From the Preston Bank Company to HSBC – 175 years on Fishergate for city bank

Posted on - 26th June, 2019 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, History, Nostalgia, Preston City Centre, Preston News
The old Midland Bank building in Fishergate in the 1960s
The old Midland Bank building in Fishergate in the 1960s

A city bank has marked 175 years in Preston.


Known originally as the Preston Bank Company and standing at 40 Fishergate, HSBC has traced its history back.

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Now part of the global banking group on 24 June 1844 a small team led by Henry Graves opened the bank.

Graves was described as ‘an Irish gentleman of portly and commanding address’ who had an annual salary of £500.

Cashir John Gilot was recruited and became the branch manager when Henry Graves died.


By 1866 the bank employed 22 people due to the high level of demand, and the bank expanded although it was restricted by its Royal Charter which said it could not open branches further than 40 miles from its head office in Fishergate.

It became part of Midland Bank (which ultimately became HSBC).

Staying at 40 Fishergate the building was extended and stayed home to HSBC until it moved a few doors down to 49A Fishergate.

Read more: The Preston shops you wish still existed

Sainsbury’s is now in what was HSBC.

The bank in conflict

Employees at Preston Banking Company played a part in both World Wars.

41 members of staff joined the First World War effort.

One of them, Reginald George Pullen, rose to become Sergeant and was awarded the Military Cross after being wounded in the head during the Battle of the Somme.

Humprey Marsden and John Noblet were killed in action in 26 October 1917 and 11 October 1918. Both of the men served in the Fourth Batallion of the Loyal North Lancaster Regiment.

In the Second World War, 23 members of staff enlisted and all returned safely. Including one female member of staff, Mrs V Yates who joined in October 1943.

Read more: Remembering when Preston had its own bank

What HSBC had to say

(L-R) HSBC UK Area Director, Rachel Miller; Branch Manager Ryan Longhorn; Senior Service Manager Tracey Lundy, plus long-time staff members Elaine, Jeremy and Louise.
(L-R) HSBC UK Area Director, Rachel Miller; Branch Manager Ryan Longhorn; Senior Service Manager Tracey Lundy, plus long-time staff members Jeremy, Elaine and Louise.

Preston HSBC manager Ryan Longhorn said: “I am proud to be leading the branch team at such a momentous time. Celebrating 175 years in this fantastic city has given us the opportunity to appreciate how our branch has adapted to rapidly changing consumer habits and technology over the years.

“During the early 1890’s in-branch services and the customer experience would have been significantly different to what it is like today. Opening hours coincided with local market days and the services available would be limited to business advice and small loans, receiving deposits, withdrawals authorisations and cashing cheques in, with all records paper-based and recorded in large ledgers.
“While today, the majority of our banking is done with a click of a button, where customers can keep a very close eye on their finances wherever they are in the world, they are still able to discuss our mortgage and savings options here in the branch. We are very proud to be part of a branch which has been at the centre of change in banking in the 21st century, but even more proud to continue to be providing a first class service for those in Preston who use the branch.”

A timeline of HSBC in Preston

1844 – In April the Preston Banking Company was founded by local merchants and industrialists who decided the city needed a joint stock bank
to service the needs of a booming cotton industry.

1844 – On 24 June the Preston Banking company opens its first branch at 40

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1894 – In June an agreement was signed by the Preston Banking Company to amalgamate with Midland Bank (now HSBC UK).

1914-1918 – Seventeen men from the branch joined the Armed Forces and
served their country in the First World War. Sadly, Humphrey Marsden and John Noblet were killed in action in France.

1939-1945 – The branch faced the strain of the Second World War with twenty-four members of staff leaving the branch to contribute to the war effort, including, unusually, a female member of staff Ms V. Yates. Fortunately all
returned safely.

2008 – On 2 May the branch moved to new premises at 49a Fishergate,

2019 – HSBC UK celebrates its 175th anniversary at the Preston Fishergate branch.

Read more: How Preston wants to be the centre for a new North West community bank

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