Barclay & Co. Ltd. started, as a joint-stock bank, in 1896 as the amalgamation of twenty private banks.  The main three of which were: Barclay, Bevan, Tritton, Ransom, Bouverie & Co. of London & Brighton; Jonathon Backhouse & Co., Darlington; and Gurneys, Birbeck, Barclay & Buxton of Norwich.

Barclays continued to expand by amalgamation and take-overs.  In Surrey, Barclays took over the Staines bank of Thomas Ashby in 1903 and the Reading bank of J & C Simonds in 1913.  The acquisition, in 1918, of the London Provincial and South-Western Bank brought many branches in the Metropolitan area and provinces. 

Cheque issed by Barclays Bank, Woking.  The 'Old Bank' design on the left-hand side refers to Ashby's Bank of Staines which had a branch in Woking from around 1880.  Barclays took over Ashby's bank in 1904.

This cheque is payable to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, who was in exile in Britain during the second World War.  Note the reference to 'Old Bank', so Barclays were still displaying their heritage 40 years on.  The cheque is drawn upon the  account of the European Christian Mission.  This had moved its account from the Woking branch to Upper Norwood, but because of the shortage of paper was still using the old cheques which have been overstamped with new branch and account and cheque numbers.