Knutsford is a town in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1866.
Parr's Banking Co
Parr & Co was a private bank established in Warrington in 1788 by Joseph Parr, a sugar refiner; Thomas Lyon, a brewer and sugar refiner; and Walter Kerfoot, an attorney. Also known as Warrington Bank, the bank was officially called Parr, Lyon & Greenall from 1825 to 1851 and Parr, Lyon & Co from 1855 to 1865. Branches were opened in St Helens in 1839 and Runcorn in 1853.
In 1865 the bank became a joint stock company – that is, a business owned by a large number of shareholders rather than a few partners – and its name became Parr’s Banking Co Ltd. It immediately began to look for places in which to open new branches.
At the request of some Knutsford residents, the directors decided to open a sub-branch in the town and in August 1866 the office opened, trading on two days a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays). As business grew, the office became a full branch and began to open daily from March 1867. The bank thrived and by 1881 it was clear that it had outgrown its original premises. In October that year the branch moved to 82 King Street where it still remains today.
The First World War brought new restrictions and responsibilities for banks, as well as severe staff shortages as trained men went away to fight. It also accelerated the emergence through a series of mergers of the ‘Big Five’ high street banks that were to dominate English banking for much of the 20th century. One of the biggest mergers came in 1918, when Parr’s Bank amalgamated with London County & Westminster Bank to create what was initially called London County Westminster & Parr’s Bank. This unwieldy name was soon shortened to Westminster Bank.
The Second World War again ushered in a period of shortages and control for the bank, with the enlistment of staff, constraints on foreign exchange and lending priorities and responsibility for the marketing and distribution of savings certificates and defence bonds. Many Knutsford residents joined up and the surrounding area was used extensively for military training by the American army at Peover Hall and the Parachute Regiment at Tatton Park.
National Westminster Bank
In 1970 Westminster Bank merged with National Provincial Bank and its subsidiary District Bank to form National Westminster Bank. District Bank had also had a branch in Knutsford, opened in 1909 and located at 87 King Street. After the merger NatWest gradually reorganised and rationalised its branch network, and in 1976 the two Knutsford branches were brought together under one roof in the former Westminster Bank building at 82 King Street.