Children's Savings

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SOME OF THE ITEMS ON THIS PAGE WERE FORMERLY PART OF OUR GIVEAWAYS FEATURE

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WHY NOT ALSO VISIT

Thrift.jpgThe majority of Martins’ Giveaways are aimed at children, and in this re-written feature, we look at what has been on offer at Martins - and some other banks down the years - to tempt young savers. Marketing savings to children is nothing new, and certainly not born from the new competitiveness that Banking undergoes from the late 1960s onwards.  In 1921, a classic design is born – the oval metal HomeSafe that is used by generations of adults and children to save for that rainy day. The concept is simple.  The Home Safe is like having a secure little piece of your bank at home with you. 

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Giveaways

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Locked at all times, and opened only at the counter of the bank so that the contents can be paid into an account, the HomeSafe is probably responsible for instilling the idea of thrift into millions of people.

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The moneybox comes of age…

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1921 Style B of L and M HomeSafe.jpg

1921 Style Barclays HomeSafe.jpg

1921 Style Lloyds Bank HomeSafe.jpg

1921 Style Martins HomeSafe.jpg

Images © Martins Bank Archive

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1950 s Lewis's Metal Money Box MBA.JPGWith the exception of Lewis’s Bank, and a small number of others, there’s not much to choose from really – the majority of HomeSafes look exactly the same, and the effect might even be to encourage someone to open accounts with the minimum deposit at several banks simply to collect the differently named oval HomeSafe boxes, and not bother to use them as intended by the banks.

 

This will hardly encourage brand loyalty.  By the 1950s many banks have moved away from the generic oval tin, to Home Safes of their own creation, but the basic idea of the key being held by the bank remains.  You might think that the banks had learned the pitfalls of a ubiquitous design, but many, Martins included go for something new and attractive, but still quite samey:

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1964 Lewis's Book Shaped Money Box MBA.jpg

1964 Martins Smaller Book Style Home Safe MBA.jpg

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Images © Martins Bank Archive

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Catching the Savings Bug…

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1967 Grasshopper Savings Book - JS Robertshaw to MBA.jpg

Image © Martins Bank Archive

Special thanks to John Robertshaw

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With the merger already on the cards, Martins’ swansong offering becomes an instant classic – the see-through yellow plastic grasshopper money box, given away to young savers  in combination with a golden coloured grasshopper lapel badge allows the bank one last chance to exhibit brand independence before the Spread Eagle takes over.   Sadly at the same time, a key player in the history and fortune of Martins drops off the radar.  Suddenly, the Liver Bird, symbolic both of the Bank of Liverpool, and our Head Office Building, is nowhere to be seen.

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The thinking behind this might be to make the Bank more attractive to London-centric investors. In the Summer of 1968, Captain Scarlet is not the only indestructible celebrity. This sturdy little plastic box is (apparently) indestructible, a strong statement about the bank, but sadly ironic considering how these beautiful little boxes have outlasted the bank itself.   Indestructible they might be, but they certainly don’t need a super-criminal to break into them and steal the contents.  In a departure from the lockable boxes that can only be emptied in front of the cashier, the grasshopper money box has only a small plastic sliding door between you and your pennies.  The arrival of the grasshopper moneybox is celebrated by the following tongue in cheek article in Martins Bank Magazine…

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Grasshoppers Under Stress…

 

1968 02 MBM.jpgThe Childproof Grasshopper Moneybox has taken the nation's children by storm, replacing the traditional piggy-bank, now lying forgotten in dingy attics. In this article we describe the work of the Grasshopper Testing Establishment and pay tribute to the staff whose skill and devotion to duty have brought about this revolution in nurseries throughout the country…

 

GH01GH02fatigue failures in the initial manufacturing stages of the Mark I Grasshopper brought to the fore the danger to the young saver of lethal knife-edged plastic splinters from disintegrated money-boxes. 'Safety for Savers' became the order of the day and the Grasshopper Testing Establishment was set up at Nether Hopping. The project was naturally highly secret and only after careful screening, were we permitted to make our visit, travelling down with the weekly supply convoy.  Arriving at the heavily guarded main gate we found the duty dog-handler Herbert Rumford-Street and his watchful tripe hound who were on special detachment from No. 2 Mobile Sub-branch (Fred's Caff, Great North Road). Our passes carefully scrutinised, we were ushered through the outer perimeter to the Admin. Office which had been skilfully disguised as a derelict Nissen hut. On the door was a weatherworn notice which we deciphered as TO LET. FOR GENTLE­MEN ONLY — a cunning subterfuge.

 

GH03Stepping inside we were impressed with the subtle decor, reminiscent of the later Great Western period, of chocolate and cream relieved with quaint motifs — in particular a simple but effective epitaph for the ubiquitous Kilroy. Here we met the Director of Operations, Isaac O'Kelly (Mac to his friends), who showed us an example of the Grasshoppers at that time being tested. 'These beggars nearly got the better of us' he remarked with a wry smile. Briefly he described testing methods, the ultimate aim, he assured us, being the creation of the Indestructible Grasshopper Money­box. Donning our protective suits of imitation plastic and matching gumboots, we began our tour of the Establish­ment. At Econ. Inf. Pub. and Ad. we met charming Joan Farnsbarns, a prominent figure. While reluctant to reveal vital statistics of which she is in sole charge, she entertained us with several amusing anecdotes. She told us that her hobbies are numismatics, embroidery and that she is a black belt. We moved on…

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Grasshopper Testing Establishment, Nether Hopping

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At the reception shed we watched a consignment of Grasshoppers being carefully unpacked. Each received a sharp blow with a six-pound hammer before being forwarded to No. 2 bay where Jim Blogworthy and his happy staff select specimens at random into which are dropped foreign coins of equivalent weight to 73/6d and which are then hurled at a thick brick wall. Jim informed us that 17% of the Grasshoppers handled by his section are found defective, as was a similar percentage of his staff. Mr Blogworthy, who served his apprenticeship at Brooks's Bar, is the father of nine children. He has no hobbies.

 

From a distance we viewed the more sophisticated techniques to test resilience. Even the ordinary domestic explosion (gas cookers, geysers, oil heaters, etc.) is simulated, thus guaranteeing that our money­boxes (or 'bug-banks' as they are laughingly termed) are completely child-proof. Our final call was to the packaging department where the Grasshoppers are boxed together with a simple picture-leaflet explaining to the kiddies exactly what they can do with them.

 

We were told of the grand opportunities opening up in this field for young men of muscular physique who feel perhaps that their duties in general banking do not give them sufficient outlet. A management training scheme is now in operation for men of the right calibre. It was time to take our leave of Mr O'Kelly and on our way back we recalled the words inscribed above his desk which summed up the raison d'etre of the Estab­lishment — 'We're Bugging Britain'.

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Rainy Day Records…

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In common with the building societies, many 1960s banks still offer Passbook Savings – the bank statement is replaced in importance by the passbook, a record of savings activity kept by the customer, and updated by the bank.

Banknotes

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Savings Pay InThe credit transfer system, introduced in 1962 is updated in 1968 and re-named Bank Giro Credits.  This is in anticipation of the full computerisation of all banks expected by the Government by the time of the introduction of decimal currency on 15 April 1971.  This Savings Account paying Giro Symbol.jpgin slip is virtually the only re-designed piece of customer stationery before the merger with Barclays.  

 

The money mark begins to appear, a symbol used by all banks to denote the new faster ways to transfer money.   This system is still largely in place in the twenty-first century, although the use of paper transactions is now seen as a hindrance to the fast flow of funds, and all banks are working hard to get rid of them altogether.

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Let’s Play!

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img045The 1960s child is not only interested in playing “Cowboys and Indians” and “Hide and Seek”.  Some like to count their pennies into shillings and their shillings into pounds.  Being given a ten shilling note by a favourite aunt is a magical experience that fewer and fewer of us remember, but playing with money, be it the real thing or cardboard coins used in maths lessons at school helps us learn all about the stuff.  From the late 1950s right up to the merger, Martins offers, in conjunction with the Kiddicraft® toy company, sets of play money that include miniature Martins cheque and paying in books.   The toys make the front cover of Martins Bank Magazine in Winter 1964, when young Peter is shown giving a miniature cheque for sixpence (£0.025) to his mother in exchange for a bag of chocolate coins. – What fun Christmas must have been in that household. How much for a roast dinner? Or and hour in front of the TV?  This may well have been the starting block for many an entrepreneur!

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1968 Miniature Paying In Book.jpg

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Buy your own Martins Bank!

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1960s Original Metcalfe Model Branch

This is not really a giveaway, more of a 1960s collaboration with model railway makers to provide a little scale model Martins Bank to add authenticity to any collector’s train set.  Sometimes sold alone, sometimes joined to a model shop, this special branch of Martins comes as a flat piece of cardboard that you then make into a three dimensional model.  We already have one example of each of the 1960s designs in our archive, but imagine our surprise, on learning that these models have just started to undergo a Twenty-First Century renaissance, thanks to our friends at Metcalfe Models of Skipton, North Yorkshire. We recently contacted the company, and Nick Metcalfe told us how one of our branches is the inspiration for the new generation of models:

 

“I chose the SKIPTON BRANCH as it is a local bank to us, and also it is not over intricate in its design which made it easy to model  in card. I remember going into that branch of Martins Bank when I was a small boy with my Grandmother, and the Manager gave me a bag full of Farthings, which had just gone  out of circulation. I still have some of them today”.

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Martins Colleague Dave Baldwin, who is a regular visitor to the online archive, reminds us that the model is based on how the branch looks TODAY

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During Martins’ time, the frontage was completely different and the model depicts the branch as it is today. Original windows have become doors, the property owned by the bank and leased to Skipton solicitors Charlesworth, Wood and Brown has been incorporated into the frontage whilst 'The Hole in the Wall' public house has become a newsagent’s”.

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Low Relief Bank & ShopHere is the new version, just one of a whole host of intricately designed models available from the  Metcalfe site.  Our Archive is dedicated to preserving the memory of Martins Bank, whether by preserving items from the past, or supporting those from the present day - so naturally we are thrilled when others want to do the same.  You can own your very own Martins Bank with accompanying shop – it is certainly right up our street, and you can find it at: www.metcalfemodels.com. Please remember that by clicking on the link to Metcalfe Models, you will be taken directly to their site, which is not part of Martins Bank Archive.

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And finally, the small print…

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1968 Everybody Needs a Bank account - BGA Ref A-69 Retouched by MBA.jpg1968 COA.jpgEVERYONE NEEDS A BANK ACCOUNT is Martins’ final branded customer leaflet to set out the wares of the bank as at November 1968.  Various types of account, and other products are explained in detail, including the new Grasshopper Savings Accounts for Children.

 

Cue an advertising pose, struck by some “typical” children of the period grouped around the iconic new Grasshopper Moneybox and other account paraphernalia, but please do beware those sunshine bright curtains…

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Grasshopper Savings

Accounts for Children

 

These are designed to encourage children to save. When a Grasshopper Savings Account is opened —the initial deposit can be as little as 1 shilling.

 

The child is given an attractive money box in the shape of a grasshopper, a colourful savings book, and a special paying-in and withdrawal book. The child also receives a gilt grasshopper lapel badge.

 

This scheme is run on proper banking lines. Children aged seven and over can open their own account: for those under seven the account is opened by a parent or guardian. The rates of interest and withdrawal arrangements are the same as for ordinary Savings Accounts, but if the child is under seven the parent or guardian signs the withdrawal slips.

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… and there we leave our 1960s children playing with toy money, Post Office Playsets and model railways.  The competition for the youth market has not yet reached full steam, but will see some unusual attempts by all the banks to grab a slice of the young savers’ market.  One fine example is the collaberation between Barclays, the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland (known previously in England as Williams & Glyns Bank) and Kellogg’s cereals.  Children have only just got out of bed, when already three banks are offering them £2 and a moneybox, and the lure of Saturday morning banking.  Where will it all end?

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