Forres is a town in Scotland. The Royal Bank of Scotland traces its heritage there back to 1833.

National Bank of Scotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Forres branch first opened in 1833 as a branch of National Bank of Scotland. Forres at that time was a commercial town with around 4,000 inhabitants. By the 1860s, railway lines had been laid throughout the area, and Forres found itself at the junction of two of the main lines. As a result, the population of the town steadily increased, and by the late nineteenth century Forres was to see the formation of a woollen factory, chemical works, a bone-mill, two flour mills, a saw-mill and a brewery.

Forres branch opened on 19 March 1833 at 57 High Street, under the management of Alexander Watson, formerly the accountant at nearby Grantown-on-Spey branch. The town was prospering and the National Bank branch thrived with it, despite increasing competition from rivals. By the 1860s there were four banks represented in Forres.

Harder times

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. Five men from Forres branch of National Bank of Scotland served in the armed forces, and one, a second lieutenant in the Seaforth Highlanders, was killed in action. Another three men from the branch served during the Second World War.

The Royal Bank of Scotland

The post-war years were a time of consolidation in the banking sector, as mergers reduced the number of note-issuing banks in Scotland from eight to just three in barely more than 25 years. In 1959 National Bank of Scotland merged with Commercial Bank of Scotland to form National Commercial Bank of Scotland. Ten years later, National Commercial Bank itself merged with The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Following the merger, the enlarged Royal Bank had two branches in Forres, because The Royal Bank of Scotland itself had opened a branch there in 1879. Both branches were located on High Street, and in 1970 they were were brought together under one roof at number 57, where Forres branch remains today.