Manchester Banking Halls

Banks & Banking Halls in Manchester

By the 1830s, Manchester was a self-evidently growing
metropolis with the needs of any great city in the making. In 1829 an
Act of Parliament had created its own Police Commissioners (hitherto
it had been part of the Salford force). The Reform Act of 1932 had created
2 Members of Parliament, and the Municipal Reform Act of 1835 had provided
for the election of borough councillors, aldermen and magistrates. In
1838, due largely to reforming pressure groups led by Richard
, Manchester was granted Municipal Borough status and included
the districts of Chorlton-on-Medlock, Hulme, Ardwick, Beswick and Cheetham.
It now had its own mayor and alderman.

Tha Athenaeum, Manchester, formerly Parr's BankSir Edward Lutyens' Midland Bank Building in King StreetLloyds Bank Head Office, King Street, ManchesterEagle Star House in Cross Street, Manchester
The Portico Library, formerly The Bank in Mosley Street, ManchesterThe Prudential Buildimng, King Street, ManchesterFormer Manchester & Salford Bank, ManchesterFormer Bank of England, King Street, Manchester
Top Left to Right: The Athenaeum, (formerly
Parrs Bank); HSBC Bank, King Street (formerly the Midland Bank); Lloyds
Bank, King Street; former Manchester & Salford Bank, now the Royal
Bank of Scotland, Mosley Street. Bottom: The Portico Library, now the
Bank, Mosley Street; Prudential Building, King Street; Eagle Star House,
Cross Street; Former Bank of England Branch Building, King Street.

The establishment of a ‘proper’ civic infrastructure,
the increasing profitability of the textiles and cotton industries,
and the large amounts of money that began to flow around the city prompted
an explosion in the setting up of banking facilities. Hitherto, cash
had been transported by coach to London banks, guarded by men carrying
blunderbusses, and prey to notorious highwaymen. By 1772, Arthur Heywood’s
Bank was already established in Manchester, and sometimes made use of
this method of cash transportation – more normally Manchester trading
depended on paper, IOUs and promissory notes. However, the first ‘true’
bank, (holding its own reserves of coins and notes) was the Bank of
Manchester, established in January 1829 on the corner of Brown Street
and Market Street. Later, in 1834, The Manchester & Liverpool District
Bank was established in Spring Gardens, others soon followed, and the
area of Spring Gardens, Fountain Street and King Street became the banking
centre of Manchester.

The Manchester Banks

The Former Bank of England Branch Building
King Street has been the banking centre of Manchester
for the best part of 2 centuries, and some of its finest Victorian buildings
are situated here. Number 82 has been through several transitions since
its early days as the Bank of England Branch which was designed by Sir
Charles Cockerell and built between 1845-46. Cockerell had been employed
as chief architect by the Bank of England and was also commissioned
to design branches in Liverpool and Bristol at that time. The top pediment
of this imposing building, pierced by a so-called “lunette”
window, spans three of the six huge attached columns of the facade.
The entrance leads through a tunnel vault into a large domed banking
hall. (See Also: “Who
Built Manchester?”

The Midland Bank, King Street/Spring Gardens
This massive Art Deco bank, clad in white stone,
is the major work of Sir Edward Lutyens in Manchester (his other being
the Cenotaph in St Peter’s Square). Lutyens had collaborated with engineers,
Whinney, Son & Austen Hall in its construction between 1933-35,
and surface carvings were local sculptor, J Ashton Floyd. Still known
by most Mancunians as the Midland Bank Building, it is now actually
a branch of HSBC (the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank of China). Successive
irregular “stages” are set back or stepped in keeping with
the ziggurat style popular in the period. The ground floor banking hall
has large arched windows on all four sides. (See Also: “Who
Built Manchester?”

Number 10 Norfolk Street
The former Palatine Bank at the corner with Brown
Street, was built by Briggs, Wolstenholme & Thornley in 1908 and
is a veritable pot pourri of architectural detail: circular corner towers,
giant colonnades, conical roofs, battlements and parapets – all built
in Portland stone. (See Also: “Who
Built Manchester?”

Parrs Bank / The Athenaeum
The former Parrs bank building was designed by
Charles Heathcote in 1902, is a superb example of Edwardian baroque
with some increasingly fashionable art nouveau detailing, particularly
in the wrought ironwork. Now a winebar-café known as the Athenaeum,
it is in red sandstone with an imposing corner entrance topped with
a dome. Probably one of Manchester’s most opulent banking halls, with
deep mahogany woodwork, green ceramic and marble walls, rich ceiling
plasterwork, stained glass windows and elegant Ionic columns.
(See Also: “Who Built

Prudential Assurance Building, King Street
Built between 1888-96 this distinctive red brick
and terra cotta building is a fine example of the work of Alfred
in Manchester (others of his buildings include Manchester
Town Hall
and Strangeways
). Successive modern refurbishment has somewhat destroyed
the frontal simplicity, which are now shop fronts. (See Also: “Who
Built Manchester?”

Lloyd’s Bank, King Street
Three of the four banks at the crossing of Cross
Street and King Street are the work of Charles Heathcote & Sons,
and the grand baroque Lloyd’s Bank is one of the the most imposing.
In a fine corner setting, this huge banking hall was completed in 1915
in highly ornamented Portland stone with exterior carvings and decorations
by Earp, Hobbs & Miller. It remains a main Lloyd’s Bank branch for
the city. (See Also: “Who
Built Manchester?”

Eagle Star House, Cross Street
Another Charles Heathcote design, this modest
Edwardian baroque building, completed in 1911, is possibly one of the
prettiest buildings in the banking district. It occupies an island site
with rounded corners. (See Also: “Who
Built Manchester?”

Number 25 St Ann’s Square
Designed by J E Gregan in 1848, for Benjamin Heywood’s Bank, and thought
to be one of the finest examples of palazzo style architecture in Manchester
City Centre, this building now belongs to the Royal Bank of Scotland
and occupies the dominant corner position with St Ann’s Street facing
St Ann’s Church.. The ground floor is rusticated and the windows are
all arched, first floor windows having triangular pediments and the
top floor with square windows in true Italianate style.

Old Bank Chambers
Corner of Old Bank Street, adjacent to the Royal Exchange Building now
Barclay’s Bank, formerly the Manchester Liners Building, a Portland
stone building designed by Harry S Fairhurst in 1925.
(See Also: “Who Built

Royal Bank of Scotland, Mosley

Set between York Street and Spring Gardens on Mosley Street, now the
Royal Bank of Scotland, this fine building was designed by Edward Walters
for the Manchester & Salford Bank in 1862. It was extended by Barker
& Ellis in the 1880s with further modern developments by Fairhurst
& Son in 1975.
(See Also: “Who Built

Portico Library / The Bank
Corner of Charlotte Street and Mosley Street, the old Portico Building,
latterly the Bank café-wine bar, built in 1802-06 by Thomas Harrison.
Manchester’s oldest Greek revival building. Its elegant loggia with
its classical triangular pediment and slender Ionic columns has dominated
Mosely Street for nearly 2 centuries and has long been a centre for
academics. The library is now separated upstairs by the inclusion of
a later galleryed first floor.
(See Also: “Who Built

Sources: See Bibliography
– Books about Manchester

See Also:

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© John Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom – all rights reserved.
This page last updated 21 Jan 13.