Fascinating story of historic Burnley bank

HSBC UK’s branch in Burnley, one of the oldest in the banks’ branch network, is celebrating its 125th anniversary since it first opened its doors for business.

By Dominic Collis
Monday, 28th January 2019, 10:22 am
Updated Monday, 28th January 2019, 11:25 am
The bank in the 1950s
The bank in the 1950s

The branch, which is currently situated at 12 Manchester Road, formally opened in January 1894 on Chancery Street and was originally established within the Preston Banking Company until it was acquired by Birmingham and Midland Banking Corporation, more commonly known as Midland Bank in July 1894.

Kate Lightbown, branch manager of HSBC UK Burnley, said: “I am proud to be leading the branch team at such a momentous time. Celebrating 125 years of the branch being open in this great town has given us the opportunity to appreciate how our branch has adapted to rapidly changing consumer habits and technology over the years.”

HSBC UK Burnley branch timeline:

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• 1894 – In January the Burnley branch of the Preston Banking Company opened to help provide robust credit facilities for the cotton and weaving industry. William Howard was appointed as its first branch manager.

• 1894 – In July, with Birmingham and Midland Banking Corporation seeking representation in Lancashire, the Preston Banking Company was acquired.

• 1912 – With the branch customer-base and number of colleagues growing a decision was made in the Spring to move to new premises which were located on the corner of Manchester Road.

• 1914-1918 – Seven members of staff joined the Armed Forces and and served their country in the First World War. Sadly one colleague, Septimus Waugh, who rose to the rank of Seargent in the 9th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, died of wounds sustained in battle in Flanders on June 7th, 1917.

• 1919-1938 – The inter-war period saw the branch continue to thrive and expanded from eight to ten members of staff.

• 1938-1944 – The branch faced the strain of the Second World War with eight men enlisted to join the Armed Forces. Four temporary members of male staff and eight female employees were recruited to overcome this hurdle. Happily all members of staff returned from the war.

• 1971 – In May, following the introduction of new technologies during the previous decade, all of the accounts were computerised.

• 2019 – January 21st , HSBC UK celebrates its 125th anniversary at the Burnley branch.

Kate added: “During the early 1890s in branch services and the customer experience would have been significantly different to what it is like today. Opening hours coincided with local market days and the services available would be limited to business advice and small loans, receiving deposits, withdrawals authorisations and cashing cheques in, with all records paper-based and recorded in large ledgers.

Michelle Jackson, who has worked in the branch for 46 years said: “Banking has changed over the years, but we have remained in this fabulous old building at the bottom of Manchester Road.

"Some of our customers still remember all our beautiful woodwork inside the branch and although we no longer have the long branch counter, a lot of it still remains. We have customers who have banked with us for years and great characters amongst them. It’s a great branch to work in, we have a really good team. Long may it continue.”