Macclesfield

Macclesfield is a town in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1816.

Brocklehurst & Co

NatWest’s Macclesfield branch originally opened in 1816 as a locally owned partnership bank, known as William, Thomas & John Brocklehurst & Co.

The Brocklehurst family were leading figures in Macclesfield’s world-famous silk industry. In 1816 they took advantage of the failure of another local bank, Critchley & Turner, to expand their interests into banking. The firm they started, popularly known as Macclesfield Bank, played an important role in the economic life of Macclesfield for the next 75 years.

By the late 19th century, however, partnership banks were finding it hard to compete against the greater resources of large shareholder-owned banks. In 1891 Brocklehurst & Co agreed to be bought by one of these bigger banks, Manchester & Liverpool District Banking Co. Although the latter bank had operated a branch of its own in Macclesfield since 1845, the addition of the Brocklehurst business gave its interests there a huge boost.

A rival bank

In 1863 another bank – Metropolitan & Provincial Bank – opened an office in Macclesfield. Keen to demonstrate its long term commitment, the bank immediately bought the site at the corner of Chestergate and Market Place, where NatWest Macclesfield stands today. While it made arrangements to purpose-build premises there, the new branch traded from a temporary home on the opposite side of Chestergate.

In 1866 Metropolitan & Provincial Bank went into liquidation, but its Macclesfield branch was thriving, and the following year it was bought by Parr’s Bank, becoming that bank’s Macclesfield branch.

Into the 20th century

In 1914 Manchester & Liverpool District Banking Co opened new premises for its Macclesfield branch on Jordangate. By that date the world stood on the brink of war, facing a period of enormous change in all aspects of life and work, including banking. One effect of the war was the emergence of a handful of dominant high street banks, which rapidly bought up their remaining small competitors. In 1918 Parr’s Bank was acquired by London County & Westminster Bank, which from 1923 adopted the shorter name Westminster Bank. It was one of England’s biggest banks.

In 1924 Manchester & Liverpool District Banking Co shortened its name to District Bank. It remained independent until 1962, when it was bought by another of the big banks, National Provincial Bank. The two continued to trade separately, including in Macclesfield, where National Provincial Bank had operated a branch since 1955.

By the late 1960s Westminster Bank’s Macclesfield branch desperately needed more space. In 1969 the bank bought the Angel Inn, adjoining the branch on its Market Place side, and began planning to redevelop and extend the premises.

National Westminster Bank

The following year the need for more space became yet more pressing, when Westminster Bank merged with District Bank and National Provincial Bank to create National Westminster Bank. The new NatWest was keen to consolidate its branch network, but before it could unite its three branches in Macclesfield town centre, it had to build much larger premises on the Chestergate/Market Place site. The branches moved into their new home in 1973.