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  • Its elaborate and rich design was to inspire confidence in its depositors
  • Designed by prominent Leicester architect Joseph Goddard
  • Had fireproof corridors and rooms in the basement for the safe storage of valuables

Former Midland Bank, Granby Street

The Grade II* listed building dates from the early 1870s. It was commissioned by the Leicestershire Banking Company to replace its existing premises in Granby Street, by then ‘totally inadequate for carrying on the increasing business of the bank’. It was designed by the prominent Leicester architect Joseph Goddard in French Gothic Revival style, in striking contrast to the Italianate design of the National Provincial Bank opened nearby a few years earlier. The carved details on the exterior are the work of the local stonemason Samuel Barfield, who was also responsible for the figures on the Clock Tower.

Leicester bank co 02
The impressive building in 2018

What does it tell us about banking in the 19th century?

Banks played a crucial role in the growth of trade and industry in the 19th century, issuing banknotes, transferring payments and providing opportunities for investment. Most were local banks with limited assets, vulnerable to the collapse of businesses to which they had loaned money, or the rumour and panic that caused investors to withdraw their funds. The elaborate design of the Leicestershire Bank, both inside and outside, was intended to inspire confidence in depositors, while fire-proof corridors and rooms with safes in the basement ensured the physical safety of ‘any quantity of valuable property confided to the care of the Company’.

What happened to the building later?

By the end of the 19th century local banks were unable to offer the same levels of security and credit as national concerns, and were faced with losing business or amalgamating with larger institutions. At the turn of the century, despite ‘great regret from a sentimental point of view’, the Leicestershire Bank followed the example of similar banks elsewhere and merged with the London City and Midland Bank. The building itself later became a branch of the Midland Bank, and then of HSBC. After being vacant for some time it was bought by a local family and donated to a Hare Krishna temple.

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Can be seen from the street


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.

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.

Victorian Leicester

(1837 – 1901) The industrial revolution had a huge effect on Leicester resulting in the population growing from 40,000 to 212,000 during this period. Many of Leicester's most iconic buildings were erected during this time as wealthy Victorians made their mark on the town.

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.

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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