Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 18, 2019
Webpage updated: May 16, 2020




Although the Savings Bank movement had been started in 1810 it took another 27 years before the people of Plymouth saw the benefits.  That was when the Mayor and 50 of the Town's leading citizens petitioned the trustees of the Union Savings Bank to open a branch in Plymouth.  The answer was rather unexpected - they declined, on the basis that it would be far better for Plymouth to have its own Bank.  In March 1837 a public meeting was held in the Guildhall in Whimple Street to promote such an enterprise and a committee was formed to work with the Union Savings Bank.  The Earl of Morley became the patron and his son, then Lord Boringdon, was appointed secretary.

Premises were first secured at the corner of Cornwall Street and Frankfort Street but the Bank soon moved to number 7 Frankfort Street.  In 1860 they moved again, into larger premises at 40 Whimple Street, on the corner with Buckwell Street.

A 'Special Investment Department' was opened in 1909 in which deposits of up to 500 would receive interest at 2% per annum.  Ordinary account deposits could be made from one shilling to 50 in one year and would attract interest of 2% a year.  The maximum withdrawal on demand was 30.

A programme of expansion was started in 1923 and many new branches were opened.

In 1934, the Bank moved in to the old National Provincial Bank's premises on the ground floor of the Prudential Building, facing up Bedford Street.

The Bank remained in business right through the Second World War although the buildings around it were reduced to huge piles of rubble.

With the Prudential Building getting in the way of a new City Centre, and demolition about to start, in 1951 the Plymouth and South Devon Savings Bank moved into two temporary Nissen huts in York Street.  A site at Derry's Cross was then secured for its new head office but there was a national shortage of steel and construction was delayed.  It was finally opened by Lord Mackintosh of Halifax, the national leader of the savings movement, on Tuesday April 24th 1956.

The 1950s were a time of rationalisation and the National Debt Office suggested that the Plymouth, Union and Cornish savings banks should be merged into one, the Plymouth, Devonport and Cornwall Trustee Savings Bank.