Northumberland & Durham Savings Bank



Northumberland & Durham Savings Bank's first office at Newcastle's Merchant Court, 1818
Northumberland and Durham Savings Bank’s first office at Newcastle’s Merchant Court, 1818

Newcastle Savings Bank opened for business in January 1818. Its objective was to help and encourage the poor to save. The first premises were situated in the town's Merchant’s Court. However, the Bank was so popular that it had to relocate to bigger offices several times during the next decade. It finally moved into purpose-built premises in the Royal Arcade, in June 1833.

The early popularity of the Savings Bank was, in part, due to the widespread poverty in the city at the time. This was the result of conditions created by the Industrial Revolution, in which Newcastle played a significant role.


Newcastle Savings Bank has the dubious distinction of having had a murder committed on its premises. During the early hours of 7th December 1838, the body of the Bank’s assistant actuary, Joseph Millie, was discovered in the strongroom. Archibald Bolam, the actuary, was found close by. He was bleeding profusely. It looked, to all intents, like a burglary that had gone badly wrong. However, it was later discovered that Bolam had murdered Millie, and then slit his own throat to divert suspicion. The actuary was transported to Australia for life. The motive for his crime was never established.


The Bank survived this scandal. It went on to expand, opening branches across Newcastle and the surrounding area.

Northumberland & Durham Savings Bank's head office, 1964
Northumberland & Durham Savings Bank's head office, 1964

Following the TSB Act of 1904, which permitted savings banks to merge with one another, Newcastle began absorbing banks from neighbouring regions. They included Stanhope and Middleton-in-Teesdale Savings Banks. Further takeovers meant that the Bank soon had offices throughout the north-east.

A Larger TSB

In 1971, Newcastle merged with South Shields Savings Bank, which had been founded in 1817. The new bank was called Northumberland & Durham TSB. However, this name was short-lived. With the TSB Act of 1976, and subsequent restructuring, the Bank became part of TSB North-East.

Return to the TSB page.