The architecture of banking : a study of the design of British banks from the 18th century to modern times
The thesis examines the progress of bank design against the background of the evolution of the banking profession, its constitutional distinctions, and national architectural trends. Beginning with the Bank of England and the premises of London private bankers, the enquiry broadens to provincial private banking. Chapter Two discusses the buildings of early jointstock banks, showing that new banking companies had the experience of Scotland to turn to, where joint-stock banks had long been legal. In the 1840s, bankers and architects found the Italianate style increasingly appropriate. However, philanthropic savings banks, whose buildings are discussed in Chapter Three, often found Gothic or Tudor designs suitable. A dimension of parliamentary control, also arising from the banks' charitable status, allows a table to be attempted (as an Appendix) of all purpose-built savings banks by the end of 1852. A reorganization of banking, with London at its centre, began in the 1860s. The rebuilding which this entailed is described in Chapter Four. The same period saw the first of many hundreds of mergers and the beginning of national branch networks. It was also the time when the Gothic Revival had some direct influence on banking, particularly in the Midlands and North. Chapter Five treats of the confusion of styles around 1900, the first signs of environmental concern, the influence of aesthetic movements, and the gradual evolution of a 'Queen Anne' style, which was to develop into the safe neo-Georgian of the 1920s, a theme taken up in Chapter Six. A brief, harmonious interlude between the Wars is discussed in the context of informed, architectural criticism, led by C.H. Reilly. The period since 1945 is handled briefly in terms of the factors which channel the study of banking architecture into new areas.