< Back to blog

Bank holiday history Posted On 17 April 2019

Bank Holiday

Every year there are eight bank holidays in England, Wales and Scotland – and ten in Northern Ireland. But why do we have them?

The first legislation for bank holidays dates back to 1871 when Sir John Lubbock, a Liberal politician, introduced the ‘Bank Holidays Act 1871’. Lubbock was a keen Cricket fan and the days happened to coincide with his village teams matches. The Act specified Easter Monday, Whit Monday, Boxing day and the first Monday in August as bank holidays.

Under the Act, ‘no person was compelled to make any payment or to do any act upon a bank holiday which he would not be compelled to do or make on Christmas Day or Good Friday’.

But, why are they called ‘Bank holidays?’ Some suggest that it is because the term ‘Bank’ gives the date more importance than ‘Public’ and that if banks shut, then other businesses would do the same.

Later, starting in 1965, Parliament announced August bank holidays which were ‘to give a lead in extending British holidays over a longer summer period’. These were announced on an ad hoc basis each year, always being the last weekend of August.

100 years after the 1871 Act, the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 was passed, which still regulates bank holidays in the UK today. Most of the current holidays were specified in this Act, however, New Year’s Day and May day weren’t introduced until 1974 and 1978, respectively. Whit Monday was replaced by the Late Spring bank holiday.

As many workers enjoy a Monday morning lay in, an extra day of sunshine in a beer garden or a short UK break, it is not surprising to hear that there are campaigns for extra bank holidays throughout the year. The most popular campaigned-for dates include the feast days of patron saints such as; St George and St David in England and Wales, respectively.

Ireland and Scotland already have St Patrick’s day and St Andrew’s day as bank holidays, with St Andrews day being the most recent addition having only been a bank holiday since 2008. As a way of trying to win votes, Jeremy Corbyn has said that he will introduce these last two patron saints’ days if he comes into power.

Bank holidays are proclaimed each year by the legal device of a royal proclamation, which means it can move them when they fall on a weekend, creating what are known as ‘substitute days’.

Did you know?
May is the only month to have two bank holidays, with the Early May bank holiday falling on the first Monday of the month and the Spring bank holiday, which replaced Whit Monday, on the last Monday of the month.

< Back to blog

Connect with us

Recent Posts

The Need for Speed!

Over lockdown, with more people working from home, the need for good broadband speed and reliability is no longer a nice-to-have, but a MUST have for lots of people.   We’ve all been there recently. Your kids are watching YouTube videos or gaming, the husband is streaming the football, your daughter is on Facetime with …

Read more...

Find the home of your dreams!

We all dream of our perfect home, but to actually live your dream is a whole different idea. But just what should you bear in mind when choosing your new home?   With the Stamp Duty Holiday, you may have decided to take the jump to find your dream home earlier than expected. Moving home …

Read more...

Dining room delights

It’s not the worst problem to have, but having a redundant dining room can feel like a wasted space in any home. With the potential saving from your Stamp Duty Holiday, let’s have a look at some great design options.   Top Tips Allow comfortable seating for your guests and family. Choose chairs that are …

Read more...

Moving house with children – made easy

Looking to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday and move to a bigger place. We all know moving to a new house can be a huge upheaval for the whole family, especially when there are children involved. The big move can, however, be made simpler with our few handy tips   Get the children …

Read more...

Saving efficiently for a mortgage deposit the easy way!

A mortgage deposit can be one of life’s most expensive endeavours, and saving for it efficiently is vital to ensure you don’t waste your time – or money   Saving money: we love it and hate it, and it’s one of the most efficient things you can do in life. 55% of us in the …

Read more...