Customers help Nailsea branch celebrate its 100th birthday

Customers help Nailsea branch celebrate its 100th birthday

Staff at NatWest's Nailsea branch are busy celebrating a very special event - the branch's 100th birthday.

13 February 2012

As part of the celebrations, the staff are sharing a birthday cake with their customers and inviting them to look at a display of old coins and photos dating back to the 1930s, as well as holding a cheese and wine evening for their longstanding customers, local dignitaries and those working in other local businesses.

NatWest's Nailsea branch first opened in 1912 as a sub-branch of Parr's Bank Ltd. Traditionally a coal mining area, Nailsea had been growing in the late nineteenth century following the opening of the railway station in 1841. This reduced the travelling time to nearby Bristol considerably, making the town popular with commuters. In early 1912 the directors of Parr's Bank Ltd identified Nailsea as a suitable place in which to open a new office, and the bank's new Nailsea branch began trading in February 1912 as an agency to the nearby Clevedon branch. The branch opened in rented premises at 2 High Street, initially operating on Tuesdays only, but as its business grew the opening hours were extended, and in 1928 the branch moved to new larger premises in the same street.

During the First World War bank branches took on additional responsibilities and experienced new challenges. Meanwhile, all the banks faced increasing competition and were forced to grow or merge in order to compete. In 1918 Parr's Bank merged with London, County & Westminster Bank to form London, County, Westminster & Parr's Bank, known simply as Westminster Bank from 1923.

The Second World War brought similar difficulties to those experienced in 1914-18, as staff joined the forces and controls were imposed on lending and foreign exchange. However, in the post-war years prosperity returned. In 1968 Westminster Bank and National Provincial 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 January 1970. National Provincial Bank also had a branch in Nailsea, opened in 1954, and in 1970 it was agreed to unite the business of both branches in the former Westminster Bank branch premises. Shortly before this, Nailsea branch had been upgraded to a full branch, and in 1977 it moved to new larger premises at 21a Somerset Square, from which it continues to trade today.

Commenting on the celebrations, Andrew Drage, Manager of NatWest's Nailsea Branch, said: "We are delighted to be celebrating the fact that NatWest has been operating a banking service in Nailsea for 100 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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