Historic bank building saved from demolition by repurposing it as restaurant in Reading UK

It was empty, abandoned and targeted by lead thieves, but a former Leicester, England bank has now been removed from a list of under-threat historic buildings following a £1.5 million renovation.

The interior today. Photo credit:
Middletons Steakhouse & Grill

The transformation of one of Leicester’s most historic banking halls into a 200-seat restaurant is now complete. Middletons Steakhouse & Grill, opened its doors to the public on October 14, 2016.

The daily transactions of loans, mortgages and current accounts have been replaced by the sounds and smells of one of Britain’s fastest-growing steakhouse restaurants.

But what of the building itself, a magnificent Grade II* listed monument to the commercial growth in the city at the turn of the 20th century?

When the bank was built, the Model T was a twinkle in Henry Ford’s eye, Queen Victoria was still on the throne, and the first Labour MP was elected to Parliament.

The bank in 1898.

The building was designed by local architect Samuel Perkins Pick, was Pares’s Leicestershire Banking Co.’s head office until the bank was taken over by Parr’s Bank Ltd in 1902.

That, in turn, was subsumed by the London County and Westminster Bank in 1918, which eventually changed its name to the much snappier NatWest Bank (but not until 1970).

Built in the baroque revival style, the “new” building demonstrated the increasing commercial success of Leicester at the turn of the century.

City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “I am delighted that Historic England continues to recognise Leicester’s commitment to ensuring that our built heritage is valued and protected. The former Nat West bank at St Martins is one of the city centre’s architectural treasures and had stood empty for far too long. Middletons has done a wonderful job of restoring this historic building, bringing an important part of our Old Town’s architectural heritage back into public use as a very smart restaurant.

Featured photo by jcdl via Flickr.

See article by Dan J. Martin in the Leicester Mercury.

See Middleton’s history of the building.

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