A Stony Bank
Bridge Out

The Full Story

Mid 18th Century bank building

The Monday Photo

Yep, it’s another bank. I seem to be having a run on the banks recently. : )

But today we are just going to look at the building, not the history of the bank inside it. This is the NatWest bank at 80 High Street, Stony Stratford, now the only bank in the town since the Lloyds bank closed in September last year.

Unlike Lloyd’s across the road, 80 High Street was not built as a bank. It became the London and County bank around 100 years later, in the mid 19th Century.

Now Let’s Have a Good Look

There’s three columns in the foreground of today’s photo. The nearest one is at the end of a shop front, today an estate agent’s at 82 High Street. It’s paired with another column at the other end of their frontage.

The second and third columns flank the entrance to the bank. The columns are all the same design; that’s because this is one building.

But if you look up at the first and second floors, although the general design is the same there are differences between Nos. 80 and 82.

What’s the same?

The cornice, supporting the edge of the roof, is exactly the same. It continues without a break along No. 78 though that’s certainly a separate building; both are mid 18th Century. Were they once owned by the same people?

The sash windows are all at the same level throughout, suggesting that the floors in 80 and 82 match in height.

What’s different?

The columns in number 82 are set a little lower than the ones on the bank. I can’t see a structural reason for this.

But although the windows all share a similar design, the first floor windows above the estate agent’s are four panes wide and high instead of the three panes wide and four high you can see above the bank.

The brick face of the building above ground level is all of flemish bond; bricks laid alternately lengthways and end on, but only above the bank are the headers, the bricks laid end on, a different sort of brick. They are dark blue and form a regular pattern.

But the pattern is jumbled on the first floor, as if the wall there had been carelessly rebuilt.

It’s a mystery; the quality of the brickwork is good, but why didn’t they bother to reproduce the pattern?

It seems to me that there was a deliberate attempt to subtly differentiate between Nos 80 and 82, with No. 80 being the fine town house and 82 the commercial premises, a little plainer and with slightly different windows.

It’s easy to miss little details like these, especially if you just look at the shop fronts and not the buildings behind them.

This is the first post of 2022, and I have a few plans for what I’d like to do with the North Bucks Wanderer this year. Watch this space.

I used a Sony A6000 and zoom just like this one for the photo in this post.

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