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Martins Bank 1928+

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.

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In Service: 1956 until 15 June 1990

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1960 s King's Lynn Exterior CU BGA Ref 30-1500-1 (1)

Image © Barclays Ref 0030-1500-0001

East Anglia.jpgIt 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…

2007 King's Lynn Exterior (2) PA.jpg1956 03 MBM.jpgWe 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.

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1956 King's Lynn Staff MBM-Au56P13.jpg

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.

1956 King's Lynn interior BGA Ref 30-1500-8.jpg

Image © Barclays Ref 0030/1500/0002

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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.

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A quiet farewell for Mr Prentice…


1967 03 MBM.jpgRetiring 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 about it!


Image © 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…

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Mr C H Goodband


1956 to 1962

Mr P J Thorpe

Branch Second


Miss S E Vince

On the Staff


Mr N H Harvey

Third Man

1956 to 1957

Mr P J Wolsey

On the Staff

1962 to 1965

Mr E C G Prentice


1962 to 1967

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Mr J  R Thorogood


1967 onwards







Tuesday Market place

98 London Road (South Lynn)

43 Lynn Road Gaywood

Hardwick Estate


Tuesday Market Place

London Road



103a High Street







63 High Street



Tuesday Market Place



8 Tuesday Market Place


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Index Number and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-17-50 King’s Lynn

Main Branch

103a High Street King’s Lynn Norfolk

472 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

King’s Lynn 3368

Nightsafe Installed

J R Thorogood Manager



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15 December 1969


15 June 1990

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-46-64 King’s Lynn High Street

One of the original 400 “Barclays on Saturday” branches


Kingston upon Thames