As a child I spent hours scribbling on bank slips with those pens stuck to the counter, waiting for my parents to do their personal banking. Fast forward to 2015 and I can count the number of times I’ve set foot inside a bank this year on one hand. Although, I’m still one of those ancient relics clinging onto my cheque book, only using it to pay the milkman. Even the plumber recently turned his nose up at a cheque in favour of a money transfer.
Whilst I might not miss lunch break branch queues and my own finances are a mere click away, I always make a detour to use Lloyds’ Law Courts Branch on The Strand, London. Because is this not the most elegant cashpoint you have ever seen? Do you not feel chic simply flexing your plastic overlooked by tiles designed by Doultons in a building which dates back to 1883?!
Having starting out life with two failed attempts at being a restaurant, the building lay empty until Lloyds bought it in 1895. Which explains why it boasted all Victorian mod cons; an artesian well, electric lights powered by steam engines and dynamos and air conditioning based on the means of ventilating ships. A cashpoint was a very modern addition in 1973!
And if like me you’ve always assumed the Twinings Tea shop next door is just for tourists, the historical connection goes much further back. Twinings opened the first tea shop in the United Kingdom on the Strand in 1706. Later on the company successfully diversified into banking which grew into a separate business, though still affiliated to the tea trade. In 1892 Lloyds bought out Twining and Co. after a struggle during the second half of the 19th century to compete with other banks.
So check your bank balance at the Law Courts branch and drown your sorrows nearby with tea at The Delaunay, the best modern ways to make use of two of the most precious commodities The Strand was built on.