Birkenhead is a town in England. National Westminster Bank traces its heritage there back to 1863.
NatWest’s first Birkenhead branch originally opened in 1863 as a branch of Alliance Bank. This bank had been established the previous year to support the growth of commerce between Liverpool and London.
The new branch opened on 15 June 1863 at 48 Hamilton Square. It was an immediate success and, in 1866, a site was acquired in Hamilton Street for the construction of a brand new purpose-built banking house.
Trading conditions in the region were, however, difficult. In 1871 Alliance Bank sold its Liverpool and Birkenhead branches to National Bank of Liverpool. That bank was itself taken over by Parr's Banking Co in 1883.
Parr's Banking Co
In the following decades the business of Birkenhead branch continued to expand as the town’s economy was boosted by the opening of the Mersey Railway Tunnel in 1886. Parr’s Bank soon opened sub-branches in the district, including an office at 9 Grange Road West in 1892. This new sub-branch prospered. By 1910 it had become an independent branch in its own right and today it is NatWest’s Birkenhead Charing Cross branch.
During the First World War all bank branches took on additional responsibilities and experienced new challenges. During this period, banks faced increasing competition and were forced to grow 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. In 1928 the original Hamilton Street branch was demolished and a new modern bank office was built on the same site.
National Westminster Bank
In 1970 Westminster Bank merged with National Provincial Bank and its subsidiary District Bank to form National Westminster Bank. All three banks had been represented in Birkenhead, and so over the following decade a number of them were merged. More recently, in 2010, the former National Provincial branch in Hamilton Square – which in 1980 had absorbed the business of Alliance Bank’s original branch – was brought together with that of the Charing Cross branch in the latter’s premises at Grange Road West.