Sheerness

Sheerness is a town in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1859.

London & County Banking Co

NatWest's Sheerness branch first opened as a branch of London & County Banking Co in 1859. This bank had been founded in 1836 with the aim of opening branches throughout London and the home counties. By 1858 it had 79 offices and was still seeking new locations.

Early in 1859 the directors of London & County Banking Co resolved to open a branch in Sheerness, at that time a thriving seaport and home to a large naval fleet. The manager of the bank’s Chatham branch made arrangements to obtain premises in the town and also took charge of the office, which opened for business in February 1859, trading two days a week.

The new branch was an immediate success. From 1865 it began opening daily, and also became a branch in its own right, independent of Chatham office. The branch was located on Blue Town High Street until the mid 1880s when it moved to 27 High Street, Sheerness.

The district continued to prosper as its population grew. By the end of the 19th century, with over 18,000 inhabitants in the parish, it had become a popular tourist destination. In 1902 the cast iron clock tower was built to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII.

Westminster Bank

In 1909 London & County Banking Co merged with London & Westminster Bank to create the much larger London County & Westminster Bank. A few years later, in 1912, Sheerness branch extended into the adjoining premises at 29 High Street, which remains the branch address today. In 1923 the bank's name was shortened to Westminster Bank.

During the second half of the 20th century Sheerness changed dramatically as its dockyards became predominantly commercial rather than naval. In the years that followed, Sheerness became a centre for engineering and manufacturing.

National Westminster Bank

In 1970 Westminster Bank merged with National Provincial Bank to form National Westminster Bank, and Sheerness became one of 3,600 branches of the new NatWest. In the late 1980s the branch's banking hall was redeveloped to enhance its facilities.