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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:


Old Penny Bank, 31 High Street, Jan 2007.

057-high_st_upr_97 c1876
057-high_st_upr_97 c1876

Beyond the Three Swans are 118 High Street (later Capital & Counties Bank) and 119 High Street (Tanner & Pinckney Bank), c1876.

126-upper high street c1918
126-upper high street c1918

Upper High Street, c1918, showing Penny Savings Bank and Albert Parsons' shop - later Barclays Bank.


Architect's drawings of early designs for the Savings Bank, 31 High Street, 1852.


Architect's drawings of early designs for the Savings Bank, 31 High Street, 1852.


Architect's drawings of early designs for the Savings Bank, 31 High Street, 1852.


Architect's drawings of early designs for the Savings Bank, 31 High Street, 1852.

20201010 Savings Bank Ledger (Large)
20201010 Savings Bank Ledger (Large)

The Hungerford Savings Bank Ledger, 1825-1849 (kindly loaned by Ed Makin)

20201010 Savings Bank Ledger entry (Large)
20201010 Savings Bank Ledger entry (Large)

Two pages in The Hungerford Savings Bank Ledger, 1825-1849 (kindly loaned by Ed Makin)

Capital & Counties Cheque
Capital & Counties Cheque

A Capital & Counties Bank cheque dated 27 Feb 1899 (from Stewart Hofgartner)

- Upper High Street, c1918, showing Penny Savings Bank and Albert Parsons' shop - later Barclays Bank. [A. Parsons].

- Beyond the Three Swans are 118 High Street (later Capital & Counties Bank) and 119 High Street (Tanner & Pinckney Bank), c1876.

- The Savings Bank Ledger 2 (1825-1849) (Kindly loaned by Ed Makin).

- Two pages in the Savings Bank Ledger (1825-1849) (Kindly loaned by Ed Makin).

- A Capital & Counties Bank cheque dated 27 Feb 1899 (from Stewart Hofgartner).

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! In general it was designed to cater for craftsmen and generally people of modest wealth to "provide a safe home for their savings".

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".

The Savings Bank in Hungerford:

Following the development of the Savings Bank movement, 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. See also Correspondence with TSB 1989.

We know nothing yet of the original trustees, but we have recently (Oct 2020) been loaned (by Ed Makin) the bank's "Ledger 2", showing all the account activity in the years 1825-1849. See Photo Gallery.

The sales description (from Robert Frew Ltd, 8 Thurloe Place, London SW7 2RX) included:

HUNGERFORD SAVINGS BANK. Accounts Ledger. 1825-49 [F49057]. Large thick folio (43 x 28 x 9cm). Fine manuscript ledger comprising pp.689-1431. Original stationary binding of brown calf with vellum straps over reversed calf covered boards, red morocco label. Mostly written in the same hand but with occasional variations. Binding worn but holding strong. £500

This ledger provides a wonderful insight into the profiles of such depositors and reflects their thrifty habits, e.g. Joseph Smith of Ramsbury, Wilts, Baker, who deposited £50 in 1825 which accrued to £139. 7s. 1d by 1833 with further deposits and interest.

The ledger reveals the status and occupation of all the depositors - including bakers, blacksmiths, bricklayers, carpenters, collar-makers, corn-dealers, excise-officers, farmers, footmen, game-keepers, gardeners, gentlemen, grocers, gun-smiths, housekeepers, innholders, innkeepers, labourers, maltsters, married women (from 1857), mealmen, millers, minors, ostlers, potters, publicans, saddlers, servants, sheep-dealers, shepherds, shoemakers, sieve-makers, spinsters, tailors, victuallers, whitesmiths,widows (but no widowers or bachelors cited) and yeomen.

Most of the accounts typically showing balances between £1 and £150. Some of the initial deposits were as little as 10 shillings. Most of the labourers and minors accounts started with £1, whilst most of the yeomen's accounts started with £30. 

The depositors were both local and from far distant places. The local towns and villages include Hungerford, Charnham Street, Aldbourne, Anvilles, Axford, Bagshot,  Baydon, Boxford, Buttermere, Chilton Foliat, Chisbury, Chute, Clapton, Denford, East Garston, Eastbury, Eddington, Farnborough, Fosbury, Froxfield, Grafton, Great Bedwin (sic!), Ham, Inkpen, Inleaze, Kintbury, Lambourn, Leverton, Little Bedwin (sic!), Littlecote, Martin (sic!), Newtown, Poughley, Preston Wilts, Prosperous, Ramsbury, Shalbourne, Shefford Woodlands, Speenhamland, Standen, Stock (sic! = Stokke), Thatcham, Tidcombe, Upper Lambourn, Vernham, Wanborough, West Shefford, Wexcombe, Whittonditch, Wickfield, Wilton, 

More distant are Amesbury, Boughton, Christchurch Hampshire, Lewis (sic!) Sussex, Pickwick Wilts, Lacock, London (unspecified!), London - Camberwell, London (Cavendish Square - 2 minors), London - The Old Kent Road (2 spinsters), London - Whitechapel (a yeoman), Reading and Selsea.

It is clear that some of the more distant entries are for children and grandchildren of local Hungerford people. For example, three minors - Walter, Emily and Harriet Lanfear - had accounts opened in their name, showing their Lacock address, on 1st December 1830. Each account started with £5 or £10, and the accounts, including accrued interest, were closed in 1838-1840, the funds received by Ambrose Lanfear of Dun Mill - probably their grandfather.

Perhaps the most intriguing entry is that of Pierre Claude Legaquem, a painter "of Paris".

Some accounts were opened in the name of a club or society. These include The Red Lion Society, Kintbury; The Chilton Cloathing (sic!) Society; The Hope Society (at the Three Swans Inn); The Red Lion Society, Charnham Street; The Chilton Benefit Society; The Churchwardens of Shalbourne; The Lambourn Friendly Society; The Lambourn Woodlands Cloathing (sic!) Club, The Hungerford and Chilton National School; The Ramsbury Friendly Union Society; The White Hart InnFriendly Society (1836-42); The Hungerford Cloathing (sic!) Club; The Red Lion Friendly Society; The Children's Penny Club; The Hungerford Coal Club (1838); The Bagshot Cloathing (sic!) Club (1839) and The Hungerford Ringers (1839-40). One account was opened by George Smith in trust for John Smith, an Imbecile.

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.

The building of a new purpose built bank in the High Street:

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, Hungerford, 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 good 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's Directory) were Wednesdays 12-1.30pm, John Holmes Wooldridge, Actuary. The 1895 Kelly's Directory 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, 31 High Street, 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, 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.

For more see 31 High Street.

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.

Tanner & Pinckney Bank:

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

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 sold to Barclays Bank, and new bank was built. They celebrated 25 years in Hungerford in February 1992, but closed in September 2018. For more see 30 High Street

See also:

- Hungerford Savings Bank 1818 onwards - correspondence with TSB 1989

Hungerford Savings Bank 1818 onwards - correspondence with TSB 1989

Architects Drawings of Savings Bank, c1850

1852 Conveyance Lewis to Trustees of Savings Bank (cover)

1852 Conveyance Lewis to Trustees of Savings Bank (main text)

1923 Agreement with Congregational Church re additional window

Deeds of 31 High Street, 1933

Deeds of 31 High Street, 1945

Deeds of 31 High Street, 1949

Deeds of 31 High Street, 1987

- 30 High Street (Barclays Bank)

- 31 High Street (Old Penny Savings Bank)

- 118 High Street (TSB)

- 119 High Street (NatWest Bank)