National Provincial Bank Ltd | RBS Heritage Hub

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National Provincial Bank Ltd

Poster advertising National Provincial Bank's travel money facilities, 1920s © RBS 2014

 

National Provincial Bank Ltd (1833-1969), established in London, was a past constituent of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

 

Brief history

Preparatory work to establish a bank called Royal Bank began on the instigation of Thomas Joplin in 1828. By 1833 a provisional committee was meeting regularly and the bank's name was changed to National Provincial Bank of England. Shares were allocated and a deed of settlement signed in 1833. The bank's policy was to open branches in England and Wales outside the 65-mile limit around London so it could issue its own banknotes, with a purely administrative head office situated in London. The first branch was opened in Gloucester in 1834, followed by branches in Brecon, Walsall, Birmingham, Wotton under Edge, Boston and Wisbech, the aim being a bank with a national rather than regional branch network.

Paid-up capital in 1834 was £101,500. By mid-1835 20 branches and sub-branches had been opened but the original principle of the semi-autonomous branch with its own local shareholders proved unworkable and was abandoned. Daniel Robertson was appointed the first general manager, and he continued in this post until 1863. By 1865 the bank had 122 branches, many of which were established through the acquisition of small private and joint stock country banks including: Rottons & Scholefields of Birmingham in 1834; Bloxsome & Co of Dursley in 1835; Bristol City Bank branch of Northern & Central Bank in 1835; Pyke, Scott & Co of Barnstaple in 1836; Vye & Harris of Ilfracombe in 1836; William Skinner & Co of Stockton in 1836; Husband & Co of Devonport in 1839; Lichfield, Rugeley & Tamworth Banking Co in 1838; Harris & Co of Dartmouth in 1840; Hulke, Dixon & Co of Deal in 1840; Fryer, Andrews & Co of Wimborne in 1840; Fector & Co of Dover in 1841; Cole, Holroyd & Co of Exeter in 1842; Pretor, Pew & Co of Sherbourne in 1843; Loveband & Co of Torrington in 1843; Ley & Co of Bideford in 1843; Isle of Wight Joint Stock Bank of Newport in 1844; Stockton & Durham County Bank of Stockton in 1846; Thomas Kinnersly & Sons of Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1855; William Moore of Stone in 1858; Crawshay, Bailey & Co of Abergavenny in 1868; and David Morris & Sons of Carmarthen in 1871.

In 1866 a new head office was opened in Bishopsgate, City of London, where the first London branch was also established, obliging the bank to give up its note issue. Bank of Leeds Ltd was acquired in 1878 followed by County of Stafford Bank Ltd in 1899 and Knaresborough & Claro Banking Co Ltd in 1903. Limited liability was assumed in 1880 as National Provincial Bank of England Ltd. Paid-up capital grew from £450,000 in 1853, to £1.08 million in 1866, to £1.68 million in 1878 and to £3 million in 1905. By 1900 the bank had around 200 branches. A half share in Lloyds Bank (France) Ltd was acquired in 1918. This bank was renamed Lloyds & National Provincial Foreign Bank Ltd in 1919 and had branches in London, France, Belgium and Switzerland.

In 1918 National Provincial Bank of England merged with the important Union of London & Smiths Bank Ltd, which had over 230 branches, and was restyled National Provincial & Union Bank of England Ltd. The new bank had over 700 branches and extended its geographical spread through the acquisition of W & J Biggerstaffe of London in 1918; Sheffield Banking Co Ltd in 1919; Bradford District Bank Ltd in 1918; Northamptonshire Union Bank Ltd in 1920; Richards & Co of Llangollen in 1920; Shilson, Coode & Co of St Austell in 1920; Dingley & Co of Launceston in 1922; Dingley, Pearse & Co of Okehampton in 1922; and Guernsey Banking Co Ltd of the Channel Islands in 1924. The important London private bank of Coutts & Co was also acquired in 1920 and continued to trade under its own name.

The bank’s name was shortened to National Provincial Bank Ltd in 1924. It continued to expand its branch network between the wars and after 1945. It acquired North Central Wagon & Finance Co Ltd of Rotherham, a leasing and hire purchase company, in 1958 and Isle of Man Bank Ltd in 1961, the latter retaining its own name. In 1954 National Provincial Bank sold its holding in Lloyds & National Provincial Foreign Bank Ltd. In 1962 it acquired District Bank Ltd, an important regional bank which continued to trade under its own name, and in 1965 a merchant banking subsidiary, County Bank Ltd, was formed. In 1968 the bank announced its merger with Westminster Bank, but it continued to trade under its own name until vesting day of National Westminster Bank in 1970.

 

Published histories

  • Bold adventure (London: privately published by National Provincial Bank, n.d.)
  • T E Gregory, The Westminster Bank through a century (London: Oxford University Press, 1936)
  • F MacColl, The key to our success. A short history of the NatWest Group (London: privately published by National Westminster Bank, 1996)
  • R Reed, National Westminster Bank. A short history (London: privately published by National Westminster Bank, 1989)
  • H Withers, National Provincial Bank 1833-1933 (London: privately published by National Provincial Bank, 1933)

 

Summary of our archive holdings

Our archival records of National Provincial Bank Ltd have the reference code NAT.

For help understanding words used here, check our glossary of banking record types (PDF 24KB).

Corporate records

  • correspondence of Thomas Joplin re proposed bank 1827-34
  • prospectuses and papers re proposed formation 1829-36
  • press notices re share issue 1833
  • letter of allotment 1833
  • share registers 1833-64, 1889-93
  • rotation committee minutes 1833-78
  • deeds of settlement 1833, 1882
  • share transfer papers 1833-85
  • annual reports 1833-1968
  • share certificates 1833-70, 1956-68
  • merger papers, various banks 1833-1969
  • Gloucester shareholders’ resolutions 1834
  • extraordinary general meeting minutes 1834-99
  • general meeting minutes 1834-1969
  • annual general meeting proceedings 1834-1969
  • papers re general manager 1836-43
  • deeds of covenant, increase in capital 1836-1957
  • private general meeting minutes 1837-1962
  • minutes of the court of directors 1862-87
  • salaries committee minutes 1862-1918, 1948-69
  • general meeting attendance lists 1870-89
  • chairman’s daily books: deposits 1871-3
  • advances 1872-3
  • committees reports books, particularly re staff 1872-1919
  • chairman’s books 1873-8
  • correspondence department minutes 1878-1966
  • annual returns: 1878-1966, certificates 1942-6
  • finance committee minute books 1879-1915
  • shareholder circulars 1879-1968
  • memoranda and articles of association 1899-1968
  • private letterbooks 1899-1908
  • registers of directors 1901-8
  • private court minutes 1904-20
  • loans committee minutes 1912-21
  • papers concerning the coat of arms of National Provincial Bank 1915-52
  • change of name certificate 1918
  • general meetings: speech presscuttings 1919-41, question papers 1924-34, chairman’s briefing notes 1952-65
  • papers re local directors 1919-55
  • court agendas 1923-62
  • minutes of the Colonial & Foreign Department 1922-30
  • general purposes committee minutes 1924-65
  • staff advisory committee papers 1920s-69
  • correspondence re Anglo South American Bank 1930s
  • directors’ meeting minutes 1942-6
  • memoranda and articles of association 1948-68
  • general manager’s committee agenda 1953-5
  • joint letter to shareholders re merger with Westminster Bank 1968
  • papers re establishment of Channel Islands subsidiary 1968-9
  • papers re establishment of National Provincial and Rothschild 1968-70
  • papers re allotment of shares c.1960s

Financial records

  • general ledgers 1845-1934
  • balance sheet and profit and loss books 1856-81
  • joint stock bank balance sheet details 1862-1924
  • chairman’s Friday finance committee books 1879-1915
  • weekly abstracts of accounts 1880-1953
  • weekly statements of assets and liabilities 1883-1909
  • Bank of England returns 1916-30
  • papers re capital reorganisations 1923-54, 1957
  • chief accountant’s papers 1938-69
  • comparative bank profit and loss figures 1965
  • annual and half-yearly results 1966-9
  • accountant’s reports 1968

Legal records

  • legal opinions re shareholders 1859-85
  • law books 1870-1954

Customer records

  • cheque forms 1833-(1915)
  • cheques 1835-(1915)
  • bad debts ledger 1837-(1915)
  • bad debt assignments 1839-53
  • character books 1860s-(1915)
  • customer magazine 1948-68

Head office branch records

  • information books re branches 1834
  • instructions to local directors and branch managers 1840
  • branch committee minutes 1843-5, 1889-1916
  • branch balance sheets 1860-77
  • General Manager’s correspondence 1871-(1915)
  • letterbooks 1906-(1915)
  • lists of branches 1911-68
  • papers re branch openings 1918
  • local directors’ minute books, Bradford 1919-39
  • branch profit and loss figures 1923-33
  • branch computerisation schedules 1964-8

Staff records

  • list of managers 1836
  • staff register 1833-(1915)
  • staff record cards 1830s-(1915)
  • staff lists c.1860-(1915)
  • candidates for apprenticeship books 1867-(1915)
  • salary letterbooks 1869-(1915)
  • staff clubs and societies 1869-1969
  • pensions register 1874-(1915)
  • senior staff salary books 1877-(1915)
  • staff salary scales 1885-(1915)
  • staff agreement books 1886-1911
  • guarantee and benevolent fund accounts 1897-(1915)
  • widows’ and orphans’ fund: actuarial report and correspondence 1896-(1915), rule books 1928-68
  • staff employment agreement 1912-4
  • staff rules 1919-68
  • regulations for staff probationers 1929
  • sickness fund rule books 1929, 1967
  • Smith family club rules 1920s

Property records

  • property deed registers 1850s-1920s
  • architectural drawings 1863-1970
  • premises photographs 1860s-1969
  • property leases ledgers 1873-1928
  • branch premises history ledger 1905-20
  • air raid damage register 1940
  • papers regarding computerisation 1960s
  • papers on head office redevelopment 1961-8
  • memoranda on premises upgrades 1967-9

Note issue records

  • correspondence from customers on mutilated banknotes 1826-45
  • banknote registers 1833-1955
  • banker’s licences 1835-56
  • banknote ledger 1837-92
  • banknotes 1830s
  • banknote indemnity books 1845-79
  • leaflet re cessation of note issue 1865

Marketing records

  • guardbooks of press advertising 1922-63
  • promotional videos 1960s

Branch records

  • selected records

 

Summary of archive holdings elsewhere

  • Liverpool Record Office: Llangefni branch, manager’s personal papers 1850-86 (Ref: 920 MD)
  • Portsmouth Records Office: Architectural plans of Portsmouth branch by A E Cogswell 1914-32 (Ref: 114A/3/1)
  • Glamorgan Record Office: Caerphilly branch waste books 1839-41, 1875-6; current account ledger 1864-70; deposit ledger 1865-74 (Ref: D/D Xhs 4/1-4)
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