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The story of a bank and the island it serves

Explore our timeline to find out, at a glance, how our story permeates the history of the island community we have always served.

We opened for business for the first time in Douglas in November 1865. Prior to our arrival Isle of Man had just two banks: Dumbell, Son & Howard (est. 1848) and Bank of Mona (est.1849). Both of these existing banks had suspended payment in 1857. The leading businessmen and officials who promoted Isle of Man Banking Co recognised that the island needed a stronger bank to serve the needs of the growing Manx economy. During the years after our foundation the island flourished with the improvement of the harbour and promenade at Douglas and the establishment of an island railway.

  • Isle of Man Banking Co Ltd established and opened branches in Douglas, Castletown and Ramsey
  • Douglas harbour breakwater destroyed by storm
  • Houses in Douglas uniformly numbered
  • Peel branch opened by Isle of Man Banking Co
  • House of Keys subjected to popular election
  • Boards of Health formed across the island
  • First Manx general election to House of Keys
  • Court of Appeal established
1869 Iron Pier built in Douglas
1870 Isle of Man Steam Railway established
  • Manx Board of Education established and compulsory school attendance introduced
  • John Kewish became the last person executed on the island
  • Douglas to Peel railway opened
  • Victoria Pier opened in Douglas Harbour
  • Port St Mary branch opened by Isle of Man Banking Co
  • Dumbell’s Banking Co Ltd formed as a limited liability company from Dumbell, Son & Howard
  • Douglas to Port Erin railway line opened
1875 Victoria Street completed in Douglas
1876 Horse tramway opened along Douglas promenade
1877 Public baths opened on Douglas Promenade
1878 Loch Promenade built on the Douglas foreshore
  • Daily year-round mail service introduced
  • St John’s to Ramsey railway line opened
1881 Women’s suffrage introduced for spinsters and widows (making the island one of the world’s first democratic communities to enfranchise women)
  • The Manx Bank established
  • Grand Theatre opened in Douglas
  • Governor Henry Loch stood down
1883 Tramways laid along Douglas Bay
1886 Queen’s Pier opened in Ramsey
1887 Jubilee clock installed on Loch Promenade to mark Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee
1889 Palace Ballroom opened in Douglas

By 1895 we had seven busy branch offices in Douglas, Castletown, Ramsey, Peel, Port St Mary, Port Erin and Laxey. Meanwhile, the economy of the island had begun to change. Although agriculture remained important, fishing and mining declined and, for the first time, tourism became hugely important. Steamship traffic grew and hotels and boarding houses proliferated. Visitors to the island increased from 60,000 in 1870 to 351,000 in 1900, and soon representative offices of several mainland banks opened on the island too. The growth of Douglas was reflected in its incorporation as a municipal borough and the first TT race was held.

1890 Barque Thorne shipwrecked at Onchan Head
1891 Douglas Prison on Victoria Road replaced Castle Rushen
  • Ramsey swing bridge built
  • Education Act 1892 established free education on the island
1893 Manx Electric Railway opened between Douglas and Groudle
  • Port Erin branch opened by Isle of Man Banking Co
  • Isle of Man Banking Co’s first 5 bank notes issued
  • Laxey branch opened by Isle of Man Banking Co
  • Penny Bridge built across Douglas Harbour
  • 'The Great Snow', -11.7 degrees C and 20cm of snow in Douglas
  • Douglas incorporated as a municipal borough
1896 Railway line laid between Laxey and summit of Snaefell
  • Representative offices of mainland banks opened including Commercial Bank of Lancashire and Parr’s Bank
  • Regent Street, Douglas branch opened by Isle of Man Banking Co
  • Gaiety Theatre opened in Douglas
  • Collapse of Dumbell’s Bank causes financial panic
  • Gas kills 20 miners at Snaefell Mine
  • New head office and branch building in Athol Street, Douglas, opened by Isle of Man Banking Co
  • Royal visit to Isle of Man by King Edward VII
1907 First motorcycle Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) race at St John's
1911 First TT motorcycle race on the mountain circuit
  • Suffragettes protest by littering glass on the TT course
  • Kursaal concert hall and gardens opened
  • Wartime internment camps opened on Isle of Man
  • Isle of Man Steam Packet’s ships requisitioned, ending regular services

The outbreak of the First World War brought an end to tourism on the island. Agriculture, however, prospered and the construction of internment camps provided a boost to the local economy. Many members of our staff enlisted - three were killed on military service - and women joined our workforce for the first time. In 1918 income tax was introduced on the island. During the post-war years poor weather reduced the number of visitors and those who came seemed to have less money to spend. Economic depression was soon biting hard. Massive unemployment in Lancashire further diminished the Manx tourist trade and the fishing and farming industries struggled. The last mine on the island closed.

  • Manx general strike called
  • Income tax introduced
1920 National Provincial & Union Bank of England attempts to take over Isle of Man Banking Co – rebuffed
1922 Manx Museum established
1924 Douglas Marina branch opened and Douglas Regent Street branch rebuilt by Isle of Man Banking Co
1925 Isle of Man Banking Co celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of its foundation
1926 Bank name changed from Isle of Man Banking Co Ltd to Isle of Man Bank Ltd
1927 Isle of Man Bank offered trustee and executor services for the first time
1928 New purpose-built branch opened in Ramsey by Isle of Man Bank
1929 Laxey mine, the last on the island, closed
1930 Isle of Man Bank introduced home safe deposit accounts for small savers
  • Archibald Knox, Manx art nouveau designer, died
  • Pulrose power station opened
1935 Onchan branch opened by Isle of Man Bank
1936 Major extension to Douglas Harbour opened, known as King Edward VIII pier
1938 Manx Regiment raised
1939 Royal Air Force Station Jurby opened

Overall the economy of the island was detrimentally affected by the Second World War, although bombing raids were limited and the influx of internees and evacuees brought some new business to the Isle of Man. We experienced similar problems to those a generation earlier with controls over foreign exchange and involvement in the operation of the island’s clothing coupon system. Again, many of our staff joined up, requiring the recall of retired employees and use of more women workers. During the 1950s prosperity gradually replaced austerity. Ronaldsway Airport passed into the hands of the island’s government and the first Island Games were held.

1940 First enemy alien internment camp opened at Ramsey
1946 Permanent Executive Council created, comprising seven senior Tynwald members
1948 Ronaldsway Airport sold by Admiralty to Isle of Man government
1953 Douglas Victoria Street and Kirk Michael branches opened by Isle of Man Bank
1957 Control of Manx customs revenues, finance, police, civil service and harbours passed to Tynwald
  • Isle of Man Bank acquired by National Provincial Bank
  • The banknote licences of all commercial banks on the island revoked from 31 July
  • Isle of Man government began issue of its own notes through the agency of Isle of Man Bank
1962 Ballasalla and Douglas Prospect Terrace branches opened by Isle of Man Bank
1963 Ronaldsway Airport and Ramsey Chrystals Mart branches opened by Isle of Man Bank
1964 Manx Radio went on air

During the 1970s the Isle of Man government increasingly focused on attracting business from the UK and a number of other mainland clearing banks established branches on the island. As the economic importance of the financial services sector increased, our bank flourished. We began to enter the offshore market, alongside developing our local business, and grew our shipping and insurance activities. In 1970 our parent National Provincial Bank amalgamated with Westminster Bank to form National Westminster Bank. Meanwhile the Isle of Man Post was established, a Freeport constructed at Ronaldsway and a new power station opened at Douglas.

  • Ballaugh branch opened by Isle of Man Bank
  • Isle of Man Bank celebrated its centenary
1966 Douglas Station sub-branch opened by Isle of Man Bank
1967 Douglas Queen's Promenade sub-branch opened by Isle of Man Bank
1969 New extension to Isle of Man Bank’s Athol Street, Douglas, premises opened housing foreign travel and safe custody facilities
1970 National Provincial Bank, Isle of Man Bank’s parent company, merged with Westminster Bank to trade as National Westminster Bank
  • Ramsey Bowring Road branch opened by Isle of Man Bank
  • Fire killed 50 at Summerland amusement centre in Douglas
  • Control of postal service passed to new Isle of Man Post and Manx postage stamps issued
1979 Tynwald celebrated its Millennium Year
  • Savings and Investment Bank based on the island collapsed with debts of 42 million
  • Manx Heritage Foundation established
1983 Manx Government established Financial Supervision Commission to license and regulate banks
1984 Isle of Man Bank’s Athol Street, Douglas, premises extended as an overseas department
1985 First Island Games held on Isle of Man
  • Freeport constructed near Ronaldsway
  • Sir Miles Walker appointed first Chief Minister of Isle of Man
1989 New power station opened at Douglas

The 1990s saw the construction of some important new facilities on the Isle of Man - a National Sports Centre, a power station at Peel, the Courts of Justice and the new Noble Hospital. In 2000 our parent company, NatWest, was acquired by The Royal Bank of Scotland and a new chapter in our history began. We embarked upon a major refurbishment of our branches, including a significant spend on our Regent Street office in Douglas. In recent years the way customers use bank services has altered considerably with the rise of telephone and online banking. This shift has been reflected in the recent closure of a number of our branches, but at the same time we have ensured that our customers still have access to local banking services through the introduction of our first mobile branch on wheels.

1990 Executive Council renamed Council of Ministers
1991 First phase of National Sports Centre opened in Douglas
1993 Banking hall at Isle of Man Bank’s Douglas Athol Street branch extensively refurbished
1995 New power station opened at Peel
1997 New Courts of Justice built
  • NatWest, Isle of Man Bank’s parent company, acquired by The Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Millennium Oakwood opened
  • Regent Street branch extensively refurbished by Isle of Man Bank
  • NatWest sponsored the 9th Island Games which were held on Isle of Man
  • Foot and mouth disease prompted cancellation of TT races
2003 New Noble's Hospital opened at Braddan
2006 Voting age lowered from 18 to 16 for Manx general election
2007 Centenary of Isle of Man TT celebrated
2008 Jurby Prison replaced Douglas Prison
2011 Commonwealth Youth Games held on Isle of Man
  • Isle of Man Bank’s Kirk Michael branch closed
  • Heaviest snowfall for 50 years hit the Island
  • Isle of Man Bank’s Laxey branch closed
  • Stamps and coins issued to mark centenary of First World War
  • Isle of Man Bank celebrates 150th anniversary
  • Isle of Man Bank's Ballasalla, Onchan and Prospect Terrace branches closed and a new mobile branch service on wheels instituted