North Central was a hire purchase company that was established in 1861 in Rotherham as North Central Wagon Company, by a group of investors who wanted to lease wagons to railway companies.
After the nationalisation of the railway companies in Britain in 1948, North Central Wagon Company became involved in the business of motor car hire purchase, changing its name to North Central Wagon & Finance Company Ltd.
In 1958 National Provincial Bank, North Central's own banker, bought the company's entire share capital. In 1961 the company changed its name to North Central Finance Ltd. In 1968 National Provincial announced its merger with Westminster Bank, and North Central Finance Ltd consequently became part of the newly-formed National Westminster Bank Ltd. in 1970. In 1971 North Central merged with Lombard Banking, which National Westminster Bank had bought in 1970, to form Lombard North Central Ltd.
North Central overprints can be found on the Wilding and Machin stamps. Unusually, the overprints are much more common on the 6d than the 2d denominations (the duty on hire purchase agreements and insurance policies was 6d).
By Mark Matlach