If only they were making those ubiquitous “Wizard” films in
the 1930s – doubtless young magicians on brooksticks would have looked right
at home outside this gorgeously quirky little building in Luddendenfoot! This is an original Branch of the Halifax Commercial
Banking Company, which amalgamates with the Bank of Liverpool and Martins in
January 1920. Connected by the same road name, but never separated officially
by the Bank, Martins Bank’s Branches at Mytholmroyd and Luddendenfoot have
twice taken turns to play the roles of main Branch and sub-Branch.
even two separate visits from Martins Bank Magazine can unravel this one, you
can read more on our MYTHOLMROYD
page. For our Luddendenfoot feature we
meet some of the Branch staff in an abridged version of an article published
by Martins Magazine in Winter 1954…
In Service: 1915 until 28 December 1973
Image © 1936 Barclays
Our journeys hitherto
have taken us to well-known places, many of them famous beauty spots, fashionable
resorts, holiday centres, spas, county towns and so on. This time, for a
change, we elected to visit places which, while well enough known in the
North of England, are nothing but names to colleagues who are unfamiliar with
Lancashire and Yorkshire. These places are not large and one does not find in
all of them representation from every one of the Big Five banks. But our
Branches in them are doing a good and necessary job, sometimes under trying
conditions, and if the places selected cannot be classed in themselves as
beauty spots at least they are within a mile or two of lovely country and one
does not have to look far for loveliness anywhere, though in some places it
is not thrust upon one's notice and one has to keep a sharp lookout for it.
We saw the first
two Branches of our choice under perfect conditions, on a lovely autumn day
of mellow sunshine lighting up the fading glory of summer on the trees. The
visit was made on September 23rd and we had to go by train right through to
Halifax and then use the bus as the express trains from Liverpool do not stop
at either Mytholmroyd or Luddendenfoot.
We lunched in Halifax with Mr. and Mrs. Hand (Mr Hand is our
Mytholmroyd and Luddendenfoot Manager) and learned some unexpected pieces of
information about the places we were to visit. Luddendenfoot is in a valley,
between Mytholmroyd and Halifax, and has several small industries
representative of the woollen country—mills and small
factories. It has an interesting literary connection, for Branwell Bronte,
the ne'er-do-well brother of the famous Bronte sisters, was Clerk-in-Charge
of the station at Luddendenfoot for a short time until he was dismissed for
inattention to his duties.
got off the bus at Luddendenfoot to see the Branch and to meet Mr. H.
Radcliffe, who had come out from Halifax for the day in order to free Mr.
Hand to show us around. Relieving at Luddendenfoot is no new experience for
Mr. Radcliffe so we felt amply justified in including him in the picture. We
were also pleased to meet Mr. A. McDermondy, who acts as guard. Mr.
McDermondy is a retired railway employee, and with our visit to York Cattle
Market fresh in our mind we could not help thinking how fortunate our
experience has been with retired railwaymen. Mr. E. P. Green, who is normally
in charge at Luddendenfoot, was looking after Mytholmroyd when we arrived.
His service has been at Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Huddersfield and Brighouse
before going to the twin Branches in 1948. During the war he served with the
R.A.F. in Italy.
The competition next
occasions, Branch photographs reveal something more than just a period image
of a Branch exterior or interior.
Being able to look at the street scene around some of Martins Branches
really does help bring our social history to life. Many of the photos in the
Barclays Collection of Martins Bank Branch Photos, show nearby shops or
houses, and this image of Luddendenfoot Branch allows us to zoom in for a
look at the competition – such as it is in 1936. Taking pride of place
amongst the “street furniture” is this fabulous GPO Call Box. There are
further examples elsewhere in the online Archive, along with views of the
famous red telephone boxes.
In Luddendenfoot in 1936, the Halifax Permanent Building
Society is just next door, and it seems to be displaying its wares with little
discretion, seemingly fighting for space with the local parish notices! Given that at this time banks actively
promote the savings opportunities of National savings AND Building Societies,
you do wonder why it is necessary for the Halifax to be quite so brash! Note
too the lovely old public telephone box, rather dominated by the exhortation
to “Watch Your Savings Grow”. At this
time Martins Bank’s own ADVERTISING is so staid and traditional, that Head Office would
probably have frowned upon the brashness of the Halifax, and hoped that the
Bank would attract business from “an altogether better class of person”!