Ulster Folk Museum

Northern Bank and Bank Manager’s House

Ballycultra Town buildings 12 & 13

This is a replica building. It is based on the Northern Banking Company’s Portglenone Branch, and includes both the bank and bank manager’s home. The original was created by converting two houses on Main Street, Portglenone. Plans for the conversion were drawn up in 1910 but, due to the First World War, the work was not completed until 1920.

The addition of a bank to the Ballycultra town was considered important in telling the story of life in a typical Ulster market town in the early 1900s. As the original bank building was a listed building and still in operation as a bank it was decided to construct a replica building at the museum using the original architectural plans. The replica building was constructed with generous support from the Northern Bank and it opened in 1991.

In 1920, Mr Thomas Edwin James was the first bank manager appointed to the Northern Bank in Portglenone. He lived in the bank house with his wife Mary, three young children, a nursery governess and a cook. The Bank provided the accommodation but it was up to the James family to furnish the house.

The bank staff consisted of Mr James, the manager, and Mr Barry, the cashier, assisted by a ledger clerk and junior. The bank provided a similar range of services still provided by banks today.

Look at the very comfortable and spacious living conditions of the house which a bank manager would have enjoyed.  Contrast this with some of the other more modest houses in Ballycultra, such as the houses in Meeting Street.