Do you know on which Bridport building you will find this inscription? (And why is it there?)

Do you recognise this inscription carved in stone above a Bridport doorway? Do you know where it is?

The answer is it is at 9 West Street, above the door of the TSB bank branch.

So who were R & H Williams?

I have often wondered what is the story behind the name carved into the stone above the door? Who were R. & H. Williams? Obviously they were previous occupants, but what business did they carry out there?

It seems the OPC Project has the answer. The Bridport Page has the following entry.

Bankers: —
Dorsetshire Bank (Branch of) R. and H. Williams and Co. Draw on Williams, Deacon, & Co., Birchin Lane, London, E.C., Frederick Good, Esq., manager.

A bit more digging around reveals R & H Williams were taken over by the Wilts and Dorset bank. I have seen an old photograph of West Street in Bridport with
Wilts and Dorset clearly emblazoned over that building.

In 1914 Lloyds Bank took over Wilts and Dorset. The branch remained a Lloyds for years until they acquired TSB when the joint Lloyds TSB name went up. More recently following the demerger and spin off TSB the building at 9 West Street has become a TSB.

R & H Williams at Dorchester.

I read an article on Dorchester’s past. It revealed that part of what is now the Dorchester Lloyds Bank branch had been a branch of R & H Williams. The old branch was on High West Street. When Wilts & Dorset took over they bought next door and extended the building. This created what now forms the street corner on Cornhill.

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1 Comment

  1. It is interesting that R & H Williams is inscribed over the door as R & R Williams, Thornton, Sykes & Co., established 1786 in Dorchester, was taken over by the Wilts & Dorset Banking Company in 1897 who were taken over by Lloyds in 1914. In 1995 Lloyds merged with the Trustee Savings Bank and traded as Lloyds TSB Bank plc between 1999 and 2013. From directories, 1842-1844 the only bank on West Street is Williams,Cox & Co. (draw on Williams, Deacon & Co. London) but in 1851 Robert & Herbert Williams, also drawing on Williams, Deacon & Co. By 1855 it is listed as Dorchester Old Bank (branch), Robert & Herbert Williams but in 1889 Dorchester Old Bank & Dorsetshire Bank (R & R Williams & Co.) In 1911 not surprisingly it is listed as Wilts & Dorset and in 1915 Lloyds Bank Limited (Wilts & Dorset Bank branch). The banks Llyod’s archive have listed is R & R Williams and Wilts & Dorset, no R & H. If R & R was established in 1786 why is it not mentioned until 1889? Did R & R take over R & H 1855-1889? However this all suggests that 9 West Street was built by R & H between 1844 and 1851. 7 and 11 either side of the bank are of very similar design to each other and I wonder if No.9 is a mid 19th century alteration on what was an 18th century building.

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