8 historical facts about NatWest Huddersfield

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8 historical facts about NatWest Huddersfield

NatWest’s Huddersfield branch, as featured in 'The Bank – a Matter of Life and Debt', may look fairly modern, but its heritage stretches back well over a century. RBS Archivist Ruth Reed reveals eight interesting facts from 118 years of history.

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07 July 2015

The NatWest Huddersfield branch has been the focus of a three part documentary series.

1. Our earliest presence in Huddersfield was a branch of London & Yorkshire Bank, opened in 1897. Through a series of mergers in the early 20th century that bank became part of National Provincial Bank.

2. We’ve had a branch at 8 Market Place, Huddersfield since 1947. It was originally opened by District Bank, one of the three banks that merged in 1970 to create NatWest.

3. Our first female employee in Huddersfield was Hilda Gledhill. She started at National Provincial’s Huddersfield branch in January 1916, as cover for male clerks who had gone away to fight in the war. Unlike many of the so-called ‘temporary female clerks’, she did not resign when the war ended, and stayed at the branch well into the 1930s.

4. In the 1970s NatWest’s staff magazine ran an annual beauty contest to crown ‘Miss NatWest’, and in 1979 Sarah Mellor of Huddersfield branch was the winner. 22-year-old Sarah Mellor, a cashier at Huddersfield branch, was the nationwide winner of 'Miss NatWest', a staff competition to find 'the prettiest face in the bank'. Sarah, who cited flower arranging and jogging among her hobbies, won a silver salver, a pendant with her initials and dinner and a show in London. 36 years later, Sarah still works at NatWest Huddersfield!

5. Two men from our Huddersfield branches were killed in the First World War. Arthur Blakeway Phillips from the National Provincial branch was killed in France in 1916 and Charles Cecil Holtom from the Bradford District Bank branch died in Palestine in 1917.

6. Huddersfield’s local museum, the Tolson Museum, is named in tribute to two brothers who died in the First World War. The elder brother, Robert Huntriss Tolson, worked (not in Huddersfield) for Beckett & Co, another bank that eventually became part of NatWest. He was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, along with two of his Beckett’s colleagues.

7. All three of NatWest’s founding banks – District, National Provincial and Westminster – had branches in Huddersfield. After the merger there were four NatWest branches within a 100-yard radius in Huddersfield town centre. The current building was put up in the early ‘70s to accommodate all four branches’ staff and customers under one roof, which it did from 1975.

8. Not one but two branches opened in Huddersfield in 1910; a National Provincial and a Bradford District Bank (which later became part of National Provincial). This was not too surprising. Huddersfield was booming at the time, and the town’s high-quality textiles were world-famous.

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