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North Eastern Banking Company

By 1875 the North Eastern Banking Company has embarked on a policy of expansion, the effects of which are still felt today through Barclays� presence in the North East. At this time, the NEBC has plans to open at Allendale Town, Brotton, Amble, Consett, Lofthouse and has just opened a Branch at Hexham. Inevitably for a branch of its age Hexham is, by the early 1960s, in need of some tender loving care. It becomes one of a number of branches in the North East to undergo a complete transformation. Some Branches are pulled down and rebuilt, some are re-located and others, like Hexham, are given a complete modernisation.

In Service: 8 June 1874 until 1 March 2024

1962 Hexham Exterior 2 CU BGA Ref 30-1297

Image � Barclays Ref 0030-1297

In 2010 we were sent images of the branch BEFORE its refurbishment, by Elsie Altass, who, when she was Elsie Robson worked at Hexham and can be seen in one of the images. We also have a number of AFTER images from our friends at Barclays. Taken together, these pictures really demonstrate what a difference is made by a makeover�


1960 Hexham everyone hard at work elsie Altass.jpg

Left: The Old Counter. Right: Hard at Work Anne Auld, Doris Bell, Elsie Robson, Rita Swaddle, Gilbert Hunter and Lorna Sewell

� 1960 Elsie Altass



1962 Hexham Interior 2 BGA Ref 30-1297

Image � Barclays Ref 0030/1297

Image � Martins Bank Archive Collection

1962 Hexham Interior 3 BGA Ref 30-1297

Images � Barclays Ref 0030/1297


Images � Barclays Ref 0030/1297

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Behind the scenes, things do look a little bare to say the the least. No doubt today�s health and safety buffs would have a field day with those electric fires, not to mention the swivel chairs with the dodgy looking leg arragement. It will be the 1980s before the banks start to use chairs with FIVE legs (not quite so easy to fall off, apparently). Look! � isn�t that a trailing telephone wire? That must surely be an insurance claim waiting to happen! What we should of course remember, is that this was all that was needed to run a large branch with efficiency over a long period, at a time when people were sensible and looked out for themselves and each other without the need for �health and safety� nor its inevitable litigation! Over the years Hexham supports a number of sub-Branches: Corbridge, Riding Mill and Stocksfield Branch End of which only Stocksfield makes it past the 1969 merger with Barclays, only to be closed early in 1971. For our feature, we re-visit the retirement celebrations of two consecutive Managers of the Branch, Mr Luke Wanless (from 1948 to 1957) and Mr G W Gibson (from 1957 to 1969)�

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1957 03 MBM.jpgAt the end of July Mr. Luke Wanless, Manager at Hexham since 1948, retired. He had been absent through illness since January and was unable to resume his duties before retirement. Because of this he slipped away from our midst without fuss or formality and it is left to us to place on record our appreci�ation of his services over a period of 42 years. 1948 to 1957 Mr Luke Wanless Manager MBM-Au57P56Mr. Wanless entered the service in 1915 at West Cornforth and in 1917 went to Newcastle upon Tyne. From 1917 to 1920 he served with H.M. Forces in the First World War, returning to Newcastle in 1920. He also served at Loftus and Chester-le-Street in between further spells at Newcastle, and in 1932 came his first appointment as Manager at Haltwhistle. In 1934 he was made Manager at Rothbury, remaining there until his promotion to Hexham. We hope that his health will improve in retirement and that he will enjoy many happy years of leisure.

Image � Martins Bank Archive Collection

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1969 01 MBM.jpg1957 to 1969 Mr G W Gibson Manager MBM-Sp69P56at Hexham Golf Club on December 30 Mr and Mrs Gibson entertained more than fifty past and present colleagues, including Mr W. Weatherill, Mr R. P. Gordon and Mr C. T. Norman-Butler. Opening the formal proceedings, Mr Brian Smith, second-in-command at Hexham, spoke of the many good wishes he had been asked to convey to Mr and Mrs Gibson on behalf of customers and members of staff unable to be present. Mr Weatherill then pre�sented a cheque to Mr Gibson, congratulating him on his success as a branch manager and tracing his career through 45 years' service. He had joined the Bank at Sedgefield and, apart from over four years' war service, he spent all his time in the North Eastern District. He became Manager at Wooler in 1949 and at Hexham in 1957. Replying, Mr Gibson thanked his staff and all those who had supported him through the years, not least his wife. She received a bouquet from Miss Moss. Mr and Mrs Gibson are remaining in Hexham where they have many interests.

1927 to 1948 Mr J W Bell Manager MBM-Su48P06.jpg

1944 to 1946  Mr RD Batey joined the bank here MBM-Sp67P04.jpg

1948 to 1957 Mr Luke Wanless Manager MBM-Au57P56.jpg

1952 to 1954 Mr F Stoker Pro Manager MBM-Sp68P49.jpg






Mr A W Keenlyside

Joined the Bank Here

1915 to 1933

Mr J W Bell


1927 to 1948

Mr R Doxford

On Staff 1932 to 1943

Pro Manager 1936-43

Mr R D Batey

Joined the Bank Here

1944 to 1946

Mr Luke Wanless


1948 to 1957

Mr F Stoker

Pro Manager

1952 to 1954






1954 to 1956 Mr G A Welsh Pro Manager MBM-Au65P55.jpg

1957 to 1969 Mr G W Gibson Manager MBM-Sp69P56.jpg

1960 Mr GW Hunter MBM-Sp67P06.jpg

1962 to 1964 Mr R Hunter pro Manager MBM-Su64P04.jpg

1964 to 1966 Mr DR Sargeant pro Manager MBM-Su64P06.jpg

1965 Miss AP Dobson Cashier MBM-Sp65P37.jpg






Mr G A Welsh

Pro Manager

1954 to 1956

Mr G W Gibson


1957 to 1969

Mr G W Hunter

On the Staff


Mr R Hunter

Pro Manager

1962 to 1964

Mr D R Sergeant

Pro Manager

1964 to 1966

Miss A P Dobson








1966 Mr B Smith pro Manager MBM-Au66P05.jpg

1969 Mr D W Air Manager MBM-Sp69P09.jpg






Mr B Smith

Pro Manager


Mr D W Air


1969 onwards





























Index Number and District:






11-60-40 Hexham

Full Branch

Priestpopple Hexham Northumberland

335 North Eastern

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Hexham 2147

Nightsafe Installed

Mr D W Air Manager



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8 June 1874

7 August 1914

18 December 1918

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

1 March 2024

Opened by the North Eastern Banking Company

Bank of Liverpool

Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-40-10 Hexham Priestpopple

Closed permanently from 12 noon