Southampton’s first bank was opened by a consortium of businessmen in the 1770s. Originally called the Hampshire Bank, it was renamed the Southampton and Hampshire Bank in 1803. Its premises were at 25 High Street. By 1814 the wealthy Atherley family had become controlling partners in the bank, which hereafter was successively called Highgrove and Atherley; Atherley and Co; Atherley and Fall; and Atherley, Fall and Atherley. In 1863 William Erasmus Darwin, son of the famous naturalist, joined the firm which was then styled Southampton and Hampshire Bank (Messrs. Atherley and Darwin).

In 1869 the bank merged with their local rivals Maddison, Pearce and Hankinson of 172 High Street to form the Union Banking Co. This later bank also had origins in the 18th century when it traded as Edwards, Harrison, Simpson, and Maddison. The two Martin Maddisons, uncle and nephew, were the early controlling influence in this bank. They lived in Castle Square (Maddison Street was named after them), with a sizeable ‘pleasure ground’ attached to their property there. The bank was restyled the Southampton Commercial Bank in 1803 and it too went through many changes in name and personnel before merging with the Southampton and Hampshire Bank in 1869. In 1903 the Union Banking Company was incorporated into Lloyd’s Bank.

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