|The announcement that Barclays Bank on Mersea is to close brings to an end an era which began about 1894. Samuel Cant White had opened an agency for what was
Gurneys, Round, Green and Co. bank, and then in 1896 about 20 banks merged to form Barclays and Company. The first building on Mersea was a corrugated iron shed in Church Road but the bank soon moved into Samuel Cant White's house next door, which became known as Bank House.
In 1925, Barclays bought the buildings on Yorick Road, where the bank is today. This building had been the Post Office. Samuel Cant White continued at Bank House - this building eventually became Cook's Garden Centre.
The 1929 Kelly's Directory lists a branch at West Mersea which opened Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. It also listed a Tollesbury branch which opened Monday and Thursday. There was a Tiptree branch which could well have been connected to the White family as it is remembered they had shops there.
A new building for the Tollesbury branch was constructed by Samuel's son Clifford and I remember being told that the men travelled to Tollesbury on the Monday and stayed for the week. I'm not sure what the accommodation was like but they seemed to have 'Camped out' as Charlie Mussett was the cook. I remember Charlie as an old bricklayer who was no longer working for White in my time. He was a bachelor living in an old caravan off Mill Road and spent a lot of time in the Fountain. I wonder what the cuisine was like? The Tollesbury building had connecting shops; it stood, and still does, on the corner of North Street, but the branch closed in 1989.
Mersea had other banks after World War 2 but they closed a few years ago, leaving just Barclays - first and last bank on Mersea.
Barclays Bank, Tollesbury
Bank House in Church Road
Post Office in Yorick Road - the present Barclays Bank