Bank Holidays, in the United Kingdom, those days which by the Bank Holidays Act 1871 are kept as close holidays in all banks in England and Ireland and Scotland respectively. Before the year 1834, the Bank of England was closed on certain saints' days and anniversaries, about thirty-three days in all. In 1834 these were reduced to four - Good Friday, 1st of May, 1st of November and Christmas Day. By the act of 1871, carried through the House of Commons by Sir J. Lubbock (afterwards Lord Avebury), the following were constituted bank holidays in England and Ireland - Easter Monday, the Monday in Whitsun week, the first Monday of August, the 26th of December if a week-day; and by the Bank Holiday (Ireland) Act 1903, March 17th as a special bank holiday for Ireland (see Feasts and Festivals). In Scotland - New Year's Day, Christmas Day, Good Friday, the 1st Monday of May, the 1st Monday of August. If Christmas Day and New Year's Day fall on a Sunday, the next Monday following is the bank holiday. No person is 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, and the making of a payment or the doing of an act on the following day is equivalent to doing it on the holiday.
By the same act it was made lawful for the sovereign from time to time, as it should seem fit, to appoint by proclamation, in the same manner as public fasts or days of public thanksgiving, any day to be observed as a bank holiday throughout the United Kingdom or any part of it, or to substitute another day when in any special case it appears inexpedient to the sovereign in council to keep the usual bank holiday. (See further Holiday.)