• Was used as a bank by the National Westminster until 1990
  • Built on land that formed part of the Grey Friars complex, where Richard III was buried
  • There has been a bank on this site since 1800

The most elegant bank in Leicester

The land this bank was built on formed part of the garden of Grey Friars House, which was owned by Thomas Pares (1746-1824). Originally this would have formed part of the Grey Friars’ Friary complex, now best known as the burial place of King Richard III.

The changing fortunes of Pares & Co

The first bank on this site, Pares & Co., was established in 1800 by partners Thomas Pares, Thomas Paget, John Pares and James Heygate, who had connections through the Leicester hosiery trade. Although it prospered initially, the bank fell into difficulties in 1830 when it emerged that James Heygate junior had been embezzling funds. The bank survived and by 1880 was known as Pares´s Leicestershire Banking Co. Ltd.

Pare’s Bank, Board Room, 1904. Historic England

Takeover

The present building is often said to be the most elegant bank in Leicester. It was designed by J.B. Everard & S. Perkins Pick for Pares´s Bank in 1901 but became Parr´s Bank (of Warrington and London) in 1902 following a takeover. It eventually became a branch of the National Westminster Bank until its closure in the 1990s.

The panels on either side of the frontage

The panels on either side of the main door on the front of the building are by Charles Allen and represent Agriculture (left) and Commerce (right). Look for a shepherd’s crook, an apple branch and a crown of wheat in Agriculture, and a sailing ship and women bearing raw materials in Commerce.

The building is home to a restaurant, Middletons Steakhouse & Grill, find out how to visit.

Visitor information
Public access inside (restaurant)

Gallery

Roman Leicester

(47- 500) A military fort was erected, attracting traders and a growing civilian community to Leicester (known as Ratae Corieltauvorum to the Romans). The town steadily grew throughout the reign of the Romans.

Medieval Leicester

(500 – 1500) The early years of this period was one of unrest with Saxon, Danes and Norman invaders having their influences over the town. Later, of course, came Richard III and the final battle of the Wars of the Roses was fought on Leicester’s doorstep.

Tudor & Stuart Leicester

(1500 – 1700) The wool trade flourished in Leicester with one local, a former mayor named William Wigston, making his fortune. During the English Civil War a bloody battle was fought as the forces of King Charles I laid siege to the town.

Georgian Leicester

(1700 – 1837) The knitting industry had really stared to take hold and Leicester was fast becoming the main centre of hosiery manufacture in Britain. This new prosperity was reflected throughout the town with broader, paved streets lined with elegant brick buildings and genteel residences.

Edwardian Leicester

(1901 – 1910) Electric trams came to the streets of Leicester and increased literacy among the citizens led to many becoming politicised. The famous 1905 ‘March of the Unemployed to London’ left from Leicester market when 30,000 people came to witness the historic event.

Early 20th Century Leicester

(1910 – 1973) The diverse industrial base meant Leicester was able to cope with the economic challenges of the 1920s and 1930s. New light engineering businesses, such as typewriter and scientific instrument making, complemented the more traditional industries of hosiery and footwear manufacturing.

Modern Leicester

(1973 – present day) Industry was still thriving in the city during the 1970s, with the work opportunities attracting many immigrants from all over the world. While industry has declined in recent years, excellent transport links have made Leicester an attractive centre for many businesses. The City now has much to be proud of including its sporting achievements and the richness of its cultural heritage and diversity.

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