Motherwell is a town in Scotland. The Royal Bank of Scotland traces its heritage there back to 1888.

National Bank of Scotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Motherwell branch was first opened in November 1888 as an office of National Bank of Scotland. Motherwell at that time was growing rapidly into an important industrial centre, and it was this transition that attracted the attention of National Bank’s directors in Edinburgh. They made arrangements for the new office to open under the supervision of James Russell, manager of the bank’s long-standing branch in nearby Aidrie.

More branches

The new branch thrived, and before long other banks were also looking to open in Motherwell. In 1899 Commercial Bank of Scotland, which itself went on to become part of the Royal Bank, opened a branch in the town. Two years later, the Royal Bank of Scotland opened a Motherwell branch.

Into the 20th century

Harder times were coming. In 1914 the outbreak of the First World War transformed life for every family, community and workplace in the country. Banks took on new responsibilities for supporting the national economy and financing the war effort, and had to cope with staff shortages as bankers left to serve in the armed forces. Among the many staff killed on active service during the war was George Horne Pirie, who had started in the Royal Bank’s Motherwell branch as a 14-year-old apprentice in 1910. Pirie served five years at Motherwell before moving to Glasgow chief office, and from there joining the army.

Post-war mergers and beyond

In the years after the Second World War, Scottish banking entered a period of mergers that saw the number of note-issuing banks reduced from 8 in the early 1950s to 3 just two decades later. In 1959 National Bank of Scotland merged with Commercial Bank of Scotland to create National Commercial Bank of Scotland. In Motherwell, the merged bank had two branches; the former National at The Cross, and the former Commercial in Airbles, on Windmillhill Street.

In 1962 the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Motherwell branch moved from Muir Street to new purpose-built premises on Hamilton Road. The premises it left behind, along with two of its neighbours, were bought by National Commercial Bank of Scotland. It combined them with its existing premises at the corner of Muir Street and Merry Street to make much bigger premises for Motherwell, The Cross branch.

More change was coming. In 1969 National Commercial Bank of Scotland merged with the Royal Bank of Scotland. The newly-expanded Royal Bank of Scotland now had two branches in the Cross area. In the ensuing months it brought these two together under one roof in the purpose-built premises on Hamilton Road. In 1992 this branch also took over the business of the branch in Airbles.