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Tall Tales at Stowe

Banked Corner

Market Square bank  winslowWinslow’s Victorian bank is up for sale. The chimney at rear right has been capped off and had its pots removed; you might just be able to see the vents inserted near the top. At top right of the photo, No. 21’s roof extends out from its rebuilt wall, and you can see the edge of the date plaque.

There’s been a bank here in Winslow’s Market Square for 180 years, but now the building, the last remaining bank in Winslow, is closed and up for sale. Here’s its timeline.

The Bartlett, Parrott and Co. bank opens at 19 Market Square. This was in the old, probably 17th Century building that stood on part of the site where the Victorian bank is now.

Winslow is a good place to put a bank; it’s a market town, on a turnpike that’s part of a direct route between London and the West Midlands and Wales, bringing passing trade.

The post office is next door, another link with the rest of the country; communication was as important then as it is now.

Usefully, the new bank can be seen across the square from the front door of the Bell, the coaching inn we know today as the Bell Hotel. Some say the bank opened in 1844 not 1841, but it’s 1841 that is carved into the front of the bank.

The Market Hall on the square which might have blocked that view had been knocked down the year before.

Bank dates  Winslow Market SquareOn the front face of the bank and right at the top are the year the bank came to Winslow and the year the new bank was built, though the bank didn’t open until early 1892.

Winslow railway station opens, connecting Winslow by rail to most of the rest of mainland Britain via the Oxford to Cambridge, or Varsity Line.

The Bartlett, Parrott and Co. bank is taken over and absorbed into the Bucks & Oxon Union Bank.

The bank reopens as the Bucks & Oxon Union Bank.

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In December the bank moves across the square to 4 High Street, until the old bank and the building next door (W.H. Stevens, Tailor) are demolished and the new bank is built.

As part of the works, the end wall of 21 Market Square adjoining the old bank has to be renovated.

I take this to mean that the end wall of the old bank and of No. 21 were linked together, and work had to be done to ensure the end wall of No. 21 was self supporting once the old bank had gone.

What seems to be its roof line extends out from the end wall of No. 21 and this would have been done to make the building stable. There’s a date plaque; 1891. The house is older than it looks, as it was refronted in the 18th Century.

Victorian chimneysChimneys at the West end of the bank. The nearest one’s been capped off and vents added to keep it aired.

In February the Bucks & Oxon Union Bank moves into the new building, though it isn’t quite finished. It’s a fine example of a Classical Renaissance design; quite restrained for a Victorian building.

There’s a monogram with the initials of the bank set in the side of the building, just round from the front door. Above the two pairs of windows on the top floor is a sort of false gable end, with the dates 1841 and 1891.

The building combines the bank with a bank manager’s house. The brickwork is done to a high standard and the whole is nicely proportioned; it doesn’t look out of place even though it is the largest single building on the square.

Bucks & Oxon Union Bank monogramThe monogram of the Bucks & Oxon Union Bank Ltd; but the ’t’ of Ltd has been omitted, perhaps to improve clarity. You can also see the monogram in the first photo.

The post office moves from next door to 66 High Street.

The Bucks & Oxon Union Bank is taken over and the bank becomes a Lloyd’s.

The St Lawrence Room is built next door on the site of the old post office building, which had been demolished a couple of years earlier.

Rear of old bank  WinslowThe rear face of the bank is very nearly symmetrical, with just a small single story covered way at the far end.

Lloyds bank is absorbed into the TSB group.

The bank reopens as a Lloyds TSB.

In September, the bank reopens as a TSB. Lloyds and TSB are once again separate banks.

On 21st April Winslow's TSB bank closes after a campaign by local residents to keep it open. The 130 year old building is up for sale at £500,000.

180 years after the Bartlett, Parrott and Co. Bank came to Winslow, there is again not one bank in the town.

Bank doorwayAbove the front entrance, the square’s Christmas lights have already been put up.

More photos of this fine building next week; I couldn't fit them all in today.

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