Eyemouth is a town in Scotland. The Royal Bank of Scotland traces its heritage there back to 1833.
Commercial Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland's Eyemouth branch first opened as a branch of Commercial Bank of Scotland in February 1833. Eyemouth at that time was a small fishing town with a population of approximately 1,200. It was home to a sizeable fleet of fishing boats, many of which were constructed locally by Eyemouth Boat Building Company. A local cattle market had also been established in the town in 1832.
The growing prosperity of Eyemouth prompted Commercial Bank of Scotland to open its branch there, trading from premises in Church Street under the management of agent Thomas Wright. The branch was an immediate success, and continued to thrive throughout the rest of the century. The town, too, continued to prosper, despite the terrible fishing disaster which struck Eyemouth in 1881 at a cost of 129 lives.
During both the First and Second World Wars, banks faced additional responsibilities and, more seriously, had to cope with the loss of skilled staff to the armed forces. Men from Eyemouth’s Commercial Bank branch served in both world wars and one, a private in The Royal Scots, was killed during the First World War. A further member of staff was killed on active service during the Second World War.
The post-war years were a period of consolidation in Scottish banking, as a series of mergers reduced the number of note-issuing banks in Scotland from eight in 1954 to just three by 1973. Commercial Bank of Scotland merged with National Bank of Scotland in 1959 to form National Commercial Bank of Scotland. Just ten years later, National Commercial Bank of Scotland itself merged with The Royal Bank of Scotland.
The Royal Bank of Scotland
Following the merger, the enlarged Royal Bank had two branches in Eyemouth, because The Royal Bank of Scotland itself had opened a branch there in 1873. Soon after the merger, the two were brought together under one roof in Market Place, where the Royal Bank branch had been located since the early twentieth century. Soon afterwards, the premises were extended to cope with the increased demands of Eyemouth’s population, which grew by one third during the 1970s.
The most dramatic moment in Eyemouth branch’s recent history came in September 1992, when fire broke out in the flat above the bank office. Although the fire itself did not reach the branch, severe water damage was caused, and staff worked late into the night on a massive clear-up operation, enabling the branch to open for business as usual the next day.