Basingstoke

Basingstoke is a town in England. National Westminster Bank traces its heritage there back to 1858.

London & County Bank

NatWest's Basingstoke branch was originally opened by London & County Banking Co in 1858. Basingstoke at that time was a thriving market town of around 4,500 inhabitants. The arrival of the London & South Western Railway in 1839 had stimulated growth, and during the middle years of the century the town became home to engineering, brewing and shoe and clothing manufacturing firms.

London & County Banking Co had been founded in 1836 with the objective of opening branches throughout London and the Home Counties, and by 1858 it had 79 offices. Basingstoke’s location and prosperity attracted the bank’s attention, and in October 1858 a lease was agreed on a house in Winchester Street, where the bank’s new Basingstoke office had opened by the end of the year.

The new branch was such a success that by the early 1860s larger accommodation was required, and in 1865 it relocated to the present purpose-built branch premises at 3 London Street, Old Market Square. During the later nineteenth century the town continued to prosper. New businesses opened there, and as a mark of civic pride an enlarged clock tower was erected on the town hall in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee.

A period of mergers

In 1909 London & County Banking Co merged with London & Westminster Bank to create the much larger London County & Westminster Bank, which in turn amalgamated in 1918 with the London-based Parr's Bank to form what later became known simply as Westminster Bank.

During the inter-war years Basingstoke continued to grow, and new public facilities were opened, including the War Memorial Park in 1921. New housing estates were developed in the 1940s and 1950s, and in the late 1950s Basingstoke was selected as one of a number of ‘overspill’ towns for London. The scale of new construction was unprecedented amongst urban development schemes, involving the building of new homes, schools, churches and an entirely new central shopping area. During the twenty years to 1971 the town’s population tripled to 52,600. This rapid expansion brought new business for the bank, and in 1969 a new Town Centre branch was opened in Kensington House.

National Westminster Bank

In 1970 National Westminster Bank was formed by the amalgamation of Westminster Bank with National Provincial Bank, which had its own branch in Winchester Street, originally opened in 1931. The new bank gradually consolidated its presence in places where it had multiple offices, and in 1984 the business of the Winchester Street office was merged into that at Old Market Square, where NatWest's Basingstoke branch remains today.