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Martins Bank’s Branch at Kirkby Stephen enjoys some of the most beautiful views in Westmorland.  A number of sub branches are scattered throughout this picturesque area. Kirkby Stephen is one of the original branches of Messrs Wakefield, Crewdson’s Kendal Bank - it dates back to the 1890s, and is still going strong today. 

Martins Bank Magazine pays a full visit to the branch in 1951, although as we shall see later, they return briefly in 1968 to look at a rather unusual problem…


1951 04 MBM.jpg

Most of us have heard of the Swiss föhn wind, and the sirocco, and other fancy brands, but at Kirkby Stephen we  received  our  introduction to the  “helm” wind, which traditionally blows for three days, three weeks or three months.

In Service: 1863 until 12 April 2024

Image – Martins Bank Archive Collections 1946

In 1947 it blew for three months and they haven’t forgotten it yet.  It seems to pierce the stoutest wall and sends the inhabitants shivering to their fireplaces.  When the farmers see its long straight plume blowing out over the hills, they bring the sheep down to lower pastures for they know what to expect from this devitalising blast.  Mr. Young lives with his wife and small daughter Susan in the Bank House and in the good old days the cellars used to connect by means of a passage with the nearby King's Arms. We can't think why the arrangement was inter­fered with! The house, like most Bank houses, is large with beautiful rooms and the garden looks on to the Pennines.

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Images © Barclays Ref 0030/1521

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We first met Mr. Young in 1946 when he spent a  few  weeks in Branch  Dept., Head  Office, at the time the Magazine was just starting, and our visit was the outcome of a long-standing promise. He entered the service at Brampton in 1922 and after service at Appleby and Ambleside got his first appointment as Pro Manager at Carnforth in 1935.  Two years later he was made Pro Manager at Lancaster and he received his present appointment in 1946. A romance at the branch will have reached its logical conclusion by the time these notes appear, for Mr. J. A. Henderson and Miss M. I. Taylor were to be married shortly after our visit. Miss Taylor has been at the branch since 1938. We send them our best wishes. Mr. Duncan and Mr. Beck we had met before at the staff dinners and we had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Duncan's daughter in the North-Eastern Players' production of “Pink String and Sealing Wax” reported elsewhere in this issue.

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Mr. Beck is the man who keeps the flag flying at the sub branches. We noticed on a side table in Mr. Young's house the handsome silver trophy of the Appleby and Brackenber Golf Club which Mr. Young won this year. He is Vice-Captain of the Club. In addition to his Bank activities Mr. Young finds time to sit on 14 other committees, from the British and Foreign Bible Society and the local R.S.P.C.A. to the Bowling Club Committee.He does not complain of time hanging heavily on his hands. Kirkby Stephen is a great cattle dealing town and in days gone by cattle used to come from as far away as Inverness to be auctioned.  Prize breeding animals are brought for sale at prices which make one feel dizzy even in these days of high prices. Over £600 for a pedigree tup was a recent example. Our visit concluded with a short piano recital by an exceedingly talented young lady of nine, Miss Susan Young.

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1968 Branch Exterior + bees  MBM-Wi68P47.jpgIt’s the Branch with a bit of a buzz

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1968 04 MBM.jpgLooking out of the window on August 8 the staff of Kirkby Stephen branch were amazed to see, and hear, a large number of winged insects.  On investigation it appeared that Martins Bank had been chosen by some local bees as a suitable place to swarm. Mr J. D. Bainbridge, who lives over the office, had the interests of the magazine at heart when he dashed upstairs for his camera and, nobly ignoring the danger of stings, took this photograph. He had plenty of time to compose his picture as it was three-quarters of an hour before the owner arrived to recover his swarm.

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Kirkby Stephen Branch looks every bit as good today as it did in 1946, with most of the original features intact. It always looks to us as if someone has built it very carefully out of Lego® Bricks. With thanks to Benjamin Snowden.

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1946 Kirkby Stephen Exterior CU MBM-Au46P20

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections - 1946

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections - Benjamin Snowden 2016

1912 to 1915 Mr I W Elliot MBM-Wi53P54.jpg

1915 to 1916  Mr T A Fawcett MBM-Su55P52.jpg

1916 to 1919 Mr W R Gordon MBM-Wi60P49.jpg

1917 Mr R Nicholson joined the bank here MBM-Su62P52.jpg

1936 to 1939 Mr B Wilson MBM-Su64P06.jpg

1936 to 1946 Mr J Bainbridge Manager MBM-Au46P24.jpg






Mr I W Elliot

On the Staff

1912 to 1915

Mr T A Fawcett

On the Staff

1915 to 1916

Mr W R Gordon

On the Staff

1916 to 1919

Mr R Nicholson

Joined the Bank Here


Mr B Wilson

on the Staff

1936 to 1939

Mr J Bainbridge


1936 to 1946






1946 to 1953 Mr J G Young Manager MBM-Au46P20.jpg

1951 Mrs M I Henderson MBM-Wi51P08.jpg

1953 to 1961 Mr H Duncan Manager MBM-Au61P52.jpg

1954 to 1967 Mr G R Dolman MBM-Wi67P06.jpg

1961 to 1967 Mr J A Henderson Manager MBM-Wi67P05.jpg






Mr J G Young


1946 to 1953

Mr H H Beck

On the Staff


Mrs M I Henderson

On the Staff


Mr H Duncan


1953 to 1961

Mr G R Dolman

On the Staff

1954 to 1967

Mr J A Henderson


1961 to 1967






1967 Mr JA Ritchie Manager MBM-Wi67P02.jpg






Mr J A Ritchie


1967 onwards










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Index Number and District:

Opening Hours:





Martins Bank Limited 11-26-51 Kirkby Stephen

Main Branch

33 Market St Kirkby Stephen Westmorland

214 Northern

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Kirkby Stephen 379

Nightafe Installed

J A Ritchie Manager





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Kirkby Lonsdale


27 June 1893

18 December 1918

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

12 April 2024

Wakefield Crewdson – The Kendal Bank

Bank of Liverpool

Bank of Liverpool and Martins Limited

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-47-07 Kirkby Stephen

Closed permanently from 12 Noon

Kirkby Thore