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NatWest closes – the end of an era

NatWest closed its doors on 31st May 2018.

Before the end of the day, the building was nearly stripped of all banking furniture and fittings, in a whirlwind of activity. So ended a long association of 119 High Street with banking.

In 1830 Pigot’s Directory recorded that King, Gosling and Tanner Bank opened 11-3pm every Wednesday at the Three Swans. At the time, the only other bank in town was the Savings Bank which operated from the Town Hall for two hours each Wednesday!. Henry Pinckney had opened a bank in London in the early 17th century at "The sign of the Three Squirrels” near St Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street.

In 1844 Tanner & Pinckney Bank (a branch of the Marlborough bank) opened in what is now 119 High Street

By 1854 the bank was run by the London & County Bank, which by 1914 had become the London, County & Westminster Bank. The managers’ names were duly recorded.

Around 1932 the bank was re-named the Westminster Bank, which continued until 1968 when it became the National Westminster Bank - soon abbreviated to the well-known “NatWest”.

As ever more people moved to managing their banking on the internet, the footfall through individual branches has progressively reduced, and sadly, after 174 years as a bank, NatWest Hungerford closed its doors. It was a difficult day for Sarah Fradgley and Ruth O’Neill who had offered such a friendly service there for so many years.

Next door at 118 High Street, TSB still operates in a building whose history is known back to 1470. It became a bank in 1882.

Barclays is a relative newcomer, having opened at 30 High Street in 1967, but that is set to close on 7 Sep 2018.

Next door, 31 High Street, was the Penny Savings Bank from c1850 – 1933.

For much more on this or any other aspect of Hungerford’s fascinating history, visit the Hungerford Virtual Museum -

Hugh Pihlens

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