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Martins Bank 1928+

Streatham Branch is added to Martins Bank’s portfolio of Branches in Outer London in 1961. It is not visited by Martins Bank Magazine until 1963.  They find Streatham to be bright roomy and comfortable, and in the article below, they set about meeting the staff and assessing the local business opportunities for the Bank. As a standalone full Branch with no sub-Branches, Streatham opens across the full Banking week of six days in these attractive premises on the High Parade, Streatham High Road.  In her autobiography – “No, Prime Minister”, published 2001 by John Blake Publishing Ltd, former Member of Parliament Teresa Gorman recalls seeing an advertisement campaign whose theme was business start-up, in the window of Martins Bank’s Streatham Branch in 1967.   She was looking to start her own business, and needed help to the tune of £1000 (Approximately £16,800 in today’s money).  Having been practically laughed at, then turned away by the Westminster Bank, she saw Martins Bank’s advert showing the man in the bowler hat carrying a hod of bricks, and the invitation to come in and discuss “Starting a New Business”. We are pleased to say that Streatham branch saw the value in Mrs Gorman’s proposed business, and with the minimum of fuss set about lending her the required funds.  This is one of the first outings for the famous slogan “Martins go to extremes to be helpful”, and an extremely good example of how it works in action! 

In Service: Thursday 19 October 1961 until Friday 17 September 1971

1960 London Streatham exterior 1 BGA Ref 30-2821.jpg

Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0030-2821

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1966 Starting A Business Punch Magazine 13 April MBA.jpg

Images © Martins Bank Archive Collections

Open for Business

Streatham Branch first opens its doors on Thursday 19 October 1961, and the following day the local newspaper the Norwood News prints a lengthy spread introducing its readers to the Bank and its new Manager, Mr N Mereweather.

It seems the man in charge has good connections with the area, and seems to be the perfect choice for the job…

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{Yesterday, (Thursday) Martins Bank opened a branch in Streatham, at 26 The High Parade, in line with its policy of opening branches in important places in which it has not been directly represented previously.

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Image © Trinity Mirror Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive

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Since the war many new branches have been opened, including Covent Garden, Tottenham Court Road, Knightsbridge, Watford and Gracechurch Street. The site of this new branch was originally one of the shops in an existing Parade, and provides spacious internal accommodation comprising an impressive banking hall with a large public space, waiting room; manager’s office, machine and staff room etc.. The walls of the banking hall are lined with various contrasting materials and colours including flush white elm veneered panelling, polished a natural colour, white and dark green marbles and plastic fabric wall coverings in light attractive colours. The counter and screens are executed in black bean, which is a dark hardwood, polished a natural colours with stainless steel trim used to provide delicate structural lines, and a bright contrast.  Additional colour interest is provided by the use of a plastic fabric covering the counter front. Clerks desks and fittings are made in natural polished mahogany with dark green covered tops. The floors are covered with plastic tiles in attractive light grey colours, and dark blue close-fitting carpets are provided in the waiting room and manager’s office. All ceilings are new suspended metal tile ceilings which are used to conceal the original irregular ceilings, the new heating installation and they incorporate a sound absorbent material to give quiet working conditions. The front of the bank is formed in the old shop front opening with satin silver stainless steel framings, green marble facings under the window and white marble linings at each side which extend into the banking hall. The shop-type fascia is formed with bright stainless steel rimmed green Perspex letters Perspex background all letters on a white Perspex background all of which is illuminated from behind and, although generally conforming to adjoining fascias to provide a degree of unity, gives together with the Bank front, that quality and dignity of character associated with bank premises.



The main entrance doors are flush mahogany veneered and when open form the linings to the entrance lobby and have stainless steel facings and handles bearing enamelled coats-of-arms of the Bank: the inner doors are frameless toughened plate glass with similar coats of arms fixed at eye level. The architects are W W Fisk and S H Fisk of 6a Bedford Square, London. The manager of the new branch is Mr N Mereweather who was educated at Westminster City School and entered the Bank in 1935 after a period in insurance. He served first at Lombard Street Office and then at the Bank’s Whitehall branch until 1940 when he joined the Army, being subsequently commissioned into the Royal Artillery. He was posted to the Middle East in 1942 and later joined the Sudan Defence Force in which he served in the Sudan and Eritrea until he was demobilised. On his return to the Bank he went to Hanover Square branch and then to London District Office. His first appointment was as Pro Manager at Bruton Street branch. Mr Mereweather lived at Tulse Hill prior to his marriage when he moved to Norbury, so he knows the district well. He now lives in Croydon. Mr Mereweather’s main hobby is photography. He reads widely and enjoys travelling, both abroad and in this country. English social history is one of his particular interests. }

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A visit to “the family”

Now we turn our attention to Martins Bank Magazine’s first impressions of Streatham Branch, which by the time they pay their visit, has been open for around eighteen months…

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1963 02We are still uncertain how many stations there are in Streatham but we arrived at the right one. This was fortunate for on the last day of our London visit we were becoming unnerved by railway station announcements made in Greek by Polish gentlemen at the very moment the trains clattered deafeningly into the stations. Streatham High Road is very long—even longer if one turns the wrong way coming out of the station—and it is full of shops: the roads leading off it are full of houses—very attractive ones so far as we could see. We were glad to find our branch which is bright, roomy and comfortable and even more glad to cash a cheque—one should always carry a spare note if one is in London.

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It was Mr. Norman Mereweather, the Manager, who explained what it was about Streatham that had puzzled us: one way leads to London while the other leads to villages which are now becoming suburbs and Streatham, lying between, is peculiar as a community, having no real focal point: in short one goes to London or the shops or home. Nevertheless, people are also going to our branch and this is certainly encouraging in an area which by some standards seems impersonal. Mr. Mereweather, after eighteen months of management at this new branch, is buoyant for his banking experience is varied and it is this ability to meet all situations which gives one confidence.   Entering Lombard Street in 1935 he moved to Cocks Biddulph and then spent six years in the army on the survey side in the Middle East. How many managers can, we wonder, speak Sudanese Arabic even if it is unlikely to be in demand in Streatham?  After the war there came Eastbourne, foreign work at Hanover Square, visiting inspections and, in 1955, pro managership at Bruton Street. He attended a Domestic Training Course in 1953.

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His second-in-command, Mr. R. C. Baker, is an energetic man who came to banking via shipping and insurance, starting at Westminster in 1955 and attending the Domestic Training Scheme in 1959. He was hopeful that his efforts the previous evening would enable him to become an a.i.b. Mr. I. M. Hewlett, a bright young man of 24, began his career at Chislehurst in 1956 and has since worked at Bruton Street and Agency Section.

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1960 London Streatham interior 2 BGA Ref  1 30-2821.jpg

1960 London Streatham interior 3 BGA Ref  1 30-2821.jpg

Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0030/2821

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His his wife, who was in the Westminster Bank, presented him with a son early in April he had a special reason for passing that evening's examination. At the time of our visit Mr. I. G. Williams of the relief staff was assisting after a long spell in Chief Overseas and was catching up on general branch banking. At Streatham there is only one lady and she is happy to be the only female pebble on a male beach; Miss C. A. Bailey joined Curzon Street branch in August 1960, came to the new branch when it opened and now has no wish to work elsewhere. Mr. and Mrs. Mereweather joined us as our guests for lunch over which we discussed every­thing from banks to baby sitting.  Our only disappointment in a most enjoyable day was that time did not allow us to see their new home and meet their three-year-old daughter. On this day, and indeed throughout the week, we found such friendliness that on the homeward journey to Merseyside we experienced much the same feeling as that which H. V. Morton records in his book 'In search of Ireland'. After only a few days in Ireland, he found it so easy to forget he was an Englishman that he had to say to himself each day 'I will be true to England in the face of this awful temptation' We hope our Grasshopper Ambassadors will take this as a compliment.

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1961 to 1967 Mr N Mereweather Manager MBM-Wi67P02.jpg

1963 Miss C A Bailey MBM-Su63P26.jpg

1963 Mr I M Howlett MBM-Su63P26.jpg

1963 to 1966 Mr R C Baker MBM-Su66P04.jpg

1965 to Mr P D Gash MBM-Sp67P06.jpg

1967 Mr SE Davidson Manager MBM-Wi67P02.jpg






Mr N Mereweather


1961 to 1967

Miss C A Bailey

On the Staff

1961 to ?

Mr I M Hewlett

On the Staff


Mr R C Baker

On the Staff

1963 to 1966

Mr P D Gash

On the Staff


Mr S E Davidson


1967 onwards

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Index Number and District:






11-37-80 London Streatham

Full Branch

26 The High Parade Streatham High Road London London SW16

481 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

01 769 1127/8

Nightsafe Installed

Mr S E Davidson Manager

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Streatham 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 77.


London Southall Broadway

Thursday 19 October 1961

15 December 1969

Friday 17 September 1971

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-83-14 Streatham High Parade



London Wimbledon Centre Court