William Inskip

William Inskip came back from retirement to help his old employer, Westminster Bank, in the Second World War.

William Inskip was born in 1862. He was a farmer’s son, but his parents decided that prospects in agriculture were not reliable, so they gave him an education that would prepare him for a career in commerce. When he was 17, a cousin suggested banking and, as William later recalled, ‘I replied that I knew nothing about it but would not mind trying it.’

He got a job in London & County Bank, starting work at its Oxford branch in 1880. Over the next 35 years he worked in numerous different branches, rising to the level of branch manager. He also spent time at head office as a branch inspector. 

In 1916 he became an Assistant General Manager, and in 1919, one of the bank’s three Joint General Managers. He retired on his 60th birthday, 24 October 1922, shortly before the bank became Westminster Bank. After retirement he spent much of his time travelling all over the world.

This was, however, not the end of his bank career.

After the Second World War broke out in 1939, Westminster Bank – like all banks – struggled to keep enough staff, as young male clerks left to go on war service. It introduced a ‘temporary wartime staff’, made up of women, boys too young for military service and retired former staff, including William Inskip.

William came back to the bank in 1943, at the age of 80. He was posted to London Park Lane branch, where he worked full days alongside permanent and other temporary staff. His duties included working an adding machine; an impressive accomplishment, considering most mechanisation had taken place after his retirement, and certainly after he had become too senior to be directly involved in working such machines.

The bank’s records do not reveal when William retired for the second time, but we do know that he lived for a further 12 years after the end of the Second World War ended and died in 1957, at the age of 94.