In the Limelight.jpg

You can bring an Elephant!

Sep 1.jpg

image078In the summer of 1966, the attention of many is drawn towards a certain tournament at a football stadium somewhere in London - but surely by far the most exciting event of those months has to be the arrival of Rufus the Elephant, who appears in our new advertising campaign.

 

The idea that Martins is so laid back that not even an elephant will upset proceedings is an instant winner, and further advertisements featuring a camel and a hippo show that our Bank is happy to keep its tongue firmly in its cheek. 

WHY NOT ALSO VISIT THESE PAGES

Sep 1.jpg

Martins at War.jpg

Sep 1.jpg

Martins at War.jpg

Sep 1.jpg

At this point, step in Mr Ian Gibb, who as curator of York’s Flamingo Park Zoo (still loved by many these days as Flamingoland), puts Martins to the test. Ian takes his step-daughter Debbie and a young elephant from the zoo along to our branch at DavyGate in York, where onlookers are delighted, and cashier are indeed unfazed by the whole incident. But the stunt is not without its hiccups.  Ian has kindly given us the story of that day, accompanied here by the original advert…

Sep 1.jpg

1966 Martins Elephant Ad Retouched.jpg“{I seem to rember an advert, where the bank said “we don't mind who you bring with you to open an account”. Emily the elephant was a recent arrival at Flamingo Park and received special care because of her size and age.  As I had experience of rearing elephants, I spent a lot of time with her, so she was easy to handle as she would follow anywhere.

 

A newspaper  photographer, took many pictures at the zoo which was obviously good publicity for us, and had done a series of Debbie with Emily in the zoo. He asked, after seeing the bank advertisement if we could do this. He wanted to do it unannounced to get the bank’s reaction. On the day he had two or three other photographers on hand, in and outside the bank.  We parked the landrover & trailer near the bank and gathered attention from a traffic warden.  At that point a neighbouring shop owner came and offered his yard to park in. 

 

We unloaded Emily and started to walk to the bank, when a security van pulled up, so we retreated to the yard. After that we entered the bank, there was little reaction from the bank staff. The newspaper had provided £2 for Debbie to open the account; the cashier repeated, word for word, the phrase used in the advert. “Who have you brought with you today”. We left the bank with no fuss and loaded Emily into the trailer and then went in the shop who had kindly let us park and had a nice glass of wine as the shop was a wine merchants. (Debbie had a soft drink).   Although no irate manager came rushing out I presume the newspaper smoothed any problem and it also cannot have harmed the Bank. Shortly after, I took up a zoo management post in Canada}”.

Sep 1.jpg

In November 2009 a group of performing arts students decided to take Martins at their word, inspired by the events of 1966 to re-create them. Our thanks go to Colin Eccleston and his fellow students who took over 4 Water St for a day to pay homage to the original idea that Martins Staff are so helpful and laid back, that not even an elephant would faze them.  In these five images, someone plays the part of a bemused bank messenger, and the “elephant”, expertly realised by the student group, poses for the camera at various points within the iconic banking hall of our Head Office building.

Elephant at Water Street 4

Sep 1.jpg

Elephant at Water Street 5

Elephant at Water Street 2

Sep 1.jpg

Elephant at Water street 1

Elephant at Water Street 3

Sep 1.jpg

Bear faced cheek

Sep 1.jpg

Once upon a time, that most famous magician (and bear) Sooty went to GUISELEY Branch in the faraway land of Craven, to cash his first cheque AND meet his first bank manager, Mr Jack Hardcastle. Sooty’s companion Mr Corbett kindly gave him a hand up…

Sep 1.jpg

1958 Sooty visits his Bank Manager! (Guiseley Branch) MBMSu58P36.jpg1958 Sooty cashes his first cheque! (Guiseley Branch) MBM-Su58P36.jpg

Sep 1.jpg

It seems Sooty’s attachment to Martins Bank was indeed very strong, dear readers, for here he is again, with his friend Mr Corbett, and his nice NEW Bank Manager at Guiseley, Mr Ken Baxter, on the occasion of Sooty’s coming of age.  Martins really DO go to extremes to be helpful!

Sep 1.jpg

Sooty at 21.jpg

x

Sooty’s twenty-first birthday – Image © David Baxter 1969

Sep 1.jpg

Ranee the Tiger.jpgTiger, Tiger, sitting tight…

Martins seems to have the habit of attracting animal customers.  In this very early case of wildlife in the banking hall from 1956, RANEE the tigress accompanies her owner Mr James Walton.  Rather oddly – and perhaps this is a disturbing thought to a big cat – Mr Walton is actually a BUTCHER (!) and a farmer. 

 

Staff at CHESTER LE STREET branch think nothing of their office being visited by both tigress and Mr Walton.  When interviewed, he commented:

 

“It has long been a common thing for me to enter the Bank at Chester Le Street accompanied by a lion or a leopard and none of the cashiers was alarmed if either placed its paws on the counter while they checked cash”  We bet you didn’t know tigers could check cash, now did you?

Sep 1.jpg

With Mabel, at the table…

Cashing a cheque must be all the rage when you’re famous, and at LONDON WIGMORE STREET Wilfred Pickles and his wife Mabel ‘have a go’ too.  Meanwhile years before becoming Muhammed, Casius meets Mr D G Harris, the manager of GOLDERS GREEN

 

 

1960 Wilfred and Mabel Pickles cashing a cheque MBM-Wi60P39

 

 

Modelling - with Clay

 

1966 Mr DG Harris Manager Meets Casius Clay (Daily Express) MBM-Au66P46

Sep 1.jpg

Kitten on the Keys…

 

1949 - This lovable moggy was often found waiting on the steps of our branch at ALSTON, Cumberland, when the doors were opened for business. It would slip into the branch, make its way to the typewriter, in front of which it would seat itself as shown.  It would then tap the space bar until the bell rang, and then look up waiting for someone to return the carriage, so that the operation could be repeated!

Alston Cat.jpg

Sep 1.jpg

1968 LU Exterior Tour by Princess Alexandra July MBM-Au68P44

Royal walkabout

1968 - Princess Alexandra, first and longest serving Chancellor of LANCASTER UNIVERSITY, admires our new branch building in the appropriately named Alexandra Square.

How tickled they are, missus!  

1964 - King Doddy of Knotty Ash wows them all with the size of his cheque book at LEWIS’S BANK, in the brand new Lewis’s Department Store in Blackpool. Used to touring the land with his wonderful brand of humour and music, he also opens an account at our TORQUAY branch!

 

Ken Dodd Visits new branch at Blackpool 1964 MBM-Au64P13

 

Sep 1.jpg

LIMELIGHT-06/05/2009-21:35

Gutinfo.jpgx