100 not out - Fakenham bank celebrates century in original home

Anita Allen, right, back office clerk, and Dana Thurston, cashier, celebrate HSBC's 100th birthday i

Anita Allen, right, back office clerk, and Dana Thurston, cashier, celebrate HSBC's 100th birthday in this building in Fakenham. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

The Fakenham branch of HSBC has proven it is somewhere you can bank on after 100 years in the town.

The branch celebrated a century since it first opened the doors for business at 36 Market Place back in January 1922.

Formally known as Midlands Bank, it has remained in its iconic building since that first day of trading, which was designed and constructed by the architects Whinney, Son and Austen Hall.

The firm designed several Midland Bank buildings in southern England at this time, to help promote a consistent and recognisable identity for the branch network.

The Midland Bank in Fakenham, 9 November 1981. Picture: Archant Library

The Midland Bank in Fakenham, 9 November 1981. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

The first manager of the Fakenham branch was Mr Herbert Lord, formerly the accountant at the bank’s branch in Norwich. Mr Lord was initially assisted by only one other member of staff, Frederick Mee.

Six employees from the Fakenham branch played part in the Second World War, leaving the bank to join the war effort, employing female members of staff across the bank and over the course of the war became commonplace.

Midland Bank, Fakenham. Date: Dec 1981

The Midland Bank, in Fakenham's Market Place December 1981. - Credit: Archant Library

By the end of the war, women were almost exclusively manning the cashier’s desks and were undertaking work normally assigned to male members of staff, such as securities, foreign work and overseeing the safes and strongrooms.

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Nowadays, the Fakenham branch is managed by Victoria Tanner, who has been in her role for the past nine months, having been with the bank for the past eight years.

HSBC celebrates its 100th birthday in this building in Fakenham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

HSBC celebrates its 100th birthday in this building in Fakenham. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

"I am extremely proud to be leading the branch team at such a momentous time.

"Celebrating 100 years of the branch being open in this fantastic town has given us the opportunity to review some important historic events," she said.

“We have also had time to appreciate how our branch has adapted to rapidly changing consumer habits and technology over the years.

Anita Allen, right, back office clerk, and Dana Thurston, cashier, celebrate HSBC's 100th birthday i

Anita Allen, right, back office clerk, and Dana Thurston, cashier, celebrate HSBC's 100th birthday in this building in Fakenham. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

“While today, the majority of our banking is done with a click of a button, where customers can keep a very close eye on their finances wherever they are in the world, they are still able to discuss our mortgage and savings options here in the branch.

“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 Fakenham who use the branch.”