Paignton is a town in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1908.
National Provincial Bank of England
NatWest's Paignton branch first opened as an office of National Provincial Bank of England in 1908. During the 19th century Paignton had grown from a small fishing village to a busy coastal resort. The new harbour was built in 1837, the railway arrived in 1859 and the pier was opened in 1879.
In the early years of the 20th century National Provincial Bank of England was growing rapidly. It opened 77 new branches between 1900 and 1907, and by early 1907 the manager of the nearby Dartmouth branch was urgently recommending the opening of an office in Paignton. The idea was welcomed by the bank’s directors, but suitable premises were hard to find.
Finally in December 1907 an opportunity arose. Another bank was moving out of purpose-built bank premises at the corner of Palace Avenue and Coverdale Road. National Provincial immediately bought the building. Little refurbishment was required, so the branch was able to open on 1 January 1908, under the charge of Dartmouth branch’s manager.
A period of expansion
In the years after the First World War a series of major bank amalgamations resulted in the emergence of National Provincial Bank as one of England’s ‘big five’ high street banks. Paignton continued to grow, as did the business of the branch. In 1927 a daily agency to Paignton office was opened at Torquay Road, Preston, which became a full branch in its own right in 1957.
Business at Paignton branch remained brisk, particularly during the summer season, and it was soon clear that more space was required. In 1964 the Palace Avenue premises were fully modernised and tripled in size by expanding the branch into the upper floors and former manager’s house to the rear.
National Westminster Bank
More changes soon followed. In 1970 National Provincial Bank merged with Westminster Bank to form National Westminster Bank. In Paignton, the new NatWest now had two branches, because Westminster Bank had also had a branch there, located in Victoria Street, since 1927. In 1974 the two branches were brought together under one roof at the redeveloped Victoria Street premises. Some 20 years later the business of Preston branch was also moved to Victoria Street.