Post Office Savings Bank
             ...The organisational history.
Post Office Savings Bank
In 1861 the Palmerston Government set up the "Post Office Savings Bank" - a simple savings scheme aiming to encourage ordinary wage earners "to provide for themselves against adversity and ill health".

"Post Office Savings Bank - State Security."
| EXIT | Early History | The Organisation |
| Savings Bank Sites: Queen Victoria Street | Blythe House | Charles' House | Glasgow |
Early History

In 1861 the Post Office Savings Bank Act enabled the General Post Office (GPO) to provide a simple savings scheme for ordinary wage earners.

Thus the Savings Bank opened for business on Monday 16th September 1861 in two small rooms within the Post Office headquarters, (GPO East) St. Martins-le-Grand, London.

By 1863 the Bank occupied a warehouse at 27 St Paul's Churchyard. With continuing growth these premises became too small and a new headquarters was built at 144 Queen Victoria Street...

Queen Victoria Street
Post Office Savings Bank, Queen Victoria Street.
In 1880, a new headquarters of the Post Office Savings Bank was built at 144, Queen Victoria Street, London.

Image: Post Office Savings Bank, Queen Victoria Street © The National Archives - used with permission.

Further growth in the business was accommodated by extending the headquarters onto Addle Hill, Knightrider Street and Carter Lane, until 1903 when a move was made to a new building in Blythe Road, West Kensington...
Blythe House
Blythe House

Adminstration of savings accounts was labour intensive and required much space for staff and ledgers, hence the requirements for a large prestigious building in Kensington.

Blythe House at 23 Blythe Road, West Kensington, London, W14 0QX.

Photo: Blythe House © Light Straw September 2010

Blythe House continued as the main address of the Bank until the late 1960s, until the move to a new, modern building within the same area.
Charles' House
Charles' House, West Kensington.
Charles House, West Kensington, London, W14.
375 Kensington High Street

Charles' House was built as offices between 1948 and 1950 to the designs of Arthur S Ash.

© Copyright Phillip Perry and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Site at Boydstone Road - More details later.  
The Organisation

Established in 1861, the Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) quickly attracted many customers who were eager to find a safe place for their savings. Backed by the Exchequer, the money deposited in the Post Offices was used by the Chancellor, William Gladstone to offset against public spending. This was a simple way for the government to borrow money and thus the POSB could afford to pay a good rate of interest.

The aims of the POSB were to:
Provide a totally secure place for people to save, backed by the Government.
Provide the Exchequer with a source of funding (i.e. public borrowing).

Post Office Savings Bank Information Leaflet
National Savings

In 1969 the first major change happened as the Post Office Savings Bank became a separate government department accountable to Treasury ministers and was renamed National Savings. From this time, local and main Post Offices became simply a distribution outlet for the products of National Savings. Throughout the decades, National Savings has maintained its policy of matching the government's need for funding with its customers expectations of a safe, secure investment producing a good return.

This publicity leaflet from 1937 reminds us that the Post Office Savings Bank is 'State Security', i.e. that the scheme is backed by the government.
An Executive Agency
On 1st July 1996 National Savings became an Executive Agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. National Savings is still accountable to the Treasury, but the agency status has given them greater control over the day to day running.

Siemens Business Services
In April 1999, more than 4000 staff were transferred from National Savings to Siemens Business Services as part of a 10 year PPP (Public Private Partnership) agreement. This partnership gives National Savings access to new technology and expertise enabling it to remain a key player in the UK investments market.

NS & I
From about 2000, National Savings & Investments was the new name for National Savings, demonstrating that it offered a much wider product range than ever before.

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