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Martins Bank 1928+

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Martins Bank begins its search for suitable premises in the town of Knutsford in 1965, and Middleton & Co Electrical Contractors is chosen, most likely because the building has a corner aspect. To be on a corner, and therefore to have your signage in TWO streets at once has always been high on the list of desirable features for all Banks when choosing the location for a new Branch.

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By 1967 the transformation is complete and the new Branch opens – you can see how it looks on the inside further down the page. 

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Image ca.1973 Courtesy of Knutsford Heritage Centre from the Knutsford Guardian Collection

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1965 Knutsford Premises before Martins BGA Ref 25-608.jpg

1965 – Knutsford branch in its previous life. Image © Barclays Ref 25/608


Sadly, there are currently no images available which show the exterior of the Branch as Martins, but thanks to our friends at KNUTSFORD HERITAGE CENTRE there is, in the above photograph, a glimpse of how it looked from the Princess Street Aspect, as a Branch of Barclays, in the early 1970s. There is also this photo in Barclays’ collection (left), taken by Martins Bank’s premises team, showing Messrs Middleston & Co’s Shop before conversion to a bank.

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Martins Bank Magazine visits Knutsford Branch not long after it opens, and readers are treated to a colour image of the staff in their new surroundings.  The writer of the article makes much of Knutsford’s traffic situation, and perceived “manners of the road”, and we are assured by Knutsford Heritage that things haven’t changed much in the fifty years or so since the article was written…


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1967 04 MBM.jpgThe search for any branch in any town begins when the car is directed firmly along the road indicating town centre. One then becomes grasshopper and liver bird-conscious and any combination of red, green, gold and grey prompts an easing of the foot on the pedal. Eventually one arrives. In Knutsford one arrives at the branch almost before one has begun looking for it, and that creates a favour­able first impression.  Its door faces the main road junc­tion and as one is drawn towards it—for it happens to be that kind of doorway—one may just overlook the red Mini which has right of way as one turns into Princess Street. Safely past that hazard one finds that a large lorry full of vegetables or cigarettes or something is blocking the road. There are shopping cars and muddied landrovers all down the right-hand side of this one way street (it not being Shrove Tuesday or the fifth even-dated Monday in eight weeks) but this lorry just sits there blocking up the narrow way.

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1967 Knutsford Interior and Staff MBM-Wi67P09

In front of it are two more cars and in front of them another lorry is being unloaded. So one sits and waits, quite unaware that, in this, one is doing the right thing in Knutsford. One does not go honking and rat-racing around Knutsford. One waits and looks to right and left at the antique shop or the family grocers (whence comes a smell of real bacon and freshly ground coffee), or at the Italianesque architecture of Richard Harding Watt or at the Georgian shop fronts and attractive coffee houses. After a while one realises with a shock that the road in front has cleared and that a patient and well-mannered queue has now formed behind. Significantly, no driver in that queue has attempted to blast on his horn. If, to you, Knutsford sounds the kind of place you just couldn't stand, please stay away.

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The people won't mind at all, though you will miss quite a lot. Do you know of any other town where the main street ends in the country without first tailing off through council semi's and car-dumps? Such is King Street where the traffic queues form as they do in Princess Street, which is where we came in and where you can come in from the Tabley interchange on the M6 only two miles away. Please don't shout about Knutsford too much to others. The town is doing very nicely residentially, from numerous visitors, as a host town to research scientists and as a pleasant and individualistic shopping centre. Some of the big boys have shops there already—looking self-consciously rural—and, if the proposed very im­aginative and sensible development plan succeeds, more will set up in the new precinct between the two existing main shopping streets which will be preserved. On the fringe of the town Tabley and Tatton Parks ensure a rural background along with the Cheshire Meres nearby, and to date the more vicious planners have done nothing worse than threaten the beautiful village of Mobberley with Manchester's overspill.


Knutsford's population of 10,000 is expected to reach 17,000 by 1981, its shopping population rising from 18,000 to 26,000 in that time. The air of Mrs Gaskell's Cranford will therefore remain, as no doubt will the former homes of Highwayman Higgins and of Trumpet Major Smith who sounded the 'Charge' for the Light Brigade at Balaclava. The county jail has been demolished long since but at the Sessions House the Quarter Sessions are still shared with Chester. Although Knutsford remembers the Danes its survival and popularity with the county families may well have originated from its high standing in the judiciary system.


There are 60 clubs, societies and associations in the town and after only a fortnight at the new branch Mr Saunders has become accustomed to 'You'll be at our meeting won't you?' In Knutsford that is a promising start, not because the local people are snooty in any way but because it shows Mr Saunders as the kind of friendly man they want to have in their midst. Well, they've got him. And his wife! So to Knutsford we can say 'You lucky people!' If they want more than Mr and Mrs Saunders, who reciprocate by thinking Knutsford marvellous, they have only to call at the branch to enjoy the best of competent personal service from Mr Tickle and Mrs Grassby and thus be doubly fortunate: trebly fortunate in their surroundings, as the photograph shows, with a con­venient car park at the back of the office. Let us hope that all the luck does not run one way. The staff have the ability and deserve plenty of luck too. You might look them up and wish them well, but do watch for that red Mini as you turn into Princess Street.

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1967 Mr RE Saunders Manager MBM-Wi67P01.jpg

1967 Mrs S M Grassby MBM-Wi67P09.jpg

1967 Mr G R Tickle MBM-Wi67P09.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Mr R E Saunders

Clerk in Charge

1967 onwards

Miss S M Grassby

On the Staff


Mr G R Tickle

On the Staff





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2 Branches

1946 District Bank Logo from Cheque - MBAx1


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Index No and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-22-50 Knutsford

Full Branch

41 Princess Street Knutsford Cheshire

738 Manchester

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Knutsford 2347

Nightsafe Installed

Mr R E Saunders Manager



15 December 1969

25 June 1976

opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-47-46 Knutsford Princess Street