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Harmood Banner (1783-1865)

Harmood Banner was, by trade, an accountant. His reputation was made while chairman of the Liverpool and Harrington Water Company, and subsequently as chairman of the Liverpool Gas and Coke company. He was a city councillor for the St Peter's Ward during the 1850s, and was described as "Grave and sedate in appearance, and sits wrapped in thought as if he were somewhat careworn."

His first venture into the profession of accountancy was in 1814 when he joined in partnership with Thomas Billinge (his Brother-in-law). In 1816 he was given the dubious honour of being appointed liquidator to a bank. Namely that of James Aspinall of Liverpool, Bankers. His reputation grew, as did his business and soon the company Harmood Banner & Co was one of the most respected Accountancy firms in the country. We can trace the origins of one of today's largest accountancy firms, Coopers & Lybrand, back to Harmood Banner & Co.

Harmood Banner also had an enormous interest in the well-being of children, especially those who found their way into the various orphanages around Liverpool. He founded and played an active role in the Liverpool Boys & Girls Orphanage in Myrtle Street, Liverpool. In Pen and Ink Studies of Liverpool Councillors, Shimmin noted: "Day by day Mr. Banner may be found visiting the fatherless in their affliction, and giving to hundreds of destitute orphans that paternal council which he well knows how to bestow"

Harmood Banner wanted the children to be respected in death as well as in life, it was common for the poor to be buried in large graves, with no stone. Harmood Banner used some of his considerable wealth to purchase some plots within St James Cemetery, and some stones on which the names of the children from the orphanages to be recorded. These remain to this day, visitors to the cemetery can see seven or eight large stones near to the Huskisson Memorial all marked out with the name of Harmood Banner.

Harmood Banner died in 1865, leaving 4 sons. One of them, the Rev T.B Banner was incumbent of the church of the Holy Innocents, in Myrtle Street. Harmood Banner's grave stands in the North corner of St James'.

Source: © Mike Faulkner

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