The bank for a changing world

BNP Paribas opens its historical archives to the general public via the Well of History website

  • 21.09.2015

The BNP Paribas Group Heritage and Historical Archives department this week is launching a web portal called Well of History. BNP Paribas thus becomes the first major French company to create a permanent platform entirely dedicated to history, with the aim of sharing the Group’s rich historical legacy with a wide audience.

“Since 1822, history has made us a key player and a witness of transformations taking place in society and economy in Europe and around the world. We invite you to share in our story and explore our archives to learn more about our constantly changing world” Jean Lemierre Chairman of BNP Paribas.

Students, academic researchers, economists, architects, historians, journalists, advertising specialists and customers of the Bank will all find something to satisfy their thirst for knowledge when they visit this portal, which provides valuable documentation, including not only annual reports and historic advertising posters but also fascinating real-life stories and films.


The BNP Paribas Heritage and Historical Archives team regularly publishes, in conjunction with their various partners, material on topics such as Women in the Bank; A History of Payment Solutions, from Cheques to Contactless Payments; and BNP Paribas and Roland-Garros. The predecessors of BNP Paribas also played a part in global economic development by financing major projects including the Caracas subway (1978) and the Beijing-Hankou railway (1898).

Moreover, the story of BNP Paribas is rich in anecdotes. Site visitors will discover for example that before making their names respectively in the cinema and literary world, the French actor Fernandel and novelist Jean Giono each had a spell working at one of the forerunner banks of the BNP Paribas Group.


Contents of the website

  • 200 years of economic and banking history in France and across the world, thanks to the age and diversity of the forerunner banks which today make up the BNP Paribas Group.
  • Reports on such topics as “Bank and customer, an increasingly personalised service” and “More than 150 years in India”. Some of them were written by professional historians or partner organisations such as leading French history magazine Historia.
  • Documents and material of all kinds that are hard to find elsewhere relating to BNP Paribas’ forerunner banks (annual reports, photos, posters, films, articles, real-life stories, old postcards, written correspondence, prospectuses, etc.).


Technical and practical details

  • Available in both English and French
  • Website based on Responsive Design
  • Links to individual social networks
  • Search and browsing by chronology, geography, main topics or keywords
  • Visitors may download documents strictly for their own personal use; professional users (journalists, academic researchers, publishers) wishing to make use of the Group’s archives should contact the Group Heritage and Historical Archives department: archivesethistoire [at] bnpparibas (dot) com
  • The site provides a channel for those who are in possession of interesting stories  regarding the history of the Bank to upload and share them online.


About the Group Heritage and Historical Archives

BNP Paribas is a European banking group with a long, rich and varied history. The Group attaches much importance to the preservation of its heritage through written, photographic and audio-visual archives. This historical heritage is both a valuable resource for the Group and a source of collective memories. The Group Heritage & Historical Archives department is responsible for enriching, preserving, promoting - and granting access to - this heritage. These collections contain valuable source-materials on economic history and international relations; and also for the study of other fields such as the history of architecture and social history.

To consult the Archives or if you have any questions, please email your request to the Group Heritage and Historical Archives department at:  archivesethistoire [at] bnpparibas (dot) com


About BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas has a presence in 75 countries with more than 185,000 employees, including 145,000 in Europe. It ranks highly in its two core activities: Retail Banking & Services (comprised of Domestic Markets and International Financial Services) and Corporate & Institutional Banking. In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the leader in consumer lending. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail banking model across Mediterranean basin countries, in Turkey, in Eastern Europe and a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Institutional Banking and International Financial Services activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas and solid and fast-growing businesses in Asia-Pacific.


Press contact(s)

Press Contact
Anne-Sophie Trémouille: anne-sophie.tremouille [at] bnparibas (dot) com ; +33 (0)1 58 16 84 99
Follow us on Twitter: @BNPParibas_pr
Follow us on Twitter : @BNPP_History