Object of the Week

Margaret Holt Campion Portrait

Margaret Holt Campion was known as the first lady banker in England! This portrait by an unknown artist shows her counting up the coins.

Born to John Holt and Martha Storm Holt in 1748, she was the fourth of nine children. Her father was a ship-owner and tradesman and her siblings married into local families involved in shipping, banking and other businesses.

Margaret married Nathaniel Campion, a ship-owner who was also involved in trade, they had one son, Robert. It is known that Margaret worked with her husband in his businesses. Nathaniel passed away in 1798 and Margaret took control of his business affairs.

In order to facilitate her many businesses Margaret formed a bank with her son which opened in 1800 at 53 Church Street, Whitby. Banking offered the potential for significant profit and Margaret was an astute business woman. Margaret and Robert ran the bank successfully until her death in 1804.

Robert carried on the bank after his mother’s death with his own son, John joining him as a partner in 1817. Unfortunately, as time progressed the bank started to take on debts and ultimately failed in 1841.

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