Southampton is a city in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1838.
National Provincial Bank
NatWest’s Southampton branch was opened by National Provincial Bank of England in 1838. The town first attracted the attention of the directors of National Provincial Bank of England in 1836, although suitable premises for a new branch there could not be found immediately. It was not until July 1838, in the same year that the foundation stone for the first Southampton Dock was laid, that the directors of National Provincial Bank of England were finally able to make arrangements to open a local branch, in temporary premises at 106 High Street. Following the appointment of Mr James Macmillan as branch manager, the bank’s new Southampton branch opened on 1 November 1838.
The branch flourished, and by the early 1860s larger premises were required. In 1864 National Provincial Bank of England purchased two buildings, at 129 and 130 High Street, which were subsequently demolished to make way for a new purpose-built bank building on the site. Designed by John Gibson, the architect of the bank’s new London head office, the Southampton premises were completed in 1867.
The First World War placed new demands on banks, alongside severe staff shortages as men of military age joined the armed forces. Four men from Southampton branch lost their lives during the First World War. In 1918 National Provincial Bank of England merged with Union of London & Smiths Bank to form one of the emerging ‘Big Five’ high street banks, later known as National Provincial Bank. Union of London & Smiths Bank also had a branch in Southampton, which had opened in Shirley Road in 1910. Following the merger this branch was rebranded as part of National Provincial Bank.
In the 1960s redevelopment of the area around Southampton city centre meant that National Provincial Bank lost part of the rear of its Southampton branch site due to the construction of Castle Way. The bank took the opportunity to remodel the branch building, with the work being completed in 1964. A new extension to the rear of the branch was added, containing managers’ offices and a waiting room, whilst the surrounding ground was landscaped with a rock garden. The banking hall was also extensively refurbished and repainted in the National Provincial Bank colours of white and turquoise, and a pneumatic tube system was installed in the office to transport documentation from the back office areas to customers at the counter.
Westminster Bank’s Southampton branch was opened in 1915, when the bank operated under its former name London County & Westminster Bank. In 1928 the branch moved to new premises at 12 High Street. The branch suffered considerable damage from bombing during the Second World War.
District Bank opened its Southampton branch on 5 December 1960 at 169 High Street. The bank was acquired by National Provincial Bank in 1962 but the two banks continued to trade separately until 1970.
National Westminster Bank
In 1968 National Provincial Bank and Westminster Bank, along with National Provincial's subsidiary District Bank, announced plans to merge. The operations of all three banks were combined over the following 18 months and they began to trade as National Westminster Bank from 1 January 1970. The new bank began rationalising its presence in areas where it had multiple offices, and so on 12 November 1971 the operations of the former District Bank branch at 169 High Street and the former National Provincial Bank branch at 129 High Street were brought together in the 129 High Street premises. In 1993 this branch was merged into the operations of 12 High Street branch, where NatWest Southampton remains today.