ONE of the world's biggest banks has celebrated the 125th birthday of one of its oldest branches in Prestatyn.

The HSBC branch on the High Street originally opened as part of the North and South Wales Bank and formally opened its doors in August 1894.

Located on the High Street, the branch opened with a small team led by branch manager Hugh Hughes, who had worked at the bank’s head office and in other branches since 1873, and continued in his role at the Prestatyn branch until 1922.

Rhyl Journal:

Current and former members of staff celebrate the milestone

Current branch manager Nicola Sheehan said: “I am proud to be leading the branch team at such a momentous time.

The branch originally opened as part of the North and South Wales Bank and formally opened its doors in August 1894, before being acquired by Midland Bank 14 years later.

Ms Sheehan added: “During the early 1890’s in-branch services and the customer experience in Prestatyn would have been significantly different to what it is like today. Opening hours coincided with local market days and the services available would be limited to business advice and small loans, receiving deposits, withdrawals authorisations and cashing cheques in, with all records paper-based and recorded in large ledgers."

Rhyl Journal:

Linda Thomas, 32 years service, and Linda Wistow Hughes, 22 years, cutting the cake

The branch has a fascinating history that includes employees playing a full part in both World Wars, with members of staff joining the war effort.

The Prestatyn branch was part of an expansion outside of the Midlands in the 1890s which saw the branch network grow from 45 in number to more than 300 at the turn of the century.

During the First World War over 4,000 men from Midland Bank left their posts to join Her Majesty’s forces. John Jones and Ivor Morgan joined the war effort from the Prestatyn branch to serve their country. Ivor Morgan returned to the branch safely, however, sadly this was not the case for John Jones who was killed in action in France.

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The War Card of John Jones who died in action in France in the First World War. Picture: HSBC Archives

The Second World War saw seven branch employees enlist with the armed forces. Happily, bank records suggest all men who left the branch and survived, with most of them returning to their jobs in 1946.

In one of the largest acquisitions in banking history, the Midland bank then became part of the HSBC Group in 1992 before being rename in 1999.

Rhyl Journal:

Prestatyn HSBC celebrating 125 years

Mrs Sheehan said: “We are very proud to be part of a branch which has been at the centre of change in banking in the 21st century, but even more proud to continue to be providing a first class service for those in Prestatyn who use the branch.”