Thornbury

Thornbury is a town in England. NatWest traces its presence there back to 1808.

Rolph & Co

The first bank in Thornbury was established in 1808 by George Rolph, a local attorney. His bank, known as Rolph & Co, was one of many private banks founded at around this time in rapidly expanding towns. The bank prospered, issuing its own banknotes, and survived the financial crises of the 1820s which saw the failure of many similar firms.

In around 1860 new Italianate-style premises were built for the bank on The Plain, on a site formerly occupied by the White Hart Inn. It is in this building that NatWest's Thornbury branch remains today.

Thornbury was linked by railway to Yate in 1872, and by 1891 it had just over 4,100 inhabitants. In that year the bank, by then known as Harwood & Co or Thornbury Bank, was acquired for £9,000 by Prescott, Dimsdale, Cave, Tugwell & Co of London, and became that bank's Thornbury branch. It continued to be managed by Edward Harwood, who had been the bank's owner immediately prior to the acquisition.

Mergers and new competition

In 1903 Prescott’s Bank (as it had become known) merged with Union of London & Smiths Bank. That bank itself joined with National Provincial Bank of England in 1918 to form one of the so-called ‘big five’ high street banks.

In 1920 another of the big five, London County Westminster & Parr’s Bank (later known as Westminster Bank) opened Thornbury’s second banking office. Originally located at 86-87 High Street, it moved to purpose-built premises at 31 High Street in the mid 1930s.

National Westminster Bank

In 1970 National Provincial Bank merged with Westminster Bank to form National Westminster Bank. The new bank’s two Thornbury offices were brought together under one roof in 1978, in the former National Provincial Bank premises on The Plain. In the mid-1980s this building was listed for its architectural merit, and a replica of the old town pump, which had been removed from the site in 1924, was installed outside the branch.