Slough is a town in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1864.
London & County Banking Co
NatWest’s Slough branch was originally opened by London & County Banking Co in November 1864. This bank had originally been founded as Surrey, Kent & Sussex Banking Co in 1836, with the purpose of establishing a network of branches in London and the South East. Renamed London & County Banking Co in 1839, the bank was continually looking for new locations in which to trade.
In 1864 its attention was drawn to Slough, then a growing town with an economy founded on brick making and a busy cattle market. The manager of the bank’s well-established branch in Windsor informed the board on Friday 18 November that a rival bank was planning to open a branch in Slough. The board acted quickly, and opened a sub-branch to Windsor on Slough High Street the following Tuesday, 22 November.
Initially the sub-branch was only open on Tuesdays and Fridays and was entirely under the management of Windsor branch. However, the new Slough office did extremely well from the outset, and just over a month later it was decided that the branch would open daily. By 1871 it was felt that the branch’s business was too extensive to be accommodated in the temporary premises in which it had opened, and so in October it moved to larger premises in High Street. Five years later, in 1876, the Slough office became a full branch of the bank with its own manager, Mr EJ Craske, who continued there until 1908. In 1902 the branch had moved into new premises, purpose-built to plans of the London architects Cheston & Perkin, who designed a number of branch buildings for the bank.
During the First World War Slough branch was required to deal with extra responsibilities, such as the sale of war loan subscriptions, and was subject to a raft of government controls. The war affected the branch in a more personal way too; a member of its staff, Frank Fielder, was killed in action at Gallipoli in 1915. He was 29 years old.
Following the First World War Slough prospered. A depot was set up on the outskirts of the town for the maintenance and storage of army vehicles brought back from the battlefields of Europe. The government soon sold this business to Slough Trading Co which continued to repair army vehicles on a huge scale, attracting more and more workers to Slough. The town grew rapidly and Slough branch continued to thrive.
Slough's growth attracted other banks to the town, including competitors that would eventually go on to become part of NatWest. In 1926 National Provincial Bank opened a branch on High Street, next door to Westminster Bank's premises, and in 1937 District Bank opened an office, also on 186 High Street. By the end of the following year all three banks also had offices in or close to Slough Trading Estate.
The Second World War brought similar challenges to the First World War, with the added danger of air raids. Slough was bombed heavily at the beginning of the war. Once the war was over, however, a new programme of house building attracted a large number of new residents, leaving behind war-scarred London.
National Westminster Bank
In 1962 District Bank was acquired by National Provincial Bank, but the two banks continued to trade separately until 1970, when they both merged with Westminster Bank to form National Westminster Bank. The new bank rationalised its presence in places where it had a number of branches in close proximity, and by 1995 it had brought together its business in Slough town centre under one roof at 118 High Street, the site which had been occupied by the National Provincial Bank branch.