Almost as old as Bristol itself, St Mary Le Port Street was an important thoroughfare of the City, linking the area around St Peter’s Church, in and around Wine Street, Corn Street, High Street and Broad Street.
It originated as a pre-Conquest hollow way (or sunken lane) and was filled in and paved in the 13th Century. The road was built up and developed around St Mary Le Port Church and was a key part of the city centre for centuries, but on the night of 24 November 1940 was heavily bombed and almost completely destroyed.
Following the war, the site was used temporarily as a car park before land being leased to the Bank of England and Norwich Union Insurance company for office buildings in 1962/63. Bank of England house featured deep level vaults for bullion storage and front of house services for customers.
At a later date (Mid 1970s) an additional building, Bank House, was built alongside the Bank of England House. It initially served as an extended administration building for the Bank of England. In-between security controlled everything including access at street level to the underground loading bays.
Bristol City Council maintained the leasehold of the site through the entirety of the sites operational use. Both Norwich Union & Bank of England had vacated their buildings in the 1990s.
Lloyds banking group continued to operate in the Bank House before finally consolidating multiple Bristol offices in Oct 2020 and moving staff into their main headquarters on the harbourside.
At the same time as Lloyds closing their operations in Bank House it was announced that, for the first time, the three buildings leaseholds were owned by the same company and that new exciting plans were being drawn up to revive a run down corner of the Old City.
The redevelopment plans were submitted & approved in 2021 but delayed while a request for it for the government to call it in for further inspection. This was rejected in August 2022 and demolition is due to begin before the end of the year.
Over the years that the buildings have remained vacant they have been used for various TV & Film productions including Casualty, Skins, Showtrial & The Outlaws.
Photos taken Oct/Nov 2020