Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 17, 2019
Webpage updated: February 17, 2019




The Naval Bank was started in 1774 as Messrs Harris, Turner, Harris and Herbert.  It was saved from the banking crisis of 1825 by the loyalty of the local nobility and tradesmen.  On Wednesday October 5th 1825 the Bank published a notice of thanks for their confidence and kindness.

Such was the general panic, however, that on Saturday November 26th 1825 another notice of reassurance appeared:  'On the arrival of their supplies from London, they are perfectly able to liquidate every demand that can be made on them, without selling an acre of their Landed Property.....'.

However, the amount of coins supplied by the London banks still did not satisfy demands.  Business in the Three Towns came to a standstill when the tradesmen found they could not get hold of enough cash to pay the wages on Saturday evening.

Bank of England notes were issued again on Christmas Eve 1825, although they were dated 1818 because the Bank had found a 'small' parcel of 500,000 which had been stored and forgotten when the notes had been withdrawn.

 The Plymouth Branch of the Naval Bank, on the corner of Whimple Street and Kinterbury Street.

The Plymouth Branch of the Naval Bank, on the corner
of Whimple Street and Kinterbury Street.

In 1830 the Bank is listed as Messrs Harris, Rosdew and Company and it was open from 10am until 4pm.  In 1850 it was Messrs Harris, Mudge and Company, and was located at 32 Whimple Street, Plymouth.  Following the death of Mr John Harris, of Radford, Plymstock, Mr Thomas Hillersden Bulteel was appointed a partner in 1841.  He was followed by his son, Mr Thomas Bulteel, some years later.

A branch was opened at 18/19 Edgcumbe Street, East Stonehouse, during the 1880s and further expansion took place during the 1890s with new branches at 5 Belgrave Terrace, Mutley Plain, and the Ridgway, Plympton.   By 1905 the Naval Bank had a branch at 98 Fore Street, Devonport.

By the start of the Great War the partnership was Messrs Harris, Bulteel and Company although the actual, named partners were Mr Frederick Thomas Bulteel and Mr Mackworth Parker.  The financial pressures brought about by the declaration of War caused the Bank to stop payments at close of business on Saturday August 22nd 1914.

Lloyd's Bank Limited were quick off the mark and announced to all the customers of the Naval Bank that: 'We shall be happy to make immediate advances, without interest, to credit customers of the firm up to five shillings in the in respect of their balances, and to give all possible consideration to applications from customers who desire that facilities for over-drawn accounts should be continued.'