Porthcawl

Porthcawl is a town in Wales. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1908.

National Provincial Bank of England

NatWest’s Porthcawl branch was originally opened by National Provincial Bank of England in 1908. This bank, established in 1833 with the aim of developing a large network of offices, already had over 300 branches and agencies, including a large number in Wales.

During the 19th century Porthcawl had developed as a coal port with the construction of a dock and railway, but its trade was soon taken over by more rapidly developing towns such as Port Talbot and Barry. By the turn of the century Porthcawl was instead emerging as a coastal resort, boasting wide streets of villas and seaside promenades.

The early years

The thriving town soon attracted National Provincial Bank’s attention and its new Porthcawl branch was opened in John Street on 15 July 1908. Operating as an agency to the bank’s Bridgend branch, the new Porthcawl office was open daily between 12 and 4. Business was brisk and larger accommodation was soon needed. At the end of 1912 the bank leased the present branch premises, commissioning an architect to alter and fit out the building. The agency moved to its new home in 1913, and in 1914 became a fully independent branch of the bank.

Mid-century

In 1918 National Provincial Bank merged with the large Union of London & Smiths Bank and by the 1920s had become one of the emerging ‘big five’ high street banks. During the interwar period Porthcawl flourished as a resort with such attractions as Coney Beach and the Grand Pavilion, as well as paddle steamers plying routes to seaside towns in Devon and Somerset. The business of Porthcawl branch also continued to grow and, to create more banking space, the branch was extended into the residential part of the premises in 1922.

The Second World War caused problems due to staff shortages and controls on lending and foreign exchange, but the branch flourished in the 1950s and in 1960 the freehold of the branch building was purchased.

National Westminster Bank

In 1970 National Provincial Bank merged with Westminster Bank to form National Westminster Bank, and all of the new bank’s branches became part of NatWest.