Victorian London - Directories - Dickens's Dictionary of London, by Charles Dickens, Jr., 1879 - "Building Societies"

[ ... back to main menu for this book]

Building Societies.—These are societies established for the purpose of raising by subscription a fund for making advances to their members by way of mortgage upon security of freehold, copyhold, or leasehold property, repayable by periodical instalments. The first society on record was the Greenwich Building Society, founded in the year 1809. From that time until 1836 several existed. In the latter year the Act of 6 & 7 William IV, C. 32, was passed for the purpose of affording these societies encouragement and protection, and this Act continues to regulate all societies established previous to 1874 , and not registered under the Act passed in that year. In 1874 the Act of 37 & 38 Victoria, C. 42, was passed, which not only governs those established after the passing of the Act, but also all the then existing societies which should register themselves under its provisions. This statute confers various powers upon building societies, treats them as bodies corporate having a common seal, and declares the liability of members to be limited in respect of any share upon which no advance has been made to the amount already paid or in arrear on such share, and in respect of any share upon which an advance has been made to the amount payable under any mortgage to the society. Since 1836 it is estimated that building societies have enabled more than 100,000 persons to become proprietors of houses or land. They are especially advantageous in the case of members purchasing the houses of which they are tenants, such members applying the rents in repayment of the advance, and thus converting rent into capital. Very little liability attaches to the society on account of any depreciation in the value of any property, as the mortgage securities are constantly improving as every instalment is paid. Members have the advantage of knowing before they commence negociations the exact amount they will have to pay for legal and survey charges, for which a moderate scale is always provided and set forth in the rules. Building societies may be divided into three classes, viz: (a) ~ Permanent; (b) Terminating; and (c) Bowkett and Starr-Bowkett societies.

(a) Permanent societies consist of two classes of members, viz.:investing and borrowing. Investing members, who take shares which can either be paid up in full or by periodical payments, interest being allowed in the meantime. Borrowing members who secure the  amount borrowed by way of mortgage, the same being repayable by periodical instalments extending over a fixed period of years.

Amongst the principal societies of this class may be mentioned the following, viz.: Athenaeum, Birkbeck, Carlton, Liberator, Monarch, Planet, Reliance, Standard, Sun, and Temperance.

(b) Terminating societies consist of members making a periodical subscription during the existence of the society, the object being to continue the society until every member shall have had an advance. When the subscriptions amount to a sufficient sum to be advanced, the amount is lent to one of the members upon mortgage, who then pays an increased subscription so long as the society lasts. The chief difference between these and permanent societies is that in these societies all the members must join at the same time, or on joining afterwards will be required to make a back payment equal to the subscriptions from the commencement of the society. No member can with certainty calculate how long the society will last, or how long he will have to subscribe but in permanent societies, membership may commence and cease at any time.

(c)Bowkett and Starr-Bowkett societies are also terminating societies, and differ but little from those last mentioned. They were originated by Dr. Bowkett, and have been improved upon by Mr. Starr. Each of the members of these societies subscribes a weekly sum, and when an amount sufficient for an appropriation has been    received a ballot or sale takes place, and the member obtaining the appropriation secures the repayment    amount without by way of mortgage, by periodical instalments extended over 10 or 12 ½ years. The instalments so repaid increase the funds out of which, together with the other members’ subscriptions, future appropriations are made. The member continues the weekly subscription on his shares till he has paid the sum mentioned in the rules, and this is returned to him on the termination of the society less a small deduction for working expense,. The principle of these societies is, that the member lends the society annually a small sum, to be repaid at its termination, in return for which the society lends him a large sum without interest for a certain period. 
The following are the principal Building Societies, with their objects mid term, of subscription, according to the official returns furnished at the Editor’s request by their respective secretaries. The societies omitted are those from which his request for information has failed to elicit any reply:

BIRKBECK BUILDING SOCIETY, 29 and 30, Southampton-buildings, Chancery-lane. — Subscription: Amount varies according to the term for which money is borrowed. Object: To enable its members to purchase their own houses by advancing the value, and taking payments by monthly instalments extending over any period not exceeding 21 years.

BIRKBECK FREEHOLD LAND SOCIETY, 29 and 30, Southampton buildings, Chancery-lane,- Subscription: According to value of land purchased. Object: To enable its members to purchase freehold land in small plots for the erection of houses, or to cultivate as gardens; the owners thus obtaining the county franchise.

BOROUGH OF LAMBETH No.3 PERMANENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 128 Westminster- bridge-road. — Subscription: 5s. per month per share to inveStors of  £60 shares. Object:    To enable persons to purchase house property by making advances repayable by monthly instalments.

COMMERCIAL PERMANENT BENEFIT BUILDING SOCIETY, 32, East lndia-dock.road1 Limehouse.— Subscription (no information).Object:To enable provident persons to invest large or small sums at a remunerative interest. To lend the funds so invested upon mortgages of freehold and leasehold property to members possessing or purchasing such property.

COMMERCIAL UNION BUILDING SOCIETY AND DEPOSIT BANK, 45, Fish-street-hill.— Subscription  Shares, £25 each, payable in one sum or by subscription of  2s. 6d. per share per month; 5 per cent. allowed on deposits, drawing accounts, or shares. Object: To enable its members to purchase freehold or leasehold house property or land.

EFFRA MUTUAL BENEFIT BUILDING SOCIETY, 3, Bell-yard, Subscription:  investing shares, £60, payable by monthly subscriptions of 10s.; borrowing shares, £10 each. Object: To enable its members profitably to invest their savings, or to erect or purchase their own dwellings or other leasehold or freehold property.

GENERAL MUTUAL INVESTMENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 44, Bedford~row. Subscription: 2s. 6d., 5s., and 10s. monthly. Object: To advance the amount required to purchase houses for occupation, and generally to assist the working classes to acquire real and leasehold estate.

GLANVILLE PERMANENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 1, Queen-street-place, Cannon-street. — Subscription: Investment shares, £25 each, payable in one sum, or at a minimum rate of 5s. monthly. Object: To provide a safe means for investment of large or small sums of money. Interest 5 per cent, and bonus. Money only lent upon houses and land with a fair margin.

HATHERLEY PERMANENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 30, Great Smith-street, - Subscription: 5s per month upon each share until £15 shall have been paid, which is the price of a completed share. Object: To make advances to its members upon security of freehold or leasehold property.

HOUSE AND LAND INVESTMENT TRUST LIMITED, 19 and 20, Wal.brook, Cannon-street.-- Subscription : Any sums, from 5s. and upwards, received on deposit Object: The purchase and  development of approved freehold, leasehold, and copyhold properties, and generally for the buying, selling, and holding of lands and houses.

HOUSE PROPERTY AND INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED, 92 Cannon-street.- Subscription : Shares, £25 each, now at £5 per share premium. Object: Purchase and sale of productive and progressive house property, and improving the dwellings of the working classes on the self-supporting principle.

KNIGHTSBRIDGE MUTUAL BENEFIT BUILDING SOCIETY, 180, Brompton-road. — Subscription: 2s weekly per share. Object: To advance sums from £250 and upwards on leasehold or freehold property, repayable in 10 years. The appropriations are obtained by ballot (free of interest) or by sale (for a bonus).

LAND LOAN AND ENFRANCHISEMENT COMPANY (Incorporated by special Act of Parliament) 22, Great George-street, Westminster – Subscription: (not stated). Object: The improvement of landed estates.

LONDON AND GENERAL PERMANENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 337, Strand. – Subscription: Shares of £40 each, payable either in full or by sums of not less than 5s monthly. Object: To enable the members to become possessors of residential or other property upon easy terms.

LONDON BENEFIT BUILDING SOCIETY, 37 Queen-st, Cannon-st. – Subscription: Shares, £50 payments of 10s each. Object: To enable members to purchase house property for occupation or investment.

LONDON CONGREGATIONAL CHAPEL BUILDING SOCIETY, 13, Blomfield Street, London Wall – Subscription: Voluntary and vary in amount. Object: To promote the erection of Congregational chapels in the metropolis (police district). 138 have been thus erected.

LONDON PROVIDENT BUILDING SOCIETY AND BANK, 51, Moorgate-street. – Subscription: £10 paid-up shares can always be obtained. Dividend and bonus have averaged 6 ½ per cent. over sixteen years. Object: To provide a good and safe investment for money, and to enable persons to buy houses for their own occupation by instalments; also to assist persons generally to buy freehold and leasehold properties.

MERCANTILE AND GENERAL PERMANENT BENEFIT BUILDING SOCIETY, Myddleton Hall, Islington, and Ward Schools, 160a, Aldersgate-street. —Subscription: Shares £50 each, payable 5s. per month; last dividend, 6 ½  per cent. Object: To advance to its members money for the purpose of purchasing their own houses, or of acquiring freehold and leasehold properties by their own rents.

MONARCH INVESTMENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 23 Finsbury-circus.— Subscription: Shares, £50, fully paid, or by subscription 5s. per month. Object: To raise by the subscriptions of its members a fund for making advances to members on security of freehold, leasehold, or copyhold estates by way of mortgage.

MORNINGTON PERMANENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 158, KentishTown-road. — Subscription: 5s. per month until £10 share completed. Entrance fee, 2s. per share;  or shares can be fully paid up at once; entrance fee in latter case, 7s. 6d. per share. Object: To enable its members to become owners of real or leasehold property, either for occupation or investment, for which purpose repayment of principal and interest can be spread over any term not exceeding 15 years.

NATIONAL CONTRACT COMPANY LIMITED, AND ORDERS OF TEMPERANCE, FIRE-PROOF, AND GENERAL BUILDING SOCIETY, 156, St. John-street-road.—Subscription: £5 and £10 shares respectively. Object: Both societies established for the purpose of advancing money or procuring the same at moderate rates of interest, and so enable the middle and working classes to purchase their own dwellings by easy rents.

NATIONAL FREEHOLD LAND SOCIETY (Established 1849), 25, Moorgate. street, — Subscription: £30 Sbares; entrance fee, 1s. per share of £30. Object: To receive money on deposit from members, shares may be paid in full or by any sums at any time at option of member. Interest allowed, 3 per cent. on uncompleted shares, 4 per cent. on completed shares.

OCEAN PERMANENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 727, Commercial-road-east .— Subscription (no information). Object: To raise and maintain by the subscription of members and loan, a stock or fund for making advances to members upon the security of freehold, copyhold, or leasehold property by way of mortgage, pursuant to the Building Societies Act, 1874.

OFFICIAL AND GENERAL PERMANENT BENEFIT BUILDING SOCIETY, 8, Duke-street, Adelphi.— Subscription: Shares, £50 each; entrance fee, 1s. per share. Object: To afford its members means of investing capital, and of procuring funds for the purchase of houses for their own occupation or of other freehold and leasehold property.

PADDINGTON LAND AND BUILDING SOCIETY LIMITED, 123, Edgware.road— Subscription: Shares, £10 each. Object: To advance money upon mortgage of freehold, leasehold or copyhold property, and to receive cash on deposit from shareholders and the general public.

PERPETUAL INVESTMENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 16, New Bridge.street, Blackfriars.— Object: The objects of the society are to enable persons to invest money in large or small sums at a fair rate of interest, and to assist persons to secure houses for their own occupation or investment.

PORTLAND INCORPORATED PERMAMENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 35, Great Marylebone-street, Portland-place. — Subscription: £25 shares, paid up in full or by monthly payments of 5s., bearing interest at 5 per cent., and participating in bonus two years after issue. Object: For the purpose of raising by the subscription of its members a stock or fund for making advances to members, out of the funds of the society, upon security of freehold, copyhold, or leasehold estate, by way of mortgage.

ROCK PERMANENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 52, Chancery-lane. —Subscription (no information). Object: For making advances on freehold, leasehold, and copyhold estates.

SOCIETIES OF EQUALITY (Nos.6,7,8,9, & 10) (No. 1 established 1845), 13, Pentonville-road.— Subscription : 5s. per month per share. Object:    To make advances to its members for the purpose of purchasing houses, and as a means of investment.

STEPNEY AND SUBURBAN PERMANENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 527,Commercial-road-east – Subscription: 5s per share per month. Object: To raise a stock or fund by monthly subscriptions for making advances to members out of the funds of the society upon the security of freehold, copyhold, or leasehold estates by way of mortgage.

SUN BUILDING AND INVESTMENT SOCIETY, 12, Holborn.— Subscription:    Realised shares £10 each; subscription shares, 5s. per month. Object: To offer a channel for the investment of small savings at a higher rate of interest than is obtained at ordinary savings banks.

SUN PERMANENT BUILDING SOCIETY, 4, New North-rd, Hoxton.— Subscription: £30 shares, payable at once, or by monthly instalments. Object: To enable members to purchase house property for occupation or investment.

TRAFALGAR PERMANENT BENEFIT BUILDING SOCIETY, 24, Salisbury-street, Strand.— Subscription: £10 shares; 2s. per month to be paid on account of each share. Object: To make advances to persons to enable them to erect or purchase one or more houses, or freehold, copyhold, or leasehold estate, pursuant to 6 & 7 Will. IV., C. 32.

WEST LONDON ECONOMIC BUILDING SOCIETY, 214, Church-street, Paddington. — Subscription: For investors, 5s. per month per £6o share; borrowers, as per table in rules or prospectus. Object: To raise a fund by monthly subscriptions, far the purpose of making advances to members by way of mortgage, to enable them to purchase freehold, leasehold, or copyhold property. The society is a permanent one, established 1850. 

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879