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Symbolism in bank marketing and architecture: the headquarters of National Provincial Bank of England

Barnes, V. and Newton, L. ORCID: (2019) Symbolism in bank marketing and architecture: the headquarters of National Provincial Bank of England. Management and Organizational History, 14 (3). pp. 213-244. ISSN 1744-9359

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2019.1683038


This article undertakes an analysis of the symbolism present in the architecture and design in nineteenth century British banking. It focuses upon the headquarters of National Provincial Bank of England, which was built in the 1860s. It explores the symbols and messages that those at the bank wished to communicate to those that viewed the building. The analysis finds that those at the bank impressed its national identity, achieved through its extensive branch network, as its key message which differentiated it from its rivals. Other symbols emphasized that it had adapted to the local market and was equal in terms of competency and richness in comparison to its competitors. We argue that these messages became part of the organization’s identity and its brand, as well as the culture of the City of London more broadly. The article provides a new explanation for symbolic meanings represented by bank architecture. It integrates the existing discussion of bank architecture in historical research with the theoretical frameworks and literature being developed in organizational identity and branding.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:86938
Uncontrolled Keywords:bank architecture, organizational identity, branding, marketing, symbolism, uses of the past, banks, banking, finance
Publisher:Taylor and Francis


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