BARCLAYS CELEBRATES 150 YEARS OF BANKING IN NEATH
Neath celebrates one hundred and fifty years of banking and Barclays would like to thank all the staff and customers who have passed through the doors during the last century and a half.
Barclays branch in Neath was opened in July 1863 by the Bank of Wales. In 1865, the Bank of Wales became part of the Provincial Banking Corporation, and six years later, that became the London and Provincial Bank.
In 1918, the London and Provincial merged with the London and South Western to form the London, Provincial and South Western Bank. That bank, in turn, became part of Barclays Bank Limited later that same year.
A lease dated 1883 between the Bank and Henry Pendrill Charles describes the property as a ‘messauge situate on Parade, Neath with gardens, outbuildings, yards, offices, appurtenances’. The lease specified that the property was ‘not to be used as a public house for the sale of beer, wine, spirits or for noxious or offensive business or for any other purposes other than a private residence and bank’. The Bank also undertook to pay a ‘reasonable proportion in common with other persons in keeping the road running from Parade to the Wall of the Market Place’.
At the time of the amalgamation with Barclays in 1918, the premises were valued at £6,600 and were described as a Bank and residence occupied by the Manager. Throughout the 20th century, changes in banking practices, the introduction of new technology, increases in customers and the provision of different services, meant that branches evolved at a steady pace. Neath underwent refurbishment work at various times. By 1923, Barclays had spent well over £6,000 on improvements at the branch, and had purchased the road at the side of the building running to the Market Place.
In 1939, a nightsafe was installed, and in 1946, the former Manager’s residence was converted in to flats. The 1970s saw the addition of the distinctive Barclays blue colour to the branch, and in 1973, Neath was connected to the new Barclays online branch accounting system. Ten years later, a Barclaybank machine was fitted, and more recently, the branch has been refurbished in line with the Bank’s current brand – a much brighter and lighter look than anything Barclays has used before.
Steve Woon, Barclays Branch Manager at Neath said “To provide banking services to the people of Neath for over 150 years is quite an achievement. Things have definitely changed since 1863 and technology has had a major impact on banking. We now have free Wi-Fi at the branch for customers and services such as “Ping-it” which enables customers to transfer payments via mobile phone numbers. The thought of Barclays having over 5 million online customer’s in1863, conducting transactions across the world, from the comfort of their armchair or from a mobile device would have been inconceivable. While traditional banking may have changed, the staff still pride themselves on great customer service and a commitment to the local community. ”
Gwenda Thomas AM, Assembly Member for Neath said “It is a real achievement and a cause of celebration that Neath has had banking facilities for 150 years. I welcome the commitment that Barclays and their predecessors have shown to my constituency, supporting customers with their personal or business banking needs and being part of the local community.”