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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Douglas, Heron & Company

Douglas, Heron & Company, with its head office at Ayr, was opened in 1769. It traded as the Ayr bank. Soon afterwards, branches were opened in Edinburgh and Dumfries, and agencies were established in Glasgow, Inverness, Kelso, Montrose and Campbeltown, among other places. The branches operated separately under their own boards. The original shareholders included eminent men like the Governor, the Duke of Queensberry, the Duke of Buccleuch, the Earl of Dumfries, the Earl of March, Sir Adam Fergusson of Kilkerran, Patrick Heron of Heron and the Honourable Archibald Douglas. But there were no bankers on any of the boards.

Almost from the beginning, the bank emptied their coffers by giving privileged customers excessive loans, later striving to make good the position by making paper money.

In May 1772, the directors, realising their error, tried to retrench: but in June of that year, the London Banking House of Neale, James, Fordyce and Doune failed, putting several Scottish Banks in difficulties. The Ayr Bank struggled for just over a year to retain confidence, but the Bank of Scotland, the Royal and the British Linen Company refused to accept the Ayr Bank's notes. In August 1773 a general meeting of the partners resolved on liquidation. The total loss to the partners, of whom there were 225, was £663,396 18s. 6d., and the shock was felt throughout Scotland.

According to Kerr's History of Banking, the downfall of the Ayr bank was brought about by 'trading beyond their means; divided control by permitting branches to act independently; forcing the circulation of their notes; giving credit too easily; ignorance of the principles of business; and carelessness or inquity of officers.'

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Robert Burns Store

NEW!! robert burns store View our exclusive range of distinctive Robert Burns related products. Register with our Shopping Club for further offers and unique member offers.Click here...


Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
Search our huge CD and music store for any Burns-related phrase!
Hint: Type "lang syne" or "peck maut" etc. into the Search box there for all artists, titles, descriptions or track listings with the words entered.
Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

ScotwebThe finest Scottish shopping site in the world, with the world's largest choice of kilts and tartans, exclusive jewelry, Highland Dress, Bagpipes and piping supplies, cashmere, and much more. Buying from these sites helps pay for the upkeep of Burns Country! Click here...