Webpage created: May 15, 2020
Webpage updated: May 15, 2020
WILTS AND DORSET BANKING COMPANY
Although the Wilts and Dorset Banking Company had been founded in 1835, it did not open a branch in Plymouth until 1885. The original location was at 57 George Street but on May 16th 1888 the Company bought Harvey's Hotel in Lockyer Street, which it converted into new Bank Chambers
This new building received many compliments at the time and the architect, Mr G M Silley, of 17 Craven Street, The Strand, London, was congratulated on how he had 'successfully overcome the difficulties presented by the site'. Constructed on a base of granite, the richly-ornamented frontage was of Bath stone with Portland stone capitals to the fluted pillars around the doors. This design was continued to the first floor but the second floor was square in shape and set back from the curved line. The total height of the front to the top of the gable was 55 feet 6 inches.
There were two inscriptions on the massive pediment: "Established Anno Domini MDCCCXXXV" and "Wilts and Dorset Bank".
The main door of the Bank was exactly opposite Derry's Clock. This led in to a walnut panelled curved lobby, with a domed top. The entrance for the manager and clerks was in Lockyer Street. The banking hall measured 40 feet by 35 feet, with a height of 20 feet to the panelled ceiling. Walnut panelling ran around the hall up to the dado rail. Light was provided by three large windows. The manager's office was on the side next to the Lockyer Hotel.
In the basement were a large and a small strong room and various offices. On the first floor were five rooms and ton the second floor four rooms, all of which would be for residential use, access to which was by means of a stone staircase from the door nearest to the Hotel.
The contractor was Mr George Shellabear of Mutley, Plymouth, and he had made the Bank thoroughly fire-proof by using iron girders and two feet of masonry between the ground and first floors. His clerk of works was a Mr Donovan. It was anticipated that the new building would be completed by Christmas 1889.
In 1897 the Bank was drawing on the London and Westminster Bank Limited.
The Wilts and Dorset Banking Company Limited was acquired by Lloyd's Bank Limited in 1914.