Law Courts, London

Law Courts branch in London has seen many changes over its 132 year history.

As the name suggests, it stands opposite the Royal Courts of Justice, at 222 The Strand. The premises were built in 1883, as a restaurant, which unfortunately failed (twice) within a few years of opening. The building then stood empty until it was bought by Lloyds Bank in 1895.

The interior is renowned for its magnificent Doulton tiles, which commemorate the history of the site. It includes a portrait of the Palsgrave Frederick - the failed restaurant was named in his honour. Frederick, later King of Bohemia, was married to James I’s daughter, Eliza.

Law Courts, London branch, c.1960

The origins of the branch, however, go back much further. Twinings, the tea and coffee merchants established in 1706, decided to diversify into banking.

They set up an office just off The Strand, offering services mainly to family and friends. It wasn’t unusual for cashiers to change cheques partly in notes and coin, with the balance being paid in tea or coffee. This side of the business grew, and in 1824, the bank was established as a separate entity. The Twining family was still heavily involved some 70 years later, when the bank was taken over by Lloyds in 1892. Three years after that, the branch moved into its Law Courts premises.

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