1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Child, Sir Francis

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CHILD, SIR FRANCIS (1642–1713), English banker, was a Wiltshire man, who, having been apprenticed to a goldsmith, became himself a London goldsmith in 1664. In 1671 he married Elizabeth (d. 1720), daughter of another goldsmith named William Wheeler (d. 1663), and with his wife’s stepfather, Robert Blanchard (d. 1681), took over about the same time the business of goldsmiths hitherto carried on by the Wheelers. This was the beginning of Child’s Bank. Child soon gave up the business of a goldsmith and confined himself to that of a banker. He inherited some wealth and was very successful in business; he was jeweller to the king, and lent considerable sums of money to the government. Being a freeman of the city of London, Child was elected a member of the court of common council in 1681; in 1689 he became an alderman, and in the same year a knight. He served as sheriff of London in 1691 and as lord mayor in 1699. His parliamentary career began about this time. In 1698 he was chosen member of parliament for Devizes and in 1702 for the city of London, and was again returned for Devizes in 1705 and 1710. He died on the 4th of October 1713, and was buried in Fulham churchyard. Sir Francis, who was a benefactor to Christ’s hospital, bought Osterley Park, near Isleworth, now the residence of his descendant the earl of Jersey.

Child had twelve sons. One, Sir Robert, an alderman, died in 1721. Another, Sir Francis (c. 1684–1740), was lord mayor of London in 1732, and a director of the East India Company. He was chosen member of parliament for the city of London in 1722, and was member for Middlesex from 1727 until his death. After the death of the younger Sir Francis at Fulham on the 20th of April 1740 the banking business passed to his brother Samuel, and the bank is still owned by his descendants, the principal proprietor being the earl of Jersey. Child’s Bank was at first conducted at the Marygold, next Temple Bar in Fleet Street, London; and the present bank occupies the site formerly covered by the Marygold and the adjacent Devil tavern.