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
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.