The former National Provincial Bank Ltd, Holborn Circus

From the website of the NatWest Group:

“National Provincial Bank was a British retail bank which operated in England and Wales from 1833 until 1970 when it was merged into the National Westminster Bank. It continued to exist as a dormant non-trading company until 2016 when it was voluntarily struck off the register and dissolved.

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

The 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 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.

It was not until 1866 that the bank opened for banking business in London by which time it had a nationwide network of 122 branches.

The bishop’s gate device was part of a pictorial representation of the bank’s address at 15 Bishopsgate in the City of London. It is surmounted by two squirrels (suggested by the 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.

Recognising its enlarged scale, the Bank’s name was extended to the National Provincial and Union Bank of England but in 1924 the name was shortened to the National Provincial Bank.

The merger of National Provincial and Westminster Bank in 1968, surprised the British public and banking community…”

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