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West of England and South Wales Bank, Bristol

The Lloyds Bank is a historic building situated at 53 & 55 Corn Street in Bristol, England.

Originally the West of England and South Wales Bank built by Bristol architects Bruce Gingell (1819–1899) and T.R. Lysaght in 1854. Gingell was one of the most progressive Bristol architects of the latter part of the nineteenth century. He went on to design the General Hospital. Gingell is said to have used St Mark’s library in Venice as a starting point for this building. Spend a few moments viewing the sumptuous friezes by John Thomas (1813–1862). John Thomas had been responsible for overseeing the carving on Charles Barry’s new Houses of Parliament. On the ground floor the crests of Newport, Bath, Bristol, Exeter, and Cardiff are shown – the main towns from where the bank operated. On the first floor the ‘elements and sources of wealth’ are symbolised by life-size figures. They include: justice and integrity; education and charity; peace and plenty; art and science; commerce, navigation and commerce. And above this chubby cherubs depict the activities of the bank: receiving, paying, storing, coining money, engraving and printing, and trading with Africa and America.

The adornment was intended to emphasize the wealth, and therefore financial stability, of the bank. It didn’t stop the bank going bust, however, twenty years later in 1878.

The opulent interior features Corinthian columns. It is a grade II* listed building and housed a branch of the Lloyds Bank until closure in early 2014.

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4 comments

  1. Yes this is opposite St Nics market on Corn Street. Its now a fancy bar/hotel. You are talking about the old Norwich Union buildings and then the old bank of england buildings that wrap around the corner. They are vacant but the far end towards the Galleries are still in use by a banking co and for that reason its best left alone..

  2. We must be talking about different banks then.. the huge grade 2 listed building on the other side of Bristol bridge is the one I am talking about. It is not being used, Lloyds banking group use a part but the main building remains unused and abandoned. Is this not that bank then?

  3. If you pass it everyday you’ll see its now a bar & hotel – thus converted.

  4. This is absolutely fascinating! I pass this bank almost every day and have always wanted to explore it and know what it looks like inside! I would love to go take some video shots, how did you gain access to the bank? Would really appreciate a reply!

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