Joy of Cranleigh – The Vanished Buildings – December 2019

Under its new name of Lloyd’s Bank Ltd, about 1925

Goodbye to Lloyd’s Bank

Sadly, the recent closure of Lloyd’s Bank follows a pattern with Cranleigh banks. The local branch of HSBC closed in 2016 and NatWest in 2018. Now Lloyd’s is departing too.

It is particularly sad for Cranleigh to lose Lloyd’s, which has stood on its corner site for about 120 years. The oldest bank, it is also one of the longest-lived Cranleigh High Street businesses of any kind, and Bank Buildings loses the bank after which it was named.

The Capital & Counties Bank on a postcard post-marked 1909 (courtesy of Roy Pobgee)

After the Great Barn which straddled the end of the Common had been demolished, the smart modern block of shops known as Bank Buildings was put up during the 1890s. The bank opened around 1900 and was then known as ‘The Capital & Counties Bank’. Based in Winchester, this was a grouping of Wiltshire and Hampshire banks, together with one in London.

By 1910 the bank was joined on the opposite side of Rowland Road by the London & County Bank, who opened in the fine building there. Very soon this became the London, County & Westminster Bank, and by 1918 it was the London, County, Westminster & Parr’s Bank.

A cheque of 1909

Unfortunately, the Capital & Counties Bank went into liquidation in 1918. It was rescued and taken over by Lloyd’s Bank, which has traditionally been known as the ‘Farmers’ Bank’, so this was an appropriate acquisition. Its rival, over the road, simplified its cumbersome name to the Westminster Bank by 1924.

Throughout the 1930s, these two were unchallenged in Cranleigh. Both of them were open 10.00am to 3.00pm every weekday, and 9.00 to 12.00 on Saturdays.

The pair of banks facing each other across Rowland Road, with their original names, around 1910

The bank managers tended to stay in post for many years and played an active part in village life. Mr J. D. W. Jordan, manager of Lloyd’s Bank for more than 20 years when he retired in 1947, had been honorary treasurer of more than a dozen local organisations. He also served on the Parochial Church Council during the Second World War, and became a churchwarden after retiring. Mr Cook, who retired from Lloyd’s in 1948, had been Hon. Treasurer of the parish church, and received a special presentation. Donations to the Cranleigh ‘Christmas Cheer Fund’ were organised through Lloyd’s from 1939 to 1973, and St Nicolas parish church has had its account there for at least 40 years, and probably much longer.

Barclay’s Bank opened in Cranleigh in the 1940s. After Stocklund Square had been built in 1966-9, the Westminster Bank moved there, changing its name once again to NatWest in 1970, when it merged with the National Provincial Bank. About this time, the Midland (later HSBC) started up here.

Lloyd’s Bank in the 1990s (painting by Nick Galpin)

A newly-acquired, red setter puppy belonging to a local Cranleigh couple made her contribution to the Lloyd’s Bank history in 2005, when, out on a country walk and new to the surrounding area, she uncontrollably took off at high speed from the Cranleigh Prep School playing fields and ignored all commands to come back. Eventually, slowing down near Bank Buildings, the lost dog paused outside Lloyd’s, the automatic doors opened, and in she went!

Having lost all hope of finding her, the worried couple returned home, to find an answer message on their phone, saying, ‘We happen to have your dog here’…The animal- friendly bank staff having rounded the dog up saw the funny side of their new customer and kindly deposited ‘Poppy’ at Brookmead Vets, where she was reunited with her relieved owners!

A former bank customer

The bank survived an attempt to remove its cash point during a night raid in September 2012. Unfortunately for the raiders, their attack at 5.00am was too late, as by then a baker was starting work at Celebration Cakes in the High Street and raised the alarm.

Happy memories, Lloyd’s! We are sorry to see you go.

Restoring Lloyd’s cash point after an attempted ram raid in September 2012

The Cranleigh History Society meets on the second Thursday of each month at 8.00pm in the Band Room. The next meeting will be on Thursday December 12th, when Michael Miller will be speaking on ‘More from the Archives – Clubs and Societies’. Festive drinks from 7.30.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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