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Martins Bank 1928+

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image076If ever an example were needed to illustrate Martins’ mid-sixties “mid-life crisis”, the opening of a Branch such as 35 Gloucester Road and at 84 PICCADILLY would fit the bill perfectly.  An expansion programme is in full swing, as more and more town and city centre prime shopping units are rented and turned into branches.  In the North, an ambitious programme of renovations sees some branches completely rebuilt, and others given lavish makeovers. Often it seems as if no expense has been spared.

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Branch Exteriors © Barclays Ref 0030/1065

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1964 Gloucester Road before alterations - BGA Ref 30-1065The Bank informs is staff of the use of Italian Marble here, Cedar of Lebanon there, and some of the Country’s top architects and designers,  notably brutalist architect Ernö Goldfinger and Robert and Christopher Ironside, are brought in and allowed to run riot with imagination and budget alike. In the meantime computerisation is on the agenda, with six figure sums to be paid for equipment and programming. Something therefore has to give, and with Martins Bank increasingly embarrassed by the amounts it is having to borrow on the overnight market, the Bank of England suggests the unthinkable – a merger!    As for Gloucester Road, well there is money to be made in this part of the Capital, where rents are high, and the Bank can attract the kind of high net worth customer it needs to make some serious cash. The orignal chemist’s shop (above right) is completely transformed to provide a branch the people of Gloucester Road can feel “at home” with.  We are indebted to friend of the Archive David Bassoli for donating the image below of the Rolls Royce car outside the branch – a further indication of the disposable income of the locals!  The new branch is given a very detailed write-up in Martins Bank Magazine…

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35 Gloucester Road

a new branch

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1965 Gloucester Road Staff MBM-Wi65P181965 04 MBM.jpg'why gloucester road?' one might ask; particularly if one does not know London well.  Three indications appeared in the personal column of The Times on the day following our visit: Someone sought a 2-bedroomed, long lease flat in the area at 'about £7,000', a furnished first floor flat was offered at 75 guineas per week, and another at £600 p.a. for 5 years.  Clearly people are prepared to live in that area and we just don't believe that the asking price is a try-on either. But of course we've been there.  We've prowled around the streets and up and down the mews: we've looked at the stately town houses and even at a directory to see some of the names of those who live behind the discreet portals. Just take our word for it that the agents will get their price. There is no industry—light or otherwise—no agri­culture, no shipping, none of the things on which a branch manager can usually hang one of his several hats.There is the Cromwell Road Air Terminal, and shops, agencies and clubs. But above all there are people; the kind of people who don't like queues, who expect the best, who like personal service and those who take the trouble to see they get it. That to our way of thinking is the best answer to anyone who asks 'Why Gloucester Road?' At No 35 it is all laid on and in the two weeks between its opening and the day of our visit there were clear indications that the new branch is being appreciated. It is very well sited, just away from the hurly-burly of the crossing with Cromwell Road where our competitors are situated, yet handy for shops and a busy supermarket nearby. And what will potential customers find in our new branch?

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1966 ish Rolls Royce Outside Branch D Bassoli

Image © 1967 David Bassioli

1965 Gloucester Road Interior MBM-Wi65P19

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collection

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One advantage is that from the outside they can see much of what will please them inside; white pvc-coated fabric walls, a mustard yellow floor of ceramic tiles, a rosewood counter fronted with black glass ceramic, and a ceiling of sycamore strips running diagonally to conceal the absence of right angles. The whole office is spacious and beautifully appointed, and so are the domestic quarters. Mr D. A. Bradley is playing it active but playing it cool, and that is the only way. As his second-in-command we found Mr W. E. A. Sewell, the only bearded man to enter the Bank's service in recent years. He joined us from the Heysham-Belfast seaborne branch of British Railways in 1960 and completed ths Banking Diploma this year. No mean achievement. Two personable and happy young people complete the staff—Mr R. M. Smedley, a 'Jag' enthusiast, and Miss Moir Machin who was at Victoria Street, Liver­pool, before transferring to London a year ago. She makes wonderful coffee—something we did not know when she joined us in 1962, so London District and Mr Bradley are ahead of us there. Now if we lived in S.W.7 and heard of this new bank in Gloucester Road and called there under some pretext and were met with excellent service and given a cup of coffee . . . Who asked “Why Gloucester Road?”

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1965 Mr DA Bradley Manager MBM-Wi65P03.jpg

1965 Mr W E A Sewell MBM-Wi65P18.jpg

1965 Mr R M Smedley MBM-Wi65P18.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Mr D A Bradley

Manager

1965 onwards

Mr W E A Sewell

Branch Second

1965

Mr R M Smedley

On the Staff

1965

 

 

 

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-03-40 Gloucester Road

Full Branch

35 Gloucester Road London SW7

489 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

01 574 3343

Nightsafe Installed

D A Bradley Manager

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Automated Branch

Gloucester Road is included in Martins’ London Account Number Allocation, where Branches due for automation are given “significant digits” to identify them by account numbers issued at the London Computer Centre. The Branch Customer Accounts will be identified by the significant digits 61.

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1965

15 December 1969

1978

Currently

opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-33-81 35 Gloucester Road

Closed and business transferred to 114 Gloucester Road

Food retailer and Café

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