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Bank of Liverpool

Widnes Victoria Road Branch is proving to be something of a mystery as we research into the origins of Martins Bank’s 1000+ Branch buildings. By looking both at date of opening – 1892 – and at Martins Bank’s internal index numbering systems for its Branches, we are plumping for The Bank of Liverpool as the original owners.  Even this image gives us only a brief glimpse of the Branch, it is taken from a larger photo whose main subject was Barclays’ own office in the town of Widnes in the 1960s. 

At the time of the merger in 1969, Barclays closes their own smaller Branch across the road, and moves into Martins’ much larger premises. Widnes Victoria Road is one of two Branches of Martins Bank in the town, both of which are kept on by Barclays at the time of the 1969 merger.  The Branch at Derby Road stays open until 1994, and Victoria Road Branch survives until March 2011. For our feature article on Widnes, we go back to 1954, and visit by Martins Bank Magazine at the end of September that year. 

In the Staff Gallery at the foot of the page we are delighted to find a member of Staff called Mr Mainwaring – whose namesake is of course Mr George Mainwaring, Manager of Martins Bank’s Branch at WALMINGTON ON SEA !

In service: 5 October 1892 – 11 March 2011

Image © Barclays 1965


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1954 04 MBM.jpgFrom our bedroom window we can see the Runcorn Trans­porter and the trains crossing Runcorn Bridge. Occasionally, when the wind blows from Widnes in the direction of Woolton our bedroom is filled with pungent fumes which dispel sleep until the dis­charge has passed over. A dark cloud hangs above the town as seen from afar and the traveller on his way from Liverpool to London is not tempted to linger by the sight which assails his eye as he crosses from one bank of the Mersey to the other. It was, therefore, with no keen sense of anticipation that we journeyed out to the chemical town on the morning of September 28th, though, in accordance with the pious opinion expressed by the Manchester District General Manager that our visit would be a success if made on a sunshiny day when the wind was blowing in the right direction, we made the journey on a day when just those conditions obtained. We have often noticed that those things to which we have looked forward keenly often turn out to fall short of expectation, while those to which we have looked forward with a certain sense of foreboding prove unexpectedly enjoyable.

1954 Widnes Staff MBM-Wi54P36.jpgSo it was with Widnes and, among other things, of all the places in the country where we might have expected to see a collection of orchids, we would not have thought of Widnes, yet the man who judged the orchid exhibits at the Southport Show this year lives just outside the town and we were privileged to see his collection. That was one of the highlights of the day; the other was partaking of hospitality in Mr. and Mrs. Odber's new home, and listening to the details of Mr. Odber's somewhat unusual war service. He was called up for industry and made Assistant Personnel Manager of the Fairey Aviation Company, later becoming Personnel Manager.  In this capacity he came to be recognised as an expert on late­ness and absenteeism and was once sent by the Regional Commissioners to advise in a factory in the North-East.  He was pressed to stay on after the end of the war, but preferred to return to banking. He entered the Bank in 1917 and served at Spring Gardens, Fallowfield, Whitefield, Warrington, District Office and Corn Ex­ change before his appointment as Assistant Accountant at Spring Gardens in 1941. He became Manager at Widnes in 1946. Mr. Odber met his wife in the Bank, for she worked at Brown Street for a number of years. He was one of that select company who volunteered for service in London during the Battle of Britain and spent three months at Lombard Street. His second-in-command, W. T. Mainwaring, is an L. and Y. man who, excepting war service, 1942-1946, has spent all his time at Widnes, apart from three years at Warrington.

Then there is G. B. Hibbert, who started his career at Widnes in 1941 and has also served at Warrington, Cadishead and Wigan, with a slice of five years out during the war. We were pleased to see N. E. Melling, who was in charge of the sub branch at Farnworth on the day of our visit. He is an old friend of ours, having been on both Italian and Austrian tours. There are three girls, Miss E. M. Housley, who has been at the branch since she started in the Bank in 1942; Miss P. M. Harrison, three years in the Bank, but at Widnes only since June; and Miss R. Shaw, a District Office trainee.  In addition there was Ronald Smith who is now on the staff at Widnes in place of Mr. Hibbert who has since been transferred. Before leaving Mr. Odber took us on a car tour of the town as we wanted to get a typical photograph of it. The grim spots are all near the river, by the railway bridge and the Transporter. These, are, unfortunately, the only spots seen by most people, yet a mile outside the town centre there are pleasant suburbs and a smiling countryside. Widnes is definitely not as black as it is painted.

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1941 to 1942 joined then 1954 Mr GB Hibbert MBM-Su66P04.jpg

1946 to 1958 Mr W Odber Manager MBM-Wi63P55.jpg

1949 to 1951 later 1954 Mr R Smith MBM-Sp67P07.jpg






Mr J H Harrop

Joined the Bank Here


Mr J Randle

Joined the Bank Here

1912 to 1915

Mr G B Hibbert

Joined Here 1941-42

On the Staff 1954

Mr W Odber


1946 to 1958

Mr R Smith

On the Staff 1949-51

and from 1954

Miss E M Houseley

On the Staff


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1954 Miss R H Shaw MBM-Wi54P36.jpg

1954 Mr N E Melling MBM-Wi54P36.jpg

1954 Mr W T Mainwaring MBM-Wi54P36.jpg






Miss P M Harrison

On the Staff


Miss R H Shaw

On the Staff


Mr N E Melling

On the Staff


Mr W T Mainwaring

Branch Second


Mr N Sorton


1958 to 1968

Mr R Williamson


1968 onwards

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1969 Mr N E Worthington Pro Manager MBM-Au69P11.jpg






Mr N E Worthington

Pro Manager









Victoria Road

Simms Cross


45 Widnes Road



Victoria Road

69 Derby Road









Broseley House, Widnes Road



44 Victoria Road



21 Victoria Road

Simms Cross





Index Number and District:






11-39-90 Widnes 

Full Branch

62 Victoria Road Widnes Lancashire

97 Liverpool

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

051 424 2147 / 2273

Nightsafe installed

Mr R Williamson Manager


11-39-90 Farnworth

(also known as Derby Road Branch)

Whitley Bay

5 October 1892

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

11 March 2011

Opened by the Bank of Liverpool

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-96-31 Widnes Victoria Road


Widnes Farnworth Derby Road



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