175th birthday celebrations for NatWest's Tunbridge Wells Branch


175th birthday celebrations for NatWest's Tunbridge Wells Branch

Staff at NatWest's Tunbridge Wells branch are busy celebrating a very special event - the branch's 175th birthday.

26 September 2011

As part of the celebrations, the staff are sharing a giant birthday cake with their customers.

NatWest's Tunbridge Wells branch first opened in 1836 as one of the newly formed Surrey, Kent and Sussex Banking Co's first branches. The town had been steadily expanding throughout the eighteenth century and by the early nineteenth century it continued to be a popular destination for tourists from London.

In the years immediately before the foundation of the bank, Tunbridge Wells had experienced a range of improvements. A new residential area called Mount Pleasant had been built in the town, Trinity Church had been erected in 1827 and gas lighting and a police service had both been introduced. These improvements attracted the attention of the bank directors and it was amidst these improvements that the new bank branch opened in 1836, under the management of Mr Richard Corke.

The original location of Tunbridge Wells branch is unknown; however, by 1863 it was trading from the High Street. In 1873, negotiations began to acquire a new building close to the current premises, and following the erection of a new purpose-built building on the site, the branch moved to 32 Mount Pleasant Road in 1875.

Various bank mergers saw the branch change its brand over the years and by 1923 it was trading as Westminster Bank. In 1968 Westminster Bank and National Provincial Bank announced their intention to merge. The operations of the banks were combined over the following 18 months and began to trade as National Westminster Bank from 1 January 1970. National Provincial Bank also had a branch in Tunbridge Wells, which had opened at 89 Mount Pleasant Road in 1914. in 1998 it was decided to unite the operations of both branches at the 89 Mount Pleasant Road premises where the branch remains today.

Commenting on the celebrations, Nick Hunt, Branch Manager at NatWest's Tunbridge Wells Branch, said: "My team and I are delighted to be celebrating the fact that NatWest has been operating a banking service for the people of Tunbridge Wells for 175 years. We are proud of our close association with the town and look forward to celebrating this occasion with our customers, as well as continuing to provide a high quality service to the local community."

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