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Craven Bank

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Oxenhope is one of several sub branches to Keighley that come to Martins through the acquisition of the Craven Bank by the Bank of Liverpool in 1906.  Four of them, including Oxenhope, survive the merger with Barclays in 1969 by three years.  These tiny outlets are part of the very fabric of life in the villages that sustain them, and it says much for the traditions established by the successive owners of Branches in the Craven District, that so many survived several decades beyond the merger and into the twenty-first century. 

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A sub-Branch is not some kind of bucolic fantasy designed to impress tourists and city columnists who move out to the sticks, it is a living breathing snapshot of everyday life as it happens. Increasingly nowadays, local services are re-appearing in the very places from which they were long since ripped out.  It might be that you now have a so called “convenience” store (so prohibitively expensive, that “convenient” for you, or the shopkeeper is a moot point) but at the very least perhaps, many of these modern stores fulfil local traditions by bringing us butcher, baker, post office, bank and corner shop all under the same roof.

In Service from before 1906 until 22 January 1973

BGA Ref 30-2198 Oxenhope Exterior.jpg

Image: Barclays Ref 0030/2198


Whilst reminiscing about the traditional corner shop (see also BARROW IN FURNESS RAWLINSON STREET), why not step up now, and wait to be served in style at the magnificent sub-branch at Oxenhope.  Sub branch clerk, Julian Taylor tells us below of procedures that would not only make any bank inspector raise both eyebrows, but that also in this day and age would be simply unthinkable…


“A £7,000 return to Oxenhope, please”…

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The sub branch clerk based at Keighley was responsible for running Oxenhope Branch on Wednesday & Friday 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 & the sub branch. Security for Oxenhope Branch was enhanced by comparison to Haworth & Denholme. On Wednesday morning cash deposits could be quite substantial. On Friday mornings a number of local factories drew wages, including Hield Brothers a major textile firm. This meant carrying up to £7,000 from the parent branch, a considerable sum in the 1950s. To cover the increased risk, & to help carry the heavy Gladstone Bag, the parent branch Messenger, Jack Roberts accompanied the sub branch clerk.


Having this second pair of hands proved useful on many occasions but particularly on Wednesday mornings. The last half hour of trading always seemed most popular with local businesses paying in. In particular a local farmer, wholesale butcher & slaughterman, Mr Jim Bowcock, inevitably arrived in the last five minutes with substantial cash deposits. The critical point being the branch closed at 11.45 and the bus departed at 12 noon. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in agreeing with the customer on many occasions, to accept the credit subject to checking the £100 bundles later. As the customer left we swept all the cash into the Gladstone bag, hurriedly locked up & dashed for the bus. The object then was to claim the front seat upstairs where the messenger checked & sorted the cash whilst I wrote up the cash book & worked out the balance. Invariably we were all done & dusted by the time the bus arrived back in Keighley. Even in those days the Inspectors would have frowned on the procedure, but now over 50 years on it is hard to imagine.



A few changes to brickwork, windows and fencing, and today we find Oxenhope transformed back into a peaceful dwelling.  Our thanks as ever to Dave Baldwin for his contemporary image of 12 Lowertown, where reassuringly so little has changed…

1940 ish  Oxenhope Exterior BGA Ref 30-2198

Image: Barclays Ref 0030/2198

Image © Dave Baldwin – March 2016

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Index Number and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-03-50 Oxenhope

Sub to 11-03-50 Keighley

12 Lowertown Oxenhope Keighley Yorkshire

108 Craven

Wed and Fri 0945-1145

No Saturday Service

Haworth 2429

Nightsafe installed

Mr A W Denton Manager (Keighley)

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Oakworth Hall

Pre 1906

23 March 1906

18 December 1918

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

22 January 1973

The Craven Bank

The Bank of Liverpool

The Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

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




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