Ambleside is a town in Cumbria, England. National Westminster Bank traces its heritage there back to 1883.
Lancaster Banking Co
Our connection with Ambleside began in 1883, when Lancaster Banking Co opened a branch in the town. This bank had been established in 1826, and grew rapidly from the 1860s onwards by opening new branches in the north west of England. By 1883 it had a network of 21 offices, including a branch at Windermere (opened in 1876), and was looking for new locations in which to trade.
Ambleside had traditionally been a small market town serving as a resort for wealthy tourists. The arrival of the railway in the mid-nineteenth century opened up the area to many more visitors. The increasing tourist trade around Lake Windermere created demand for new facilities, and the town prospered. This growth attracted the bank’s attention. In July 1883 it opened a sub-branch in Ambleside, managed from the Windermere office and trading three days a week.
The new branch was an immediate success and in the 1890s, when it was located in Lake Road, it took on responsibility for new sub-branches at Coniston and Grasmere.
The early decades of the twentieth century were notable for a number of large bank amalgamations, including the acquisition of Lancaster Bank in 1907 by Manchester & Liverpool District Banking Co, later known as District Bank.
Ambleside branch continued to prosper until the First World War, when the town’s fortunes were affected by the drop in tourism. The branch remained open throughout the war, but struggled with staff shortages as staff joined the armed forces. At around the same time, alterations were made to the branch premises.
National Westminster Bank
The years after the end of the Second World War saw further consolidation in the banking sector. In 1962 District Bank was acquired by National Provincial Bank. District Bank continued to trade under its own name until 1970, when National Provincial Bank merged with Westminster Bank to form National Westminster Bank. In the same year the bank’s Ambleside branch moved to new premises on Cheapside, which had been constructed during the previous decade, and where NatWest Ambleside remains today.