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This, is London…

Beautifully appointed, Kingsway is one of Martins Bank’s most attractive London Branches.  Not far from the studios of Rediffusion London, the branch will surely have witnessed many of swinging London’s personalities making their way to and from the weekly live transmission of “Ready Steady Go”.   A variety of international artistes and visitors will also have passed by on their way to the BBC World Service at Bush House.  Kingsway really does seem to be very much at the centre of modern broadcasting!  Kingsway is an original Branch of Martin’s Private Bank, which can trace its origins back to 1563 when Sir Thomas Gresham traded at the Sign of the Grasshopper in London’s Lombard Street.

In Service: Pre 1918 until 11 September 1992

Image © Barclays Ref 0030/1508

By 1958 the interior of the Branch at Africa House is showing its age, and a bold modern new look is commissioned from Architects Michell and Adams. The redesigned interior employs a number of modern building techniques and an array of construction materials, which together bring about a light, airy, welcoming yet still businesslike feel to Kingsway Branch.  A feature in “The Architect and Building News” provides us with a wealth of detail and images:

The Bank is an existing branch situated in Africa House and has undergone considerable alteration. The main object of the improvement was, generally, to create a branch which would reflect the forward-looking ideas of the bank, and to provide a higher standard of accom­modation. Replanning has given the manager and assistant manager quieter and better rooms, accessible to the general public without going through the clerks' space. A com­fortably fitted out staff room has been provided, with cloakrooms and facili­ties for tea making. The main interior is fitted with modern desks and counters and has a greatly improved standard of lighting. A new waiting room is also provided for the private use of customers. This addi­tional accommodation is made pos­sible by closing one of the two entrances from Kingsway and by adding a room at the-rear, previously used as storage space. The central banking hall, with its 22ft long counter and public space, was regarded as the core of the in­terior, and the offices to each side as subsidiary parts.

The Interior of the New Banking Hall

Images – Martins Bank Archive Collections © Architect and Building News and Successors

These effectively reduce traffic noise from Kingsway, and act as a stop at the head for receiving the suspended ceiling. The partition dividing the banking hall from the manager's room and waiting room was designed as a double-glazed screen, so that the afternoon light from Kingsway would penetrate to the banking hall, and, also, that the view from the bank­ing hall should be as extensive as possible. The windows in the -screen were purpose-made aluminium sec­tions, painted white and united into one screen by architraves of wide planks of polished teak. In order to under­line the importance attached to the main hall, the walls are lined with 7in polished Afrormosia tongued and grooved boards, while the walls sur­rounding the typists' area and vesti­bule are plastered and painted. A fibrous plaster suspended ceiling is used to mask the large variety of beam depths and a totally illumin­ated ceiling is installed over the bank­ing hall. All windows have been double glazed by means of additional sets of windows.

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Opposing views of the corridor serving the offices of the Manager and the Assistant Manager

Images – Martins Bank Archive Collections © Architect and Building News and Successors


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Specification of the Counter and the Cashiers’ tills

Images – Martins Bank Archive Collections © Architect and Building News and Successors

The Manager and Assistant Manager’s desks


Images – Martins Bank Archive Collections © Architect and Building News and Successors


Close view of Counter Front

The Customers’ Writing Desks

Images – Martins Bank Archive Collections © Architect and Building News and Successors

Plan of the new ground floor layout


Image – Martins Bank Archive Collections © Architect and Building News and Successors

The Manager’s Office

The Typists’ Area

Images – Martins Bank Archive Collections © Architect and Building News and Successors

Above and Below: Details of the Glazed Screening to the Managers’ Offices


Images – Martins Bank Archive Collections © Architect and Building News and Successors



In 1962 Martins Bank publishes this artist’s impression of the Banking Hall at Kingsway. In the past the Bank has often employed the services of Geoffrey Wedgwood – who creates drawings for many of the Bank’s advertisements - to provide an illustration for publication in a glossy booklet about the history and modernity of Martins Bank.  In the simply named “Martins Bank Limited”, published in 1962, Mr Wedgwood provides his own take on a number of the Bank’s offices, including Liverpool Head Office, London 68 Lombard Street, Banbury and Colchester branches, and of course London Kingsway. He is to be congratulated on his interpretation of the nightmarish wallpaper on the right of the picture – it must have driven him mad!  At the end of March 1965, it is time for Kingsway’s popular Manager of the previous twelve years, Mr Edwin St G Tyrrell to retire. A large number of friends, and colleagues past and present gather at Kingsway to wish him well, and as usual on these occasions, Martins Bank Magazine is there to record the proceedings…

1962 Sketch of Kingsway Interior MBL Booklet

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

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1965 02 MBM.jpg1953 to 1965 Mr E St G Tyrrell Retirement Feature MBM-Su65P54nearly one hundred friends and colleagues gathered at Kingsway branch on March 31st to wish well to Edwin Tyrrell ('George' to many) on his retirement as Manager. On the previous Monday he had been enter­tained to luncheon by the General Manage­ment at Head Office and, a few days earlier, by the General Management at Lombard Street. Mr H. Ryder (London District General Manager) made the presentation to Mr Tyrrell of a cheque and a book containing 180 signatures. In a witty speech, after referring to Mr Tyrell's long service in the Bank, Mr Ryder mentioned his success in doubling the profits of Kingsway branch, and amused his listeners with references to some of the difficulties Mr Tyrrell had encountered when buying a house in Sussex for his retirement. In conclusion Mr Ryder said he was pleased to see both Mrs Tyrrell and their daughter, Christine, and he asked Mrs Bone to present a bouquet to Mrs Tyrell. In his reply Mr Tyrrell laid at the contractors' door the blame for his housing difficulties, but he extended an open invitation to all to call on him. He paid warm tribute to his staff, past and present, including four assistant managers who, he said, had kept him in order. Among those present were Mr C. Whiteley (Joint General Manager), Mr D. C. Bardsley (Assistant General Mana­ger), and the two Assistant District Managers, Mr F. C. Hardman and Mr S. W. P. Barter. The several branch managers present included Mr H. Q. Atkinson, former Manager of Sidcup branch and the Bank's oldest pensioner. Mr Tyrrell entered the Bank at 68 Lombard Street in 1923 and received signing authority at Brighton in 1937 and then at Southampton. Shortly after re­turning from 3 years' war service he was appointed Manager of Dartford and in 1953 became Manager at Kingsway branch.

1920 to 1927 Mr P B Pace MBM-Su61P50.jpg

1920 to 1931 Mr R D Cant MBM-Su59P55.jpg

1923 Mr A L Lucock joined the service here MBM-Su47P21.jpg

1924 to 1930 Mr E Webster joined the bank here MBM-Sp66P57.jpg

1931 Mr C E Whyte MBM-Au62P51.jpg






Mr P B Pace

On the Staff

1920 to 1927

Mr R D Cant

On the Staff

1920 to 1931

Mr A L Lucock

Joined the Bank Here


Mr E Webster

Joined the Bank Here

1924 to 1930

Mr W Kelly

Pro Manager

1929 to 1933

Mr C E Whyte

On the Staff







1931 to 1933 Mr H Dickman Manager MBM-Au47P15.jpg

1933 to 1934 Mr T I Bond Pro Manager MBM-Wi56P05.jpg

1937 to 1940 Mr R Gilbert MBM-Su67P02.jpg

1944 to 1950 Mr W J Clemow Manager MBM-Au56P51.jpg

1948 to 1954 Mr N B Bill MBM-Su64P03.jpg

1950 to 1951 Mr T W Hedges MBM-Su65P04.jpg






Mr H Dickman


1931 to 1933

Mr T I Bond

Pro Manager

1933 to 1934

Mr R Gilbert

On the Staff

1937 to 1940

Mr W J Clemow


1944 to 1950

Mr N B Bill

On the Staff

1948 to 1954

Mr T W Hedges

On the Staff

1950 to 1951

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1952 to 1953 Mr R Pennington joined the bank here MBM-Au66P02.jpg

1953 to 1965 Mr E St G Tyrrell Manager MBM-Su65P54.jpg

1958 Mr C J Lumley Joined the Bank Here MBM-Au61P10.jpg

1958 to 1968 Mr D G P West Ltd Auth from 1963 MBM-Au68P07.jpg

1959 to 1961 MR H A Packett Assistant Manager MBM-Au62P26.jpg






Mr R Pennington

Joined the Bank Here

1952 to 1953

Mr E St G Tyrell


1953 to 1965

Mr T R Herbert

On the Staff

1955 to 1956

Mr C J Lumley

Joined the Bank Here


Mr D G P West

Limited Authority

1958 to 1968

Mr H A Packett

Assistant Manager

1959 to 1961

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1963 to 1966 Mr S Brookes Assistant Manager MBM-Su66P03.jpg

1965 Mr FR Ravenshear Manager MBM-Su65P07.jpg

1966 Mr EA Stonebridge Assistant Manager MBM-Su66P06.jpg

1967 to 1969 Mr N Deane Assistant Manager MBM-Au67P08.jpg

1969 Mr D B Kethero Assistant Manager MBM-Su69P17.jpg






Mr S Brookes

Assistant Manager

1963 to 1966

Mr F R Ravenshear


1965 onwards

Mr E A Stonebridge

Assistant Manager


Mr N Deane

Assistant Manager

1967 to 1969

Mr D B Kethero

Assistant Manager






Index Number and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-20-50 London Kingsway

Full Branch

PO Box 179 Africa House Kingsway London WC2

407 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

01 405 2206/8

Nightsafe installed

Mr F R Ravenshear Manager

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A picture containing text, tableware, plate, dishware

Description automatically generatedKingsway is included in Martins’ London Account Number Allocation, where Branches due for automation are given “significant  digits” to identify them at the London Computer Centre by account numbers issued. The Branch Customer Accounts will be identified by the significant digits 28 and 29.

London Kensington High Street

Pre 1918

18 December 1918

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

11 September 1992

Martin’s Private Bank

Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-46-79 Kingway Africa House


London Knightsbridge