Leek

Leek is a town in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1834.

Manchester & Liverpool District Banking Company

NatWest's Leek branch first opened in 1834 as a sub-branch to Manchester & Liverpool District Banking Company's Hanley branch. Leek’s prosperity at that time came primarily from silk manufacture and there were also lead and copper mines in the area. The population had increased rapidly from 7,000 at the start of the century to 11,000 by the time the branch opened.

Manchester & Liverpool District Banking Co had been founded in 1829 and immediately set about developing a branch network in the north west of England. Attracted by Leek’s growing prosperity, the bank decided in March 1834 that it should establish an office there, and the new branch opened for business on 26 May 1834. The following year the branch moved to premises in Sheep Market, later trading from rooms in Market Place and then a building in Stanley Street.

The business of the branch grew rapidly during the 1850s, with 99 current accounts on its books by 1858, and from the end of 1860 the Leek branch was managed independently of the Hanley office. It soon became apparent that the Stanley Street accommodation was no longer suitable for such a busy office. New premises were acquired in Derby Street in 1860 and in 1883 new purpose-built premises were opened on the same site, designed by prominent local architects Sugden & Son, who had also designed churches and a hospital in the town. The building received plaudits in a leading architectural publication for its imaginative use of materials.

Another bank opens

In 1855 a new private bank was established in Leek by Francis Jennings, known as FW Jennings or Leek Bank. Jennings carried on his banking business for more than 20 years until his retirement in 1877, after which he sold it to Parr’s Bank, and his office became the Leek branch of that bank.

In 1918 Parr's Bank was acquired by London County & Westminster Bank. From 1923 the bank was known more simply as Westminster Bank, and was fast emerging as one of the 'big five' high street banks. 

More mergers

By the 1930s Manchester & Liverpool District Bank had shortened its name to District Bank. In 1935 it merged with Manchester-based County Bank, retaining the District Bank name.

In 1962 District Bank was acquired by National Provincial Bank, but the two banks continued trading separately.

National Westminster Bank

In 1970 National Provincial Bank and District Bank merged with Westminster Bank to form National Westminster Bank. In Leek, NatWest now had two branches. In 1978 it brought them together under one roof in the Derby Street premises, where the branch remains today.