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Historic Towcester - Jenkinson Bank
HSBC PlaqueHSBC Plaque
HSBC Bank Building in 1911HSBC Bank Building in 1911
HSBC Building in 2002HSBC Building in 2002
The first bank on the site of the present day HSBC was opened in 1781 when John Jenkinson moved his business to Towcester. The son of a former Rector of Passenham, John Jenkinson was a silk mercer, linen draper and wool stapler. As part of his business he opened a private bank from his draper's shop on market days. John Jenkinson bought the woollen "staple" from about four hundred farmers in the Northamptonshire district, and after grading it into 18 different qualities, sold it on to spinners, blanket makers and hosiery makers. This is known because he kept detailed ledgers.

Following his death in 1815 John Jenkinson's executors sold his bank to Percival's. Percival was in a similar line to Jenkinson, owning a draper and banking business based in the Drapery in Northampton. By 1837 John Percival Junior and Samuel Percival had merged several banks together, to form the Northamptonshire Union Bank.

The woollen business continued to be run by the Jenkinson family, the warehouse (now Livewire Security Systems Ltd.) being at the rear of the HSBC building. The part of the building used as a bank, then known as Wren House, High Street, Towcester, was sold for £1480 on 24th June 1919 by John Jenkinson (great grandson of the first John Jenkinson) to The London Joint City and Midland Bank Limited. The London Joint City and Midland Bank commissioned the architects Gotch and Saunders of Kettering to re-design the building for a commission fee of £730, and the building work was carried out in 1920-1921. The branch opened on 1st September 1921, under the Manager Robert Bruce and his assistant Reginald A.W.Wiggall.

In 1932 the London Joint City and Midland Bank Limited changed its name to the Midland Bank and this was acquired in July 1992 by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, now known as the HSBC.

Les Oxby, February 2002.
Note added in 2015

The HSBC branch was closed in mid 2015, bringing to an end 234 years of banking on this site.
  1. Information about John Jenkinson came from "Towcester - The Story of an English Country Town" published by the Towcester and District Local History Society 1995 (ISBN 0 9524619 1 9).
  2. Thanks also to Kevin Perryman of the HSBC Towcester and Jenny Mountain, Archives Assistant at HSBC Head Office, Group Archives Department.
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