Sep 1.jpg
















Martins Bank opens its Branch at Bedford on 16 June 1966, when World Cup fever hasn’t quite yet gripped the hosts England, who just over a month or so later would lift the trophy in triumph.  Bedford will be Martins’ second branch in the county of Bedfordshire, a third planned to be opened in Ampthill in 1969 is never opened, as Barclays already has a branch there. Bedford has a stylish modern-looking frontage and in keeping with the Bank’s new look for the 1960s, everywhere is bright, light, airy and cheerful. 

In Service: 16 June 1966 until 12 November 1971

Image © Barclays Ref 0030-0144

However, even the most straightforward of fittings can cause an architectural problem or two, as we learn in this article from Martins Bank Magazine’s Autumn 1966 edition…




Bedford branch opened on 16 June and as with every new branch there were things to be done at the last minute.  Where the side counter meets the steel-framed window no provision had been made for the glass counter front to extend beyond its metal support and anyone so inclined could have reached the rear of the counter. The architect therefore produced a device which caught our eye immediately. We wondered whether, in keeping up with our advertisements, Bedford was the first branch to provide a sea-lion tethering stick for those who bring their pets into the Bank.  If the explana­tion was something of a let-down, the rest of the office was not. Contemporary in design and with a golden grass­hopper mounted between two pillars, the site in Mill Street is within fifty yards of the main shopping centre.

The teak counter shows up well against the grey and white of granite and painted walls and the chairs in the public space are upholstered in deep purple. The impression of modern businesslike efficiency extends through the interview room, manager's room, machine room and all the usual offices, and there is nothing off-putting about it for it is very much in keeping with Bedford itself.  At the end of June the town was celebrating with a pageant the 800th year of its charter granted by Henry II.  Such an event might be expected to encourage ancestor worship of the sloppier type, but the town authorities are not given to looking back over their shoulders.  The pageant was picturesque, factual and extremely well produced, and the Borough Librarian in his magazine Bedford Town Crier succeeded in portray­ing the town and its history in nine highly entertaining pages.  We wish we had space to quote more than “Woolworths is practically an ancient monument by present day Bedford standards”, but this at least explains why our new branch suits the town so well. Bedford is growing naturally and quickly for it is little more than half an hour from St Pancras. Manufacturing interests range from machinery to chocolates, and the labour force includes an increasingly high proportion of Pakistanis and Jamaicans.

The River Ouse which meanders gracefully across the town offers a contrasting picture of school eights at practice and a never-ending traffic stream over the Town Bridge.The branch has a staff of four, the newest member being Carol Wilcock who cheerfully travels the 12 miles from Biggleswade each day and has already established herself happily with her colleagues all of whom come from Sussex, perhaps with the object of raising Bedford­shire above the minor county level. Mr D. D. Burt was born in Hastings and worked at Hastings branch and Mr R. A. Clark is a native of Worthing, working there for eight years before going to Brighton branch. Mr Burt will stick to cricket but Mr Clark hopes to devote more time to golf when his wife and children are settled in nearby Bromham.


Mr J. L. Hollands, the manager, is also from Worthing but his career began at Garrick Street in 1955 when he decided to leave local government.  His wife, who had been personnel officer at the University of East Anglia and was to join him to set up house three days after our visit, returned from a farewell party the previous night to find their Norwich home ransacked. Arriving at the branch on the Friday morning we learned of this from Mr Hollands, and of Carol Wilcock's prompt jettisoning of her Saturday morning to enable him to return to Norwich.   When embroiled in starting a new business one can do without such disasters and in the fortnight this new branch had been open Mr Hollands had already made so much headway that the setback seemed undeserved to say the least. John Bunyan, of whom Bedford is justifiably proud, seems to have provided the appropriate lines:

“There's no discouragement,

Shall make him once relent,

His first avowed intent,

To be a Pilgrim…”

Sep 1.jpg

1966 Mr JL Hollands Manager MBM-Au66P04.jpg

1966 to 1969 Mr R A Clark  MBM-Sp69P11.jpg

Miss C Wilcock

On the Staff


Mr J L Hollands


1966 onwards

Mr D D Burt

On the Staff


Mr R A Clark

On the Staff

1966 to 1969





111 High Street

Texas Instrument Works

Town Bridge - 3 High Street

9 Thurlow Street


3 Harper Street


19 High Street

25-27 Allhallows









21 Mill Street



High Street

St John Street



20 High Street









Westminster Bank Chambers - 81 High Street


30 Allhallows

81 High Street


Royal Aircraft Establishment








Index Number and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-49-00 Bedford                                

Full Branch

21 Mill Street Bedford Bedfordshire

490 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Bedford 60421

Nightsafe Installed

J L Hollands Manager


Sep 1.jpg

Premises for a sub branch at AMPTHILL were purchased in

1969, but this office was never opened.  The building - at 8 Church Street

Ampthill -  was sold by Barclays to the National Westminster Bank in 1972.

Sep 1.jpg

Batley Carr

16 June 1966

15 December 1969

12 November 1971

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-05-75 Bedford 21 Mill St

Branch Closed