Management and publicity records of the Leeds, Skyrac and Morley Savings Bank.
Leeds, Skyrac and Morley Savings Bank records
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
The first recorded move towards establishing a savings bank in Leeds occurred with a public meeting in January 1818 at the Court House, Park Row, Leeds. The meeting was presided over by the Mayor and it was resolved that a savings bank should be established immediately. A group of trustees was established consisting of prominent gentlemen of the surrounding area. The first trustees included the Earls of Harewood and Fitzwilliam, as well as the two local MPs. The savings bank was established with remarkable haste, and first opened its doors to business on 14th February 1818, little over a month after the meeting that called for its establishment. The bank's first premises were on the aptly named Bank Street, Leeds.
The public enthusiasm for the savings bank was made evident by the fact that, after just five years of operation, the bank had over 2,000 account holders and held deposits of over £200,000. Such was the growth in business, by the 1830s new premises had to be sought. 1834 saw the bank begin to build new premises in Bond Street, Leeds. Once completed, these premises would soon replace the Bank Street site as the savings bank's head office.
Accounts and deposits continued to grow throughout the 19th century. By the 1870s the tempo of the bank's development hastened. 1875 saw the bank's first branch opened, with another office following the next year. The bank expanded into the growing suburbs of Leeds, branches were opened to cope with the increased population of low earning workers, the type of people the TSBs hoped to persuade to begin saving. By the 20th century the bank had approaching 35,000 accounts and deposits of over £1.25 million.
The bank responded to the challenges of the First World War by hiring their first female clerks to replace the men who had been called up to fight. The bank even opened a new office near the barracks at Colsterdale, so that they would be better placed to serve the needs of the large numbers of soldiers encamped there.
The inter-war years were a struggle for the bank who, like the rest of the country had to cope with sustained periods of economic gloom. Yet the manner in which the bank adjusted to its difficult economic surroundings managed to attain the praise of the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Winston Churchill. Churchill wrote to the trustees following the general strike in 1926 to pass on his 'congratulations on the success which has attended its work…under the industrial conditions which have prevailed.'
The post-war era saw the bank expand its reach across the region still further. In the 20 years since the end of the war the bank opened a further nine offices as well as carrying out a widespread branch refurbishment and rebuilding plan. One of these new offices, at Seacroft, was formally opened by the Queen in October 1965.
A larger TSB Group
The TSB Act of 1975, meant that the bank was subsumed into the new regional structure of TSBs. The bank would form part of the TSB Yorkshire & Lincoln.
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