Category II Registered Historic Place
The construction of the National Bank’s fourth premises in Wanganui “sent out a message of confidence in the wealth of the city and the potentialities of its hinterland” at a time of Depression, as noted by the Wanganui Chronicle when the bank was opened on 28 February 1930. Costing nearly £26,000, the bank was built by Fletcher Construction, although Wanganui firms were involved as sub-contractors. The architect was Cyril Mitchell whose Wellington firm, Atkins & Mitchell, designed several premises for the National Bank throughout New Zealand. The two-storey high banking chamber still has its decorated plaster ceilings, Doric columns and leadlight windows in the light well. The building had a boiler in the basement which supplied central heating free of charge to the tenants in the sixteen offices upstairs.
The National Bank was previously located at 64 Ridgway Street having moved there in 1902 from lower Victoria Avenue where they had occupied two buildings since opening in 1873. In 1922, in anticipation of building new premises in the Avenue, the bank bought Chavannes Hotel on the corner of Maria Place. Two years later the bank manager negotiated the sale of the hotel licence to George Spriggens for £4,750. This action commended the manager favourably to the Bank board and helped to defray the cost of the new building. In 1927, George Spriggens transferred his hotel licence to his new premises in St Hill Street (now known as the Grand Hotel) and Chavannes Hotel was demolished ready for the new bank to be built on its site.