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Light the greasepaint,

 smell the crowd…

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair!  One of Martins Bank’s most amazing bank buildings this, looking as it does like something conjured up in the mind of J K Rowling. It is bold, gothic, slightly scary, and of course dramatic, which is a very happy coincidence, given the stories below which concern the acting and singing skills of two of the staff who work there: Amongst many old adages is the one about lightning never striking twice in the same place, but in the case of Birkenhead Charing Cross Branch, there are exceptions.   Branch Manager from 1933 to 1956, Mr S N Rimmer, regularly treads the boards for the Martins Bank Society of the Arts.  

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In 1968 staff member Rosemary Rivers is already a stalwart of the Wallasey Operatic Society, with her sights set on stardom.  Perhaps they put something in the water on the Wirral?   With the help of Martins Bank Magazine from the Spring of 1948, we look first at Mr Rimmer’s involvement in the Martins Bank Society of the Arts production of the comedy “the Housemaster” by Ian Hay, which was staged at the YMCA theatre in Birkenhead on January 24 and 25 of that year…

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In this production, there is one factor alone that outweighs all the others - the Society had Sydney Rimmer (seated, right)  as producer and also as actor in the name part.

1948 Housemaster - W Brookes J K Cornall S N Rimmer and Alec R Ellis.jpg 

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His considerable experience in both roles brought about the biggest triumph which the Society of the Arts has registered to date.  He gave a performance as the old housemaster which is summed up by the word “majestic”. He knew when to make his audience laugh and when to make their eyes moist and his portrayal of the old man giving advice to the young girl was most moving. The whole play depended upon his performance and his reputation was well maintained.

In Service: 1898 until 8 May 1970

1960 s Birkenhead, Charing Cross Exterior BGA Ref 30-194


Branch Images © Barclays 0030-0194 and 0033-0059

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1956 04 MBM.jpg1933 to 1956 Mr S N Rimmer MBM-Wi56P46.jpgBy the retirement of Sydney Rimmer at the end of August one of the best-known managers in the Liverpool District leaves the active scene, but we are glad to state that he will still continue active in the field in which he has become so well-known, for he has been unanimously invited to continue his association with the Argosy Players and to remain as Chairman. Mr. Rimmer started his business career in the Liverpool Savings Bank in 1913, and entered the Bank in 1920 at Head Office where he served in various departments. Then followed a spell at various branches— East, Aigburth, Charing Cross and Meols (which he opened), before his return to Head Office where he became first an Assistant Private Secretary to the General Manager, and a year later, Private Secretary. He was appointed Manager at Charing Cross in 1933 and remained there until his retirement. Outside business hours the great love of his life has been the drama and his heart and soul have always been in the amateur theatrical movement on Merseyside. An accomplished actor with a fine speaking voice, and a talented producer, he is widely known on Merseyside and especially in Wallasey and on more than one occasion his services have been sought professionally. On August 30th a large gathering of friends took place at the branch to take tea and say farewell to Sydney. Mr. J. Edwards, Manager of Birkenhead branch, made the presentation of a cheque on behalf of the subscribers in a ' witty speech of characteristic brilliance. In his reply Mr. Rimmer said he would buy a typewriter with the money, as it would be a great help to him with his voluntary work for various societies and charities. A bouquet was presented to Mrs. Rimmer by Miss Shirley Stevens, of the Charing Cross staff.



A smile, a song…

Martins Staff are often in the news for the things they get up to in their spare time. In Rosemary Rivers, Charing Cross Branch has nurtured an all-round performer…

1968 Miss Rosemary Rivers (article - echo girl) MBM-Su68P38.jpg1968 02 MBM.jpgRosemary Rivers (Charing Cross Branch, Birkenhead) recently played the part of Mimi in the Wallasey Operatic Society’s production of Can Can.  A keen member of the Society, her ambition is to play the leading role in South Pacific.  Her image recently appeared in the Liverpool Echo in their “Echo Girl ’68” series…

… and a cheque…


Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections - Stephen Walker

Here’s a real treat for fans of this truly wild and wonderful building – Robert Montgomery had been photographing former bank branches all over the UK for more than fifteen years. Although Charing Cross closed as a bank in 1970, it was still going strong in its new life when Robert arrived with his camera, in 2008…

Image © Barclays Ref 0030-0194

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections – Robert Montgomery



Images © Martins Bank Archive Collections – Robert Montgomery

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1946 District Bank Logo from Cheque - MBAx1


























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1917 Mr L H Mills joined the bank here MBM-Au61P48.jpg

1926 to 1932 Mr F E Bold MBM-Su47P25.jpg

1933 to 1956 Mr S N Rimmer MBM-Wi56P46.jpg

1936 to 1936 Mr G L Humphreys joined the bank here MBM-Wi63P06.jpg

1956 to 1968 Mr N E Leach Manager MBM-Sp68P07.jpg






Mr L H Mills

Joined the Bank Here


Mr A L Nelson

Joined the Bank Here

1922 to 1927

Mr Frank E Bold

On the Staff

1926 to 1932

Mr Sidney M Rimmer


1933 to 1956

Mr G L Humphreys

Joined the Bank Here

1936 to 1936

Mr N E Leach


1956 to 1968

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1968 Miss Rosemary Rivers (article - echo girl) CU MBM-Su68P38.jpg

1968 Mr NE Blake Manager MBM-Sp68P03.jpg






Miss Rosemary Rivers

On the Staff

1966 to 1968

Mr N E Blake


1968 onwards





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Index Number and District:






Martins Bank Limited 11-64-20 Birkenhead Charing Cross

Full Branch

5 Bank Buildings Charing Cross Birkenhead Cheshire

10 Liverpool

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

BIRkenhead 8711

Nightsafe Installed

Mr N E Blake Manager


Birkenhead Borough Road


18 December 1918

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

8 May 1970

Opened by the Bank of Liverpool

Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-07-37 Birkenhead Bank Buildings


Birkenhead Claughton Village