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Grimsby joins the smattering of Martins Bank’s Branches in Lincolnshire, in September 1966 – another full Branch is opened in the same year at Boston and a sub-Branch to Lincoln is opened at North Hykeham.  Grimsby will however be the last Branch to fly the flag for Martins in this part of the Country, as the merger with Barclays is just around the corner and branch closures will be inevitable. Lincoln and North Hykeham close in 1969, Grimsby in 1970, leaving Boston and Spalding to continue the name of Martins.  Boston survives until the end of 1992, and Spalding is still open today.

In Service: September 1966 to 8 May 1970

1966 Grimsby Interior 2 BGA Ref 30-1127

Image © Barclays Ref 0030/1127

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Halfway up on the right-hand side…

As Grimsby Branch is destined to bow out so early, it is perhaps just as well that not long after the office is opened for business, Martins Bank Magazine provides a very lengthy and detailed article about the town, the Branch, and the Staff, and starts by getting to grips with just what, exactly, Grimsby is for

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remembering where Grimsby is – halfway up on the right-hand side, for those who do not know - one might reasonably wonder why the Bank opened a branch there. The nearest sizeable towns are Scunthorpe, a music-hall joke town booming precariously on steel 30 miles to the west, and Lincoln 36 miles to the south-west. Between these two communities and Grimsby lie the Lincolnshire Wolds and acres of rich farmland. The signposts guiding one from the west fail to acknowledge Grimsby's existence until one is 20 miles from it and even then, its name is linked with the adjoining borough of Cleethorpes, another music-hall joke town sometimes called Sheffield-by-the-Sea. These depressing thoughts may have been prompted by a 160-mile drive in a continuous downpour, but we told ourselves that none of the great explorers would ever have discovered anything had they turned back when conditions were unfavourable. The rain eased as we approached Grimsby which surprised us by its enormity: it has a population of 90,000 and its adjoining resort and dormitory has 40,000. The second surprise was the realisation that it is attractive and clean, with many open spaces, modern buildings, and schools. We began to feel better and when the sun emerged for half an hour, we actually wondered why we had not come to Grimsby before. One reason is that to us and to many others Grimsby and fish are synonymous, the other is that when the east winds blow off the North Sea across the Humber mouth even brass monkeys would head for warmer climes. But in September, apart from a diesel locomotive which yahoo-ed outside the hotel window at intervals throughout the night, Grimsby was most hospitable.

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1966 Grimsby Interior MBM-Wi66P27

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

It is a bustling place, but one has to dig beneath the surface to realise how much it is dependent on the sea and has been since the Danes settled there a thousand years ago: only when the original haven silted up in the 16th century did its inhabitants turn to the land for a living. Its survival provides a remarkable story of religious, political, legal, and economic skulduggery: laws were made to be broken, those who administered them were too often on the make, and loyalties were bought and sacrificed.

In 1524 the mayor of the town received a peremptory demand from 'a gentleman' to deal leniently with a miscreant 'or else ye shall cause me to put the matter to further knowledge, which I should be sorry to do, as knoweth our Lord'.

Forty years later 21 absentees from church, charged with non-attendance, were found to have gone wildfowling: within a few years the vicar was charged with playing bowls and football— sports apparently more vicious in those days than bull-and bearbaiting. Through all this runs a history of battles with the elements and of primitive ships trading with far places. It was another gentleman—a railway director—who raised Grimsby out of the mud and conflict when he persuaded his board to build a railway, completed in 1848, and to build a dock. By 1851 the population had doubled to nearly 9,000.  Today Grimsby is acknowledged as the premier fishing port of the world, with the biggest cold storage capacity in the United Kingdom. Quite apart from a prodigious trade through the Royal Dock, notably in timber and bacon, the development of the 63-acre Fish Dock has to be seen before one can appreciate the progress since orphan 'apprentices' were sent as crew on the earliest steam trawlers. A modern trawler with freezing equipment costs £500,000 so, not surprisingly, the owners of today are limited companies, but skippers and crews are hand­somely rewarded for what is still a tough and sometimes hazardous life.

1966 Grimsby Staff MBM-Wi66P26

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

Everything from repairs and the fitting and victualling of the ships to the landing, marketing, packing, storing and transport of their catch is handled at Grimsby, and the wealth of the industry is reflected in the shops and the homes. Though the town lives primarily off, if not on, fish there is no smell in these days of quick freezing except on the 'pontoon', the long-covered sheds, and offices where morning sales are conducted through 350 individual firms of fish merchants.

The town has other concerns—rubber, chemical and oil interests have been established along the Humber bank—and this, one might say, is where we came in and why the Bank came into Grimsby, for Humberside in the future is going to be quite something. On the north bank is Hull 'at the end of the road to nowhere' as we wrote some time ago, and to the south are Immingham and Grimsby with ample room for expansion as far inland as Scunthorpe if necessary. Humberside is something to watch and, with a return to economic sanity, the question 'why did we open at Grimsby?' could soon become 'where do we open next?'

The new branch is all one would expect it to be, strikingly modern in a part of the town undergoing redevelopment, the outstanding features being the grey marble counter face and the rear wall of the banking hall in bold relief Anaglypta. Mr G. H. D. Smith's recently acquired knowledge of Grimsby's main industry following his two years as manager in agricultural Selby qualify him as the ideal 'Manager of Ag. and Fish'. Mr R. Taylor is a native of Doncaster whose recent Inspec­tion experience and Domestic Training Course make him an able lieutenant.

Mrs B. L. Taylor, recently married to a local schoolteacher, was previously at York Branch for three years and Mr J. Driver, who was in the recruitment pipeline at the time of our visit, has since joined the staff.  The new office goes one better than Grimsby in having a display window which, by featuring some large reproductions of our advertisements, was stopping and trapping passers-by. Grimsby itself seems content to leave the publicity to neighbouring Cleethorpes, relying on fringe benefits and on its own industry which, it perhaps feels, is sufficiently well-known. This seems a pity, for even though we may not eat fish or take cod liver oil we probably use Grimsby fish in some form for our gardens, pets, or poultry. At least by going there we now know more about it and what it does.

1966 Grimsby Cheque - S Walker MBA.jpg

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections: Stephen Walker

We could even explain it to the small child who gazed wonderingly at the television and murmured 'I never knew fish had fingers'.

1966 Mr J Driver MBM-Wi66P26.jpg

1966 Miss B L Taylor MBM-Wi66P26.jpg

1966 Mr R Taylor MBM-Wi66P26.jpg

1966 Mr GHD Smith Manager MBM-Wi66P03






Mr J Driver

Joined the bank here


Mrs B L Taylor

On the Staff


Mr R Taylor

On the Staff


Mr G H D Smith





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Cleethorpes Road

Fish Docks

Hainton Avenue

Victoria Street



78 Victoria Street


Fish Pontoon








122 Victoria Street


Victoria Street

Cleethorpes Road


Hainton Avenue

New Clee


66 Victoria Street

Docks – Riby Square

Docks – Ross House

Fish Pontoon







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127 Cleethorpes Road


St Mary’s Gate






Index Number and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-17-40 Grimsby

Full Branch

122 – 126 Victoria Street Grimsby Lincolnshire

639 Leeds

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1330

Grimsby 56180

Nightsafe Installed

G H D Smith Manager



Greetland 35 Stainland Road

September 1966

15 December 1969

8 May 1970

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-35-28 Grimsby 122-126 Victoria St


Guildford 150 High Street



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