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Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank

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Sowerby Bridge is another of the many branches that comes to Martins Bank from the amalgamation of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank and the Bank of Liverpool and Martins in 1928.  Being principally a collection of Northern banks that has grown by amalgamation and takeover, Martins Bank’s spread across the North of England occasionally throws up an anomaly or two.  The most confusing of these being – which branches in Yorkshire belong to Manchester district, and vice versa?   Thankfully, Martins keeps an index number (see specification section below) for each of its branches, that enables each one to be traced to its own district, and Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire, finds itself in MANCHESTER district. An entire group of branches located in the Calder Valley, and situated within the boundaries of Yorkshire also find themselves administered from Manchester. On a trip through the area in 1966, Martins Bank Magazine pays the branch a visit, and tries hard to paint a positive picture of what seems to be something of a forgotten part of England…

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Image © Martins Bank Archive Collection – W N Townson Bequest

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1966 02 MBM.jpgOne approaches Sowerby Bridge down Tuel Lane which is something like 1 in 2 in places, very long, and known in banking circles as ‘Harry Benny’s Hill’ because he once had to walk up it!.  It is easy to miss ‘Sawby Bridge’ for the main road climbs steadily through Friendly and the town lies below.  It provides another example of full employment, an ageing population, and diversification – our business includes plastics, machine tools, tubular furniture, woollens and blankets – and old buildings many of which represent industrial revolutionary Victoriana at its most appalling. 

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Images © Barclays Ref 0030/2749

A local civic dignitary once dubbed it ‘The Venice of the North’.   Our branch must be the most attractive feature in a thoroughly depressing area: completely modernised two years ago, it has a tonic effect on those who work there and on the visitor. Just as the Leeds district gave Mytholmroyd a facelift, so the Manchester District have revitalised Sowerby bridge and, of course, like every branch in this strangely ‘lost’ valley it makes a good profit under the astute handling of Mr C B Bedford who can spot the flaws in most things – even Wakefield Road.

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Sowerby Bridge Stationery…

This example of personalised stationery for a customer, will have been in use in the 1940s and 50s. It bears a National Number rather than a Sorting Code Number.

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Image © Martins Bank Archive Collection


The Sorting Code starts to appear from around 1960 onwards.  This is an INTEREST WARRANT, a particular type of cheque that would be issued by the Sowerby Bridge Urban District Council to those in receipt of interest from specific forms of investment in the Council.  Such investments would raise funds for major schemes of work in the local area. Unusually the warrant does not bear the Coat Of Arms of Martins Bank.  Instead, the ornate decoration on the left hand side is the Coat Of Arms of Calderdale, in which Sowerby Bridge is situated, and bears the motto “Arte et Industria”.  Teo more traditional cheques are shown below, the salmon pink one being a popular wartime design for cheques issued in the Manchester District of the Bank:

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1937 March Sowerby Bridge Cheque - S Walker MBA.jpg

Image © March 1937 Stephen Walker


Image © May 1946 Martins Bank Archive Collection


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1923 to 1938 Mr A H Sutcliffe MBM-Wi60P52.jpg

1927 to 1937 Mr A C Alderson MBM-Au63P56.jpg

1930 to 1940 Mr H C Bradwell MBM-Su64P04.jpg

1933 Mr W Simpson MBM-Au59P57.jpg

1937 to 1947 Mr G T Wadsworth joined the bank here MBM-Su68P12.jpg

1940 to 1940 Mr G K Dyson Pro Manager then Manager from 1949 to 1953 MBM-Sp61P51.jpg

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Mr A H Sutcliffe

On the Staff

1923 to 1938

Mr A C Alderson

On the staff

1927 to 1937

Mr H C Bradwell

On the staff

1930 to 1940

Mr W Simpson

On the Staff


Mr G T Wadsworth

Joined the Bank here

1937 to 1947

Mr G K Dyson

Pro Manager

1940 to 1940

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1947 to 1961 Mr E Robinson Pro Manager MBM-Wi61P54.jpg

1949 Mr W A Taylor Manager MBM-Sp49P21.jpg

1953 to 1960 Mr S Dennett Manager MBM-Su60P55.jpg

1960 to 1968 Mr C B Bedford Manager MBM-Au68P56.jpg

1961 to 1968 Mr T Thornton Limited Authority MBM-Au68P15.jpg

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Mr E Robinson

Pro Manager

1947 to 1961

Mr W A Taylor


1949 to 1953

Mr S Dennett


1953 to 1960

Mr C B Bedford


1960 to 1968

Mr T Thornton

Limited Authority

1961 to 1968

Miss C Hellowel

on the Staff


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1966 Mr P Warburton MBM-Su66P22.jpg

1966 Mrs J Roug Hansen MBM-Su66P22.jpg

1966 Miss S C Brooke MBM-Su66P22.jpg

1968 Mr DC Whiteley Manager MBM-Au68P07.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Mr P Warburton

On the Staff


Miss J Roug Hansen

On the Staff


Miss S C Brooke

On the Staff


Mr D C Whiteley


1968 onwards






Index Number and District:






11-11-80 Sowerby Bridge

Full Branch

21 Town Hall Street Sowerby Bridge Yorkshire

781 Manchester

Mon to Fri 1000-1500 

Saturday 0930-1100

Halifax 81129

Nightsafe Installed

Mr D C Whiteley Manager


3 January 1928

15 December 1969

Friday 14 October 2005


opened by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-80-75 Sowerby Bridge

Closed permanently at 12 noon*

Charity Shop

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* our thanks to Ben Brundell whose keen eye spotted the closure date on

the web site of the Halifax Courier. This neatly fills in a hole in

both the records of Barclays and ourselves!

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