Swansea

Swansea is a city in Wales. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1908.

National Provincial Bank of England

NatWest’s first Swansea branch was originally opened by National Provincial Bank of England in 1908. During the 19th century Swansea had grown extensively with the construction of docks – Swansea was the biggest coal port in the world – and the development of the major metalworking industry that gave rise to its nickname ‘Copperopolis’. By 1901 it had a population of 134,000 and was serving a hinterland teeming with collieries and metal smelting works.

At this time National Provincial Bank of England was rapidly expanding its branch network, but despite repeated requests from its branches at Cardiff, Newport, Bridgend and Carmarthen, it had declined to open in Swansea. Early 1908, however, the manager of the bank’s Bute Docks branch in Cardiff persuaded a bank director to visit potential premises in Swansea. The director was duly impressed by the town’s potential and National Provincial’s new Swansea branch opened in Wind Street, in leased premises next to the Hotel Metropole, on 24 March 1908.

20th century expansion

Competition was stiff, with a number of other banks already trading in Swansea, but National Provincial’s new branch thrived. In 1922 it moved to larger premises at 11-12 Wind Street.

In the 1920s a series of major bank amalgamations resulted in the emergence of National Provincial Bank as one of the ‘big five’ high street banks. Its business in Swansea continued to grow and suburban sub-branches were opened in Uplands Crescent in 1927; Morriston in 1955; and Mumbles in 1969. In 1961 National Provincial’s principal Swansea branch moved to a new building in Belle Vue Way, leaving a smaller subsidiary office in Wind Street.

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 began trading under the new name. Inevitably there was some rationalisation of the two banks’ overlapping branch networks and the businesses of a number of the Swansea branches, many of which were very close to each other, were eventually combined.

In October 2007 the services provided at Belle Vue Way were replaced by a brand new branch in Oxford Street which also supports the business of NatWest’s Kingsway branch, originally opened by Westminster Bank in 1962.