At one time under the control of Tunbridge Wells it is now answerable direct to
District Office. It is situated opposite the station, far away, alas, from the main street and the imposing
positions occupied by the other banks, but
better premises are being sought and this problem will be solved in time.� Sevenoaks is
a very old town, with picturesque side streets,
a fine old school, a venerable Parish Church in a perfect setting, lovely gardens, both private and
inns, majestic tree-lined avenues, the Vine Cricket
Ground, said to be the oldest in England, and, above all�Knole, home of Archbishop Cranmer until
Henry VIII coveted
it.� There is also the present home of Lord Sackville, and the birthplace of Miss V.
Sackville-West, the well-known novelist. We called at the branch early in
the day and after chatting to Mr. Cotter
and Mr. Lewis for a short time we set
out for Knole where we stayed until the early after�noon. From the
outside it looks more like a fortress than a home, and stands in a thousand acres of parkland.
1953 Martins Bank Archive Collections
�- Geoff Taylor
It has seven
courtyards, which legend says correspond to the days of the week, 52
staircases to the weeks of the year,
and 365 rooms to the days of the year.�
The fact is, however, that it grew a bit at a time and was added to
owners. It has been an Archbishop's Palace, a Royal Palace and then the home of the Sackvilles for 300
years.� Now it is under the care of
the National Trust though the family still
lives there. During the war it narrowly escaped destruction when a land�mine fell at its gates, blowing in 500 windows. It houses a fine collection of
the paintings of the old masters and the rooms are magnificent beyond description.
The views on to the 26
acres of gardens within the walls are gracious and stately and the whole vast pile leaves an impression on the mind of
tradition and continuity which
somehow is most comforting in these changing times. We walked through the park and
sauntered slowly through the picturesque little streets of Sevenoaks and finally down the
magnificent avenue of chestnut and other flowering trees which leads to our
branch, arriving back shortly before 3 p.m. Having obtained the permission of the postmistress we then went
into the garden at the back of the Post Office for the purpose of taking the photograph of the
staff, afterwards going with Mr. Cotter to his charming home amid sylvan surroundings where we
met Mrs. Cotter and had tea in their lovely garden.
Mr. J. W. Cotter entered the Bank in 1924 and served at Chislehurst, Swanley, Sidcup, Reading, London District Office, Orpington
and Tunbridge Wells before his
appointment as Clerk-in-Charge at Sevenoaks in 1946. During the War he
served in the Navy. Mr. P. J. Lewis commenced his service in 1942 at 68 Lombard Street and served for a short time at Tunbridge Wells before joining the R.A.F., in which he served in India.
By the time these notes appear he will
have married and settled in his
new home at Sevenoaks. We wish
him and his wife every happiness.