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The story of Martins Bank’s connection to Bournemouth begins in 1925, when the Bank of Liverpool and Martins opens a branch at 128/130 Christchurch Old Road.  In 1934 Martins relocates to  49 Old Christchurch Road, and this is the branch that survives the 1969 merger with Barclays and lasts until until 1975.   In 1966 a short-lived  self accounting sub-Branch opens at nearby BOSCOMBE, only to be closed again just before the merger with Barclays. 

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The amazing iron doors of the Bournemouth Branch are certainly a talking point, and gain a special mention including an explanation of their provenance, in Martins Bank Magazine in 1966 in a special feature that includes many of the artworks commissioned by the Bank with the aim of representing local character in Branches…

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1965 Bournemouth Interior 3 BGa Ref 30-339 

Branch Interior Images © Barclays Ref 30/339

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At Bournemouth Branch - A work by Sculptor

Paul Fletcher, with two main themes:

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‘LOCALITY’ is shown by use of sea shell forms played against one another in convex and concave patterns.

 

‘SECURITY’ led to the idea of large bronze doors, partly reflecting those of a vault, and partly the great doors of Romanesque Gothic churches with their overtones of security and sanctuary.  The shell forms are roughly composed as warriors with obvious implication…

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We are indebted to Martins colleague Mike Hardy for his memories of Bournemouth Branch in the early 1960s, featured below.  The personal recollections of staff are what really help us to tell the story of Martins Bank, and we are always pleased to receive them.  If you would like to contribute some of YOUR memories, please do get in touch with  us by email at the usual address:

gutinfo@btinternet.com

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Stoke the boiler and sleep by the safe…

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1965 Bournemouth Interior 3 BGa Ref 30-339image064I joined Martins Bank in Bournemouth in 1959 as a raw 16 year old straight from school. The Manager was Harry Thompson who was just a year or so away from retirement – a real old-fashioned, hands-on, Bank Manager and gentleman. The duties then of an office junior would lead present day human resources and health and safety departments to throw in the towell! Amongst ‘normal’office junior duties, I had to keep the (coal fired) boiler going in winter, deliver (sometimes valuable) packages around town, take high value packagess full of used bank notes to the post office – often single handed. I was a readily available target for a bank robber and on one occasion swung round and swiped a valued customer who, jokingly, had said “hands-up” and poked an umbrella into my back whilst I was carrying a package. The Manager, by then Harry Robinson, heard of this and I was castigated for attacking a customer who later explained the circumstances to Robinson but, typically for him, he never apologised to me – I was too low a mortal. Robinson was the opposite of Thompson. He left all the day to day business to his Pro-Manager and concentrated on lunching customers and keeping as far away from the branch  and branch staff as possible; not unpleasant just remote.

 

1965 Bournemouth interior 1 BGA Ref 30-339When the branch was having some building work done, it was deemed too insecure to leave the premises unattended overnight so I was installed as the nightwatchmen and slept on a camp-bed next to the strong room. Quite what I was meant to do in the event of any attack and why an 18 year old was considered to be good security is a mystery. The Pro-Manager in Bournemouth was someone of whom I regret I have only unpleasant memories; he was a pedantic ‘Non-Commissioned Officer’  type, who concealed his lack of imagination and overall inefficiency under a cloud of authority. He was more concerned with balancing the post-book than anything to do with customer care or banking. He was permanently miserable (I believe he had a non-existent home life) and I can’t ever remember him smiling, although he might have done when the post-book balanced! After leaving Martins I twice ran across him but on both occasions he snubbed me. Despite his best efforts we did have some good times.

 

I remember many of the staff with affection including David Rees, Freddie Marsh, Mick Readey, Pat Veale and Sally Hantsch. Some of us went regulary to see the football at Dean Court and the cricket at Dean Park but apart from that there was very little socialising although Sally had a (very attractive) Swiss cousin with whom I went to many Bournemouth Symphony concerts – that’s another story! I met my wife (we have been married for 45 years) on the ‘local run’ in Bournemouth, she worked for Westminster, although, perhaps heeding parental advice, none of our 4 children have gone into banking!

 

Text © Mike Hardy 2011

Images © Barclays Ref 30/339

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For its Winter 1952 edition, Martins Bank Magazine visits Bournemouth Branch and meets the staff and of course the Manager, Mr Allison.  Just two years later, Mr Allison features in the Magazine once more, this time on the occasion of his retirement, as you will see further down this page.  In 1952, the first impression of Bournemouth seems to be that our branch is situated in…

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“A street of teeming activity”…

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1965 Bournemouth Interior 2 BGA Ref 30-3391952 04 MBM.jpgOur Bournemouth office is in a street of teeming activity and the normal staff of ten sometimes have their work cut out to finish at a respectable hour. The place seems to have more hotels (and modern ones, too) to the square mile than any other place we have visi­ted and one wonders how they can all keep going, yet some of them are open all the year round and the town is exceedingly busy, with many big shops.   Mr. Allison has been at Bournemouth for 27 years and Manager for 25 of them.  During this time quite a distinguished bunch of our present managers have served him as second men, which speaks well for the training they received under him. Mr. Allison knew Lawrence of Arabia in the days when Lawrence used to come in to 68 Lombard Street, and had several interesting anecdotes to tell about this fascinating and elusive personality. Mr. W. B. Mason is Pro Manager. His first appointment was at Southampton in 1948 and he went to Bournemouth last year.  

 

1952 Bournemouth Staff MBM-Wi52P11.jpgWe were very pleased to meet Olive King and Mary Harrison once again. They were members of the Bank's first Continental holiday party in 1949 and we had not seen them since. Olive, who has been in the Bank since 1945, is a Cert. A.I.E. and A.C.C.S. and is also a member of the Council of the Bournemouth Centre of the Institute of Bankers, a record which would not disgrace a man, never mind a girl. She is engaged to be married to Mr. F. C. Marsh, of our Bournemouth staff. Good luck to them both. Few of our branches are really solemn places, but some are so outstandingly happy in the spirit which pervades them that one is instantly conscious of it.  Bournemouth is one of these and it is always a tribute to the control when it is so. On the afternoon of Saturday, August 30th, we motored over to Ringwood to have tea with Mr. and Mrs. Allison in their home on the edge of the New Forest. Many of our managers have delightful homes and it is pleasant to be able to record from our observation that the setting against which many of them do such good work is nearly always that of a beautiful home and a happy background. Bournemouth has much to recommend it, for it still has an air of quality in spite of much vulgarisation and when one tires of the heat and bustle of a busy seaside town there is easy escape to a quite incomparable hinterland. 

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1954 04 MBM.jpg1954 Mr H G Allison at his retirement MBM-Wi54P46On the eve of his retirement at the end of August, Mr. Allison invited his staff to a farewell cocktail party at his charming home at Ringwood, Hants. A presentation set of Shakespeare's works and a tobacco jar were given on behalf of past and present colleagues, by Mr. J. R. Branscombe, retired Joint Manager of Cocks Biddulph branch and the first Manager of Bournemouth branch, who, in a witty speech, recalled the opening days of the branch when he and Mr. Allison, then second-in-command, appeared to have plenty of time on their hands. Miss Muriel Harrison, the senior lady of the Bournemouth staff, then presented Mrs. Allison with a cut glass vase, a surprise gift which obviously pleased both her and Mr. Allison immensely. Mr. Allison expressed his appreciation of the gifts and thanked his staff for their loyalty and co-operation and Mrs. Allison, also, made a happy little speech. Among those present in addition to the Bournemouth staff and their wives were Mr. and Mrs. Ritchie, Mr. Silcock and Mr. Ison from Lilliput, Mr. Parker from Southampton, Mr. W. A. Catford from London, and about ten of Mr. Allison's oldest personal friends and customers. Mr. Allison commenced his career in 1912 in the North-Eastern District and was trans­ferred to the London District in 1920. He went to Bournemouth for the opening of the branch in 1925 and was appointed Manager two years later. He served with H.M. Forces during the Second World War from 1940 to 1943.

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1925 to 1927 Mr J R Branscombe Manager MBM-Wi51P37.jpg

1925 to 1954 Mr H G Allison Manager from 1927 MBM-Wi54P46.jpg

1937 Mr C E Whyte MBM-Au62P51.jpg

1938 to 1939 Mr J P Costigan MBM-Wi64P08.jpg

1943 to 1961  Mr FC Marsh MBM-Sp67P07.jpg

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Mr J R Branscombe

Manager

1925 to 1927

Mr H G Allison

Manager

1927 to 1954

Mr C E Whyte

On the Staff

1937

Mr J P Costigan

On the Staff

1938 to 1939

Mr F C Marsh

On the Staff

1943 to 1961

Miss Sue Bartlett

Joined the Bank Here

1949 onwards

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1947 to 1951 Mr R St J Adcock Pro Manager MBM-Su67P58.jpg

1964 to 1965 Miss C J Brown joined the bank here MBM-Su65P12.jpg

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Mr R St J Adcock

Pro Manager

1947 to 1951

Miss C J Brown

Joined the Bank here

1964 to 1965

 

 

 

 

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-01-20 Bournemouth 

Full Branch

49 Old Christchurch Road Bounemouth Hampshire

164 South Western

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Bournemouth 21922/3

Nightsafe Installed

Mr H A Robinson Manager

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-96-00 BOSCOMBE

Self Accounting Sub to 11-01-20 Bournemouth

520 Christchurch Road Boscombe Hampshire

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Bournemouth 37371

Nightsafe Installed

Mr R A Gerard Clerk in Charge

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12 March 1934

15 December 1969

14 February 1975

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-11-38 Bournemouth 49 Old Christchurch Road

Closed

Currently

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