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1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Holden, Sir Edward Hopkinson

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HOLDEN, SIR EDWARD HOPKINSON, 1st Bart. (1848-1919), English banker, was born May 11 1848 at Tottington, Lancs., and spent his early years at the neighbouring village of Summerseat, where he was educated. He entered a business establishment at an early age, but later obtained a junior clerkship in the Manchester and County Bank at a salary of £30 a year. Here he remained for 14 years, and at the end of that time became a bank accountant as a result of answering an advertisement in the Economist. During this period he also studied law and political economy at Owens College in company with his wife. In 1881 he went to Birmingham as accountant of the Birmingham and Midland Bank, and here his rise was extraordinarily rapid. In a comparatively short space of time he rose to be general manager, and this led later to his occupying the double position of managing director (1898) and eventually chairman (1908). He devoted himself with great energy and much success to developing the amalgamating policy of his bank, which ultimately developed into the London Joint City and Midland Bank. For the history of the amalgamations leading to that result, see Banks and Banking. From about 1898 he interested himself largely in international banking, with the result that he became as great an expert on foreign exchange questions as on home finance. He was the first of the larger London joint-stock bankers to open a foreign exchange department. In 1906 he was elected Liberal member for the Heywood division of Lancs., and in 1909 a baronetcy was conferred upon him. In 1915 he went with Lord Reading to the United States on behalf of the Government and arranged there the Anglo-French loan. He died July 23 1919.

Holden was in many ways a typical “Lancashire lad”; he was always a shrewd business man, with a pugnacious disposition, a firm friend to his friends, a hot fighter against opponents, but with unusual vision and with a remarkable flair for banking operations. As chairman of the London City and Midland Bank, which, under him and through his exertions, became the greatest of the English joint-stock institutions, he was for many years the most powerful figure among the clearing bankers, and his interests were bound up with the progressive success of the bank with which he was identified. He was a man of great activity of mind, keen to spot the opportunities and tendencies in contemporary finance, and assiduous in mastering its problems. During the World War he did valuable work in this respect, the extent of which cannot well be over emphasized. His annual addresses to the shareholders of his bank were a succession of educational manifestoes, packed with information and instruction. Before the war he had taken the lead in advocating a larger gold reserve, and himself started the accumulation of a larger independent gold-holding by his bank. In this and various other ways he was a pioneer in a number of improvements in British banking during his time, and his death deprived the City of London of one of its most vigorous characters. (H. Ch.)