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Home to a prestigious golf club, and to the even more prestigious Bentham School, Martins Bank’s Branch at High Bentham, is one of the most delightful in the West Riding of Yorkshire.  This side view of the bank is familiar to many of us who worked at Bentham, as a handy pathway leads to it from a car park.  In Martins’ time it would actually have made sense to have the side of the bank as the front, by virtue of the counter and branch layout.  Bentham will always remind us of summer days and scenic drives across two counties to get to work.  Happy days indeed… For the first of our Bentham features, we go back to 1951 and the visit to the Branch of Martins Bank Magazine.  Then we move forward to 1967, and the memories of Martins Colleague Dave Baldwin who recalls for us his time there on relief, and the complications that can go with the idea of a week’s free beer!

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1951 02 MBM.jpg

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Visiting Bentham was for us almost like going home, a return to youthful haunts. We have spent many happy days in the district camping and potholing, the latter sport being peculiar to the limestone districts of the country where caves and underground passages abound. Bentham itself is situated amid the magnificent scenery of the Pennine range just inside the West Riding of Yorkshire, twelve miles east of Lancaster, and our branch is excellently sited on the main street at the top of the hill leading down to the station. It has only recently become a full branch, having formerly been sub to Settle. Nevertheless, as a sub office of the old Craven Bank it has served the needs of the Bank's customers for over half a century. When first we used to visit Bentham the upper floors of the little building served as offices, but the premises have now been re-designed and a most attractive little house for the manager and his wife has taken the place of the office.

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1960 ish BGA Ref 30-159 Bentham Exterior

Branch Images © Barclays Ref 30-159

 

1960 ish Bentham Exterior 1 CU BGA Ref 30-159

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1960 ish BGA Ref 33-54 Bentham Internal 2

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Thoroughly modernised, with two large bedrooms, a tiled bathroom, large, sunny living room and kitchenette, one of the cosiest of Bank houses has been made, and in these days of housing difficulties Mr. Dodgson and his wife are a very fortunate couple. The only fly in the ointment is the absence of a garden, and they are both fond of gardening.  Still, they are not town dwellers and this is in the heart of the country and we are quite sure that a solution to their problem will not be hard to find. The office itself is small, but light and very cosy, quite one of the most attractive small offices we have.  Mr. Dodgson commenced his career at Barnoldswick in 1915, returning there after service in the First World War from 1917 to 1919. After spells at Skipton and Colne he went to Keighley where he became Pro Manager in 1946.  He was appointed Assistant Manager at Settle in 1948 and Manager at Bentham last year. He plays golf in Settle and Bentham and has taken up amateur dramatics since going to Bentham. Mrs. Dodgson has extended the scope of her household duties to include the staff, and makes it her business to supply tea at the appropriate intervals during the day, a friendly ‘family’ gesture which is much appreciated.  J. W. Parker has performed all his service at Settle where, apart from the war years he worked from 1923 until he was posted to Bentham last year. During the war he served in the Corps of Signals as a cipher operator and went to the Continent with the invading armies, finishing up on the Rhine. He served for some months in the same unit as M. J. Downes of Head Office Inspection Department. Mr. Parker has a son who is doing quite brilliantly at Giggleswick School, and he hopes to win a scholarship to Cambridge before long. His daughter goes to the school which was attended by the famous Brontë sisters.

1960 ish BGA Ref 33-54 Bentham Interior 1

 

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1951 Bentham Staff Outside Branch MBM-Su51P34.jpgMr. Parker is another golfer and plays at Settle, but is hoping to be able to find a house in Bentham before long. A. B. Pitts is the third member of the staff, which he joined at Bingley in 1919, going to Bentham last year. He is a keen rugby football player and a good worker and the others will be sorry to lose him when he leaves to perform his National Service later in the year. For lunch we motored with Mr. and Mrs. Dodgson to Melling Hall, formerly the home of the Darlington family, and now an attractive country hotel.  The grand sweep of the Pennine range, the winding lanes and flowering hedgerows, the little streams running through pretty villages which would be vulgarised were they more acces­sible, the upland farms and the lichened churches have much to offer of peace and contentment to the man who makes his home among them and is willing to make them a part of his daily life. And everywhere around, easy of access, are the silent fells, those breezy hills of God of which the poet wrote. Among them one feels that Time stands still and yet their very age makes one conscious of the endless rolling-on of Time.

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There is no such thing as a free lunch BEER.

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1966 Dave Baldwin DB-MBAIn May/June 1967 I was sent as a relief cashier to Bentham for a week and stayed at 'The Black Bull' (diagonally opposite the branch) and on the Tuesday and Friday, was sent to Ingleton (the branch in the image). Not many customers though. I could have quite-easily commuted by train from Keighley but was told that I had to stay and that my willingness and experience 'would be good for my  career'. Was it? I don't think so but I enjoyed a different walk every  evening after sitting in the puib reading on my first night. On Tuesday, I walked down the back road to Wennington and back up the main road; Wednesday it was Clapham on the back road returning by the main road and on Thursday it was Ingleton via Burton in-Lonsdale and returning via a more-direct route. Good job it was a decent week weather-wise. Then back home on the train on Friday.

 

1960 to 1967 Mr FR Alston Manager MBM-Wi67P01.jpg1955 to 1968 Mr F Shuttleworth MBM-Su68P13.jpgFrank Shuttleworth (left) was the first cashier and Frank Alston (right) the Manager. We still had to 'hand-post' the current account ledgers (quite an experience as Keighley was mechanised) and on Thursday we couldn't balance the weekly return.  Before I left, Dereck Ingham (Assistant Manager at Keighley) told me that it was acceptable for me to buy a pint of beer each evening and charge it to my expenses claim, which I did, along with the 2/6 lunch and 6d for a cup of tea  which I had at the farmer's cafe above the railway station. On the Friday, I  duly cashed my expenses claim but, later, was called into Frank Alston's  office and given the 'third degree': 'We don't pay for alcohol Mr Baldwin',  I was told, so my claim was reduced by 4 x 1/6d (6/-) and I was made to repay the amount. On my return to Keighley, Dereck Ingham asked how things had been but I didn't mention my 'entertainment' until he pressed me ('and did you claim for a pint each evening David? he asked) to which I replied that I had but that it had not been permitted. 'Who said that it was not permitted' was the response? 'Mr Alston'. Shortly afterwards Dereck Ingham came out of his office with 6/- in his hand and gave it to me after he had (apparently) spoken with Frank Alston and then claimed the amount from Bentham branch.. Dereck Ingham, who interviewed me when I first applied for a job with  Martins, was one of the best managers for whom I ever worked and his  knowledge and ability was exceptional. He was a 'typical' 'real' 'Martins  Man' who died before his time.

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I have very pleasant memories of working at Bentham for Barclays in the 1990s, and despite the town being so close to the Lancashire border, when you visit Bentham, you definitely know you are in Yorkshire. No namby pamby new fangled sandwich shops, the branch is conveniently situated next door to a pub. This is a dual convenience, as the bank is no distance at all to pay in the pub takings, and on late nights and tricky balance days at the bank, the pub is handy for liquid refreshment – a peaceful, and mutually beneficial co-existence!!!

Editor, 2013.

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1950 Mr Dodgson Manager MBM-Su51P34.jpg

1950 to 1951 later 1967 Mr AB Pitts Manager MBM-Wi67P03.jpg

1951 Mr J W Parker MBM-Su51P34.jpg

1951 to 1953 Mr K Marsden  MBM-Su67P02.jpg

1955 to 1968 Mr F Shuttleworth MBM-Su68P13.jpg

1960 to 1967 Mr FR Alston Manager MBM-Wi67P01.jpg

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Mr Dodgson

Manager

1950 to 1960

Mr A B Pitts

On Staff 1950 to 1951

Manager 1967 onwards

Mr J W Parker

On the Staff

1951

Mr K Marsden

On the Staff

1951 to 1953

Mr F Shuttleworth

First Cashier

1955 to 1968

Mr F R Alston

Manager

1960 to 1967

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Local Branch Banks

1946 District Bank Logo from Cheque - MBAx1

DISTRICT BANK LIMITED

http://www.martinsbank.co.uk/11-50-00%20Bedlington_files/image034.jpg

MARTINS BANK LIMITED

http://www.martinsbank.co.uk/11-23-41%20Guiseley_files/image045.jpg

MIDLAND BANK LIMITED

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Title:

Type:

 

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-55-00 Bentham 

Sub to 11-731 Settle until 1950

Then full Branch

Main Street Bentham Yorkshire

103 Craven

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Bentham 325

Nightsafe Installed

Mr A B Pitts Manager

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http://www.martinsbank.co.uk/11-50-00%20Bedlington_files/image034.jpg

11-55-00 INGLETON

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8 March 1899

23 March 1906

18 December 1918

3 January 1928

1950

15 December 1969

Currently

The Craven Bank

Bank of Liverpool

Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited

Martins Bank Limited

Given Full Branch status

Barclays Bank Limited 20-06-22 Bentham

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