The very last foils in the very last orderbooks become due for payment today. This is what the first ones looked like 96 years ago.
Just from looking at that, two thoughts come immediately to mind. The first is the foils are quite obviously five-shilling postal orders with a bit of overprinting. Can it be possible that in 1909, policies were settled before the operational implications had been properly considered, with a last minute workaround invented to get something in place for A-day?
The second is just how little the orderbook changed during its lifetime. Given what else has changed in the last century, this is extraordinary immutability. And let’s not forget that what lay behind the orderbook was nothing less than an entirely independent money transmission system. Just because everybody else thought that was the core competence of banks and acted accordingly was no reason to follow the herd. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised that ideas take some time to percolate through the cultural sub-strata of organisations.