Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: January 22, 2019
Webpage updated: December 19, 2021




Barclay's Bank traces its origins back to 1690 when Mr John Freame and Mr Thomas Gould became goldsmiths in Lombard Street, London.  In those days goldsmiths provided money to anybody from the King to the small merchant.  One of John Freame's daughters, Miss Sarah Freeme, married Mr James Barclay and he became a partner in 1736.

It was family connections that provided the next stage of development.  Many respected members of the business fraternity in the 18th century were Quakers by religion and so it was with the Barclay family.  Twenty of them formed a new joint stock banking company in 1896, under the name of Barclay and Company.

It got off to an excellent start, having 182 branches when it was formed, mainly in the East and South East of England.  Barclay and Company entered Plymouth in 1905 by taking over Messrs Bolitho, Williams, Foster, Coode, Grylls and Company, otherwise known as the Consolidated Bank of Cornwall.  Thus they gained branches at 19 Princess Square, Plymouth, and 73 Fore Street, Devonport.

The Company became Messrs Barclay's Bank Limited in 1917.

By 1939 there were additional branches at 18 Edgcumbe Street, East Stonehouse, and at 48 Mutley Plain, while the Princess Square branch had expanded into next door.

While the Princess Square branch was destroyed, both the Fore Street and Mutley Plain branches survived the Second World War.  In 1951 a new branch was opened at 103 Victoria Road, Saint Budeaux.

The post-war reconstruction brought a new head office for Plymouth at the Barclay's Bank Chambers, roughly on the site of their old offices in Princess Square.  Designed by Messrs W Curtis Green RA, Son and Lloyd of Saint James Street, London, and built by Messrs John Garrett and Sons Limited of Plymouth, the new 73 feet long banking hall with its Purbeck marble floor was opened on Friday October 10th 1952.  It had a carved figure of Drake over the south entrance and a carving of a modern fire-watcher over the north door.

This striking, white building also contained the Westcountry's first safe-deposit system, with 480 boxes.  The building was constructed in two phases, the first costing 83,000, so it was not completed until 1957.

Two more branches were opened, at 162-164 Armada Way, also built by Messrs John Garrett and Son Ltd, in April 1959 and at 11 Market Avenue on March 9th 1964.

In 1969 the Martin's Bank Ltd network was acquired and in 2000 a similar fate occurred to Woolwich PLC (formerly the Woolwich Building Society).

The Barclay's Bank branch on Mutley Plain closed down on Friday June 23rd 2017.

Plymouth's main Barclay's Bank is now at 141 to 146 Armada Way.