Norwich is a city in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1866.
National Provincial Bank of England
Norwich in the 1860s was a growing city. In the previous century it had been England's biggest city outside London, and although industrial expansion elsewhere had reduced its comparative dominance, it had remained a vital centre of production and commerce. In the course of the 19th century its population grew from 37,000 to 101,000.
In 1866 the city came to the attention of National Provincial Bank of England, a London-based bank founded in 1833 with an ambition to open branches across England and Wales. At the end of May 1866 one of its competitors, Consolidated Bank, got into difficulties and was forced to stop trading. This created an opportunity for a bank such as National Provincial, which was willing and able to step in quickly, to offer its services to customers who had been relying on their local branch of Consolidated Bank. One such branch was in Norwich, and just three days after the stoppage, on 2 June 1866, National Provincial Bank of England opened a branch in city, in Consolidated Bank's former premises in London Street. It also hired the former manager, Mr Wilkinson, and advertised that it was 'prepared to offer facilities to those customers of the Consolidated Bank who are disposed to open accounts with them'. In fact, Consolidated Bank was later able to reopen for business, but by that time National Provincial Bank had already established a firm footing in Norwich.
New premises and new competition
Alterations were made to the building at 36 London Street in 1912, but by 1917 the bank had concluded that the premises were still inadequate for the demands of its business in Norwich. It started working on plans to build an extension, but in 1919 that idea was abandoned in favour of a bolder solution. The bank bought the corner site at 41-53 London Street, where it built completely new premises to elaborate designs by its in-house architect, Frederick Palmer. The new building was completed in 1925.
By that time National Provincial Bank had grown into one of England's biggest banks. In Norwich it opened sub-branches in Magdalen Street in 1920; St Benedict’s Street in 1923; and St Stephen’s Street in 1926. Other large competitors, meanwhile, were also keen to be represented in Norwich. One of them, Westminster Bank, would later join with National Provincial Bank to become part of NatWest. Its Norwich branch opened at 69 London Street in 1919.
In 1958 National Provincial Bank's sub-branch on St Stephen's Street moved to 1 Surrey Street. It later became a full branch in its own right.
In 1962 National Provincial Bank bought District Bank, but the two banks continued to trade separately. The following year a District Bank branch was opened in Norwich, on Prince of Wales Road.
National Westminster Bank
in 1970 National Provincial Bank and District Bank both merged with Westminster Bank to create National Westminster Bank. All three banks were represented in Norwich, and in 1973 the largest two branches, both of which were located on London Street, were brought together under one roof in the former National Provincial Bank premises.
Since then, NatWest's branch presence in Norwich has undergone several further reorganisations in order to maintain and update the bank's representation in this important city.