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Martins Bank has Branches in nine of Devon’s towns and cities, following the opening of the first Branch at Torquay in 1938. Barnstaple is the fifth of these Branches to be opened, in these highly attractive premises in the High Street in 1953. Barclays retains Barnstaple Branch at the time of the Merger with Martins Bank in 1969, but the building is closed in 1976 after around twenty three years in service.

In Service: 1953 until 16 January 1976

1960 s Barnstaple Exterior Two No Entry Signs CU MBA Ref 1732-162.jpg

*                 Branch Images © Barclays Ref 1732-0162


Barnstaple has been open for business for a couple of years by the time Martins Bank Magazine catches up with it for its Summer 1956 edition. At the time of their visit the Manager is Mr C Clark, who later will journey back to the Lake District to take charge of Kendal Branch…


1960 s Barnstaple, Martins Exterior Corner View BGA Ref 1732-162.jpg1956 02 MBM.jpgOn April 27th we travelled to Barnstaple where we were met by Mr. C. Clark.   Our first engagement was to call upon the Mayor, Councillor A. W. Clarke, and pay our respects. We spent a most entertaining hour in the Mayor's Parlour examining the many objects of beauty and interest, including the Town plate which contains some magnificent pieces.  But most of all were we entertained by the example of working democracy whereby an aggrieved citizen knocked at the door and, in the temporary absence of the beadle was attended to by the Mayor himself, who listened to his complaint and, in this par­ticular instance, stood up to him and justified the action the Council had taken and sent him away satisfied that he had been fairly treated.


This is the first English town, a Tory town, too, in which we have seen anything like this happen. Complete accessibility to the first citizen of the town, with the right to state your case and say what you think: and even when the beadle is on duty, direct and immediate access is not denied if the business is genuine. That is a sample of working democracy which is a pattern for any town.  Four of the six members of our Barnstaple staff were already known to us. We introduced Betty Ashwell to our readers some time ago, by virtue of her outstanding exploits in the world of swimming. Ruth Evans, we met at the last South-Western staff dinner. She comes from a large family—nine brothers and sisters, and runs true to type for children of large families: the corners get rubbed off and the resultant character is tolerant, agreeable, full of fun, and with plenty of team spirit.

Branch Images © Barclays Ref 1732-0162

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Mr. Clark himself is an old friend of ours, still with a deep love of the North where all his previous service was given in Grange, Appleby, Lancaster, Dalton and Wigton, but very happily settled in his new town where he has made plenty of friends. He will, however, never be permitted to refer to Barnstaple as Barum: that is reserved for the natives. He has made an outstanding success of his new branch and the Bank is fairly established in the life of the town.

Mr. K. E. Tomlinson is second-in-command and he, too, is no stranger to us. He hails from the Manchester District, his service including Blackpool, Preston and Manchester District Office Inspection Department. Mr. P. Howard arrived at Barnstaple by way of Plymouth, Cockermouth and Keswick and the tall, studious-looking figure of Mr. P. F. Sanders, the junior male member of the staff, gives the branch an appropriate air of scholarship. On relief, due to the absence on holiday of Mr. Tomlinson, was Mr. R. A. Gerard, of our Plymouth staff.


We had the pleasure of entertaining Mr. and Mrs. Clark at Bideford in the evening, an extremely happy evening after a very pleasant and interesting visit—our first—to this outpost of the Bank.


1967 02 MBM.jpgIn 1967 Barnstaple undergoes a refurbishment, part of a major series of alterations, knock-down and rebuilds across the country by Martins Bank, in the spirit of “mending the roof whilst the sun is shining”. This very short piece from Martins Bank Magazine’s Summer 1967 edition is all that remains to document the re-opening of Barnstaple following completion of the works…

Mr G E Clarkson, with Mr D E Arkle (Manager) Mr J H Bryan (Pro Premises Manager) and officials from the architects and builders at the re-opening of our Barnstaple Branch.

1953 to 1965 Mr K E Tomlinson Manager from 1956 MBM-Sp65P05.jpg

1956 Mr C Clark Manager MBM-Su68P41.jpg

Mr K E Tomlinson

Branch Second 1953-6

Manager 1956-65

Miss K M E Ashwell

On the Staff


Mr C Clark


1953 to 1956

Mr P F Sanders

Joined the Bank Here


Mr R A Gerard

District Relief Staff


Miss Ruth Evans

On the Staff


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1956 to 1959 Mr E Goodaire MBM-Wi67P02.jpg

1965 Mr DE Arkle Manager MBM-Sp65P04.jpg

Mr E Goodaire

On the Staff

1956 to 1959

Mr W J Bass

Pro Manager

1959 to 1964

Mr W C Berkley

Limited Auth then Pro Manager 1964-66

Mr D E Arkle


1965 onwards



















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Index Number and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-41-00 Barnstaple

Full Branch

85 High Street Barnstaple  Devon

162 South Western

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Barnstaple 4285

Nightsafe Installed

Mr D E Arkle Manager


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15 December 1969

16 January 1976

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Re-designed and extended

Barclays Bank Limited 20-04-60 Barnstaple High Street


Barrowford 2 Holmfield View