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Brave new World…

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image076Ambitious plans are drawn up in the early 1960s that will change completely, the face of Cheltenham High Street.  Very much at the centre of the new development is the futuristic building that will house the new branch.  As usual, the Bank commissions a piece of artwork that will reflect the confidence of this new age of straight lines and concrete, and add the Bank’s own unique signature to the building.  In the design above, the architect has given his own impression of how the Bank’s name and coat of arms might appear. 

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The reality is a little different, as we shall see below. The new building has taken shape and the Bank’s name has been added.  Martins’ expansion into the South and West is a serious affair, and one that continues right up to the very day of the merger with Barclays.  We have already seen brand new branch buildings such as EATON  completed and handed straight over to Barclays, and Martins Bank’s sub branch at Goring By Sea exists only a few months before being closed in favour of a nearby Barclays branch.

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Martins Bank opens it first Branch in Cheltenham in 1939 at 107 HIGH STREET, moving to the present address of 155 High Street in 1957.  Thanks to the major town centre redevelopment of Cheltenham the new branch becomes a modern, purpose built outlet in a prime part of the new shopping area.  The specially designed artwork is unveiled, and Martins Bank’s traditional grasshopper receives the modern treatment with this ceramic made by Philippa Threlfall (see also our DESIGNING MARTINS feature).

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Branch and Planning Images © Barclays Ref 0030/0616

 

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1967 Artwork for new High street Branch Philippa Threlfall.jpegPhilippa designs and crafts a total of three artworks for Martins Branches, the other two being at the new branch in Gloucester, and the redesigned branch at Bristol Clifton. Luckily for us, (and posterity), Philippa took colour photographs of her work, and we are pleased to be able to bring these images to you here, and on the Gloucester and Clifton pages.  The rare glimpse below of Cheltenham’s brand new High Street is socially important, as it shows the shops, shoppers, and cars of the time. Could it really be that everyone is flocking to Martins Bank’s new Branch?  At the end of 1965, Martins Bank Magazine tells the story of the rebuild – and as we will see, the writer might just have had their tongue in their cheek a little, as this would seem to be a story that is not so much about banking, as much as the measuring of “bonking” and THRUST!

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GONE BONKERS AT CHELTENHAM

- supplanted by a SILENT piledriver…

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1966 01 MBM.jpgafter our premises at 155 High Street, Cheltenham, had been demolished and before work on the new building could begin, Premises Department was faced with a problem. The Council insisted that noise and vibration be kept to a minimum to avoid nuisance and danger to adjacent property and this called for an alternative to the old-fashioned, nerve-wracking, 'bonking' piledrivers.

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1966 155 High Street Branch demolished for rebuild (1)The problem was solved by the Taywood Pilemaster, a recent invention of the Taylor Woodrow Group, which can drive steel piles into the hardest clay with no more noise than an idling car engine. This scarcely seems possible with a nine-ton machine but the secret lies in the principle behind the operation. Eight piles (there is virtually no limit to their length) are attached to the machine's eight hydraulic rams in the steel crosshead. Each has a thrust of 30 inches. With the machine suspended from a crane, two rams begin to press their piles into the ground while the others remain 'locked'. The force exerted on these two piles is the weight of the machine plus the weight of all the piles.

1967 New Branch Exterior Philippa Threlfall MICx.jpg 

Image © 1966 Philippa Threlfall

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When the first two piles are embedded 30 inches, another two rams come into operation and so on, the resistance of the soil adding to the force behind each pair of rams as driving progresses.  The machine receives no assistance from the crane which is removed when the piles are sufficiently deep to support the machine's weight. Operations are controlled electrically at ground level by one man working a small cabinet of switches. The Pilemaster is quickly ousting the old 'bonkers' and anything that contributes to a lessening of noise deserves success. In time the loudest noise on a construc­tion site may come from the workmen's transistor radios…Sep 1.jpg

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1966 155 High Street Branch demolished for rebuild (2)

 

 

 

‘Topping out’ at our rebuilt branch at Cheltenham.

 

This image shows the District General Manager with Mr K E Tomlinson (Manager), Mr I M Williams (Architect) and Mr J H Bryan (District Office)

 

 

 

 

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Let’s go inside…

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Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0030/0616

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1939 to 1947 Mr C N C Windle Manager MBM-Au46P17

1947 to 1965 Mr W G Dash Manager MBM-Sp65P58

1960 to 1964 Mr B H Crossey Pro Manager MBM-Su64P03

1964 to 1968 Mr GFC Williams ltd auth from 1964 pro Manager 1965 MBM-Sp66P03

1965 Miss PL Proctor Manager's Secretary MBM-Au65P49

1965 onwards Mr KE Tomlinson Manager MBM-Sp65P05

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr C N C Windle

Manager

1939 to 1947

Mr W G Dash

Manager

1947 to 1965

Mr B H Crossey

Pro Manager

1960 to 1964

Mr G F C Williams

Limited Authority

1964 to 1968

Miss P L Proctor

Manager’s Secretary

1965

Mr K E Tomlinson

Manager

1965 onwards

 

 

 

 

 

 

1968 Mr AD Barlow Assistant Manager MBM-Sp68P05

1968 Mr RG Rigby pro Manager MBM-Au68P06

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr A D Barlow

Assistant Manager

1968

Mr R G Rigby

Pro Manager

1968

 

 

 

 

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Title:

Type:

Address:

Index Number and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-69-20 Cheltenham High Street

Full Branch

155 High Street Cheltenham Gloucestershire

159 South Western

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Cheltenham 26782 / 52731

Nightsafe Installed

K E Tomlinson Manager

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

11-09-60 CHELTENHAM MONTPELIER

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1957

1965

15 December 1969

9 February 1987

Moved to 155 from107 High Street

Demolished and Rebuilt

Barclays Bank Limited 20-20-16 Cheltenham 155 High Street

Closed

Currently

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