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Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Leeds City Office is housed in the same building -  28-30 Park Row -  as Leeds District Office, from where all branches in the District are controlled and monitored.  Leeds is one of the smaller districts because many Yorkshire branches are in other districts. Nevertheless, City Office is as big as its counterparts in Manchester and Newcastle.  Nowadays trading as a five-star restaurant and pub, somewhat confusingly, the building is known as Beckett’s Bank, but this is purely in honour of a completely different local bank which in 1921 merged with the London County Westminster and Parr’s Bank. 

Until the splendid new building at 28-30 Park Row is complete and opened, Leeds City Office operates from a number of offices at 14 Park row. When the move is made and business begins on 7 March 1927, the Bank enjoys a full-page feature in the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer.  Fascinatingly for us, the many contractors who have worked on the building, or supplied and installed internal fixtures and fittings are featured around the main “news” of the article.  For ease of reading, we have re-produced the bulk of the article further down this page…

In Service: 7 March 1927 – 10 May 1985

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

Yorkshire Post and Leeds intelligencer 3 March 1927

Image © Johnstone Press. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD 

Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive

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Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited - opening of new offices in Leeds

            “It is a very dignified and scholarly building, and compares more than favourably with its neighbours.  It is, indeed, a great addition to the street architecture of Leeds”.  So spoke Colonel A E Kirk, president of the Leeds and West Yorkshire Architectural Society, recently in a reference to the new district premises of the Bank of Liverpool & Martins Limited, in Park Row, Leeds.

            Park Row may be truly regarded as the Lombard Street of this great industrial West Riding centre, and the new premises which are henceforth to house the activities of the Bank of Liverpool & Martins Limited, are certainly an acquisition to the city’s banking facilities.

            It will be of interest to describe the link which is thus strengthened between the West Riding, with its manifold commercial interests, and the maritime city of Liverpool.  The bank which forms the subject of this article was established in the year 1831 as the Bank of Liverpool. With head offices at 7 Water Street, Liverpool, its operations for some little time did not extend beyond that city, although in 1883 the old -established banking firm of Messrs. Arthur Heywood, Sons, and Co., of Liverpool was taken over, and in 1889 the Liverpool Commercial Banking Company, Limited.

            It was in the year 1893 that a policy of expansion was commenced.  This began with the taking over of Messrs. Wakefield, Crewdson, and company, whose chief office was at Kendal, with many branches in the agricultural districts of the North of England.  In 1906 the Craven Bank, and five years later the Carlisle and Cumberland Bank were absorbed.

            In 1914, just before the outbreak of war, the Bank extended its operations to the north-east of England by taking over the North-Eastern Banking Company Limited, whose head office was at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.



            But perhaps the most important amalgamation was in the year 1918, when Martin’s Bank Limited., one of the oldest banks in the country, dating from 1563, was amalgamated with the Bank of Liverpool, and the title changed to the Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited, the head office being retained at Liverpool.  The policy of development was actively pursued, for in 1919 the Palatine Bank Limited, of Manchester, and Messrs Cocks, Biddulph and Co., of London, established in 1750, were absorbed, and of great interest to the West Riding was the taking over in 1920 of the Halifax Commercial Banking Company.  The last-named absorption included, of course, the Leeds Branch, which for some years has been housed In a suite of offices in Park Row, immediately opposite the new building.  Consequently for some years now, the Bank of Liverpool & Martins has been closely identified with banking in the Leeds district.  Following the absorptions already indicated, the Cattle Trade Bank was taken over in 1923.

            The Bank of Liverpool & martins now has 390 branches and sub-branches; is a member of the London Clearing House, has a separate Foreign Branch, where all descriptions of foreign business are transacted, and a Trustee Department which undertakes all kinds of trustee business.

            Expansion in the Leeds district, with its consequent need for greater accommodation, finds a similar state of affairs at Liverpool.  As evidence of the growth of the Bank’s business, the present head office has been found inadequate, and the bank has purchased a magnificent island site opposite the present Head Office, where a new building will be erected to meet the growing requirements of the Bank.  The capital of the bank is £18,791,120, of which £2,348,890 is paid up, and the Reserve Fund and undivided profits amount to £2,105,264.  The deposits on 31 December last were £59,819,326, and since 1919 dividends have been paid at the rate of 16 per cent., per annum.  The chairman in Mr R M Holland-Martins, C.B., and the general manager Mr A F Shawyer.



            With regard to the new branch offices in Leeds, these have been erected from designs by Messrs. Kitson, Parish, and Ledgard, Lloyds Bank Chambers, Leeds.  They are situated at the corner of Park Row and Greek Street, and the frontage to Park Row extends to Bedford Street.  The facades to all three streets are paced with Portland Stone on a base of Aberdeen Granite.  The roofs are of Westmorland slate and the walls of reinforced concrete.

            On the ground floor are the banking hall and branch manager’s offices.  The walls of the former are lined with Subiaco and Roman marble, and the bank fittings and doors are of the finest quality San Domingo Mahogany.  The floors of the banking hall and the public offices are of rubber tile.

            The district general manager and his staff are accommodated on the mezzanine floor, and the first, second and third floors are let off as offices.  Both district and branch manager’s offices are panelled in mahogany.  On the fourth floor are the Board Room and Luncheon Room, both of which are panelled in Austrian Oak.  There is a passenger lift to all floors, and a special electric bullion lift has also been provided for the bank.

            The manager of the Leeds branch is Mr F W Tidswell, who has held that appointment since 1913, and it is of interest to note that since the Bank of Liverpool & Martins took over the Halifax Commercial Banking Company their progressive policy in the Leeds district has been marked by the opening of sub-offices at 27, Otley Road, Headingley, and 104 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, while a third branch is on the eve of being opened on the Oakwood Parade, Roundhay.

            The sub-offices are under the control of Mr Tidswell, and during the past fortnight the staff at Park Row have been busily engaged in preparing for the removal to their new premises. As a result, when the doors of the new bank open at ten o’clock this morning, customers will find that the transference has been complete, and that the staff are prepared to carry on their duties without the least interruption.  The Leeds and District Local Board is as follows: - Mr T Henry Morris (Chairman), Sir George H Fisher-Smith, Mr Walter Hargreaves, Mr John J Ritchie, and Colonel James Walker.



By 1968, Martins Staff has under its belt, a well-established tradition of acting, singing, dancing and generally performing, with a number of operatic and dramatic societies based in around the country  For some, the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd are all too addictive.  Thus the progression from stage to screen would seem desirable. The small screen will also be soon taken care of with a television commercial for Martins Unicorn. The whereabouts of either the film or the TV commercial would be very welcome, and if you can help, please do get in touch with us: martinsbankarchive@btinternet.com.  As for starring on the big screen, it falls to the staff of the Foreign and Securities Department of  Leeds City Office, to show what they are made of, and in this article in Martins Bank Magazine from Winter 1968, we learn that film making is possibly NOT all it is cracked up to be. As we are firmly in a cinematic mood, our ‘main feature’ is followed by two ‘shorts’, in which we look at the retirement celebrations of Mr McGregor in 1961 and Mr Butterley in 1967…


and all that business

The Scene:      Leeds City Office Foreign and Securities Department

The Time:       A warm spring afternoon

The Cast:        The Staff


J. S. CORKILL, Pro Manager at Leeds City Office, describes the staff's experience when a camera team

invaded the branch to film a sequence for the Banking Information Service's new film 'Bankers to the world'

1968 04 MBM.jpgpromptly, at the appointed hour, a small army of technicians entered the Bank. They bore what seemed to be sufficient electrical equipment to stage a full-scale epic. Immediately they became busily engaged in the erection of arc lights and the laying of cables in a variety of cunning places. These cables were not the usual domestic type but of a dimension which left the unwary in no doubt at all when they had tripped over one. To clarify some points over which we were still in some doubt (a gross understatement) we approached a rather loud-spoken, cigar-smoking gentleman who, by the number of orders he was issuing to the arc-light brigade, seemed to be in charge. He was amazed that we should consider him responsible for 'the scene', as he put it; no, we must approach The Director. He didn't exactly bow from the waist as he uttered these hallowed words but the message was clearly understood.

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I’m ready for my close up!

The cast on set: At the front desk, Jack Foster and Connie Hooper; rear desk,

Martin Seeber and Jack Corkill. At their typewriters are Maralyn Dalton (left) and Pat Bell

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Spooled.jpgWe therefore approached a tall, well-dressed gentle­man who in curt, crisp tones was obtaining order out of chaos with the cable-laying beavers. He was equally amazed that we should think that he was in overall authority and he bade us wait the arrival of The Director, speaking in the same reverent tone as his cigar-smoking colleague. A few minutes later a slightly-built man with thinning hair entered the department and in a quiet unassuming voice informed us that he was the director and had we any problems. So much for our judgment of film unit personnel. There followed an hour of intense activity on the part of the technicians during which we smiled bravely at normally taciturn customers who suddenly blossomed forth as comedians with witticisms such as 'Will you be on with Elsie Tanner then?': 'You'll get a surprise if its Candid Camera': 'This raid looks better organised than the Great Train Robbery'.

Stripped.jpgThen we were ready for 'lights' and on they came in quick succession. The immediate impression was not of glare but of roasting heat, and the male cast soon became envious of their lighter-clad girl colleagues. The director was apparently immune to these conditions as he continued giving instructions to Maralyn Dalton, our leading lady, while still wearing his overcoat. To obtain maximum co-operation from the female cast the immediate use of Christian names seemed desirable and the director used this form of address throughout the afternoon without once making an error.


Many dim faces could be seen beyond the ring of lights which had turned the department, partitioned off from the rest of the office, into a real stage set. After a further half-hour of final adjustments the cigar-smoking gentleman—who proved to be the cameraman—an­nounced from his precarious position aloft that all was now in order.  Maralyn, Pat Bell, and the supporting cast received their final briefing from the director who had by this time become a mere mortal by removing his overcoat. We were ready for action.


ClapperboardThe first take was slightly delayed while our Mr Foster mopped his streaming brow. Then the camera rolled. Pre-arranged telephone calls came through on time; even an unexpected call fitted into the hard-at-work action of the department. Minor alterations to furnishing were carried out by members of the now unemployed army and further takes were made, but not before the now almost purple Jack Foster had on each occasion mopped his brow at the request of the director. In fairness to Mr Foster it must be stated that his carefully marked position was in the centre of the scene and he was experiencing the full intensity of every arc light. Suddenly the lights were dimmed and it was all over. Amid the hubbub of congratulations and leave-takings we learnt that the scene—which had taken two-and-a- quarter hours to complete—would run for six seconds! The cast were no longer in any doubt that film-making was a most expensive business. They were also thankful that they were not living in a cannibalistic country where bank clerks, cooked to a turn, are a delicacy.


Projected.jpgThe Banking Information Service describes Bankers to the world as a film about overseas trade, its importance to the economy and the essential service of the banks in helping to finance it. It is not designed to sell, nor is it to induce manu­facturers into the export field; it is informative and educational, aimed at the grass roots of the community to promote better appreciation of the raison d'etre for overseas trade and of the banks' contribution. The film is not technical and will bring out the work of ordinary bank branches as well as of overseas departments. The intended audience includes senior schools, local clubs, townswomen's guilds: pitched at sixth form level of intelligence the film is presented in a lively, fast-moving way. Bankers to the world will be available early next year.

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Interior Images © Barclays



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1961 01 MBMThere was a large gathering at Leeds City Office on November 30th, at which Mr. J. A. McGregor, Assistant District Manager, was present, to mark the retirement of Mr. C. Robinson, who had spent the last fifteen years of his service at the branch as Accountant. Mr. A. B. Hindmarsh, the Manager, in thanking Mr. Robinson for the unfailing reliability of his work, spoke of the high regard in which he was held by all his colleagues, and referred particularly to the help and encouragement he had always given to the younger members of the staff. Mr. E. Hinchcliffe (Manager, Brighouse), added a tribute on behalf of the many former colleagues who were present, and Mr. J. A. Bromley (Chief Cashier, Leeds City Office), who had had the longest association with Mr. Robinson, presented him on behalf of the subscribers with a photographic slide pro­jector, and a box of chocolates for Mrs. Robinson. In reply, Mr. Robinson thanked the many people who had subscribed to the gifts, and stated how happy he had been both in his service, and in the enjoyment of so many friends within the Bank. Mr. Robinson entered the Bank in 1916 at Castleford. He was transferred to Pontefract in 1923 and to Leeds City Office in 1932. In 1943 he joined the Inspection Staff and in 1945 he was appointed Accountant at Leeds City Office.


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1967 03 MBMon July 31 Mr Butterley, Deputy Manager of Leeds City Office since 1952,  retired after 45 years' service. His career began in the North Eastern District where he served in a number of branches before moving to Leeds City Office in 1936 where he remained with the exception of a short spell at Harrogate at the end of the war. At a cocktail party in the Griffin Hotel, Leeds, Mr and Mrs Butterley entertained over 60 members of the staff and former colleagues including Mr P. H. Christie, now 85 years of age, who was manager of Leeds City Office when Mr Butterley came from the North Eastern District. Mr Oldroyd (Manager, Leeds City Office) welcomed the guests and paid tribute to Mr Butterley's loyal service and sterling sup­port to himself and his two predecessors. Mr Lister then presented Mr Butterley with a cheque from past and present colleagues and expressed the good wishes of himself and the general management for the future. Miss Hooper presented Mrs Butterley with a bouquet.

Looking not quite as scary today as it did in the 1940s, 28-30 Park Row is still a magnificant building.  There are far worse ways for it to be enjoyed than as a pub, and it is this particular change of use that has given new life to so many former Bank buildings…

Image (1960) Martins Bank Archive

Image © 2013 Dave Baldwin

1903 to 1919 Mr C H Thomlinson joined the service here MBM-Su47P29.jpg

1929 to 1935  Mr R H Watson joined the bank here MBM-Wi64P06.jpg

1932 to 1936 Mr P Q K Sutcliffe MBM-Wi57P43.jpg






Mr C H Thomlinson

Joined the Bank Here

1903  to 1919

Mr J C Wood

On the Staff

1920 to 1922

Mr R H Watson

Joined the Bank Here

1929 to 1935

Mr P Q K Sutcliffe

On the Staff

1932 to 1936

Mr G H Wilford

Joined the Bank Here

1941 to 1943

Miss J U T Nicholson


1942 to 1946

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1945 to 1945 Mr J W Davenport joined the bank here MBM-Su64P03.jpg

1945 to 1961 Mr C Robinson Accountant MBM-Sp61P53.jpg

1952 to 1967 Mr W E Butterley Deputy Manager MBM-Au67P55.jpg

1962 Mr W Oldroyd Manager MBM-Su62P30.jpg






Mr J W Davenport

Joined the Bank Here

1942 to 1945

Mr C Robinson


1945 to 1961

Mr W E Butterley

Deputy Manager

1952 to 1967

Mr A B Hindmarsh


1955 to 1962

Mr R N Weightman

On the Staff

1957 to 1958

Mr W Oldroyd


1962 onwards

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1964 Mr JA Bromley Chief Cashier MBM-Su64P26.jpg

1966 Margaret Burdess Accounts MBM-Sp66P47.jpg

1966 Mr R Hillam First Cashier City Office MBM-Au66P42.jpg

1967 Mr JS Corkill pro Manager MBM-AU67P05.jpg






Miss D M Johnson



Mr J A Bromley

Chief Cashier


Miss Margaret Burdess



Mr R Hillam

First Cashier


Mr I W Alexander

Deputy Manager


Mr J S Corkill

Pro Manager


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South Parade



40-42 Park Row

3 The Headrow Ttee

3 The Headrow Tax

Albion Street

Dewsbury Road


Harehills Lane


King Street

Merrion Centre

New York Street

165-7 North Street



Vicar Lane

Park Square




19 Wellington Street










27 Park Row



The Headrow



Headrow House Woodhouse Lane










31-32 Park Row Dist Off

31 Park Row Ex & Tt

Park Row


Dewsbury Road

East Parade






Merrion Centre




Vicar Lane

West Park



28-30 Park Row

Chapel Allerton




Vicar Lane



City Square

Park Row Exor/Ttee

Albion Street


Beeston Hill

Beeston Park

Bramley Town Street

Bramley Station Pde

Burley Road


Chapel Allerton

39 Compton Road


Cross Gates

Dewsbury Road





Holbeck Moor

Hunslet Road

Hyde Park


Kirkstall Road

Lawnswood Civil Service


Merrlon Centre


New Briggate

North Street

Oakwood Pde Roundhay

25a Park Square

Roundbay Road


Roundhay Street Lane


Vicar Lane

Wellington Bar

Wholesale Markets









2 & 3 Park Row

Trustee Branch                   


22 Boar lane

Cross Gates  

Harehills 213 Roundhay Rd



Park Square West

Seacroft Town Centre

Wholesale Market

Woodhouse Lane


Greek Street



4 Russell Street










Albion Street



South Parade



8 Park Row

29 Bond Street Trustee


Chapel Allerton















30 East Parade


Infirmary Street

Chief Accountants



Chapel Allerton


Cross Gates

Dewsbury Road

Harehills Parade

Harehills Road


Holbeck Lane



Kirkstall Road





New Wortley

Richmond Hill

Roundhay Road


Servla Road

Street Lane Roundhay

Woodsley Road

York Road




Index Number and District:






11-00-50 Leeds City Office

Main Branch

28 and 30 Park Row Leeds 1

606 Leeds

Mon to Fri 1000-1500 

Saturday 0930-1100

Leeds 32525

Nightsafe Installed

Mr W Olroyd VRD Manager


Leeds Chapel Allerton


3 January 1928

15 December 1969

10 May 1985

Opened by the Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-48-47 Leeds, Park Row


Leeds Headingley


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