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Martins Bank 1928+

A good SORE nose for design…

Truth being – in many cases - stranger than fiction, has no exception in the following story, which we were delighted to receive from Paul Haydock who worked at Martins Bank’s new, exciting, and apparently quite dangerous new branch at Ellesmere Port in 1966. 

If this was a scene from a TV sitcom or a comedy movie, it would seem perhaps a little far-fetched, which makes the fact that is it TRUE an even more delicious prospect!  Paul takes up the story…


“The new branch was all glass as you can see in the photo, a new phenomenon in bank design.

In Service: 1965 until 2 March 2023


Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

One day when I worked there, at around 2.30, a customer missed the door and walked smack into the glass exterior, bursting his nose, resulting in lots of blood and extreme distress. The girls in the branch looked after him and left him in the toilets to recover. The branch closed and everyone went off home.  At about 8pm The Manager, Mr Shepherd was called out from home by the police and forced to go and open up the branch as the poor chap had passed out in the toilet and been forgotten by the staff.  He awoke in the bank and phoned the police to come and let him out. Needless to say, this was kept quiet, especially from Inspectors!”

Whenever a new Branch of Martins opens, the Staff Magazine is often never too far behind, and just in time for the Spring 1966 Edition comes this comprehensive report of a visit to the shiny new premises at 100 Whitby Road…

The Port at the end of the cut1966 01 MBM.jpgthe Borough of Ellesmere Port received its charter in 1955, having been an urban district since 1902. It owes its existence if not its status to the Shropshire Union Canal—known to the locals as 'The Cut'—now a partly silted inland waterway which was completed in 1795 and joined the River Mersey at 'Whitby Locks'. Though some of the villages within the Borough today are named in the Domesday Book, nobody had heard of Ellesmere Port before 1820 when the name was sometimes used as an alternative to Whitby Locks. In 1863 came the railway and in 1894 the Manchester Ship Canal was completed so that Ellesmere Port, as the first inward port, was able to deal with larger ships and offer greater scope to industry: in 1898 our branch was opened in Station Road. Despite its situation, just a strip of water and a canal bank away from the River Mersey, Ellesmere Port still does not consider itself part of Merseyside but looks inland towards Chester only seven miles away. Whether this loyalty will survive the next few years remains to be seen for the Borough has a long-term overspill scheme to take 20,000 people from Liverpool. Already the population has reached 50,000 and 80,000—the figure expected by 1983—looks like being attained well before then. Everything depends on houses, jobs and, of course, money but nobody will deny that the courage and fore­sight of the Council have been in keeping with the town's motto 'Progrediamur'—Let us go forward.

The grasshopper and the liver bird as depicted

in the mosaic wall of the entrance porch

The interior of the new branch clean and welcoming - another triumph

for modernity without gimmickry in a Martins Branch!


The New Town Centre is already a reality on Whitby Road about a quarter of a mile over the railway from our old branch site and the old level crossing now has a handsome bridge alongside. Ample space has enabled the lay-out and design of a sensible and workable planning scheme to be shown to the best advantage, parking facilities are a city man's dream, the pedestrian precinct is well thought out, the shops are busy, the new bus station is handy, and the Civic Hall is as unostentatiously handsome as the new library. There is much building still to be done but the Civic Trust's high commendation of Ellesmere Port's new development is understandable and well deserved. Our new branch, which forms part of the new business centre facing the new shopping area, has its own very ample parking area at the rear and is yet another triumph for modernity without gimmickry. Outside and inside it impresses without attempting to shriek 'Look at me!' like a precocious child. The blue brick piers, the counter of Bombay rosewood, and the copper light shields are particularly attractive. The old branch (remember that roll-top desk that seemed to fill the manager's room?) has become a sub branch and, with much of the 'old town' scheduled for re-housing, the nature of its future business may have been indicated already in its use by an increasing number of foreign seafarers.


1966 Ellesmere Port Staff MBM-Sp66P11.jpgThe steel men from the Midlands who first used the canal barges and narrowboats and established the rolling mills are still remembered by Wolverham (a contraction of Wolverhampton) and in the unmistak­able Midlands accent of many of the oldest inhabitants of 'The Port'. Members of the staff who have had occasion to work at Ellesmere Port have usually remarked how far it seems to be from everywhere else. No doubt that is why the council, with an eye to the future, began to buy up land many years ago so that now the Borough extends far beyond the flour mills and factories near the Ship Canal. To the south-east the oil companies' interests cover more than ten square miles, the Viva's roll from Vauxhall's modern factory on the northern boundary like eggs from battery hens, to the west lies a thriving and still expanding industrial estate, and on the Ship Canal bank Bowaters' Paper Mills have doubled in size since the war.  At the new office Mr George Shepherd, son of our former Chester manager still in active retirement, is in his element. A born ‘branch’ man he is as enthusiastic about the new premises as he is about the future of The Port’. At the time of our visit Mr Brian Johnson was away on a Domestic Training Course but he has featured regularly for some years in reports on the Cricket Festival. Fielding as substitute, and alive to any chances to snap up new business, was Mr Ian Wilson on loan from Eastham branch which, with Little Sutton branch, completes Mr Shepherd’s empire: Ian Wilson too has earned previous mention as a big voice in the Bank Operatic Society. The younger members of this staff are typically keen and able, and the business is a cross section of private and industrial interests with some agriculture for good measure.

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If the term 'cloth cap banking' is heard less frequently these days—to everyone's delight, we don't doubt—it was encouraging to learn that here wages by cheque has caught on well.  At present 'The Port' is predominantly a town of workpeople and its housing estates, seemingly unending, must eventually absorb more good farming land: although there is a 'residential' as distinct from a 'housing' area towards Whitby, most of the business people commute to all parts of the Wirral Peninsula, Frodsham or Chester. The Borough's Official Handbook is a factual and refreshing publication, free from such terms as 'conurba­tion' and 'neighbourhood units'. There are some who will say that because the Borough has grown so fast and is so pre-occupied with making good it lacks culture and has no soul. Certainly we were taken by surprise when after passing rows and rows of houses on the way in, the first new buildings we came to housed the Labour Social Club and a licensed betting office, but if one must try to draw some conclusion it would be that in this rough and tumble industrial world food, clothing, a home and wages inevitably take priority. When the family car is a fact, along with everything material that hire-purchase can provide, then there may be an awakening. The women's organisations in 'The Port' are already thriving and that surely is a pointer. We believe that the Borough Council have been even more far-seeing than many people think and that one of these days the people of Ellesmere Port are going to appreciate more fully and wish to make better use of all that has been provided for them. And that includes our new branch…

When Barclays takes over, the signage is widened to cover the whole width of the building. Otherwise, things don’t look too different, but we wonder what happened to the Liver Bird…

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections

Image © Barclays Ref 0030-0297




5 Marina Drive


83 Station Road


19 Marina Drive

Hooton Park









119 Station road

100 Whitby Road


Whitby Road

80 Station Road


63 Whitby Road









49 Marina Drive

112 Station Road


114 Whitby Road

Dock Street




1963 Mr G W Shepherd Manager MBM-Wi63P06.jpg

1966 Miss C V White MBM-Sp66P11.jpg

1966 Mr BE Johnson pro Manager MBM-Au66P07.jpg

1966 Mr D L G Tomlinson MBM-Sp66P11.jpg

1966 Mr I A Wilson MBM-Sp66P11.jpg






Mr G W Shepherd


1966 onwards

Miss C V White

On the Staff


Miss R Ellison

On the Staff


Mr B E Johnson

Pro Manager


Mr D L G Tomlinson

On the Staff


Mr I A Wilson

On the Staff







1966 Mr J C Cowan MBM-Sp66P11.jpg

1966 Mr T B B Gaunt MBM-Sp66P11.jpg

1966 Mr P Haydock MBM-Sp66P11

1966 Mrs K M Jones MBM-Sp66P11.jpg






Mr J C Cowan

On the Staff


Mr T B B Gaunt

On the Staff


Mr P Haydock

On the Staff


Mrs K M Jones

On the Staff




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Index Number and District:






11-68-30 Ellesmere Port 

Full Branch

100 Whitby Road Ellesmere Port Wirral

16 Liverpool

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Ellesmere Port 3039 / 3301

Nightsafe Installed

Mr G W Shepherd Manager

Ellesmere Port Station Road


15 December 1969

2 March 2023

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20- 29-50 Ellesmere Port Whitby Road

Closed permanently from 12 Noon




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