On this day … 11 March 1816

Twelve Tellers pub, Preston
The former Preston Savings Bank on Church Street, now the Twelve Tellers pub

The Preston Savings Bank, which eventually built and occupied the building that is now home to the Twelve Tellers (pictured), opened for business in the National School in Avenham Lane, a location it outgrew within a few months. The bank prospered and needed to move several times to ever larger premises to accommodate the growing number of customers and the swelling value of savings deposited with it.

Twelve Tellers pub, Preston
1840s plan of Preston Savings Bank and Methodist chapel. National Library of Scotland: https://maps.nls.uk/view-full/231280356#zoom=7&lat=6321&lon=14004&layers=BT

Early in 1818, the fledging bank moved to 14, Chapel Street, the office of Joseph Bushell, the bank’s secretary, moving in 1830 to a rented property in Lune Street opposite the present St George’s shopping centre, where twelve years later it built a new bank (see 1840s plan). It next moved to Fishergate, buying and pulling down the old Preston Dispensary, to make way for a new bank (see the 1890s map).

Preston Savings Bank map
1890s plan of Preston Savings Bank and Methodist chapel. National Library of Scotland: Maps:

In 1889, Preston Methodists bought the bank’s old Lune Street property and converted it into a lecture hall, next to the present Central Methodist Church (see the 1890s map).

In July 1907, the bank moved to its new premises in Church Street, opposite the parish church. It boasted a 65-foot long counter, the work space for the twelve tellers that gave the Wetherspoons pub its name. In 1975 it became a TSB branch after its takeover.

When Samuel Smiles, the Victorian self-help guru, published his latest work, titled ‘Thrift’, in 1875, he singled out the savers of Preston for praise:

The inhabitants of Preston have exhibited a strong disposition to save their earnings during the last few years, more especially since the conclusion of the last great strike. There is no town in England, excepting perhaps Huddersfield, where the people have proved themselves so provident and so thrifty.

Fifty years ago, only one person in thirty of the population of Preston deposited money in the Savings Bank; twenty years ago, the depositors increased to one in eleven; and last year they had increased to one in five.

In 1834 the sum of a hundred and sixty-five thousand pounds had been accumulated in the Savings Bank by 5,942 depositors; and in 1874 four hundred and seventy-two thousand pounds had been accumulated by 14,792 depositors, out of a total population of 85,428.

Is there any other town or city that can show a more satisfactory result of the teaching, the experience, and the prosperity of the last twenty years?’

Hewitson’s History of Preston
Wetherspoons: https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/pub-histories/england/lancashire/the-twelve-tellers-preston
Samuel Smiles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Smiles

For a stack more images: https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=22711538%40N07&view_all=1&text=savings%20bank

One thought on “On this day … 11 March 1816

  1. A question on the Preston Historical Society Facebook edition asked if Preston Savings Bank was linked to the Preston Bank building on Lord Street in Southport – now HSBC. Apparently not – Leyland Historical Society’s website tells us that Preston Bank was founded in 1844 and also had branches in Blackpool, Fleetwood and Ormskirk. It became part of the Midland Bank in the 1890s.
    The Southport branch is a handsome building and well worth inspection – including a peek inside. It still has PRESTON BANK carved into its facade, as well as the crests of both Southport and Preston.

    Back to Preston Savings Bank, might there have been a link between the Savings Bank on Lune Street and the Methodist Church? Perhaps the owner of the land who was sympathetic to both?


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