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In 1984, Martins Bank Colleague Mr A F Hill, now of Barclays, wants to mark the closure of his former Martins Branch at Brighton North Street by producing a pamphlet entitled “Martins Bank Branches in Sussex”.  His aim is to leave some kind of permanent record of Martins’ involvement with the county of Sussex, before, as he puts it “memories fade” and “remaining records are lost to view”.  With the help of former colleagues, he produces an excellent pamphlet which records in some detail the origins – and the fate – of Martins’ 1930s expansion into this part of Southern England. 

In Service: May 1961 until 6 April 1970 

Image © Brighton Argus – Martins Bank Archive Collections

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The following extract looks at the short life of Hastings branch, and then Martins Bank Magazine pays the branch a visit about a year after it is first opened. Finally we have what turns out to be quite a lavish publicity article from the Brighton Evening Argus, which welcomes the new branch and its Manager Mr E J Morris, to the town of Hastings…

Martins Bank in Hastings…

{Martins’ Branch in Hastings was opened at 30 Havelock Road in May 1961 under the management of Mr Eric Morris with Mr Norman Frake as his second man. This team stayed together for five years, during which time the business expanded with the Branch consolidating its representation in the town. The Branch was situated in the middle of the commercial centre of Hastings and is in fact the only Martins Bank premises in the county to retain a link with the banking industry, as the premises are now occupied by a Branch of the Trustee Savings Bank. The Branch was soon closed after the merger with Mr Morris moving to Barclays St Leonards on the 1st January 1970 and the office itself finally closing on the 6th April 1970. The majority of the business accounts moved to St Leonards and the remaining accounts were taken over by Hastings office}.

ABRIDGED FROM “MARTINS BANK BRANCHES IN SUSSEX” © A F HILL 1984

Courtesy W N Townson Bequest (Martins Bank Archive Collections)

Stylish Modernity… (with maybe still just a whiff of the 1950s…)

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1962 03 MBM.jpgOne cannot visit Hastings for the first time without being conscious of being near the scene of tremendous events in our island history. It was not far from here that William the Conqueror came ashore and made his way inland some six miles to encounter the hastily summoned forces of Harold on Senlac hill at Battle. The noble ruins of Battle Abbey on the crown of the hill, part of which have been restored and are in use as a girls' public school, are a fitting reminder of these events of long ago. In Hastings itself, however, the only visible link with the past is the ruined castle, the first Norman fort to be built by William after the Conquest, from which a fine view of the town is obtained. Although a community of some 66,000 people, Hastings gives the impression of being a place which is just beginning to recover from a period of depression.

 

The front is shabby and nondescript but things improve rapidly in the direction of St. Leonards and a large block of new flats which dominates the scene at that end will be offset by a large new hotel which is to be built in Hastings itself, planned to rise to over 20 floors. It will provide a focal point just as Blackpool Tower does on the Lancashire coast.Our branch at Hastings was planned some years ago and, as soon as a suitable site became available we started to build and the new branch is yet another fine specimen of modern bank architecture, with beautiful woodwork, panel lighting and tasteful fittings.   

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An innovation which ought to be very popular with the ladies is a space immediately underneath the counter top for handbags or shopping bags, while the counter top is left free for the transaction of banking business. Another noteworthy feature is the glass entrance door on which is mounted a large coloured replica of the Bank's coat of arms. It is unusual to find a new branch staffed entirely by men from the District in which it is situated, but this is true of Hastings. The Manager, Mr. E. J. Morris, entered the Bank in 1936 at 68, Lombard Street. He served with H.M. Forces from 1939-1946, afterwards returning to Lombard Street. He went to Ipswich in 1956 and there he acted as second-in-command until he was given the chance to open the new branch at Hastings.

 

He hasn't got the easiest of jobs as there is very little industry and the place is a fairly typical seaside town with a permanent population of retired people and the usual holiday influx. There is business, however, and it will be Mr. Morris's task to see that we get our fair share of it.  To help him he has Mr. N. R. Frake as second-in-command. Mr. Frake is another Lombard Street man who started his career there in 1951 and reached Hastings via Bexhill, Tunbridge Wells, Moorgate and District Office Relief Staff. He is well known in the district as a tenor and, as a keen member of two operatic societies, appears in several shows each year. He also fulfils singing engagements in various places, so that his identification with Martins Bank ought to help the new branch. The third man is Mr. C. J. Lumley, whose father is on the staff at Bexhill. He entered the Bank at Kingsway in 1958 and has also served on the Relief Staff. The ladies are represented by Miss P. M. Eldridge who entered the Bank as a trainee at Bexhill in 1960. Miss Eldridge is a capable young lady and from her photo (below) you will not be surprised to learn that she is interested in modelling for photographic portraiture. We visited the branch on Monday, July 17th, and we had the pleasure of entertaining Mr. and Mrs. Morris to lunch before leaving for Bexhill.

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Sometimes, fate steps in when a piece of history is mislaid - and until November 2021, there were no photographs to be had of the exterior of Martins Bank’s Hastings Branch, opened in May 1961. Luckily there were two colour interiors, as featured earlier on this page, but not a glimpse of the outside…

Resigned to the probability that the original photograph was simply missing – for any number of reasons – from the Barclays Collection, we were content with what was available across our two Archives. Then along came this cutting from the Brighton Evening Argus, which was published the day after the Branch opened, and with it the tantalising prospect that we might also find out the exact date of opening, as this piece of information was also not fully recorded. Unfortunately the source of the newspaper cutting does not have the exact date of publication, so there is still one mystery left to keep us on our toes.  The article is shown below, and it would seem that in 1961 the arrival of a new bank in town really was a story to which several column inches could be devoted…

Image © Brighton Argus – Martins Bank Archive Collections

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1961 Mr NR Frake Branch Second MBM-Wi67P06.jpg

1961 Mr C J Lumley MBM-Au61P10.jpg

1963 Miss P M Eldridge Cashier MBM-Au63P11.jpg

1966 Mr D D Burt MBM-Au66P31

1968 Alan Dengate MBM-Wi68P32

 

 

 

 

 

Mr E J Morris

Manager

1961 onwards

Mr N R Frake

Branch Second

1961

Mr C J Lumley

On the Staff

1961

Miss P M Eldridge

Cashier

1961

Mr D D Burt

Joined the Bank Here

1965 to 1966

Alan Dengate

Joined the Bank Here

1965 to 1967

 

BARCLAYS BANK LIMITED

Harold Place

LLOYDS BANK LIMITED

Hastings

Old Town

MARTINS BANK LIMITED

30 Havelock Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIDLAND BANK LIMITED

Hastings

Old Town

NATIONAL PROVINCIAL BANK

Hastings

WESTMINSTER BANK LIMITED

Hastings

 

 

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-39-40 Hastings

Full Branch

30 Havelock Road Hastings Sussex

479 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Hastings 7172

Nightsafe Installed

Mr E J Morris Manager

 

 

Haslingden Syke Side

May 1961

6 April 1970

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Closed and business transferred to Barclays Harold Place

Haverton Hill

 

M

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