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The origins of banking in England arose in the mid 1600s. Goldsmiths, the money men of their time progressed to money lending and issuing guarantees. The guarantees became cheques, gold was replaced by bank notes and coins and banks were born. For more on the history of UK banking see The British Banking History Society.

Photo Gallery:

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126-upper high street c1918 126-upper high street c1918
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King, Gosling and Tanner:

In Hungerford the earliest bank appears to be King, Gosling and Tanner. The 1830 Pigot Directory includes an entry stating that "King, Gosling and Tanner, Bank operate 11-3pm every Wednesday at the Three Swans, High Street". This was part of the Wiltshire family bank, which was operating as King, Gosling, Tanner & Griffiths from before 1811.

The Savings Bank:

The History of Savings Banks: The Savings Banks started in 1804, when Mr P Wakefield opened one in Tottenham, closely followed by on in Bath "for domestics".

The idea caught on, and by 1816 there were 80 nation-wide. At this point Parliament intervened to regulate matters, a Mr George Rose introduced his Savings Bank Bill of 1817. He urged local leaders to exert themselves in promoting an obvious moral good. Banks would "tend to revive in the lower classes that decent spirit of independence now almost extinct which shrinks from accepting parochial relief. Those who now idly and profligately looked only to the Parish for relief would progressively become better men and better subjects". And, he added, the effect would be to reduce the Poor Rate!

The Chancellor of the Exchequor, Mr Vansittart, waxed lyrical. "A Savings Bank was a place where rich and poor met together and mutually combined in promoting, under divine protection, their natural rights. There, forgetful of those petty distinctions which temporary circumstances had created, they met as brethren, each to do his duty to his neighbour".

In Hungerford: Following the development of the Savings Bank movement (see panel on right), Hungerford was quick off the mark. The Hungerford Savings Bank was established in February 1818. It was held in the Town Hall on Wednesdays from 1-2pm. (We know nothing of the trustees, nor depositors). See Correspondence with TSB 1989.

The Savings movement prospered. By 1829 there were 408 banks in operation - all individually run, with 600 by 1861.

A Savings Bank in Hungerford was mentioned in the 1847 Post Office Directory and the 1850 Slater's Directory - both stating that it operated at the Town Hall every Wednesday between 12-2, overseen by H.E. Astley actuary.

In 1852, a haberdasher and linen draper, Daniel Lewis, sold his home at 31 High Street to the Savings Bank Trustees for £350. A new bank building was erected on the site, designed by the architects G. Martin & H. Seymour. The initial frontage was rejected, but the second design was adopted.

The Trustees comprised 11 parsons, 3 squires, and 5 professionals and tradesmen. The signatories to the purchase deed of 1852 were:
- Rev Francis Leyborne Popham, Chilton, Clerk
- Rev Thomas Penruddock Michell, Standen, Clerk
- Rev Robert Augustus Gordon, Avington, Clerk
- Rev William Collings Lukes, Gt Bedwyn, Clerk
- Rev Alfred Eyles Davies, Hungerford, Clerk
- Rev James Whitley Deans Dundas, Kintbury, Clerk
- Rev John Butler, Inkpen, Clerk
- Rev John Cunningham Calland Bennet Popkin Hawkins, Ramsbury, Clerk
- Rev John Gore, Shalbourn, Clerk
- Rev henry Horatio Woods, Coombe, Clerk
- Rev Henry Henchman Buckerfield, Little Bedwyn, Clerk
- George Willis, Hungerford Park, Esquire
- William Robert Hall, Hungerford, Esquire
- Richard Hemstead Barker, Hungerford, Surgeon (Constable)
- Henry Self Martin, Gt Bedwyn, Farmer
- Henry Richard Seymour, Crowood Park, Ramsbury, Esquire
- William Alexander, Hungerford, Saddler
- George earle, Hungerford, Ironmonger
John Platt, Hungerfod, Brewer.

The Actuary or Manager was Mr Astley, who was later followed by Mr Wooldridge.

The Bank still opened only one day a week from 12-2.30pm - not very god use of such a fine building!

The Savings Bank continued here, and the 1854 Billings Directory gives the opening hours as extended to Wednesdays 12-3.30pm. However, maybe with business declining when other banks were available, the hours in 1891 (Kelly Directory) were Wednesdays 12-1.30pm, John Holmes Wooldridge, Actuary. The 1895 Kelly has 1-3pm.

The house was let at a modest rent. Eliza Field, a widow and porteress, was the first tenant, followed by Thomas Ladd, a general labourer and Arthur Salt, a Coach builder.

Mr Salt's daughter (Mrs V. Harris) recalled what took place on Bank Days. Normally the family used the entire house, but on "opening" day, Mr Wooldridge would install himself in the Bank Room, and Mrs Salt would marshall the clients in the Waiting Room, admitting them one at a time.

1861 was the high point of the Trustee Savings Bank movement. Wishing to promote the movement for self-help, the Prime Minister Mr Gladstone proposed using the 2-3,000 branches of the Post Office as collecting points for the proposed Post Office Savings Bank. The change swept the country. The Post office also dealt with annuities and life insurance from 1865.

In 1919 the Reading Savings Bank took over the Hungerford branch. Opening hours became Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11-1pm.

However, the Reading Savings Bank closed in 1932, and was sold in 1933 to private ownership (Mr Fisher for £525). An agency did continue at a local shop where depositors could pay in deposits, and receive limited pay outs, the transactions being passed on to another branch where main records were kept.

When the Reading Bank moved out, the house was let. It became known as "The Holt", and the District Nurse Nurse Sherwood, lived there for a time. In 1945 it was bought for £2,000 by Mr Denness, who had a show shop at 44 High Street, and he in turn sold it to Mr & Mrs Pennock-Purvis in 1949. They lived there for 35 years until Mr & Mrs Janes came in 1985.

Tanner & Pinckney Bank:

Shortly after, in 1844, a branch of the Marlborough firm of Tanner & Pinckney Bank opened at 119 High Street (latterly NatWest).

The Pinckney family were involved with a number of banks, dating right back to Henry Pinckney, who opened his bank at "The sign of the Three Squirrels, over against St Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street" in 1636. Of interest, Henry Pinckney was a friend of Samuel Pepys, and is mentioned in his diaries. The Fleet Street premises were burned down in the Great Fire of London. The premises were rebuilt, and have continued to be a bank ever since – first Gosling Brothers, now Barclays. The Three Squirrels became the bank's emblem. Another branch of the Pinckney family (William and John Pinckney) owned the Salisbury Bank in the mid 1800s – later Pinckney Brothers Bank, Wiltshire and Dorset Banking Company (1897) then Lloyds and Lloyds TSB.

The third venture was Tanner and Pinckney's Bank in Marlborough, with its branch in Hungerford at 119 High Street. The 1844 Pigot Directory comments that it "draws on Spooner & Attwoods' & Co. London".

These premises had previously been the home and business of Matthew Bance, silversmith & watchmaker (click to see more on Matthew Bance and his clocks).

The 1847 Post office Directory records Tanner & Pinckney Savings Bank

By 1854 Billings Directory reports that it had become London & County Bank. This became London, County & Westminster Bank in 1914, Westminster Bank in 1932, National Westminster in 1963, and NatWest in 1976.

NatWest closed on 31 May 2018.

Capital & Counties Bank:

Next door, at 118 High Street, previously Charles Robinson the draper's shop, another bank opened in 1882. This was Capital & Counties Bank, and the building was probably newly built at this time.

The manager between 1883-1899 was Mr Ernest F Grantham. The Parish Magazine of February 1899 includes "During that time he has identified himself with everything which was calculated to promote the good of the town or the advantage of its inhabitants. By his bright and genial manner, kindly disposition, strict probity of character and untiring energy he has endeared himself to a large circle of friends of all shades of opinion and creed, and he will be universally missed. But it is by the Church in the town that his loss will be chiefly felt. He has been since 1888 Vicar's Churchwarden and is the Parish Clerk. He is also a licensed lay reader, and has for many years taken a service on every other Sunday evening throughout the year at St Mary's Newtown."

By 1932 this had become Lloyds Bank, before becoming Lloyds TSB and c2014 TSB.

Barclays Bank:

Barclays Bank (at 30 High Street) was a much later entrant to the town. 30 High Street had been the home of William Mapson, watchmaker, in the early years of the 20th century, before the famous local photographer Albert Parsons moved here from 1 Bridge Street in 1916-17.

Albert Parsons died c.1952 and the premises became the Gateway Café, run by Mrs Rose. In 1967 the premises were sole to Barclays Bank, and new bank was built. They celebrated 25 years in Hungerford in February 1992.

See also:

- Hungerford Savings Bank 1818 onwards - correspondence with TSB 1989

- 30 High Street (Barclays Bank)

- 31 High Street (Old Penny Savings Bank)

- 118 High Street (TSB)

- 119 High Street (NatWest Bank)