Of foreign Clearing-houses, by far the most important is that of London, embracing twenty-seven banks, including the Bank of England, which only became a member about twenty years ago, and clears only on one side, that is, its charges on other banks. These, being obliged as members of the Clearing-house to keep an account with the Bank of England, pay in their charges against it to the credit of their account. A considerable number of London banks in high credit have so far been refused the privilege of membership in the Clearing-house. Indeed so exclusive was it formerly that until 1854 the joint-stock banks were refused admission. The West End and Scotch banks and others not yet admitted, clear through members.

The number of daily clearings at London is three, as follows:

Ordinary Days.

"Morning clearing to open at 10.30. Drafts, &c, to be received not later than 11. Morning clearing must be closed by 12.

"Country clearing to open at 12. Drafts, including returns, to be received not later than 12.30. Country clearing must be closed by 2.15.

"Afternoon clearing to open at 2.30. Drafts, &c, to be received not later than 4. Returns to be received not later than 5, excepting on settling days, when the last delivery shall be at 4.15, and returns at 5.15."

Fourths of the Month.

"Morning clearing to open at 9. Drafts, &c, to be received not later than 10. Morning clearing must be closed by 12."

Country clearing takes place as on ordinary days, and afternoon clearing as on settling days, except when the fourth of the month occurs on Saturday, in which case the hours are as on ordinary days.

Saturdays (not being Fourths).

"Morning clearing to open at 9, Drafts, &c, to be received not later than 10. Morning clearing must be closed by 11.

"Country clearing to open at 11. Drafts, including returns to be received not later than 11.30. Country clearing must be closed by 1.15.

"Afternoon clearing to open at 1.30. Drafts, &c, to be received not later than 3. Returns to be received not later than 4."

In explanation of certain terms used at the London Clearing-house it may be stated that an "article" is a bill, "or check or dividend warrant, or banker's payment slip, or memorandum for country notes, or indeed any article that is paid into the clearing for settlement there."

"A 'charge' is a batch of articles {i.e., bills, checks, bankers' payments, &c.) sent into the Clearing-house by one banker to be charged by him against another.

"' Returns' are any articles which may be returned into the Clearing-house unpaid, from want of funds, irregularity of endorsement, no advice, or from any other cause."

The officer having charge of the clearing is called an inspector, and not a manager, as in this country. The London Clearing-house has two inspectors. Instead of blanks, such as are used at American Clearing-houses, books are used. The checks and bills to be presented by any one clearing banker upon any other are entered at home in the "Out-clearing book." There is also the" In-clearing book," in which are entered the amounts of the checks received in the exchange; the Out returns, the In returns, the Clearing Balance Book, the Clearing Difference Book, &c.

The London Clearing-house is a plain oblong room with rows of desks in compartments round three sides and down the middle. A small office for the two inspectors stands at one end. Each bank sends as many clerks to the house as may be requisite for the rapid completion of the work, some of the banks having as many as six clerks. The mode of conducting the business, as described in the last edition of Gilbart on Banking, is substantially as follows: