Ilford

Ilford is a town in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1888.

London & County Bank

NatWest’s Ilford branch was originally opened in 1888 as an office of London & County Banking Co. This bank had grown rapidly since its establishment in 1836, and by the time Ilford branch opened it had over 150 offices across south east England.

Ilford was growing rapidly, too. By 1891 the town had a population of over 10,000. In 1888 it became an independent civil parish for the first time, and the London & County Bank branch - opened in the same year - was the first bank in Ilford.

The branch first opened on 21 September 1888, trading two days a week from premises on the High Street, and operating as a sub-office to Romford branch.

As the branch became established and increasingly successful it gradually extended its opening hours, at first changing to trade three days a week in 1892, and then from April 1896 trading daily with its own account at Head Office. Also in 1896 the bank purchased a site on Ilford High Road (now known as Ilford Hill), where new branch premises were designed by the London-based architects Cheston & Perkin. Ilford branch moved into its new home in October 1898 and around the same time became an independent branch, under the management of Mr WM Edwards. The premises were extended in 1909.

Into the 20th century

By the early 20th century banks were facing increasing competition, and many of them entered into mergers that would enable them to compete better in a crowded marketplace. In August 1909 London & County Banking Co merged with London & Westminster Bank to form London County & Westminster Bank.

In 1918 London County & Westminster merged with Parr's Bank to form London CountyWestminster & Parr's Bank. In 1923 this name was shortened to Westminster Bank.

Ilford, meanwhile, continued to grow. Its population expanded from around 41,000 in 1901 to a peak of over 184,000 in the early 1950s, following the growth of new suburbs in the north of Ilford and the expansion of train services, later part of the Central Line of the London Underground.

National Westminster Bank

In 1970 Westminster Bank merged with National Provincial Bank to create National Westminster Bank. The new NatWest now had two branches in Ilford, because as well as the former Westminster Bank branch there was a former National Provincial branch at 1-3 Cranbrook Road, originally opened at 8 Broadway Market in 1920. To avoid confusion, the latter branch was renamed Ilford Station and the former became Ilford Broadway. In the early 1990s the two branches were brought together under one roof at Ilford Hill.