Sunday, 7 June 2015

250 years of Lloyds Bank

Lloyds Bank: General history, and Lloyds in Loughborough

I popped into the Loughborough branch of Lloyds earlier this week to find staff pedalling away on a static bicycle. Intrigued, I enquired and discovered that Lloyds Bank is celebrating its 250th birthday this year, and staff were cycling to raise money for good causes. Well, having just written a couple of articles on banking in Loughborough during the nineteenth century, I thought this might be a good topic for a blog post, so I did a bit of research.

Lloyds Bank was created in 1765 as a private bank in Birmingham, by one John Taylor, a button maker, and the iron founder, Sampson Lloyd. Its original symbol, a beehive, was chosen as it represented hard work: the black horse, with which we are quite familiar these days, came much later in the bank’s history. This private bank operated in Birmingham for nearly a hundred years, before opening another branch not far from the city centre in 1864. To perhaps put this into a local context, the “Loughborough Bank” (originally founded by William Middleton) was created as a private bank in about 1790.

In 1865 Lloyds became a joint stock bank, and in 1884 it took over Barnett, Hoares and Co, and this is where the black horse logo came from. Over the years, Lloyds, like some of the other big banks, took over many of the smaller banks to become one of the Big Four banks that we know today, and the more recent history of Lloyds, the retail and commercial bank, is probably known to most of us.

After I’d done this research, I needed to pop back to the bank to conduct some more business, and I discovered they were giving away a set of postcards featuring important parts of the Lloyds Banking history: When I got these home, I discovered that most of what I had spent a couple of hours researching was actually included on the back of these cards!!!

Anyway, English Heritage (as it was called in 2008 when this article was written), had this to say about bank buildings:

“Late 19th century investment in bank buildings endowed many towns and cities with their finest commercial buildings, and their external architecture and interior fittings vied with the improved public houses and hotels in their architectural eclecticism and richness of ornamentation.”

This means that there are many, many good examples of bank architecture that have survived, in a variety of towns, particularly since the buildings were often constructed of good material, and made to last. But what of our local branch? It is located in a prominent position on the corner of Market Place and High Street, and has some, what seems to be fairly typical if English Heritage is to be believed, but nonetheless, interesting adornments.

I’m not sure when Lloyds first came to Loughborough, but the building which the bank now occupies on the corner of Market Place and High Street was built in 1907, to a design by, I believe, Arthur Ernest King, an architect working in Loughborough at the time. A E King, as he is usually known, was born in, and died in Mansfield, and did indeed live most of his life in Mansfield, but on the 1901 census he was living with his wife, Isobel, and daughter Dorothy in Ling Road, off Park Road in Loughborough, and was listed as a civil engineer’s assistant. He was also responsible for the design of the NatWest Bank in the Bullring, Shepshed (now a dental practice, I believe).

The Lloyds building in Loughborough has been enlarged on each side, and until very recently the entrance was on the High Street side. Rather fittingly, the entrance, which was in the centre of the building, making it rather symmetrical, has now been reinstated as the main entrance. The inside of the bank has changed quite dramatically since 1907, and very little ornamentation from that time has survived, which is evident when compared with this image of the inside of the branch of Lloyds on High Street in Leicester. Outside is, however, a different story.

The building is constructed of red brickwork (probably made by a local brickmaker, like Tucker), and is decorated with Hathernware terracotta. Above the entrance there is a parapet upon which are terracotta urns, carved dolphins and an allegorical female figure. In one hand the figure is holding a scroll, in the other a moneybag. Well, actually, as late as 2008 she was holding a moneybag, but more recently it would appear that sadly she has lost both the bag and the lower part of her arm.

The English Heritage assessment concluded that the building was not worthy of listing, however, it has made it to the Charnwood Borough Council listing, making it a locally listed building, meaning it is a building of local historic or architectural interest, and has been acknowledged for its contribution to the local environment.
The postcards:


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