King’s Lynn has special memories
for our editor, who worked there for Barclays when it became the first branch
in the town to open once more on Saturday Mornings in 1982, under the Barclays
on Saturday banner.
In Service: 1956 until 15 June 1990
Image © Barclays Ref
It was always an
attractive office, and one of the few East Anglian Branches of Martins; it
still displays the Grasshopper and Liver Bird Coat of Arms on its doors
today, even though the business transacted behind them changed a long time
ago to that of a fashion retailer.
In the main external image we see something that used to be
commonplace in so many of our towns – a main
road outside the branch. Long
since filled in by pedestrianisation, King’s Lynn High Street is now the
focus for many of the remaining Banks and large retailers to ply their
wares in this internet age! For our feature, we visit King’s Lynn Branch
whilst the paint is still wet, and Martins Bank’s new Manager and staff are
getting used to their new branch…
We travelled to King’s Lynn on 6th July and, once
again, our travel plans seem to have caused the maximum amount of inconvenience,
for the train by which we chose to travel was scheduled to take so much
time on the last stage of its journey that Mr. Goodband motored out to
Sutton Bridge and collected us there—a very pleasant way from our point of view of doing the last
thirteen miles of the journey. The day of our
visit was not one of the market days and we were able to see this very busy
little place under much more pleasant conditions than when its extremely
narrow and tortuous streets are crowded with vehicles and people.
King’s Lynn is unusual in being the possessor of two market
places: The Tuesday Market and The Saturday Market. The former is a fine
square in which all the big banks are situated: the latter is smaller, more
picturesque and the stalls display their colourful wares in the shadow of
the fine old twin-towered church of St. Margaret’s and of the ancient
Guildhall in which repose King John’s Cup and Sword and the Regalia (not
that lost in the nearby Wash).
At the entrance to the church one notices flood levels marked
on the stones of the porchway, the 1953 stone recording the fact that the
church stood in several feet of water.
A calculation showed that if our branch had been there in 1953 it
too would have been flooded. There
is also an important cattle market and a tiny fishing fleet, but though there
are about a hundred butchers’ shops in the town, fish is hard to come by; a
fact which struck us as being rather curious. We first had the pleasure of
meeting Mr. Goodband on the occasion of our visit to Oxford branch in 1950.
On that occasion we said about him: “We are all familiar with the man who
doesn’t know what he wants but is fed up with what he has got, and it is
refreshing to meet a man who knew what he wanted and having got it is
determined to enjoy it.” The remarks
still stand, and have turned out to be prophetic for he assures us that
they have been fulfilled.
A native of nearby Grantham, he is now batting on his home ground,
more or less. But while he likes being where he is, Mr. Goodband has that
disposition which enables him to settle happily anywhere and to make the
best of his circumstances whatever they may be.
Barclays Ref 0030/1500/0002
In this he is ably supported by his wife, a Londoner, but not
one of those parochial Londoners who cannot be happy away from the Capital.We
were very pleased to meet her and to have the pleasure of entertaining them
both to dinner. Mr. P. J. Thorpe, second-in-command, commenced his service
at Brighton in 1936 and after over six years’ war service and a further
spell at Brighton, went to Fenchurch Street in 1950. Housing has its own
special difficulties in King’s Lynn, there being little new building, and
the competition of nearby American Air Force stations for available
existing accommodation has rendered the position extremely tight and prices
somewhat exorbitant. At present, while the search is on, Mr. Thorpe has
left his wife in Ipswich with her people and he and the third man, Mr. N.
H. Harvey, are living in a caravan on the outskirts of the town. Miss S. E.
Vince is a local girl who has been with us since the branch opened. She has
entered happily into the scheme of things and enjoys her work.
A quiet farewell for Mr
Retiring without ceremony as Manager of King’s Lynn Branch on
31 July after nearly 44 years’
service, Mr Prentice entertained friends and colleagues at his home where
he was presented with a cheque.
Entering the service at Dartford in 1923, he had spent all his
banking life in the London district with the exception of the war
years. Pro Manager at Soho Square in
1948, and at Gracechurch Street in 1952, he spent six years as a visiting
inspector before being appointed in 1962 as Manager at King’s Lynn where
his friendliness and approachability were always appreciated.
Waxing and waning…
The days of sealing documents with wax may have reduced to only a few
occasions in the world of today, but in the 1960s, each branch of Martins
had its own supply of wax, embossed with MARTINS BANK LIMITED, which could be melted and applied to documents requiring
the official seal of the bank to make them legally binding. This particular box of wax came from King’s
Lynn Branch, and whilst (sadly) each stick has long since been broken or
crack apart, the ornately decorated
box still has something of an air of the officialdom of document sealing
Martins Bank Archive Collections
Not quite so “Then and Now” (as we see in our usual feature), King’s Lynn is shown
here in 1980 following a minimal and sympathetic rebrand under Barclays.
That main road has already made way for reasonably attractive tiles and the
march of the pedestrian shopper…