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Hilda Millicent Harding (10 September 1915 – 9 May 1998) was appointed by Barclays Bank as Britain’s first female bank manager. She was the great-aunt of British children’s author Robin Bennett.

Hilda Harding
Hilda Harding first UK female bank manager.jpg




Harding joined the High Wycombe branch of Barclays Bank as a shorthand typist, on 18 June 1934. She earned £50 per annum.[1][2] In 1939 she transferred to Henley-on-Thames branch as a ledger clerk; in 1941 she was appointed secretary to the local Directors at Reading. After the Second World War, in 1947, she was one of the first women to attend the Barclays training school at Chester House, Wimbledon, and a year after that she transferred to Barclays Head Office as secretary to a senior executive. In 1950 she attended the administrative staff college at Henley on Thames (now Henley Business School). Finally, on 15 May 1958, she was announced as Barclays' first female bank manager, at the planned new Hanover Square branch in London.[3][4][5]

Hanover Square branchEdit

The new branch opened in December 1958, with a staff of six including two women deputies.


Harding retired on 10 September 1970. She lived at Shiplake, near Henley-on-Thames, and ran a market garden until her death in 1998.


  1. ^ Daily Sketch, 17 May 1958
  2. ^ "Hilda Harding Cuttings" (PDF). Barclays.
  3. ^ "Head Office Circular announcing the appointment of Hilda Harding as branch manager | Barclays Group Archives". 1958-05-15. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  4. ^ "From top hats to Metro Bank: a history of British banking in pictures". Telegraph. 2010-07-29. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  5. ^ Career information courtesy of Barclays Group Archives