WISBECH: Exchange branch of NatWest celebrates 175th anniversary in the town

STAFF at the Wisbech Exchange branch of the NatWest bank celebrated 175 years of providing a banking service in the town, by sharing a birthday cake and refreshments with customers. Former manager, 80-year-old David Turner, was also invited to join the pa

STAFF at the Wisbech Exchange branch of the NatWest bank celebrated 175 years of providing a banking service in the town, by sharing a birthday cake and refreshments with customers.

Former manager, 80-year-old David Turner, was also invited to join the party at the bank in Exchange Lane.

"The celebrations have been a really fun way to celebrate the fact that the NatWest has been operating a banking service for the people of Wisbech for 175 years," said current manager Beccy Sewell.

"When the bank first opened its doors in 1834 they wanted the branch to be an important part of the local community, and this idea has continued over the last 175 years."

When the bank opened in Wisbech, it was a branch of the National Provincial Bank of England, and Wisbech boasted a busy corn trade, an assembly room, literary society, two extensive libraries and facilities for saltwater bathing.

By 1850 the branch had outgrown its original existing premises in Exchange Lane. It moved to temporary accommodation while the building was demolished and completely rebuilt, returning there in 1853.

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As Wisbech continued to prosper through the 19th century, the Corn Exchange was built in 1858, and a new cattle market was opened in 1869.

Facing increased competition, the National Provincial Bank of England merged with the Union of London and Smith's Bank in 1918, and a further merger in 1970 led to the formation of the National Westminster Bank.