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The interior design and layout of Martins’ new Branch at King’s Heath would not look out of place in the twenty-first century.  In fact the calendar clock seen on the wall of the Branch in the photograph below, is of exactly the same design and manufacture as that used in the majority of Barclays Branches and can still be seen in many of them today! 

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A year before news of a merger breaks, Martins is still going full steam ahead with its new Branch opening programme, and King’s Heath will be the last of Martins’ Birmingham area Branches to be opened before Barclays takes over.  Although this Branch is originally scheduled to be kept on after the merger, it falls foul of the duplication policy and with too many suitable alternative Barclays Branches in the area, Kings Heath closes early in 1970. 

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1967 King's Heath Interior MBM-Su67P16 

Image © Barclays Ref 30/226

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This short-lived Branch is visited not long after it first opens in 1967 by Martins Bank Magazine, whose upbeat article about the Branch being sited in one of the busiest shopping areas of Birmingham seems very optimistic given what fate had in store for Martins Bank in this part of the world…

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1967 02 MBM.jpgleave the train at New Street, Birmingham, hop into a taxi and ask for the A435. Within ten minutes, traffic permitting, you will be heading due south down Alcester Road and passing through King's Heath. At the point where this busy, built-up, expanding, money-spending area looks as if it might peter out there is the new shopping block in which, just beyond the traffic lights, stands our new Branch. King's Heath is said to be second only to Erdington as the busiest shopping area in Birmingham but if one may use the supermarket spread as a yardstick the gap must surely be closing. Industry is reasonably close at King's Norton, Stirchley and Northfield, as are the residential and retail areas of Moseley, Cotteridge and Hall Green, but King's Heath itself is mostly residential and southwards is the only direction in which it can spread. The siting of the new Branch is therefore ideal— only one of our competitors is close by, the remainder being confined in the older part of what was once a village.

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Our Branch is a typically modern shop site, the front­age being a combination of frosted and plate glass with a recessed doorway—vastly different from the pre-war shop front Branch with its dark green curtains on a brass rail. The impression inside is entirely of brown and white with a bowl of fresh flowers providing the needed splash of colour. The entire wall behind the counter is of pre­dominantly brown cork and, even if one is tempted to feel that the only thing lacking is an enormous wet footprint, cork's wearing properties should conceal the marks which will accumulate inevitably when cashiers have to brush past each other. The office is bright and, though not extensive or of great depth, perfectly adequate for the needs of the next few years. On the first floor along with staff, voucher and storage rooms is a ready-made machine room for the future and at the rear of the office is a car park big enough for two new Branches. 

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Mr W. D. Beardsley, a native of Hinckley, came to King's Heath from pro managership at Digbeth.  Mr M. F. Heath, who began his banking life at Derby twelve years ago, was at the time of our visit in the last month of bachelorhood and by the time this appears in print he will have married the daughter of Mr W. R. Gordon, retired manager of Derby Branch. The two younger members, George Ray, with his extensive local knowledge, his soccer skill and his determination to get business, and Barbara West with her enquiring mind and stickability, provide some essential ingredients for this foothold office, the seventh full Branch within the City. Although the need to return quickly to Liverpool prevented a full tour of the King's Heath area we were very glad to meet the Midland District General Manager that same evening and to offer him our congratulations on his newest Branch and on the staff selected to run it.

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Friendly. Helpful. Considerate…

King’s Heath opens in March 1967 with this wonderful newspaper advertisement which runs in the Midland South edition of the Birmingham Post. Martins Bank’s use of animals in their advertising is by the time well known and it stands out above the advertising of the other banks. A little girl takes her elephant to the bank, a student has a pet zebra, a middle aged man is worried about leaving things to a hippo in his will, a family goes on holiday with a camel, a bank manager has cows in his interview room – this is the kind of advertising that even fifty years on still looks fresh and innovative. Our archive copies of ads featuring this menagerie have been carefully remastered from original copy, and feature at various points throughout our pages…

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<,1967 Miss B West MBM-Su67P17.jpg

1967 Mr F J Heath MBM-Su67P17.jpg

1967 Mr G Ray MBM-Su67P17.jpg

1967 to 1969 Mr W D Beardsley Manager MBM-Su67P04.jpg

1969 Mr W E Clowes Manager MBM-Su69P17.jpg

BW Logo

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Miss B West

On the Staff


Mr F J Heath

On the Staff


Mr G Ray

On the Staff


Mr W D Beardsley

Opened this Branch as Manager 1967 to 1969

Mr W E Clowes


1969 onwards






Index Number and District:






11-14-50 Birmingham King’s Heath

Full Branch

16 Alcester Road South King’s Heath Birmingham 14 

583 Midland

Mon to Fri 1000-1500  

Saturday 0900-1130

021 444 4910

Nightsafe Installed

W D Beardsley Manager

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Spring 1967

15 December 1969

12 June 1970


Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-08-43 Birmingham Kings Heath


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