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1938 COA.jpgMartins Bank opens a Branch at Cambridge in 1938 on Market Hill, in a lovely corner aspect property that survives as a bank until 2011. Having your branch in two streets at once is a popular device much prized by all the Banks, and Cambridge Branch seems also to have a certain authority about its stonework, not least the pillars either side of the main door.  In 1949 Martins Bank runs a popular advertising campaign – “Roman Towns” – in 1949 that runs for several years, with twelve English towns and cities chosen to be represented by their Roman name and a short description of how they were in Roman times. The advertisements are designed to be collectible and as such are numbered as part of a series in some publications.  Martins Bank Magazine makes its one and only visit to Cambridge Branch in 1950, and revels in the joy of being so close to some of the Country’s top universities…

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1960 ish BGA Ref Z-999-24 Cambridge Market Hill.jpg

Image: Barclays

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1950 02 MBM.jpg

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It was with special pleasure that we learned of the decision to include Cambridge branch in this feature, because Cambridge is a city we have never before had the good fortune to visit.  Our branch there was opened by Mr. R. H. Price, now Staff Manager, just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.  Mr. A. B. Aitken, who succeeded him as Manager in 1940, went with him to open it, and, apart from war service has been there ever since.

© 1949 Martins Bank Limited / Geoffrey Wedgwood

 

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On the mantelpiece of his room reposes a Japanese samurai sword, surrendered to him by a Japanese officer—an interesting reminder of his war service in India, Burma and Saigon. Mr. Aitken is an L. & Y. man who commenced his service at Eastbank Street in 1924. He also served at St. Luke's, on H.O. Relief Staff, at Liverpool City Office and at Ormskirk before going South. Always a keen sportsman, he has now abandoned rugger for the gentler pursuit of golf, but wasn't seen at Southport this year! As readers may judge from the photograph, our branch is situated close to some of the loveliest and most famous buildings in the world, five minutes' walk from the incomparable " backs " which were a carpet of daffodils of all shades and varieties at the time of our visit April 12th.

 

The office is attractive, being light and airy, with low windows clear-glazed to give a good view of the passing scene.  In a way, visitors to this delightful city get a false impression of its delectability from a resident's point of view, for town and gown are quite distinct and a businessman in Cambridge is quite often in it without being of it. Nevertheless, we have important interests to justify our presence there and the branch is a very valuable link in our network of service. C. W. Rodwell, the second man, is also an L. & Y. man with prior service at Cheetham, Slade Lane, Ardwick and Stourport.  He served with H.M. Forces from 1940 to 1946 and took part in the invasion operations in North-West Europe. He went to Cambridge in February of last year. We were soon on common ground with J. G. Podmore as we followed him at Allerton Road branch and each knew the same people. He entered the Bank in 1935 at Liverpool City Office and also served at Garston and Sefton Park before military service from 1939 to 1946. His principal service was in Burma and by a curious coincidence he was at one time in the same camp as Mr. Aitken and even attended the same concert, though they did not make each other's acquaintance until he went to Cambridge in 1946 on demobilisation. The remaining members of the staff are all " locals." D. V. Milne joined the service last October. In his spare time he is a keen instrumentalist, his speciality being religious music. He will be doing his military service next year and hopes to take his Bankers' examinations whilst on service. To our regret we did not meet Miss S. M. Hawkes who was away from work owing to illness at home. She has been at the branch since March 1948, and is now engaged to be married. Miss R. Clifton entered the service at Cambridge in March, 1949. Her birthplace rather puzzled us and we had to confess that we had never heard of Littleport, a few miles out of Cambridge.

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1960 Stand at the Royal Show Cambridge MBM-Wi60P41.jpg

Even the dark clouds don’t spoil our bright show stand at the 1960 Cambridge show.

There are more examples of what we get up during Show Season i

n our TRADE STANDS  feature.

As Mr. Aitken was on holiday at the time of our visit and as April 13th was Mrs. Aitken's birthday we celebrated with a little luncheon party. We would not presume to lay down the qualities which go to make a good bank manager, but surely pride of association with the place in which one works is one of them and Mr. Aitken certainly has this, as we discovered during our subsequent tour of the colleges when we com­mented disparagingly on the amount of daisy in the lawns of King's College. Although not a keen gardener himself we were conscious of " a hush in the close " after we had spoken. It is most refreshing to observe the great amount of repair, renovation and even new build­ing which seems to be going on throughout the University. King's College Chapel has been cleaned inside and the job of replacing the stained glass, re­moved for safety during the war, is nearly finished. An extension is being built to St. Catherine's while repairs are in hand at a dozen colleges, including Jesus College which was recently damaged by fire.

There is a purposefulness about the place which is a pleasant contrast to the apathy which seems to have descended upon other places and a coat of paint and a bit of cleaning does make such a difference.  We had coffee at Dorothy's, where Mrs. Aitken and young Simon joined us, listened to the band and watched the dancing, observing with interest the ab­sence of any colour bar. Newmarket did not interest us but we stole an afternoon away from the job and went to Ely to see the cathedral, being much impressed with its beauty. The windows are among the richest in colouring and beauty we have so far seen in this country. Cambridge is one of Mr. Norman-Butler's spiritual homes and the coaching of crews is one of his specialities. He had recently paid a visit for this purpose. Mr. Verity, too, was there a few weeks before our visit, so the branch cannot complain of being neglected. When we think of the situation of some of our industrial and suburban branches we feel that there are many compensations for those whose work takes them to a place like Cambridge.

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Then and Now

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Our Thanks to Geoff Dunn for his contribution to our series of “then and now” shots of Martins Bank’s former branches. The two images are around fifty years apart,  the name of the new “Boss” is just visible on the signage above the window on the left.  Barclays vacated this building in June 2011…

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1964

Image © Barclays

2014

Image © Geoff Dunn / Martins Bank Archive

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1938 to 1940 Mr R H Price Manager MBM-Au47P10.jpg

1938 to 1947 Mr W D Longfield MBM-Sp66P08.jpg

1940 to at least 1950 Mr A B Aitken Manager MBM-Su50P33.jpg

1949 to 1962 Mr D V Milne  MBM-Sp65P09.jpg

1962 to 1966 Mr DG Hill MBM-Su66P03.jpg

1965 Mr C J Pearce Pro Manager MBM-Su65P06.jpg

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Mr R H Price

Manager

1938 to 1940

Mr W D longfield

On the Staff

1938 to 1947

Mr A B Aitken

Manager

1940 to 195- ?

Mr D V Milne

On the Staff

1949 to 1962

Mr D G Hill

On the Staff

1962 to 1966

Mr C J Pearce

Pro Manager

1965

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1966 DMJ Harding Manager MBM-Sp66P06.jpg

1966 to 1967 Mr A F Crowder pro Manager MBM-Su66P05.jpg

1967 Mr NR Frake pro Manager MBM-Wi67P06.jpg

1967 Sally Edge Staff Member MBM-Sp67P47.jpg

1969 Mr W W Isle Manager MBM-Sp69P11.jpg

BW Logo

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Mr D M J Harding

Manager

1966 to 1969

Mr A F Crowder

Pro Manager

1966 to 1967

Mr N R Frake

Pro Manager

1967

Sally Edge

On the Staff

1967

Mr W W Isle

Manager

1969 onwards

 

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-46-20 Cambridge

Full Branch

30 Market Hill Cambridge

457 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Cambridge 58348

Nightsafe Installed

Mr W W Isle Manager

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6 December 1938

15 December 1969

3 June 2011

Currently

opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-17-38 Cambridge Market Hill

Closed and business transferred to Cambridge St Andrew’s Branch

Hugo Boss®  Fashion Retailer

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