So who were the wealthiest bankers in London in the 1820's? Two women who were known as the Peeresses.
First was Sarah Child Villiers, Lady Jersey who was a lady Patroness of Almack's and responsible for introducing the quadrille aka square dancing to London. She had seven children and was the active senior partner in Childs from 1806 until her death in 1867. She retained the right of last say on all partners. She doesn't have a biography.
Second was Harriot Mellon Coutts who became Duchess of St Albans when she married the much younger Duke of St Albans, a man half her age in 1825. The Duke and Duchess of St Albans were united by a love of Shakespeare. She also does NOT have a modern biography. There are some early 19th memoirs about...Harriot Mellon is a rag to riches story. She started life as a child of a single mother and went on stage, particularly in the West End. She was incredibly prudent and practical, and always respectible. Her mother abused her dreadfully. She eventually married Thomas Coutts (four days after his first wife died) and when he died in 1822, she became the senior partner of Coutts and drew the biggest salary, basically four times the other partners. She continued in this position until her death. Like Lady Jersey, she kept the final word on who got made partner. Thomas Coutts's daughters aka The Three Graces were not overly fond of their stepmother and the eldest suggested that she get presented at court, thinking Queen Charlotte would refuse. Harriot was received with the most marked kindness by the Prince Regent. She lived a full and colourful life.
When she died the senior partnership went to Angela Burdett, the youngest child of Thomas Coutts youngest daughter on the condition she take the name of Coutts and not marry a foreigner. Harriot hoped she'd take an active part. Angela did not become an active partner and married an American at age 57. The bank was divided between her and her sister at that point and eventually it went to the sister's son 5th Baron Latimer. He didn't take an actuve role but his children and grandchildren did.
I am currently reading Women who made money -- Women Partners in British Private Banks 1752-1906 by Margery Dawes and Nesta Selwyn. My jaw is on the floor.
How can these women have been ignored like this? Why are they not considered influential? Why are more people not demanding biographies?
These are women who should be held up as role models. In 1812, fourteen women owned licenses to print money. And no one has had a modern in depth biography. The Dawes and Selwyn book was published last year by a small press publisher. Get it and read it. These women did not worry about glass ceilings. They got on and did it. Most had families.