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This busy scene is St Mary Street in Cardiff, circa 1966.  Martins Bank’s branch is roughly in the middle of the picture, but note too that the shot includes two of the Bank’s rivals – the Westminster Bank, and, with an early incarnation of its famous “couple under an umbrella” logo, the Abbey National Building Society.  You can read more about the eleven clearing banks of the 1960s  in our special feature HERE. It is rare enough to find such evocative images of Martins Bank, let alone others, so please forgive us the indulgence of showing  them here:

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1966 Westminster Bank Cardiff BGA Ref 30-552.jpg

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1966 Abbey National Cardiff BGA Ref 30-552.jpg

In Service: 1 June 1938 until 20 September 1974 


Branch Images © Barclays Ref 0030-0552

First of all: Westminster House – (Perhaps the shopfitters are updating their branch too) The Westminster Bank crest can be to the right of the Abbey National building. Then, Abbey National during one of its most familiar branding cycles, encourages us all to “get the Abbey Habit”. Our main Cardiff feature is the visit made to the Branch in 1952 by Martins Bank Magazine, an unusually short article for a major Branch, but with its usuall hallmarks of introducing us to the staff, and some kind words to “big up” the local area. Parochial stuff, as we have come to expect from MB Magazine!

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The stronghold of the Marquis of Bute…

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1952 02 MBM.jpgThe day before we left for South Wales a customer at the Liverpool City Office counter told us that he had travelled extensively in Europe and had seen nothing finer than the Civic Centre at Cardiff.   Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle please note that in this respect Cardiff has got them all knocked into a cocked hat. Furthermore, there is nothing finer in layout and conception in London, in our opinion. The City Hall, the University, Museum, Technical College, County Council Offices, Law Courts, and all the rest of the City and County administrative buildings are planned and conceived on a most impressive scale, and the tree-planted streets, the flower-filled squares and the adequate space for proper appreci­ation of the buildings make a powerful impression on the visitor and remain as a lasting memory of a city whose inhabitants are obviously very proud of it.


To complete the picture, there is Cardiff Castle, the stronghold of the Marquis of Bute, built on the ruins of a Roman fort, the walls of which can still be seen inside, care­fully preserved. Within the grounds is the old Norman Keep, dating back to the 12th century, while the more modern part, now in the care of Cardiff Corporation, houses the School of Music. It contains some of the most beautiful and remarkable rooms we have ever seen in an ancestral home. The Bachelor's Room, the ball room, library, chapel and various other rooms are shown to visitors, and the beauty of the ceilings, Spanish, Moorish and so on, the paintings, pillars of alabaster, jewelled chandeliers and almost everything in the way of beautiful decoration which money could buy, make the city the custodian of a treasure house equal to anything of its kind anywhere else in the country, the royal castles excepted. 


Our branch is just five minutes' walk away from the Civic Centre and the Castle. Mr. W. A. Thomp­son, the Manager, is an L. and Y. man who entered the Bank in 1913, serving in the Liverpool Dist­rict at Castle Street, Walton, Aintree and at Head Office before his first appointment as Manager at Tor­quay in 1938. He was transferred to the London District in 1946 with the inten­tion of being appoin­ted Manager of a new branch there, but as difficulties were ex­perienced in getting the necessary licences and as the manage­ment of Cardiff branch fell vacant he was invited to take this appointment instead and went to South Wales in 1947.


Mr. H. G. Jones, his second man and Pro Manager, has been there since the branch was opened, apart from war service. His work for the branch has been most praiseworthy.  J. H. Williams is another L. and Y. man from the Manchester District. The remainder of the staff are local boys and girls: D. C. Bartley, S. M. D. Ryan, Miss R. D. Francis, Miss A. M. Abbott and Miss E. J. Bickerton. The two branches can fairly be called outposts and the staffs of both are delighted to see their colleagues from Head Office whenever they call.

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…neu a enwo

Martins Bank is very proud of its Branches in Wales, and especially of the ability of staff to speak Welsh.  Many customers will of course be Welsh speaking too, and in 1965 yet another FIRST for Martins Bank is born out of the needs of those very customers…


Through Cardiff branch, the Bank has achieved another 'first' with the issue of the first bi-lingual cheques in Britain. The cheques, each printed in both English and Welsh, are drawn on an account opened by the Urdd Movement for the Urdd National Eisteddfod being held this year in Cardiff. The movement is a youth organisation founded in 1922 to foster, among other things, an interest in Wales and its culture, and the Urdd National Eisteddfod is to the young people of Wales what the National Eisteddfod is to the adults. Among the Movement's patrons is the Lord Lieutenant of Glamorgan, Sir Cennydd Traherne, T.D., of our South Western Board.

We have yet to find a specimen of one of Martins Bank’s Welsh bi-lingual cheques.

In the meantime, this is our approximation based on the design and layout of cheques

printed in Welsh into the 1970s and beyond.

Cardiff Branch has always gone to extremes to be helpful in Welsh – In May 1962, when the media needed reassurance that a change of £1 note design would not leave people out of pocket, Cardiff Manager Mr K Harris-Hughes was only to pleased to explain – both in English AND Welsh…

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A Manager who is very much in demand…

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1963 28th May Manager Mr K Harris-Hughes Appears on TV MBM-Au62-P43.jpg1962 03 MBM.jpg28 May 1962: Mr. K. Harris-Hughes (Manager) has recently been in the public eye, as a result of his appear­ance on television. He was approached first of all by the producer of the Welsh Television programme ‘Heddiw’ which goes on the air daily at 1.5 p.m., with the request that he allow himself to be interviewed with a view to allaying any possible fear on the part of the public that holders of the old type of £1 Bank of England notes might lose their money following the Bank of England announcement that such notes would not be legal tender after May 28th.  Whilst in the studio having coffee in the canteen before the start of the programme Mr. Harris-Hughes was approached by the Director of the Welsh News with the request that he allow himself to be interviewed during the Welsh news the same evening at 6.15 p.m., the interview to be followed by a further interview in English at 6.30 p.m. Mr. Harris-Hughes also had to make a recording at another studio of the B.B.C., for a sound broadcast for the Welsh programme ‘Trem’ which goes out on Tuesday mornings after the 8 o'clock news.  The subject on this occasion was a tribute to Charles Evans Hughes, one-time Chief Justice of the United States and Secretary of State during the Harding Admin­istration, whose centenary was being com­memorated in the United States by the issue of a special postage stamp. Charles Evans Hughes was a first cousin of Mr. Harris-Hughes's father.  The day's work was not yet done, however, for no sooner had Mr. Harris-Hughes returned to the Bank than the B.B.C. telephoned to ask whether their recording unit might visit the Bank to record the interview given earlier in the day for the News broadcast that evening. A portable recording unit subsequently arrived and Mr. Harris-Hughes was interviewed first in Welsh and then in English, both recordings going out later that evening in the Welsh News and News from Wales.

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… and finally: Ask any member of staff who remembers the days of safe custody, and they will be able to recall any number of strange and exotic items placed in the vaults of the local bank branch. Mr Harris Hughes once more takes life in his stride when the largest silver trophy bowl in the World is lodged at his branch for safe-keeping…

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Urdd National Eisteddfod

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1965 COA.jpgThis photograph, taken by Mr D. J. Stewart, shows Mr K. Harris-Hughes (Manager) in the strongroom of Cardiff branch with the largest silver trophy bowl in the world. Presented by Sir David James to the Welsh League of Youth as an inspiration to aim for the highest achievements, it is valued at £2,000, weighs over 1,000 troy ounces and is four feet high on a mahogany plinth.  The trophy was manufactured by A. Edward Jones Limited, Birmingham silversmiths, from a Hundredweight sheet of sterling silver rolled by Messrs Johnson & Matthey, bullion dealers, and the Birmingham Assay Office state that this is the largest piece of silver they have ever hall-marked in one piece.

1965 K Harris-Hughes with Eisteddfod Cup in Branch Strongroom MBM-Au65P45




St Mary Street



Canton, Cowbridge Road


Oxford House, Hills Street

Roath Park

Victoria Park





Newport  Road

121 Queen Street






1 Castle Street

26 Park Place












Colonial and Foreign

27 High Street


Executor and Trustee

St Mary Street

Queen Street



City Road

Colchester Avenue Roath

Crwys Road



Roath Park



Victoria  Park

10 Windsor Place


92 St Mary Street

11 Windsor Place









94 Albany Road

Bessemer Road

Queen Street

St Mary Street

Exec&Ttee 97 Bute Street



Cathedral Road

Clifton Street



City  Road, Roath




Whitchurch Road



3-4 High Street



117 St Mary Street

Trustee Branch

Caerphilly Road



Whitchurch Road

Docks 113-116 Bute Street

& West Bute Street


Llandaff North

Llandough Hospital

96 Queen Street


Royal Infirmary


University Hospital

Wellfield Road, Roath

Wholesale Fruit Centre

41 Splott Road










St Mary Street



St Mary Street


1938 to 1940 Mr S B Evans MBM-Wi63P05.jpg

1952 to 1964 joined then 1968 Mr DC Bartley pro Manager MBM-Au68P06.jpg

1955 to 1966 Mr K Harris-Hughes Manager MBM-Sp66P51.jpg

1956 to 1965 Mr D J Stewart MBM-Wi68P06.jpg

1959 to 1967 Mr D A Melling pro Manager MBM-Su67P06.jpg






Mr S B Evans

On the Staff

1938 to 1940

Mr A D Thomas


1938 to 1947

Mr D C Bartley

Joined here 1962 to 1964

Pro Manager 1968

Mr K Harris-Hughes


1955 to 1966

Mr D J Stewart

On the Staff

1956 to 1965

Mr D A Melling

Pro Manager

1959 to 1967

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1959 to 1968 Mr J H Williams Pro Manager MBM-Au68P56.jpg

1963 Miss H Watson Cashier MBM-Wi63P49.jpg

1966 Mr R T M Williams OBE MC TD Manager MBM-Sp64P43.jpg






Mr J H Wiliams

Pro Manager

1959 to 1968

Miss H Williams



Mr R T M Williams

O.B.E.  M.C.  T.D.

Manager 1966 onwards







Index Number and District:






11-51-20 Cardiff St Mary Street

Full Branch

92 St Mary Street Cardiff Glamorganshire

178 South Western

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Caerdydd 29247/8

Nightsafe Installed

Mr R T M Williams OBE MC TD ADC Manager





1 June 1938

15 December 1969

20 September 1974

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-18-26 Cardiff St Mary Street


Cardiff Windsor Place



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