Pontypridd is a town in Wales. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1909.
National Provincial Bank of England
NatWest’s Pontypridd branch was originally opened by National Provincial Bank of England in April 1909. Pontypridd had once been a quiet rural backwater, but the arrival of the Glamorganshire canal between Cardiff and Merthyr in the 1790s, the opening of William Crawshay’s new forge and nail works and the discovery of coal nearby had transformed the area. Pontypridd’s development accelerated through the 19th century with the establishment of more works, mills and collieries and the arrival of the railway.
In the first years of the 20th century National Provincial Bank of England was rapidly expanding its branch network in South Wales. It had ambitions to open in Merthyr, Bargoed and Caerphilly, so it was not surprising that bustling Pontypridd also attracted the bank’s attention. Premises previously occupied by a fruiterer’s shop were acquired in late 1908 and fitted out for banking purposes. In the meantime the new branch opened in April 1909 in a temporary building, moving to its permanent home at 2 & 3 Taff Street on 1 June 1909.
A merger, a move and harder times
By 1914 the branch was looking for more space to house its growing business. In 1918 National Provincial Bank merged with Union of London & Smiths Bank and by the 1920s had become one of Britain’s 'big five' high street banks. Pontypridd, too, was flourishing – at its height the district’s population reached 50,000 – and a post-war boom was confidently expected. In late 1922 the bank acquired the adjoining corner-site premises, formerly occupied by Capital & Counties Bank, at 1 Taff Street. Plans were soon laid to construct a new, purpose-built banking house on the larger site.
Post-war prosperity was, however, short-lived. During the 1920s and 1930s Pontypridd and the South Wales valleys experienced a sudden and devastating economic decline. Many residents were forced to seek employment elsewhere. The establishment in 1937 of the Treforest Industrial Estate, four miles south east of Pontypridd, was a welcome development which breathed new life into the area.
The Second World War caused problems for the bank due to staff shortages and controls on lending, but Pontypridd branch flourished during the 1950s and 1960s as South Wales underwent an economic transformation.