Bankers Clearing House logo on the side
3 0 c m
actual image size: 29cm x 22cm

Full image caption

An electric van, vehicle No. 0951 with the Bankers Clearing House logo, made by Harbilt at Market Harborough, Leicestershire.
Cheques were exchanged in premises in Lombard Street for many years, but The Bankers' Clearing House was built prior to the advent of motorised vehicles and in the days of relatively low volumes. While clearing was a manual process then cheques being exchanged in bundles contained in mail sacks was fine, but once computers arrived in the 1960s and there was a requirement for the items to be received in a particular order, then they had to be sent in boxes. The boxes then had to be moved on trolleys and the trolleys could only be moved in vans. Because of access restrictions into Lombard Street, bespoke vehicles were manufactured by a company called Harbilt and were used by all the members of the clearing house to transport their cheques to and from the House. Electric vans were chosen because they were quiet (there was concern that multiple vans going into and out of the Exchange would be intrusively noisy - at one point, Lombard Street was paved with rubber blocks specifically to keep noise to a minimum.) They also meant that there were no issues with finding a petrol station close to the banks' city premises and also meant that messenger staff did not have to carry money to pay for fuel. The other deciding factor was that electric vans were not liable for road tax.. When the banks started to move their processing centres out of London, an exchange centre was sought that could take deliveries from larger, fuel driven vans. The final trip made using an electric van was made on 3rd February 1995.

Image Details

2009 AD - 2009 AD
Image Number

© Museum of London

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