Swindon

Swindon is a town in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1914.

National Provincial Bank

NatWest’s oldest Swindon branch originally opened in 1914, as an office of National Provincial Bank of England. In fact, the bank opened two branches in Swindon in that year. On 12 January it opened an office at 56 Regent Street, known as New Swindon branch and managed by Mr WK Procter. Two months later, on 9 March 1914, it opened another office, Old Swindon branch, at 38 High Street, as a sub branch to New Swindon branch. Both branches were an immediate success, and in September 1915 Old Swindon branch moved into new premises at 18 Wood Street.

Before long, the new branches - like all banks in Swindon and elsewhere - were dealing with big challenges. The First World War brought new restrictions and responsibilities for banks, as well as severe staff shortages as trained men went away to fight. At the same time, the banking sector was undergoing a transformation, with smaller banks finding it necessary to grow or merge in order to remain competitive. In 1918 National Provincial Bank of England merged with Union of London & Smiths Bank to form one of England's biggest banks. Initially called National Provincial & Union Bank of England, its name was simplified in 1924 to National Provincial Bank from 1924.

Business continued to prosper for National Provincial’s branches in Swindon, and on 27 August 1934 the New Swindon branch moved to new premises at 34 Regent Street.

More banks

The Second World War brought similar difficulties to those experienced in 1914-1918, but in the post-war years prosperity returned. In the 1950s the population of Swindon grew rapidly. It was designated an overspill town for London and new industries were attracted to the area, including its first car factories.

The area's growing prosperity attracted more banks to the area, including two that would later became part of NatWest. District Bank opened a Swindon branch at 46 Regent Street in April 1958, and Westminster Bank opened its first office in the town in 1961. In fact, Westminster Bank had been keen to open a branch in Swindon for many years, but had struggled to find a suitable property, so when premises at 40-41 Commercial Road became available in 1958 the bank took advantage of the opportunity and purchased the site, on which a purpose-built branch building was constructed. The new office, known as Swindon Commercial Road branch, opened on 27 July 1961 under the management of Mr PH Tyley. At around the same time, National Provincial remodelled the banking hall of its branch in Regent Street to provide improved facilities for customers.

In 1962 District Bank and National Provincial Bank merged, but the two banks continued to trade separately.

National Westminster Bank

In 1968 Westminster Bank and National Provincial Bank, along with its subsidiary District Bank, announced their intention 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 had 4 branches in Swindon. In 1979, as part of a policy to streamline branch presence in places where it now had multiple offices in close proximity, the former District Bank and Westminster Bank branches were merged, and moved to improved premises further along Commercial Road, at number 84. In 2000 the business of Old Swindon branch was also brought under the same roof, as was the Regent Street branch in 2015.