Amlwch bank celebrates 175 years


Amlwch bank celebrates 175 years

Staff and customers at NatWest's branch in Amlwch got together to mark the bank's 175th anniversary in the town.

With the banking hall in Mona Street decked out in party decorations, long-standing customers Mr Robert P Williams and Mrs Eirlys Williams were invited to cut the specially-made celebration cake to get the celebrations underway.

The branch was opened under the name of National Provincial Bank of England in 1836. The bank had been set up in London three years earlier with the intention of establishing a nationwide network of branches. Amlwch had grown steadily following the discovery of copper in the Parys Mountains in 1768 and its coastal location made it easy for this material and other local goods to be exported across the world.

The area was also home to several other industries, including tobacco manufacturing, while Amlwch Port was used to import sulphur ore and phosphates from the Continent. The port was also used to receive produce from other British ports, including Liverpool. The diversity of industry, the recent expansion of Amlwch town and the success of the local port attracted the attention of the National Provincial Bank's directors. They agreed in 1836 to open a new branch in the town. Preparations began immediately, with the branch opening its doors in May.

The branch was originally located in an old chemist's shop known as Tynrheol, on the corner of Dinorben Square, under the management of Samuel Greathead. It soon became clear that the building wasn't large enough, and by 1857 the branch was trading from larger premises in Petters Street, known today as Mona Street.

Although the copper industry in Amlwch began to decline in the mid-19th century, it was soon replaced by ship-building in Amlwch Port. In 1864 transport links were also improved, with Amlwch becoming the northern terminus for the Anglesey Central Railway line.

By the early decades of the 20th century, banks faced increasing competition and were forced to grow in order to compete. In 1918 National Provincial Bank of England merged with Union of London & Smiths Bank to form one of the emerging 'Big Five' high street banks, later known as National Provincial Bank. During both World Wars, banks were also affected by staff shortages and controls on lending.

In 1968 National Provincial Bank and Westminster Bank, along with National Provincial's subsidiary District Bank, announced their intention to merge. The operations of all three banks were combined over the following 18 months and they began to trade as National Westminster Bank from 1 January 1970. Amlwch branch continues to operate from its premises at 17 Mona Street.

Branch manager Helen Jones said: "Thank you so much to Mr and Mrs Williams for joining us to cut the cake, and to our customers for helping us to mark the occasion. As a bank we are always keen to look forward, making sure we move with the times to give our customers what they want. It is of course also important to mark these milestones that remind us how long we've been providing a service to our local community."

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