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WELCOME to Martins Bank Archive, and to MARTINS BANK  MAGAZINE - our news feature in honour of the Bank’s staff publication, which from 1946 to 1969 brought news of changing times, new Branches and services and even new technologies to branches and departments in England Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.  From Drive-In Branches to computerisation and the birth of the Cash Dispenser, it seems Martins Bank has it all.









On 1 November 1968 Martins Bank Limited becomes one of the Barclays Group of Companies – a status maintained until close of Business on Friday 12 December 1969.  The following Monday, 730 branches of the bank will open their doors under the name of Barclays.  As we find ourselves in times tinged with the sadness of the closure of hundreds of Bank Branches, including those that are former Martins Bank Branches,  we really  do appreciate the continued support of our ever increasing band of loyal visitors and contributors.   There are now fewer than 60 Branches of Martins Bank still open, and to mark their passing, our Branch Watch feature now includes a separate page featuring details of  THE FINAL 45 BRANCHES . Our most recent news stories are shown below, and you can catch up with some previous stories in-depth, by downloading our half-yearly Newsletters (see above).   Don’t forget to visit our sister site - Lewis’s Bank Archive - which tells the story of Britain’s department store bank for the nine years that it was a subsidiary of Martins Bank.  Click HERE to visit the Lewis’s Bank Archive web site (opens in a new window).


Moving with the times?

Our new look has arrived, and (mostly) in glorious colour, our front page celebrates Martins Bank at the height of its 1960s success.  A merger might be just around the corner, but that does not matter, as here at Martins Bank Archive, we make sure that it is always just a few moments before 1969.  Between 1970 and 1971, Martins and Barclays pool their computer experience – and computer staff – to tackle the tricky job of decimalisation, AND to try and establish a full online real-time banking system.  Sadly, although the staff involved in this project were actually on the brink of success, the combined bank became too  nervous about the cost, and having declared large losses on earlier computers (and experiments with them), a system was chosen that remained in most branches of the bank until the mid 1980s.  This meant using punched paper tape to program terminal computers in each branch every morning before transactions could be processed.  Thereafter, the road to real-time banking – where counters and cash machines are up to the minute with customers’ balances – would remain a dream. This dream was considerably lengthened by two or three changes of expensive equipment, until the 1990s brought the Counter Terminal, but even then the Bank was very far behind many of its competitors, large AND small: For example, the Trustee Savings Bank – with branches all over the country – was processing real-time transactions as early as 1980).  You can read more about MARTINS BANK’s experiments with computers and cash machines, in our TECHNOLOGY section, where you can also discover the Liverpool and London Computer Centres, the secrets of magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) and take a look at the reader/sorter equipment tasked with the job of automating the clearing of cheques and credit slips as far back as 1963.  We hope you like our new look, and that you will soon begin to notice other changes to the layout and imagery of our site as it turns thirteen years on the internet…


Jobs for the girls and the boys?

We live in times when equality is the watchword – many people still don’t have it, but we strive in the twenty-first century be equal and inclusive.  It is fair to say that the jobs market in the late 1960s was NOT equal. We were still some years away from equal pay for men and women, and despite the work already done to emapncipate women from having to leave work when they got married, there was still a certain stigma attached to a woman who wanted her own career. This is beautifully illustrated by two leaflets issed by Martins in 1968 designed to attract men and women to come and work for the Bank. 

Peter Jackson joined Martins Bank straight from school with a couple of good ‘A’ Levels and the sort of drive that would take him to the top in quite a few different types of business. Right from the start, he felt at home. The Manager took a keen interest in Peter’s progress, and arranged study leave for the all-important Banking Diploma. Very soon Peter became a cashier, handling large sums of money, known and trusted by his regular customers. Lectures and formal training sessions supplemented his rapidly increasing experience of practical banking, and it wasn’t long before he was given full responsibility for running the branch when the Manager was away. Now in his early thirties, and earning around £2,400 a year, Peter Jackson is a Manager in his own right, running a medium-sized branch in a busy town. His work brings him into contact with all sorts of people-professional men, bosses of industry, shopkeepers, harassed husbands trying to sort out the family budget-the list is endless. What’s more, it’s no desk-bound job. As a Manager, Peter Jackson spends a lot of his time getting out to see and learn about his customers at first hand. That driving seat of his is just as important as the chair behind his office desk. He’s got to be able to size up a construction job, say, as competently as he sizes up his various customers.

Even now, he's very much boss of his own show. But that's by no means the end of the road. Bright people like Peter Jackson who come to Martins can, and very often do, go right to the top of the tree in general management. Banking is growing fast; technical innovations are coming in rapidly and the scope for real management talent grows all the time. To foster the abilities they need in senior men, Martins send a number of them every year to various residential business schools, including Oxford and Harvard. Experience of this type is invaluable in broadening their knowledge not only of banking but of business problems of every type. Peter Jackson was a shrewd young man. He picked a career that would not only give him the scope he wanted, but would positively help him to develop the qualities to succeed which he already possessed. He’s got a well-paid, responsible job, plus a great many valuable fringe benefits - a first-class pension scheme, excellent sick pay arrangements, special low-cost loans for housing, sports and social facilities - not to mention four-and-a-half weeks’ holiday a year. If you’ve got the qualities of Peter Jackson, with either a degree, 2 ‘A’ Levels or a minimum of 4 ‘O’ Levels, you could enjoy the same sort of exciting, progressive career. The first step is to write with brief details of your achievements to the nearest address overleaf.

Peter Jackson is a high-flyer, who at 32 earns the equivalent today of around £46.5k.  His female counterpart is not named, and although in principle she is able to follow the same career route, she is destined to be a secretary,  a cashier, or a computer operator. At 32, she will earn today equivalent of £16k…

Working with Martins is much more than just having a job. For a start, the work is really varied and interesting. As machines and computers take over much of the routine book-keeping and clerical work, more and more girls are becoming cashiers, meeting the customers, getting to know them as individual people in a way that's difficult in most types of business. Customers rely on you, too. You handle important, confidential affairs and are treated very much as a friend and confidante - again, not something that you find in every job. Other jobs include typing and secretarial work – and the secretary to a Branch Manager is an important person in the Bank - as well as specialist jobs for machine operators. Another pleasant thing about working with Martins is the friendly atmosphere you find wherever you go. Colleagues treat you as a friend and an equal, and customers rely on your knowledge and advice. As a Bank we have a reputation for being friendly and helpful, and girls who join us often say how much they value this aspect of their job. There’s a wide range of social and sporting activities open to you as well.

Inter-District hockey and tennis matches and other sporting fixtures are arranged, and there are also opportunities for taking part in amateur dramatics and other activities. Staff dinners and dances, too, are held regularly in each District of the Bank and are always extremely popular and well-attended. Welfare problems are looked after by a Lady Supervisor in each District who is always ready to discuss any personal problems or worries which you may have. Salaries are good, with increases above the basic rates for merit, as well as special allowances for girls working in the London area. Holidays can amount to four-and-a-half weeks a year, according to age and salary, and there are excellent pension, insurance and sick pay schemes. If you are looking for a long-term career there are excellent prospects in Martins, where women are increasingly taking on greater responsibilities. Whatever your aim in life, you'll find that working with Martins is more than just a job - it’s a great deal of fun as well. If you would like to know more, and have an 'O’ Level education or are proficient at typing or shorthand, write with brief particulars, to the nearest address overleaf.

A special pack is also issued to girls, whereby such profound questions as “what would I do?”, “how much would I earn?” and “Would I be happy” are printed on the front cover! Things had definitely changed from the days when it was in a woman’s conrtact to resign upon marriage, but things were still pretty primitive when we look back from more than fifty years on. Scandalous too, when you consider how many woman had stepped up to the plate and become Branch Managers during the Second World War!  It’s all a far cry from Peter Jackson in his sports car, with managerial courses at Harvard University available through the Bank!  You can read more about working for the Bank in our feature A CAREER WITH MARTIN S BANK.

The show’s the thing…

Show Season – usually May to September – was a key part of Martins Bank’s marketing strategy. Remember, still not allowed to advertise on television, the eleven clearing banks had to find other ways of raising their profile. Britain loves its shows, from scout jamborees to dog shows, agricultural events, and today the ubiquitous “gig” – noteably Glastonbury – and these events attract hundred, sometimes thousands of visitors.  The Mobile Branch Caravans, WERE the Bank, as they moved around the country all Summer, ready to pop up at the next event.  Thanks to items left to Martins Bank Archive in the estate of the bank’s Assistant Advertising Manager Beryl Evans, we can now bring you more from the background of Show Season.  You can read the full story HERE.  Being part of a show was in itself prestigious. 

There is nothing like an

ice-cream on a hot day,

and here at a show in

1967 in the North-East,

Arthur Jackson takes a

moment out from a busy

day in the Mobile Branch


Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

– Barbie Jamieson

The Bank’s mobile caravans often won prizes for being the best presented exhibitor, and it was the responsibility of the cashier and their guard to drive the caravan, stay in hotels for a few nights at a time as they toured an area, each time setting up “camp” liaising with local florists, and putting on the best face possible for the customers of the bank, and of course those who might be attracted to the Bank, having seen how they look! One small, but not insignifant part of being at the show, was the RIGHT to be there, as demonstrated by the exhibitor tickets and passes shown here from the 1956 season.


…but the show is older than you think!

For those of us who have been on this planet for more than fifty years, nothing seems entirely new, and ideas once considered outdated are given what is popularly called “a makeover” and are re-packaged, re-branded, and re-launched on an unsuspecting audience.  Look no further than the telephone land line – we might no longer need a hard wired telephone in a draughty hallway, but the technology of the original telephone network was beautifully reimagined as the first mass distribution method by which we could all access the internet.  With banking too, as ways of using our banks have been actively redesigned to remove altogether the need for bank branches, the idea of reaching the customer face to face, in even the remotest of locations is now no longer restricted to the internet.  Over recent years, the phenomenon of the “bank on wheels” has come back from the past to the point where these mini-branches can be seen attending high streets and market squares across the land long after the original bank branches in such locations were themselves closed down for good.  Sadly however, the modern version no longer includes being able to make cash transactions!  You should not be fooled into thinking that the bank on wheels is something new – far from it.  Martins Bank got things going during “Silver Linings Saving Week” in 1948, and soon a fleet of six mobile branch caravans toured England Wales and Scotland, attending fairs and shows, and bringing the bank to the customer.  The advertsiements here give details of just some of the Bank’s attendances at shows and fairs in the 1960s, and by visiting our feature pages for MOBILE BRANCHES and TRADE STANDS, you can see the many more of the imaginative ways in which Martins Bank’s caravans and stands went to extremes to connect with the public…

Images © Barclays

A new dawn at 4 Water Street…

The news that 4 Water Street, Head Office of the modern day Martins Bank Limited had been acquired by Kinrise has come as a great relief to all who want to see this fabulous Grade II Listed Building loved and in use once more. The ethos of Kinrise is literally to enable communities ro rise again, and through a clever re-imagining and sympathetic process, the company breathes new life into buildings that might otherwise remain abandoned or forgotten.  In order to achieve their vision for the Martins Bank Building, Kinrise are working steadily towards the creation of of what they refer to as “A hybrid mix of work, social and restaurant space”.  This has to be a perfect fit for a building which from its completion in 1932 let out its office space across eight floors to businesses large and small. 

Equally important is the continued provision of a public space, and key to this, as ever will be the magnificent banking hall with its horseshoe counter, breathtaking mezzanine galleries and futuristic system of natural lighting.  The Grasshopper Pensioners’ Club and Martins Bank Archive are both proud to have been consulted about the restoration of 4 Water Street, and both look forward to being able to help Kinrise achieve its worthy goal, restoring not only one of the most historic buildings in Liverpool, but also the affection and pride held for it by the people of the City.  Click the image here to take one last tour of the building before the magic begins, and watch this space over the coming months, as we will make sure you don’t miss a moment of this exciting project!

The number dwindles…

The second list of Barclays branch closures for 2022 has just been announced, and amongst those offices destined to disappear from our high streets are four more Martins Bank Branches. MANCHESTER ST ANN’S SQUARE closes on 23/06/2022 and is followed by RAWTENSTALL on 29/06/2022.  Two branches will close on 01/07/2022 - GATESHEAD 215 HIGH STREET and HESWALL.  As ever we would like to thank everyone – past and present – who has served customers at these branches.  A little nearer to the time that each office closes, we will post as usual on the Martins Bank Facebook page, images of each branch so allow people to leave their memories of either working or being a customer there.   Please note that although the original St Ann’s Square branch of Martins in Manchester was officially closed in 2009, Barclays continued to trade there covering a slightly different footprint, and the original addres of 17 St Ann’s Square became 17 to 23 St Ann’s Square. For that reason we are still claiming the branch as “one of ours” until it closes for good(!)

More “new” branches?

Gateshead 215 High Street

Image © Barclays Ref 0030-1048

Whilst in the twenty-first Century 215 High Street Gateshead is being closed for good on 1 July (see article above), we can journey back to the happier days of 1962, when on 9 May it is opened by Martins Bank!  We do like time travel, and this handsome branch is opened as something of a compromise to solve the expense to the Bank, and the inconvenience of its customers – who had to trapise up and down Gateshead High Street to be served at either No 86 or No 338 – two original branches of the North Eastern Bank. Each of them were showing their age and each was situated away from the central area of the High Street, where the footfall for the other banks, shops and services was strong. Good for business then, and good for customers. Not a bad reason to invest in a new branch.  You can read much more about this branch, including an extensive opening day review by local newspaper “The Journal” by visiting our page for GATESHEAD 215 HIGH STREET


Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

Advertisement restored Feb 2015

Keeping a permanent record…


Image © Barclays Ref 0030-1693

An unexpected result of the closure of former Martins Bank Branches in recent years, has been the sight of the Bank’s original signage still etched – sometimes faintly, others clear as day – in the stonework above the door or window of a branch.  Friend of Martins Bank Archive, Robert Montgomery, has since 2009 been on a mission to photograph former branches of the big banks, that have fallen on their sword in the name of progress.  In the process he has accumulated many images of former Martins Branches.

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections – ROBERT MONTGOMERY

We look forward to being able to add these to our Branch Network pages over the coming months, but as a taster, we are showing here a side-by-side comparison of LIVERPOOL WOOLTON Branch.  On the left you see the branch in the 1960s, and on the right, looking almost as if time has stood still for sixty years, you can see how the branch looked a couple of days after it was closed in June of this year.

Liverpool Childwall Five Ways – Closed 02/10/2015

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections


Liverpool Booker Avenue – Closed 19/02/2016

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections


South Shields Harton – Closed 10/05/2019

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections


From the splendour of old Southport…

Our quest for photographs of branches is ongoing, and it is always with surprise and delight that newly discovered images are added to our Digital Archive and to the Web Site. May 2021 has so far yielded FOUR such items, each of which represents another piece of the jigsaw.  It does feel a little like treasure has been found, that we are able bring you a second rare view of Martins’ branch at 415 LORD STREET SOUTHPORT, which closed in 1934.  We already had a photograph of three un-named ladies out shopping in Lord Street, and standing outside the Branch, but now a second - taken at almost exactly the same spot - has emerged, this time featuring two different ladies. 

A picture containing text, person, outdoor, posing

Description automatically generated

Images © 1933 Martins Bank Archive Collections / Adrian Rawson

It did seem curious that there should be two such similar views of completely unrelated subjects, but it turns out that this is no coincidence - Adrian Rawson, whose mother and grandmother are the subjects of the second photo - contacted us having found our web page for 415 Lord Street.  Adrian points out that it was likely that these photographs were the work of a street photographer who was selling pictures to tourists and using the doorway of the Bank as a backdrop.  Perhaps they felt that those walking near a bank would have the means to pay for pictures!  Adrian has carefully restored and colour-tinted the original monochrome image of his relatives, as it is a precious memory of his family and he has kindly donated a copy to the Archive.

…to Newcastle’s Gallowgate, Darlington’s High Row and Bexleyheath…

The other three ‘image finds’ all come to us courtesy of the Grasshopper Pensioners’ Club Secretary Dave Baldwin, who has been scouring the internet once more for evidence of rare or unusual photographs of Martins Branches.  Until now there was just one photograph available of the Martins’ Branch at NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE GALLOWGATE, and it only showed a side wall with Bank signage, no doors or windows. Thanks to our friends at Newcastle Libraries, we now have a digital copy of a photo from the 1920s - the days of the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited.  DARLINGTON 21 HIGH ROW BRANCH is seen below in colour in August 1970, thanks to David Christie whose flickr® pages are filled with fabulous photographs showing many aspects of British social history.  Although the merger of Martins and Barclays took place eight months before this image was taken, Darlington branch did not have its signage changed to Barclays, as it was due to be closed in 1971.  The photograph of BEXLEYHEATH MARKET PLACE BRANCH is another lovely and rare shot, as this area was later modernised, and the branch ended up in an altogether more concrete and glass affair than this lovely old brick and stone frontage! Our thanks for this photograph, go to Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre.  If you have come across or own an image of Martins Bank that you can’t spot already on our site, please do get in touch at the usual address – martinsbankarchive@btinternet.com, or find Martins Bank Archive on Facebook® and leave us a message.

The Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Newcastle Gallowgate, ca.1920s

A picture containing outdoor, building, road, street

Description automatically generated

Martins Bank Darlington High Row

7 August 1970

Martins Bank Bexleyheath

Market Place ca.1951

Image © Newcastle Libraries

Image © David Christie

Image © Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre

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Buyer Beware…

We have left the following article here once again for reference, to help explain the position regarding the theft of copyrighted images for the purposes of re-sale. There is a common misconception that if you can Google an image, then it is “in the public domain” and you can do what you want with it. Even some staff at eBay® believed this until they were recently put right – if you take or copy someone else’s work or property without their permission or acknowledgement, and sell it on to make even a penny out of it, this is breach of copyright, and the real owner can take legal recourse to stop further theft and misuse of their property. There are currently on eBay® a number of listings of photographs for sale, showing scenes from the past and old buildings including these four (and many more) Branches of Martins Bank.  These images originated on our web site.  As you can see, under our agreement with the owner, we prominently display copyright. These images have been copied and printed onto cheap photographic paper. The seller even has the gall to add their own watermark to the displayed images to prevent others from stealing them!!!


Image © Barclays


Image created by Martins Bank

Archive and © Barclays


Image © Barclays


Image © Barclays

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As well as being against copyright law, these items are worthless, having little more than sentimental value – you will often find that collections and archives will make images available free of charge for private use, but you MUST check with them first. You should always check the seller’s right to copy the image – reputable sites such as eBay® do now allow you to report copyright infringement. For ANY item of memorabilia, the best thing to do is shop around and compare prices – in the case of Martins Bank there are often up to twenty different items for sale on eBay® alone on any given day. For printed material which looks as if it has been copied, or actually claims to be a copy, ALWAYS question the seller about copyright.

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Best Regards, Jonathan.

Westmorland, Tuesday 31ST May 2022






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