Farnborough is a town in England. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group traces its heritage there back to 1888.
London & County Banking Co
NatWest’s Farnborough branch first opened in July 1888 as an office of London & County Banking Co. Located on Lynchford Road, the new branch was a sub-office to the bank’s existing Aldershot branch, and was managed by the Aldershot manager Mr J Wilson.
The new branch proved a success, and in November 1899 it moved to new purpose-built premises at 2 Alexandra Road. It was also upgraded full-branch status, independent of Aldershot.
Into the twentieth century
In the early years of the twentieth century numerous mergers took place in the banking sector, including - in 1909 - the merger of London & County Bank with London & Westminster Bank to create London County & Westminster Bank.
During the First World War all banks were affected by increased responsibilities, controls on lending and severe staff shortages as men left to serve in the armed forces. One man from Farnborough branch, Wilfred Pepper, was killed on active service. In August 1916 he volunteered to join a battalion of the London Regiment which was about to set out for France, in order that a married man with children could be released from the obligation. He was killed by a shell explosion in Belgium on New Year’s Day 1917.
In 1918 London County & Westminster Bank merged with Parr's Bank to form London County Westminster & Parr's Bank, known simply as Westminster Bank from 1923.
From the 1920s onwards Farnborough branch and others in the area began to focus on offering more services tailored specifically to the needs of their local military customers.
When the Second World War broke out in 1939, banks faced similar difficulties to those experienced in 1914-18. One man from the branch, Hereward Woodroffe, died while serving in the Royal Navy in 1942.
National Westminster Bank
In 1970 Westminster Bank merged with National Provincial Bank to form National Westminster Bank. In Farnborough, the new bank had two branches, because National Provincial has also had a branch in the town, located just across from the Westminster Bank branch, at 1 Alexandra Road. In August 1971 the two branches were merged at the 2 Alexandra Road premises.
In 1982 a new Servicetill ATM was installed at the branch, and was officially opened by the comedian Tommy Cooper.
The Royal Bank of Scotland
In 1976 The Royal Bank of Scotland Group’s English and Welsh subsidiary Williams & Glyn’s Bank opened a branch in Farnborough, located in Lawrie House on Victoria Road. The branch was closely tied to the bank’s Holt’s branch in London, which had originally been Holt & Co, an independent bank and army pay agency established in 1809. Even after Holt & Co became part of a larger bank in the 1920s, it remained closely involved with the management of military accounts. Many of its army customers had business in the Farnborough and Aldershot area, and it was for their convenience that the new branch – known as Holt’s Farnborough – was opened.
In 1985 The Royal Bank of Scotland Group reorganised its high street banking subsidiaries. Williams & Glyn’s Bank merged into The Royal Bank of Scotland, so that the latter name was used throughout Britain. In Farnborough, however, the Holt’s name was also retained, so that the office became Holt’s Farnborough branch of The Royal Bank of Scotland.
The branch also retained the Holt’s name after the original Holt’s branch in London closed in 1992, and is still known as Holt’s Farnborough branch today.