Our Second World War banks
This site explores the Second World War from the perspective of 11 historic banks that have come together since 1939 to form today's NatWest Group.
Some of those 11 banks are still current businesses today, such as Ulster Bank, Coutts & Co and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Others merged in later decades to form what became NatWest, or were acquired by one or other of our constituent banks.
Commercial Bank of Scotland
This bank was founded in Edinburgh in 1810. In 1959 it merged with National Bank of Scotland, creating a new bank that joined the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1969.
Coutts & Co
Coutts & Co was founded by a Scottish goldsmith in London’s Strand in 1692. Coutts & Co was acquired by National Provincial & Union Bank of England in 1920, but has continued to trade independently to the present day.
Established in 1829 as Manchester & Liverpool District Banking Co, this shareholder-owned bank grew quickly in north west England by opening new branches and acquiring other banks. It was renamed District Bank in 1924. It was acquired by National Provincial Bank in 1962, so eventually became part of NatWest.
Glyn, Mills & Co
This private bank was founded in London’s Lombard Street in 1757. It grew quickly, developing a large business as London agent to many English and Welsh provincial banks and providing banking services to over 200 railway companies. It was acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1939.
The National Bank
This bank was established in London in 1835 to provide capital for Irish economic development. Its banking business was initially confined to Ireland but it later also opened branches in England and Wales. In 1966 the bank’s Irish business passed to Bank of Ireland and the company and its English and Welsh branches passed to National Commercial Bank of Scotland, later becoming part of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
National Bank of Scotland
This bank was founded in Edinburgh in 1825. By 1914 it had 124 branches and 5 sub-branches and was the second largest bank in Scotland. In 1918, building on an existing foreign exchange connection, it was acquired by Lloyds Bank but remained entirely separate. In 1959 it merged with Commercial Bank of Scotland, ending the Lloyds connection and creating a new bank that joined the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1969.
National Provincial Bank
This joint stock bank was established in London in 1833. In 1918 it merged with Union of London & Smiths Bank and was renamed National Provincial & Union Bank of England. The new bank had over 700 branches. Its name was shortened to National Provincial Bank in 1924. It was one of the banks that joined to become NatWest in 1970.
Royal Bank of Scotland
This bank was founded by royal charter in Edinburgh in 1727 and continues to trade under that name to this day.
This joint stock bank was founded in Belfast in 1836. It was taken over by London County Westminster & Parr’s Bank (later Westminster Bank, then NatWest) in 1917. It has continued to trade separately to the present day.
This joint stock bank was established in 1836 and grew very quickly by opening branches and acquiring other banks in the South East. It merged with Parr’s Bank in 1918 to become London County Westminster & Parr’s Bank, it had 700 branches and was one of Britain’s largest banks. Its name was shortened to Westminster Bank in 1923. It was one of the banks that joined to become National Westminster Bank in 1970.
Williams Deacon's Bank
Founded in Manchester in 1836 as Manchester & Salford Bank, this shareholder-owned bank acquired the long-standing London private bank of Williams, Deacon & Co in 1890. It was acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1930.