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This is another great image from the Barclays collection, showing Martins Bank’s sub-Branch at Denholme.  Opened 12TH May 1880 by the Craven Bank, this little sub-Branch survives for more than one hundred years, being closed by Barclays in 1985.

Restored Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

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Rural outlets like these are a lifeline for local people and their businesses, and in the first of two stories below, sub-Branch clerk Julian Taylor tells us what life is like in the 1950s as a teenager put in charge of a sub-Branch.

In Service: 12 May 1880 until 28 February 1985

Image © Barclays Ref 0030-0815

His main hope of security against bandits is the Branch “Guard” – a man in his eighties! Then, in another of Julian’s reminiscences, we will witness how the dogged dedication of Martins’ staff ensures a banking service to the village during a period of arctic-like conditions in 1958… 

There’s nowt sae queer as folk…

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The sub-Branch clerk based at Keighley was responsible for running Denholme Branch on Tuesday & Thursday mornings. Returning to the parent Branch in Keighley at lunchtime he then had to complete balancing his cash and replenish it ready for the following morning. His responsibility was then to sort, list and balance the remittances for both the parent Branch and the sub-Branch.  Travel to Denholme was by public service bus. The clerk carried the cash in a Gladstone Bag unaccompanied! A guard was employed at the sub-Branch and in the 1950’ and 60’s that was a local cobbler, a Mr Wright, who from memory was aged late 70’s early 80’s. The bus journey to Denholme provided plenty of opportunity for bandits to attack and indeed the Branch itself could have been considered vulnerable with a teenager in charge & an octogenarian ‘riding shotgun’. There was, however, never any hint of a problem. Mr Wright, the guard was a local character. I well recall one busy morning an old boy joining the queue of customers. After a few minutes he addressed the guard


                                                “ I see old Jack deed”




                                                 “ Aye, …what did he dee of?”


                                                 “I’m told he were short of breath!”


                                    -Another pause-


                                                “That’s funny I heard he were breathing right to the end.”


How I kept counting with a straight face I shall never know!


If anyone who has ever worked at a sub-Branch of a bank thinks fondly of it as a “cushy number”, they should spare a thought now for two of Martins Bank’s brave, fearless and let’s face it - thankfully TALL employees - who literally risked life and limb to bring a banking service to the village of Denholme in the Winter of 1958.  We must bear in mind that this was still several years before the “Martins go to extremes to be helpful” advertising campaign. This tale of dedication beyond the call of duty is told for us here by the man who was there…

On a bleak Winter’s morning, the sub-Branch clerk was preparing to leave Keighley Branch for Denholme sub-Branch when the local bus company advised that they could not guarantee being able to run their service that far. What to do? The decision was taken by the Branch Manager, Eric Earnshaw that the show must go on but that the clerk couldn’t set off alone – in those days the clerk, alone, carried the cash on the bus and was met at the sub-Branch by the guard, an 80-year-old local cobbler Mr. Wright.  Extreme conditions called for radical decisions and Mr. Earnshaw concluded that I and Geoffrey Brogden should make the trip. His logic was simple, I was six foot two and Geoffrey was some two inches taller and we had both arrived that morning in Wellington boots. What better pair to tackle the certainty of high drifts! The bus succeeded in reaching the first high spot, the hamlet of Flappit, but it then had to drop down to the village of Cullingworth before the steep ascent to Denholme. At that point the driver announced that the service would have to terminate at Cullingworth. We therefore took the decision to disembark at Flappit and walk along a top road rather than have to climb up out of Cullingworth.  The journey we were embarking on must have been at least two miles, snow was still falling and in places lay two to three feet deep. After a cold and damp trek we eventually arrived safely at the sub-Branch at about closing time, 12 noon. The resident of the bank flat set about providing us with hot soup and word quickly spread that “the bank has arrived”!  That day we probably had many more customers than normal, largely as a result of public amazement that the first people through to the village were the Martins Bankers.


Now, our thanks go once more to Dave Baldwin snapping a contemporary photo of Denholme. It is good to see that during its new life as a computer shop “adding up” might just still be a function within this lovely old building, even though results are now achieved by machine rather than the human brain!

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Image © Barclays Ref 0030-0815

Image © Dave Baldwin – March 2016



1963 to 1966 Mr DG Brogden Pro Manager MBM-Sp66P07

1963 Julian Taylor Staff Member






Mr Geoffrey Brogden

Sub-Branch Clerk and

Snow Hero 1958

Mr Julian Taylor

Sub-Branch Clerk and

Snow Hero 1958





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Index Number and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-03-50 Denholme

Sub to 11-03-50 Keighley

38 Main Road Denholme Keighley

108 Craven

Tuesday 1000-1200

Thursday 1000-1200

Denholme 404

Restricted Service

A W Denton Manager (Keighley)


12 May 1880

23 March 1906

18 December 1918

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

28 February 1985

Opened by the Craven Bank

Bank of Liverpool

Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-45-14 Keighley 77 North Street