Bath is a city in England. National Westminster Bank traces its heritage there back to about 1760.
Robert and William Clement
NatWest’s presence in Bath can be traced back to about 1760, through the banking business of Robert and William Clement of Wade’s Passage, Bath. The Clement brothers were linen drapers from Perth, who had been trading in the city since 1750, and whose premises, backing onto the north wall of the nave of Bath Abbey, were identified by the sign of the ‘Golden thistle and lace-card’. At this time banking services outside London were usually provided by local merchants or businessmen and tradition has it that the Clement brothers began to offer such services in 1760. In 1775 the firm advertised in a local newspaper that they purchased ‘Light Guineas or Portugal gold’, a function commonly undertaken by bankers. From 1787 the business was located on the site of the current branch premises and became known as High Street Bank, to distinguish it from a number of new banks in the city.
A new partnership was formed in 1793 solely to continue the banking business, which issued its own banknotes. From the 1840s the firm also traded as Bath Bank and from 1860 became known as the Old Bank. In 1891, when the firm was called Tugwell, Brymer, Clutterbuck & Co, the bank amalgamated with two London banks and a Bristol bank to form a new company, later known as Prescott’s Bank, of which the Old Bank business became a branch. The Bath premises were extended in 1892 and during the early years of the twentieth century were remodelled with an imposing frontage.
National Provincial Bank
Through a succession of bank takeovers, the branch became part of Union of London & Smiths Bank from 1903 and then of National Provincial & Union Bank of England from 1918. National Provincial Bank, as it was known from 1924, was one of the emerging ‘big five’ high street banks, with an extensive national branch network. It already had its own branch in Bath, opened in 1834, and this continued to trade from premises in Milsom Street, independent of the Old Bank branch.
National Westminster Bank
In 1970 National Provincial Bank merged with Westminster Bank to form National Westminster Bank. Westminster Bank also had a long history in Bath. Its branch in Milsom Street dated back to around 1775, having been originally opened as the head office of Atwood, Abrahams, Collett, Salmon & Harris, later part of Stuckey's Bank, and eventually Westminster Bank. In 1990 this business was brought together with that of the former National Provincial Bank branch, also in Milsom Street, to form Bath Stuckeys branch. NatWest’s unique pedigree in the city is thus represented today by the continuing use of the Stuckeys and Old Bank branch names.