The middle years of the 1700s were tense times in Scotland, putting significant strain on the fledgling Royal Bank of Scotland, not least in the Jacobite rising of 1745. Nonetheless, the Bank pulled through, and later decades saw less open conflict. Scotland’s prosperity grew, and Edinburgh became a hotspot of the European Enlightenment. Local luminaries such as Adam Smith, David Hume, Henry Raeburn and James Hutton led Enlightenment thought in their respective fields, and all were friends or customers of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
In England, meanwhile, different laws governing the banking sector still required all banks other than the Bank of England to be small, local enterprises with no more than six partners. In many cases it was these banks that went on to become part of NatWest, and therefore represent our earliest origins in towns and cities such as Bath, Bristol, Derby, Leeds, Lincoln and York.