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Did you know Drummonds Bank (now part of Royal; Bank of Scotland) once had Central London’s only drive-in bank? Whilst these are a common feature in the US the UK never really took up the idea.
The UK’s first ever drive-in bank was at Toxeth, Liverpool (Westminster Bank) followed by Leicester (Martin’s Bank) during 1959. Epsom (Martin’s Bank) and our own at Trafalgar Square followed in the sixties. The Leicester set-up lasted 29 years eventually coming under the control of Barclays Bank who also opened a small drive in facility at Hatton Cross, West London during 1998. This only lasted six months. Currently there’s a Metro bank drive-in at Slough.
From 1961 to sometime during 1992 (ironically the year Drummonds introduced a new logo) the drive-in existed at the top of Whitehall in the shadow of the Admiralty Arch. It’s location can still be seen today – its just a bit of forecourt whose history is not known to most – yet I remember it very well.
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The very spot the teller’s window was sited when Drummonds drive-in bank was in operation.
Where was the teller’s window? It was where the present large slab is on this wall. The clue to this lies in the three symbols above the slab. These blue symbols once stood over the teller’s window itself.
Cars drove straight off The Mall into Spring Gardens and then onto the bank forecourt. Following transactions motorists then drove back into the Mall.
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The forecourt that was once the site for Drummonds’ drive-in bank
Below is the one and only picture I could find of the bank’s drive-in, with a similar view today:
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Link to Flickr. Creative Commons 2.0 credit: Leonard Bentley
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The same view today.
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The former driveway across the pavement into The Mall