Click here to skip to content

National Life Stories: An Oral History of Barings

An Oral History of Barings, initiated in 2009 in collaboration with The Baring Archive, records the history of Barings Bank during the second half of the 20th century through the memories and experiences of those involved.

Tracing its origins to 1762, Baring Brothers was the oldest merchant bank in the City of London.

An Oral History of Barings is collecting the history of the bank within living memory through 30 in-depth interviews with Barings employees from all levels and areas of the bank. Covering the post-war period up to the bank’s collapse in 1995 and its subsequent purchase by ING, the recordings will trace developments in traditional merchant banking, the expansion of the bank’s international activities, and the evolution of the asset management and securities businesses.

As part of the NLS collection these recordings seek to chronicle the wider lives and backgrounds of the interviewees in order to contextualise their work and professional experience within a broader social history. This study is undertaken in collaboration with The Baring Archive and complements the existing NLS oral history study City Lives.

Further information about An Oral History of Barings can be found in the National Life Stories Annual Reports.   An interview with Johnnie Russell, a trustee of the Baring Archive, featured in the 2010/2011 report in A Partner's Perspective: Enriching a paper archive with oral history; the article provides further information about the origins of the partnership project and reflections on using oral history to trace the history of the bank.


Partners and sponsors

Accessing the collection

To access oral history material:

  • Search for oral history recordings held at the British Library using the online Sound and Moving Image Catalogue (see useful advice on searching the oral history collections).
  • Onsite access to oral history recordings: The Listening and Viewing Service in St Pancras provides free public access to the oral history collections on an appointment basis. Many digital recordings are also available via SoundServer, a computerised listening facility located in the Humanities Reading Rooms.  SoundServer is also available at the British Library’s site in Boston Spa in Yorkshire.
  • Internet access to selected oral history recordings: The British Library Sounds website gives remote access to a selection of interviews from the Library’s oral history collections. Some recordings are currently only licensed to Higher and Further Education users in the UK, others are available for full public access.

Further information

Contact us

Oral History
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

T +44 (0)20 7412 7405 (Rob Perks, Lead Curator, Oral History  / Director of National Life Stories)
T +44 (0)20 7412 7406 (Mary Stewart, Curator, Oral History / Deputy Director of National Life Stories)
T +44 (0)20 7412 7404 (Elspeth Millar, Archivist, Oral History)

PDF files

The links below are to Adobe PDF files. Accessibility solutions and free Reader software are available from Adobe.

External links

The Baring Archive