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Martins Bank 1928+

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“In tarn t’night!”

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It is not every day that Martins Bank attracts Royalty to the opening of one of its Branches, let alone “the power behind the throne” herself, so the Directors and General Managers of the Bank will have taken particular pride when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother drops by to officially declare open Agriculture House Knightsbridge, in October 1956. This pride will probably have been great enough to brush aside the fact that Her Majesty is actually there to open the headquarters of the National Farmers’ Union.

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Images © Barclays Ref 0030/1400

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It is also such a prime site for attracting wealthy customers, that both Martins and Barclays have paid undisclosed (to this day) fortunes to have representation in the form of side by side Branches! When the two banks merge in 1969, the Martins Branch (known as Knightsbridge) is closed and the Business is transferred several yards to the right to Barclays, whose Branch – which has the same address - is known as Hyde Park Corner  In 1956, Martins Bank Magazine publishes the following article to explain that throwing so much money into a new Branch is a “bold but logical step n the programme of the Bank’s expansion”…

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1956 London Knightsbridge interior 3 BGA Ref 33-408.jpg1956 04 MBM.jpgThe acquisition of a new London branch is a financial experience which rather takes the breath of ordinary mortals away and our new Knightsbridge office in Agriculture House, the headquarters of the National Farmers' Union, is a bold yet logical step in the programme of the Bank's expansion.  Let us make no mistake about it, this is not just another London branch, acquired because the opportunity arose of opening in a very good position, little more than a stone's throw from Hyde Park Corner. The need for this new branch has been apparent for some time and it has a special contribution to make towards the all-round efficiency and service provided by the institution as a whole. Some training a little out of the ordinary run is necessary for the manager of a branch such as this and the job is at once a great challenge and a great opportunity for Mr. Christopher Askew, whose first appointment it is.  Mr. Askew received his special groom­ing from Mr. J. A. Naisbitt, whose assistant he was in con­nection with the special duties performed by Mr. Naisbitt at South Audley Street. Grievously wounded in the last war, Mr. Askew has had a rough time through resulting physical handicap. We in the Editorial and Advertising Department have come to know him well because of his co-operation in the production of our annual booklet "Finance for Farmers and Growers" and we were delighted to learn of his promotion. From the branch window can be seen Her Majesty's Horse Guards returning each morning through the Park after the Changing of the Guard in Whitehall: the minute a window is opened " the mighty roar of London's traffic " reminds us of “In Town tonight" and of the Knightsbridge March.  Across the road the green fastnesses of Hyde Park beckon invitingly and one can see the weathering stonework of No. 1 London, the former home of the great Duke of Wellington, now a museum, and one which well repays a visit.   You feel here, much more than in the City at Lombard Street, that this is the hub of the Empire. Colour and movement, vitality and the purposeful surge of life itself are all here, yet right behind Agriculture House, completely unknown to the visitor, can be seen in a quiet mews numerous exclusive residences formerly lived in by servants over the stables and now occupied by rich people over the garages which have replaced the stables. You have to have money to live in Knightsbridge. As will be seen from the photo­graph, our branch is alongside a branch of Barclays Bank and it is interesting to note that whereas we have pursued contemporary trends in interior decoration, referred to in previous issues of the Magazine, our competitors have been much more traditional.

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1956 London Knightsbridge interior 2 BGA Ref 33-408.jpg

1956 Agriculture House Staff MBM-Wi56P32

The Staff at Agriculture House, Knightsbridge

Left to right: Mr P R Edwards (Messenger), Miss A Colse, Mr C Askew (Manager),

Mr ESP Watts and Mr VA Barker

 

 

“HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother with Sir James Turner, President of the National Farmers’ Union outside our branch on the day of the official opening of Agriculture House, 18 October 1956”.

Very ample space has been taken to allow for the expansion of our new branch but at the moment the resulting effect in the general office itself is a little bare. Counter arrangements and the fittings of the customers' space especially are un­usually pleasing. There is a contro­versial red pillar matching a red wall in the customers' space. The other pillars are clothed in marble. We like the motif of contemporary decor­ation whereby a colour in one part of a room gains strength and purpose from its repetition elsewhere, but the prevailing view is that it should match the others. Mr. Askew is a Northerner and his father, Mr. T. E. Askew, whom we were very pleased to meet later in the day, was Manager at Millom. Mr. C. Askew served at Haltwhistle, Penrith, Botchergate and Barrow before the Second World War claimed him. In 1947, after re­covery from wounds, he went to London District Office and he re­mained at 68, Lombard Street until 1955 when he went on General Management duties at South Audley Street.  Mr. E. S. P. Watts has, apart from war service, 1941 to 1946, spent all his time at Cocks Biddulph branch.   He is delighted at the change and the greater oppor­tunity presented to him. Mr. V. A. Barker entered the Bank at Baker Street in 1952 and, after National Service, was transferred to Edgware Road in 1955.  Miss A. Cole started her career this year at London District Office. Later in the day we went for dinner to the house of Mr. and Mrs. Eric Webster and then to join Mr, Askew's parents and sister for an evening at the Players Theatre.

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1956 to 1961 Mr C Askew Manager MBM-Wi68P07.jpg

1956 to 1962 Mr E S P Watts Ltd auth from  1957 and Pro Mgr from 1960 MBM-Au67P06.jpg

1957 to 1961 Mr NH Harvey MBM-Su64P05.jpg

1961 Mr G H M Clayton Manager MBM-Au61P38.jpg

1961 to 1966 Mr A S McKintosh MBM-Sp69P11.jpg

1962 to 1964 Mr GS Alexander Assistant Manager then Manager from 1964 MBM-Au64P03.jpg

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Mr C Askew

Manager

1956 to 1961

Mr E S P Watts

Limited Authority

1956 to 1962

Mr N H Harvey

On the Staff

1957 to 1961

Mr G H M Clayton

Manager

1961 to 1964

Mr A S Mackintosh

On the Staff

1961 to 1966

Mr G S Alexander

Assistant Manager

1962 to 1964

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1962 to 1965 Mr DR Farrow Limited Authority MBM-Wi65P06.jpg

1964 to 1966 Mr S C C White Assistant Manager MBM-Au64P06.jpg

1966 Mr PG Butler Assistant Manager MBM-Sp66P07.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Mr D R Farrow

Limited Authority

1962 to 1965

Mr S C C White

Assistant Manager

1964 to 1966

Mr P G Butler

Assistant Manager

1966

 

 

 

 

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Opening Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-00-40 London Knightsbridge

Main Branch

Agriculture House Knightsbridge London SW1

474 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

01 235 5991

Nightsafe Installed

Mr G S Alexander Manager

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Automated Branch

Knightsbridge is included in Martins’ London Account Number Allocation, where Branches due for automation are given “significant digits” to identify them at the London Computer Centre by account numbers issued. The Branch Customer Accounts will be identified by the significant digits 64.

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18 October 1956

15 December 1969

6 April 1970

1995

Currently

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-43-79 Hyde Park Corner

Closed and Business Transferred to Barclays Hyde Park Corner (next door)

Building Re-developed as Nos 25 and 27 Knightsbridge

Residental apartments

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