Chester is a city in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1813.
Dixon & Co
NatWest's first Chester branch originally opened in 1813 as the newly-founded private bank Dixon & Co, also known as Chester Bank. It was founded by Thomas Dixon, a local collier, and located in Eastgate Street. Chester had already grown rapidly in the preceding decades, and it continued to do so throughout the nineteenth century. The completion of the Shropshire Union Canal in 1835, followed by the arrival of the railway, meant that transport in the area was good and the town’s commerce and population increased.
Parr's Bank Ltd
By the 1870s, Chester's prosperity had attracted the attention of other banks, including Parr's Bank. Rather than establish and build up a new branch from scratch, however, in 1878 Parr's arranged to buy Dixon & Co. The bank in Eastgate Street became Chester branch of Parr’s Bank.
By 1916 business at Chester branch had grown to such an extent that larger premises were required. The bank undertook extensive refurbishment and enlargement of the building. The alterations, undertaken in the Palladian style, created a new entrance on the corner of St Werburgh Street and Eastgate Street. Inside, the banking hall was extended and fitted out with a new counter big enough for six tills.
In the meantime other banks that were later to become part of NatWest had also opened branches in central Chester. In 1863 National Provincial & Union Bank of England had opened a new branch in Foregate Street which was an immediate success. Later, in 1908, Manchester & Liverpool District Banking Co - subsequently known simply as District Bank - also opened a branch in the same street.
During the First World War branches took on additional responsibilities, such as war loan marketing, while suffering severe staff shortages as men went away to join the armed forces. Banks also began to face increasing competition, and had to grow or merge in order to compete. In 1918 Parr’s Bank merged with London County & Westminster Bank to form London, County, Westminster & Parr's Bank. In 1923 this name was simplified to Westminster Bank.
Meanwhile, the bank's business in and around Chester continued to grow. In 1926 it opened an office in Boughton, as a sub-branch to Chester.
National Westminster Bank
In 1970 Westminster Bank merged with National Provincial Bank and its subsidiary District Bank to form National Westminster Bank. In Chester, the new bank now had three large offices. Some rationalisation was inevitable, and in 1975 the former District and National Provincial Bank branches merged at District Bank’s Foregate Street premises.
In 1999 the Foregate Street branch and the former Westminster Bank branch were brought together under one roof at the Eastgate Street premises. More recently, in 2012, the business of the bank’s Boughton sub-branch also joined the old-established branch in Eastgate Street.