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The true “pioneer spirit” sees Martins Bank forging Southwards to become a truly NATIONAL bank. Careful to choose once more a building with character, the Bank opens its Branch in Basingstoke’s London Street in the August of 1962.  The brick and stone frontage of this property immediately gives the impression of a Bank that might have already been there for decades, and that will immediately exude an air of security and permanence – all this of course with the Barclays merger still just a little too far out of sight around the corner. Martins Bank Magazine wastes no time in visiting the new Branch shortly after it opens, and the ensuing article tackles amongst other things, local pub names, the achievements of the staff, and some local history…

In Service: August 1962 until 7 June 1991

1960 ish Basingstoke Exterior BGA Ref 30-122.jpg

Black and White Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0030-0122


A New Branch in Old Hampshire…


1963 03 MBM.jpgour branch in Basingstoke is well placed in London Street off which runs Wote Street. As we wandered round the town and were charmed by it we wondered what a wote was (if readers will forgive the alliteration). One so often hears the lament that all towns to-day look the same - clothiers, multiples and the like - and while many industrial centres now have a harsh sameness this is not so of the older country towns like Basingstoke where one finds the best of both worlds.  True, a fifteen-year plan for modernisation is already in hand which will mean the loss to our branch of the fruit trees in the back garden, but ancient and modern will stand side by side in much of the town where, even now, this does not seem incongruous. Rather was it the established order of things in Basingstoke which surprised us: for example, The Self Defence - not The Angel as one might expect - stands opposite the fine old Parish Church of St Michael but it was incongruous to see an empty Securicor armoured van parked between them.

Another hostelry, The Royal Exchange, almost faces a prominent building which, alas, proved only to be the Haymarket Theatre where, beneath an impressive picture of Michael Redgrave, appeared the hopeful words 'Bingo every Monday'. There is, too, a maternity home called, rather unimaginatively, The Shrubbery.  Despite these peculiarities there is a worthwhile dependability about the town and three times within an hour we caught the smell of freshly baked bread - once in Wote Street. We like to think it is typical of the service at our branch, where a dictionary failed to show the word 'wote', that they forthwith phoned the town's librarian to find out and even he didn't know. If we were secretly pleased that Mr R. D. Batey, our Manager, was also stumped for an answer to 'What is a wote?' it was only because we think he has already found the answer to most things. That, let it be known, is far removed from just having an answer—there are enough of that type of person and we would not wish anyone to think that Mr Batey falls in that low category. His ability to mix has already given this branch a successful start—it opened in August 1962—and we shall be surprised if the business does not continue to expand. A Tyne-sider by birth, Mr Batey entered the Bank in 1944 at Hexham and apart from three years with the Royal Air Force and a season with a Mobile Branch has hitherto worked in the North Eastern District branches becoming Pro Mana­ger at King Street, South Shields, in May 1960. He attended the Domestic Training Course in 1959 and the Senior Training Course this year. He is now very happy in Hampshire as also is his wife.  Mr A. J. W. Wastell, who is Mr Batey's right- hand man, is a Londoner who has taken to the country, edging out of the metropolis via Southall where he entered the Bank in 1952. Domestic circumstances made it necessary to move his home to Camberley a short time ago so, when Basingstoke opened, he was almost on the spot.


Where so much depends on the service provided by a new branch his frank, friendly and helpful manner with customers is of immense value. He has, moreover, the advantage of his a.i.e. and a Domestic Training Course to support his qualities.  Mr B. A. Collins, who joined us only eighteen months ago from a building society, has settled in well both at the branch and in his lodgings for his home is in Bournemouth, while Miss S. M. Bellord is a lively girl who lives so close to the branch that she can go home for lunch.  Another of our embryo ambassadresses, if we may coin the term, Miss Bellord is soon going to make a success of counter duties.  Basingstoke is a lively, happy branch and it must be encouraging to Mr Batey and his staff to see their determination to ensure good service and increase the business meeting daily with success. We also record our gratitude to Mr Batey, not only for our transport to and from London Airport, but for arranging for us to see the processes of manufacturing industrial diamonds and for obtaining from the Curator of the Museum, within 24 hours, the following explanation of 'wote': 

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“The original records commenced in the 15th century and between that time and the latter part of the 19th century it was always known as Ote or, latterly, Oat. This was presumably because of its leading off the Market Place. The broad Hamp­shire dialect however, pronounces ote as wote and we were immensely glad to find that Mr and Mrs Batey, who went out of their way to make our visit so enjoyable, have been fortunate in buying a lovely modern house in the district which most took their fancy.

When the Post Office produced a new directory some seventy or eighty years ago, it can only be presumed that the street names were dictated and that, because of this dialect, Ote became recorded as Wote”. When Queen Mary's School was founded in 1556, its Charter referred to Wote Street and, here again, the official explanation is that this was a mistake by the clerk who was scribing the docu­ment.

1962 to 1966 Mr A J W Wastell  MBM-Au66P06.jpg

1963 Miss S M Bellord MBM-Au63P20.jpg

1963 to 1967 Mr RD Batey Manager MBM-Sp67P04.jpg

1963 Mr B A Collins MBM-Au63P20.jpg

1967 Mr BB Harrington Manager MBM-Sp67P05.jpg

Mr A J Wastell

On the Staff

1963 to 1966

Miss S M Bellord

On the Staff


Mr R D Batey


1963 to 1967

Mr B A Collins

On the Staff


Mr B B Harrington


1967 onwards

Mr K J Richardson

Limited Authority




2 Branches


2 Branches











2 Branches









Index Number and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-45-00 Basingstoke

Full Branch

16 London Street Basingstoke Hampshire

482 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Basingstoke 4758

Nightsafe Installed

Mr B B Harrington Manager


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August 1962

15 December 1969

7 June 1991

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-05-01 Basingstoke London Street