much bigger on the inside�
successful business often means expansion.�
By 1952 Martins Bank�s Lombard Street Office � which itself was only
rebuilt in 1930 - is running to capacity. The building that will become
London Chief Overseas branch, and will also incorporate a standard branch
of the bank, is 80 Gracechurch Street, purchased from Lloyds Bank.
In Service: 1952 until 10 July 1970
Images � Barclays Ref 0030-1089 and 0033-0875
The whole interior is gutted and then kitted out with all things
Martins to create an impression of space and grandeur.
From work in progress, to finished article, the door to Gracechurch takes
shape next door to Montague Burton the Tailor, but don�t be fooled by the
size of the door, what awaits you on the inside is a breathtaking use of space and light�
The transfer of part of the Bank's business from 68 Lombard
Street to 80 Gracechurch Street is probably the most important development
in the growth of the Bank since the opening of the new Head Office and
London Office buildings nearly a quarter of a century ago.� The staff and
accommodation problems of our expanding business at Lombard Street have
long been acute and from working conditions of some discomfort the position
had been reached where more staff was needed to cope with the work, yet
accommodation for more staff did not exist.
Accordingly, the premises at Gracechurch Street were acquired
from Lloyds Bank by purchase. These premises formerly housed the main
Foreign branch of Lloyds Bank. In addition
to the transfer of London Foreign branch, London Trustee Department and the
Coupon Department to the new premises, a branch has also been opened for
the transaction of ordinary banking business, under the management of Mr.
R. A. Machell.
80 Gracechurch Street
as it was.� The partitioning at the
front of this picture has been demolished to make room for the new
managerial offices.� Comparison with
the photograph to the right can best be made by noting the position of the
rectangular ceiling light, the prominent pillar in the picture below being
towards the right background in this picture�
Gracechurch Street as it is now (1952).
picture is taken from inside the Chief Foreign Branch, and the Gracechurch
Street Branch Counter is underneath the clock and faces the counter of the
The immediate result of this redisposition is the transfer of
some 200 members of the Bank's staff to the new premises, with consequent
easement of the overcrowding at Lombard Street. District Office will occupy
the space vacated by Foreign branch and certain other departments will be
able to spread out a bit. Those who saw the
building before the alterations were made will agree that a most tasteful
transformation has taken place.
The Counter and Customers� space.
The Staff Tea Room
Probably the first thing which will strike the visitor from
Head Office is the way in which the architects have overcome the difficulty
of providing adequate lighting without spoiling the architectural beauty by
suspending ugly light over the desks. The ceiling is set with large squares
of sunshine-tinted glass framed in a black marble-like setting behind which
fluorescent lighting shines through. The effect is almost like bright
sunshine, cheerful in the extreme.
An interesting trick effect has been obtained with a space in
one wall which resulted from the blanking off of a former exit to the nearby market.�
Consider�ations of design demanded a matching
window of consider�able dimensions and this has been achieved by placing the ornate window framing over the blank space and glazing it with mirrors. This is not new, but was a feature of the former design. In the basement one comes
across odd steel doors closing off passages which formerly�
gave access to other nearby buildings
and to the market. These were open� when�� we��
inspected�� the premises and they gave us quite a thrill, with their suggestion of underground passages and secret ways. In the customers'
space two counters face each other; one for Foreign branch and one for
Gracechurch Street branch. The somewhat small entrance, which gives no indication of
the magnificent proportions of the building within,
is adequately marked by our new Hanging Sign, this most useful and distinctive adornment to our premises up and down the
space in which to work�
needed office space is now freely available, (something that was sadly
lacking at 68 Lombard street) and the Chief Overseas Manager�s Office is a
triumph with its �map of the world� wall!
Black and white interior
Images � Barclays Ref 0030-1089
Image � Martins Bank