NatWest Bank, Newbury.
NatWest Bank have a habit of giving their branches a corporate makeover. Whilst this means you can spot a branch a mile off, it does nothing for the local street scene.
Too many streets have lost their historic identity to the often tasteless modern designs. Indeed, this particular building looks nothing special. You wouldn’t necessarily realise that is is actually Grade II listed, along with many of the surrounding buildings.
Hidden behind this rather nasty modern exterior, the original building remains. Although there are no clues to the casual pedestrian, step inside the branch, and there is a photograph of how it used to look.
The bank began life in Newbury on 22 July 1841 as County of Berks Union Banking Company. It subsequently acquired the premises in Market Place, Newbury, and also Market Place, Reading, by 1847. It was funded by the Commercial Bank of London, which failed in 1861. It was acquired by the London & Westminster Bank, which is now part of the National Westminister Bank (NatWest Bank).
However, by 1854, the County of Berks Bank had been taken over by the London and County Joint Stock Banking Company. (now also part of the National Westminster Bank). This bank had started off life as Surrey, Kent and Sussex Banking Company in 1836. The following year, it moved its Head Office to Lombard Street, and two years later was renamed London and County Banking Company.
Following many more acquisitions, in 1909 the bank was renamed London County and Westminster Bank, and acquired the assets of the London and Westminster Bank. More acquisitions followed, and in 1968 the London County and Westminster Bank merged with the National Provincial Bank to form the National Westminster Bank in 1970.
Now known as NatWest Bank, the business is part of the RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland Group). In November 2008, following the banking crisis, the British Government became a majority shareholder in the group.
For comparison, this photograph shows the right-hand part of the building before the corporate masking covered the original frontage.
- Taken: 24 Mar 2017
- Camera: Canon 5D MkIII
- Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm 1:2.8 L II USM
- Focal Length 24mm
- 1/400 Sec
- ISO 100