The Leighton Buzzard branch of HSBC UK has celebrated its 100th anniversary since the bank opened at 48 High Street in the city.

The branch, pictured below, which originally opened as part of Midland Bank, first opened on February 27, 1922. The iconic building was designed and built by architects Whinney, Son and Austin Hall. The firm designed several Midland Bank buildings in the south of England at this time, to help promote a cohesive and recognizable identity for the branch network.

The first branch manager of Leighton Buzzard was John Walton Gwyn Williams, formerly of Market Place, Selby. He was assisted by only one other member of staff, William Erwood Donovan, who was transferred from the Luton branch of the bank.

Colleagues at the Leighton Buzzard branch are celebrating 100 years of service to the city. (Credit HSBC UK)

Employees of the bank’s branch network playing an integral role in World War II, leaving their branches to join the war effort, the employment of women throughout the bank and during the war became currency current. Training centers were set up across the country to provide crash courses for female staff on the skills they would need to become cashiers, securities clerks and accountants.

By the end of the war, women almost exclusively occupied the cashier’s desks and performed work normally assigned to male staff members, such as securities, overseas work, and overseeing safes and rooms. strong.

Rimal Shah, who was Branch Manager at HSBC UK’s Leighton Buzzard Branch for 18 months and at HSBC for 17 years, said: “I am extremely proud to be leading the branch team at such a crucial time. Celebrating 100 years of opening the branch in this fantastic city gave us the opportunity to review some important historical events.

“We also had time to appreciate how our branch has adapted to rapidly changing consumer habits and technology over the years. While today the majority of our banking is one click where customers can keep a very close eye on their finances wherever they are in the world, they can still discuss our mortgage options and savings here in the branch. .

The Leighton Buzzard branch of HSBC UK, pictured in 1922 and also with colleagues outside in 2022 (Credit HSBC / HSBC Archives)

“We are very proud to be part of a branch that has been at the center of change in banking in the 21st century, but even more proud to continue to provide first class service to those at Leighton Buzzard who use the branch. “