A strip of metal approximately ten centimetres wide delineates the eagle emblem of Barclays' Bank. The strip is set at a right-angle to the red brick of the façade and thus gives both a precise delineation and a suggestion of depth. The patina of the material reflects sunlight effectively to further enhance the feeling of depth.
This branch of Barclay's bank was granted planning the permission in 1951. However it is likely that the sign dates from after 1981 when the branch adopted one agreed version of the sign. (2)
The use of the Spread Eagle as an emblem by Barclays Bank dates back to the early eighteenth century when due to high levels of illiteracy it was customary for a business in the City of London to be known by a pictorial sign outside its premises. In the late seventeenth century a goldsmith and banker called John Freame was a partner in a banking business in Lombard Street in London, in 1728 he moved to other premises in Lombard Street with the sign of a Black Spread Eagle. The business expanded, and number 54 Lombard Street was chosen as the Head Office. Number 54 bore the sign of a Bible, but as the bankers were Quakers it was not deemed an appropriate sign, so the earlier Spread Eagle was adopted for the extended premises.
In the first half of the twentieth century, Barclays realised that they needed to apply to the College of Arms for the right to officially use the Spread Eagle elsewhere. As the eagle is a common heraldic emblem, the College of Arms required Barclays to difference it in some way - this they did by the addition of three crowns. The three crowns were chosen because back in the time of Freame the business had operated from a number of premises on Lombard Street, including numbers 43 and 55, which bore the signs of the Three Crowns and the Three Kings. The spread eagle was granted to Barclays Bank by the College of Arms in 1937, in the grant it is described thus: 'argent an eagle displayed Sable charged on the body and on each wing with a Ducal Coronet of the field'.
The Spread Eagle was first incorporated in the design of Barclays' cheque forms in 1938. It was only in 1981 however that a single version of the Eagle was authorised for use throughout Barclays - a woodcut design by the engraver Reynolds Stone and simplified by John York. In 1999 Barclays decided to update its corporate identity for the coming new millennium and the Spread Eagle emblem was redesigned by the design agency Interbrand Newell and Sorrell who combined the eagle with a globe.(1)
PMSA recording information