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NATIONAL PROVINCIAL BANK was a British retail bank which operated in England and Wales
England and Wales
from 1833 until its merger into the National Westminster Bank in 1970; it continued to exist as a dormant non-trading company until it was voluntarily struck off the register and dissolved in 2016.

Considered one of the "Big Five," it expanded during the 19th and 20th centuries and took over a number of smaller banking companies. It was based on Bishopsgate
Bishopsgate
, at the thoroughfare's junction with Threadneedle Street
Threadneedle Street
, in London
London
.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 National Provincial Bank of England
Bank of England
* 1.2 Union of London
London
and Smith\'s Bank * 1.3 National Provincial Bank
National Provincial Bank
* 1.4 National Westminster Bank
National Westminster Bank
* 1.5 Table of acquisitions * 1.6 Tournier v National Provincial and Union Bank of England
Bank of England

* 2 References * 3 Bibliography

HISTORY

NATIONAL PROVINCIAL BANK OF ENGLAND

The National Provincial Bank
National Provincial Bank
played a unique role in the development of commercial banking. Prior to the Act of 1826, English banks were permitted to have no more than six partners – hence the expression “private banks”. The only banks allowed to be joint stock were the Bank of England
Bank of England
and the Scottish banks (which operated under a different legal system). The leading campaigner for change was Thomas Joplin a Newcastle timber merchant “with local experience of banking disasters” and an observer of the greater stability of the nearby Scottish banks. The Act of 1826 permitted the establishment of joint stock banks but note issue was only allowed outside a radius of 65 miles of London. The 1826 Act was followed by the creation of new provincial joint stock banks and conversions from existing private banks. Because of the prohibition on note issue in the London
London
area, it was incorrectly assumed that the Act also prohibited joint stock banks themselves, an ambiguity that was removed by the Bank Charter Act of 1833.

What differentiated National Provincial was that it was established as a provincial bank but with a London
London
head office. Moreover, it was specifically structured to be a branch banking enterprise prepared to concentrate on a large number of smaller accounts rather than a small number of large accounts. When Thomas Joplin discovered that the laws preventing the establishment of joint stock banks in Ireland had been repealed in 1824, he promoted the Irish Provincial Banking
Banking
Company, to be based in London
London
but with branches in all the principal towns in Ireland outside Dublin; this was to be a forerunner of Joplin’s English version. Joplin left the management of the Irish Bank in 1828. Financial support from his cousin George Angas was promised in 1829 and a company was formed in 1830. The first meeting resolved to establish a “system of banking …under the review of a central board in London
London
applied to the direction of country banking”. There were numerous delays but the National Provincial Bank of England
Bank of England
was eventually launched in 1833. For more than thirty years the Bank operated as a country bank, with its headquarters in London, but not transacting banking business in the capital. Designed by F.C.R. Palmer in 1929, the Coventry branch had frontages on High Street, Hertford Street and Greyfriars Lane as well as on Broadgate (pictured).

The first branch to be opened, at the beginning of 1834, was in Gloucester
Gloucester
followed, as if at random, by Brecon
Brecon
, Walsall
Walsall
, Birmingham , Wotton-under-Edge
Wotton-under-Edge
, Boston and Wisbech and by 1836 there were 32 branches. Considerable dissension soon arose relating to the structure of the branch system and Joplin, who favoured a network of local semi-autonomous banks, left. The model for the branch system had been the Scottish one, and the Bank reinforced this by recruiting Daniel Robertson from the Union Bank of Scotland; he served as general manager for thirty years.

Many of the branches that were “opened” during the nineteenth century came from the acquisition of local banks, sometimes as a going concern, sometimes merely taking over the premises after a failure. Sources vary as to the number of acquisitions, their common trading name and even the exact year of purchase. However, although they may have been strategic in their own locality, none of the acquisitions appeared to be large. It was not until 1866 that the Bank opened for banking business in London
London
by which time it had a nationwide network of 122 branches. The Bank ceased its provincial note issue and was appointed to the London
London
Clearing House . By 1886 the National Provincial Bank had 165 branches and its network was second only to the London
London
and County Bank. There was now little in the way of acquisition but the branch network continued to increase - according to RBS Heritage Online, there were 200 branches by 1900 and over 450 by the time of the 1918 merger (however, the scale of the post-1900 increase is surprisingly large and the latter figure may include sub-branches).

The bishop's gate device was part of a pictorial representation of the bank's address at 15 Bishopsgate
Bishopsgate
in the City of London. It is surmounted by two squirrels (suggested by the College of Arms
College of Arms
as denoting thrift and foresight) supporting an urn; this alludes to The Flower Pot Inn which originally stood on the site of the entrance to the city office.

In 1918 the National Provincial acquired the Union of London
London
and Smith’s Bank, itself the product of recent amalgamations. The enlarged bank was renamed the National Provincial and Union Bank of England.

UNION OF LONDON AND SMITH\'S BANK

The Union Bank of London
London
was formed in 1839 and it remained a purely metropolitan bank for the rest of the century; it was of no great size during that period, opening around a dozen branches in central London and acquiring the occasional small local bank. Although it refused to open branches in the provinces, it did develop an extensive overseas business. Policy changed at the turn of the century and the Union embarked on a major expansion acquiring in particular the private Smith\'s Bank in 1902 and Prescott’s Bank in 1903, thereby forming the Union of London
London
and Smith’s Bank.

Prescott’s Bank was founded in Threadneedle Street
Threadneedle Street
in 1766 and went through several name changes over the years as partners changed. However, in 1891 a multiple merger radically changed the scope of the Bank. Prescott’s acquired Dimsdale, another long-established London private bank; Miles , Cave, Baillie of Bristol
Bristol
(established 1750); and Tugwell Brymer of Bath ; the enlarged firm was called Prescott, Dimsdale, Cave, Tugwell & Co. Several more small country banks were later acquired and the Bank’s name was shortened to Prescott "> Original carved headstone surviving at the Holyhead branch in Anglesey.

Recognising its enlarged scale, the Bank’s name was extended to the National Provincial and Union Bank of England
Bank of England
but in 1924 the name was shortened to the National Provincial Bank. Further acquisitions followed the 1918 merger, in particular the prestigious London
London
Coutts Bank in 1920. Significant regional banks included Bradford District Bank (1919), Sheffield Banking
Banking
Company (1919) and Northamptonshire Union Bank (1920). In 1924 the small Guernsey Banking
Banking
Co. was to be the Bank's last domestic acquisition until 1961 and National Provincial’s progress came from continued branch opening, particularly around the London
London
area.

National Provincial did have a small overseas operation in the form of a 50 per cent share of Lloyds and National Provincial Foreign Bank in Paris
Paris
, which it had acquired in 1917 and sold to Lloyds Bank
Lloyds Bank
in 1955. However, its more substantive overseas move came in 1924 with the acquisition of Grindlays Bank , a London-based institution with offices in India
India
and specialising in serving the Indian army. Grindlays had been affected by the failure of competing banks and sought a larger partner. Grindlays was allowed to operate independently and was sold to the London-based National Bank of India in 1948.

In 1961 National Provincial acquired the Isle of Man Bank but the major acquisition came in 1962 when the District Bank was bought, creating a company with over £1.4 billion in assets and 2,100 branches. The District, being the one-time Manchester and Liverpool District Banking
Banking
Company, gave the National Provincial valuable exposure to the north west. The District (as well as Coutts) maintained its separate identity until the merger with Westminster Bank .

NATIONAL WESTMINSTER BANK

The merger of National Provincial and Westminster Bank in 1968, surprised the British public and banking community "as it was still widely assumed...that any merger among the 'Big Five' would not be permitted." Nevertheless, the financial authorities did permit the merger and a new company, National Westminster Bank
National Westminster Bank
, was formed to acquire the share capital of the two constituent banks. The enlarged entity now had a network of 3,600 branches.

The District Bank, National Provincial, and Westminster Bank were fully integrated in the new firm's structure, while Coutts
Coutts
& Co., Ulster Bank
Ulster Bank
(a 1917 Westminster acquisition), and the Isle of Man Bank continued as separate operations. Duncan Stirling, chairman of Westminster Bank, became first chairman and each bank provided a joint chief executive. NatWest, as it became known, became part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group in 2000.

TABLE OF ACQUISITIONS

DATE ACQUISITION ESTABLISHED

1834 Rotton & Co., Birmingham
Birmingham
1806

1835 Bloxsome & Player, Durham 1813

1835 Bristol
Bristol
City Bank Branch of Northern & Central Bank

1836 Vye & Harris, Ilfracombe
Ilfracombe
1807

1836 William Skinner & Co., Stockton 1815

1836 Pyke, Law & Co., Barnstaple
Barnstaple
1807

1838 Lichfield, Rugeley & Tamworth Banking
Banking
Co. 1836

1839 Husband & Co., Devonport 1810

1840 Fryer, Andrews & Co., Wimborne
Wimborne
c.1790

1840 Harris & Co., Dartmouth 1806

1840 Hulke & Son, Deal 1808

1841 Minet & Fector, Dover
Dover
1700

1842 Cole, Holroyd & Co., Exeter
Exeter
1822

1843 Peter Pew & Co., Sherbourne c.1750

1843 Loveband & Co., Torrington 1808

1843 Ley & Co., Bideford
Bideford
c.1790

1844 Isle of Wight Joint-Stock Bank, Newport, Isle of Wight
Newport, Isle of Wight
1842

1855 Thomas Kinnersly & Sons, Newcastle-under-Lyme c.1780

1846 Stockton & Durham County Bank, Stockton 1838

1858 William Moore, Stone 1800

1868 Crawshay, Bailey & Co., Abergavenny
Abergavenny
1837

1868 Bailey & Co., Newport 1837

1871 David Morris & Sons , Carmarthen
Carmarthen
c.1790

1878 Bank of Leeds 1864

1899 County of Stafford Bank 1836

1903 Knaresborough & Claro Banking
Banking
Co. 1831

1918 William & John Biggerstaffe, London c.1830s

1919 Sheffield Banking
Banking
Co. 1831

1919 Bradford District Bank 1862

1920 Northamptonshire Union Bank 1836

1920 Richards & Co., Llangollen
Llangollen
1854

1920 Shilson, Coode & Co., St Austell
St Austell
1793

1922 Dingley & Co., Launceston 1855

1922 Dingley, Pearse ">

* ^ No. 14260, incorporated 1 July 1880 * ^ Nevin & Davis, The London
London
Clearing Banks, (1970) * ^ T E Gregory, British Banking
Banking
Statutes and Reports 1832-1928 Vol. 1 p. xvi (1929) * ^ A B W Howarth, The Banks in the Clearing House (1905) * ^ A B C D Hartley Withers, National Provincial Bank
National Provincial Bank
1833-1933 (1933) * ^ Broadgate Special
Special
Historic Coventry, Now and Then (retrieved 24 November 2009) * ^ Nevin and Davis, The London
London
Clearing Banks (1970) * ^ History of the Club Royal Bank of Scotland Bowls Club (retrieved 17 October 2014) * ^ A B C D Richard Reed, National Westminster Bank
National Westminster Bank
a short history (1983) * ^ 1KB 461. See McClean, David International Co-operation in Civil and Criminal Matters (p.266) Oxford University Press, 2002 * ^ The Banking
Banking
Code: Guidance for Subscribers (p.38) British Bankers' Association, March 2005 * ^ The banker\'s duty of confidentiality to the customer Ombudsman News (issue 45) Financial Ombudsman Service, April 2005

BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Ashby, J. F. The Story of the Banks Hutchinson & Co., London, 1934 * Withers, Hartley National Provincial Bank
National Provincial Bank
1833–1933 Waterlow ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v

* t * e

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group

RETAIL BANKING

* NatWest Holdings * ( National Westminster Bank
National Westminster Bank
* The Royal Bank of Scotland * Ulster Bank
Ulster Bank
* Coutts
Coutts
& Co. * Adam & Company * Child & Co. * Drummonds Bank * Holt\'s Military Banking
Banking
) * RBS International * Isle of Man Bank * Williams border-left-width:2px;border-left-style:solid;width:100%;padding:0px">

* NatWest Markets * RBS Securities

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* Sir Philip Hampton (Chairman) * Ross McEwan (Group CEO) * Sir Sandy Crombie * Ewen Stevenson * Alison Davis * Penny Hughes * Morten Friis * Brendan Nelson * Baroness Noakes * Robert Gillespie * Aileen Taylor

FORMER BUSINESSES

RBS

* National Commercial Bank of Scotland * National Bank of Scotland
National Bank of Scotland
* Commercial Bank of Scotland
Commercial Bank of Scotland
* Williams & Glyn\'s Bank * Williams Deacon\'s Bank * Glyn, Mills & Co. * A Ruffer ">NATWEST

* National Provincial Bank * Westminster Bank * District Bank * Parr\'s Bank * Smith\'s Bank * International Westminster Bank * Deutsche Westm