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1962R.jpgPeriod colour photographs of Martins Bank’s Branches are few and far between, so, to find that a small number are reproduced within the pages of Martins Bank Magazine, is like treasure trove.  This wonderful shot  shows Bridgwater Branch at its newest, having been taken not long after it opened in July 1962.  Clean lines, a deep red brick and an un-fussy frontage all make Bridgwater an attractive branch that ought to have been good enough to last. However, the cruelty that accompanies a merger where duplication of branches is concerned, affects many of Martins’ newest and brightest 1960s offices. Bridgwater makes it beyond the merger but closes in January 1972, just less than ten years after it was first opened.  Sep 1.jpg

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1963 01 MBM.jpg

Sep 1.jpg1963 Bridgwater Exterior MBM-Wi63P10.jpg

Image – Martins Bank Archive

 

 

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travelling home one evening we mentioned to a neighbour who knows the West Country that we were shortly visiting Bridgwater. It was, we gathered from him, 'a pleasant little place—a bit of a backwater—used to be quite a port in the old days.' This and other remarks might have led us to expect cider, yokels and jerseyed old men by the decaying quay but, we thought, if such was the case would the Bank have opened a branch there as recently as July 1st? It seemed unlikely. We found Bridgwater an attractive, busy country town.

 

The birthplace of Admiral Blake, it obtained a Borough Charter in 1200 and can even claim a number of Roman relics but seems more concerned with life to-day, in which light industry and agriculture predominate. It is, however, worth mentioning that, while there are now two bridges over the River Parrett, the town's name was originally Bridge of Walter from the time of the Norman conquest when Walter of Douai became Lord of the Manor.  Our branch is very well placed in High Street and both externally and internally is a credit to the architect, the contractors and of course our own Premises people. It has everything we have now come to expect in a new office and Mr Magnus Henderson, our Manager, is naturally delighted with it as also are the members of the staff.   Mr Henderson entered the service in 1943 at Amble branch and worked subsequently at a number of branches in the North Eastern District. His long interest in agriculture probably stems from the time he spent at Hexham with Mr Luke Wanless. In 1955 he moved to Taunton, receiving signing authority there in 1960, and in the winter of 1959-60 attended the Domestic Training Scheme in Liverpool.  On meeting Mrs Henderson at lunch time we were pleased to find that not only was she on the staff in the north­east before her marriage but that her father, Mr T. A. Wedderburn, former manager of Westgate branch, has taken a new lease of life at Taunton where his garden constituted a show­piece in the summer.

 

1963 Bridgwater Exterior CU MBM-Wi63P10 MICx.jpgThe Hendersons are looking forward to their forthcoming move to Bridgwater and the Bank could have no better ambassadors. Mr R. A. C. Sleap, who belies his name as Mr Henderson's deputy, was no stranger to us and will be remembered by rugby players in the London and Liverpool Districts. A native of Hayle, Cornwall, he joined London District as a late entrant at Baker Street in 1956, moving to Exeter in 1959 and coming to Bridgwater when the branch opened. The two girls at the branch, Miss C. M. Ingram and Miss M. C. Winslade, who entered the service respectively in June and September last year, both live within a few miles of the town and last winter faced the hazards of snow and ice in travelling daily to Taunton branch. Miss Ingram is at present engaged chiefly with typing and machining while Miss Winslade takes a till and we liked their cheerful, friendly air which must make our customers glad to be customers. It adds the final touch to one of our newest and brightest outposts where people are glad to give of their best knowing that they will have the maximum encouragement and help from their District Office...

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Coming soon...

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1962R.jpg1962 sees these former shop premises in Bridgwater’s High Street up for sale, and ready to become what is shown on the sign below as a “NEW BANK and LETTABLE OFFICES”.  The top half of the new building will change quite markedly with the removal of chimneys in favour of a flat roof.  The addition of a shiny new Martns Bank below, and these completely revamped premises will surely enhance this part of Bridgwater for the next ten years.  Not quite so easy to read are the details on the right of the sign, showing the address and phone number of the Bank’s South Western District Office.

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Image (c) Barclays Ref 30/381

We do not have many faces in our staff gallery below, and if you can help with memories of this or any of Martins 980+ Branch Buildings, or the staff that worked in them, please do email us at the usual address – gutinfo@btinternet.com.

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Image © Barclays Ref 30/381

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Batten down the hatches, it’s Carnival Time…

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1965 Branch Boarded up for town carnival MBM-Sp65P40

1963 Bridgwater Exterior 4 BGA Ref 30-381.jpg Image © Barclays Ref 30/381

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1965 01 MBM.jpgBridgwater Carnival, held on the Thursday nearest 5th November each year, consists of a procession of floats and comic features stretching for about 1 miles. The town is closed to traffic for the occasion which includes performances by comic gangs and an item called the 'Bridgwater Squib' involving formation routines by teams carrying long poles with huge squibs attached to the ends: the latter is, to quote one member of our Bridgwater staff, 'quite a spectacle'. For the people of Bridgwater, Carnival night starts at 6.30 p.m. and finishes around 1 a.m. providing an opportunity for consuming vast quantities of 'Zummerzet Zider' and making necessary the boarding up of every building in the town. Our branch, shown in the photograph, takes every precaution to avoid broken windows, damaged doors and 'writing on the wall'.

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1963 Miss C M Ingram MBM-Wi63P11.jpg

1963 Mr M Henderson Manager MBM-Wi63P11.jpg

1963 Miss M C Winslade MBM-Wi63P11.jpg

1963 Mr R A C Sleap MBM-Wi63P11.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Miss C M Ingram

On the Staff

1963

Mr M Henderson

Manager

1963

Miss M C Winslade

On the Staff

1963

Mr R A C Sleap

Branch Second

1963

 

 

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-10-20 Bridgwater

Full Branch

18 High Street Bridgwater Somerset

156 South Western

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Bridgwater 4843

Nightsafe Installed

M Henderson Manager

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1 July 1962

15 December 1969

7 January 1972

Currently

opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-12-33 Bridgwater High Street

Closed

Bridgwater Bookshop

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