Sep 1.jpg

















Martins Bank 1928+

Kent is historically represented by several branches of “The Grasshopper” - the former Martin’s Private Bank which joins with the Bank of Liverpool in 1918, but a further seventeen are opened in the area between 1920 and 1967.  

The Bank first opens a branch in Tunbridge Wells in 1936, in temporary premises at 15 Mount pleasant Road. In 1939 the Bank moves into this fine building at No 28 Mount Pleasant Road. By 1965 however, the Bank has outgrown the building, and moves further along the same road to number 64.  For our feature, we wind back to the Spring of 1952.

In Service: 1939 until 8 January 1966 moved to 64 Mount Pleasant Road

Image © Barclays Ref 0030/2990

Martins Bank Magazine sets off for Kent and visits Tunbridge Wells, to provide its own unique take on the staff and the local area. 

Sep 1.jpg

1952 02 MBM.jpgTunbridge Wells is approximately an hour's run from Charing Cross and it takes another hour for an inhabitant to reach the coast at Brighton. The great arterial roads do not pass through the town and so the motorist is spared the procession of cars to the sea which is such a feature of so many roads every fine week­end. A great many retired people come to live in the district and Tunbridge Wells itself is unspoiled by industry. It is a town of great charm. First of all there are the famous Pantiles, a street of covered shops, lined with trees, and un­spoiled by traffic. Then there are the numerous antique shops, picturesque old buildings and lovely gardens; while right up to within five minutes' walk of the main street a beautiful wooded stretch of common land completes the picture.

Sep 1.jpg


Images © Barclays Ref 0030-2990

Sep 1.jpg


The scent of pines and flowering trees, of woodsmoke and new mown hay was in the air on the day of our visit (May 8th), and after rain in London the sunshine in Tunbridge Wells seemed to have a special quality. The journey down through a countryside of orchards of apple and pear trees in full bloom was a preparation for the quiet beauty to be revealed and we caught ourselves wondering as we have done before on these trips why so many of us are content to let ambition rule our lives in the struggle to get to the top which draws men to the great centres of population: one could be so happy in places such as this, provided one had the right mental outlook. The pace of life is slower, there is more time to look around, the smell of petrol has not driven the sweet scents of the countryside away, strident noises and garish lights are fewer and it is possible to have a rural country lane running along the bottom of one's garden, while the pleasures of the countryside are within easy reach of all without sacrifice of the cultural pleasures of the town.

Sep 1.jpg

There are many worse places to work for the Bank than Tunbridge Wells. Mr. B. S. Noakes, the Manager, entered the service in 1911 and served at Eltham and Bexley Heath before taking charge at Old Bexley in 1916. He became Manager at Old Bexley in 1928 and at Tunbridge Wells in 1936. Mr. J. P. Teesdale started his career at Barnard Castle in 1922, and went to the London District six years later. He became Pro Manager at Sevenoaks in 1936 and has been at Tunbridge Wells since 1947.  Mr. F. A. Pardoe has been in the Bank since 1939 and during the war spent his time as a flying instructor, after an interesting period of training in Oklahoma. R. C. Pearson is the junior male member of the staff and Miss B. Woodgate the only girl. Later in the day we had tea with Mr. and Mrs. Noakes in their delightful home at Pembury, returning to the roar and bustle of the Capital in the evening.


We are indebted to the late Geoff Taylor, whose collection of photographs of Martins London and Kent Branches has made an invaluable contribution to the Archive.  This lovely shot of Tunbridge Wells Branch was taken in 1953

1953 June Tunbridge Wella Exterior Geoff Taylor

Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections Geoff Taylor



At your service…

The advertisements below, which are shown here courtesy of the British newspaper Archive and the British Library, show just how varied the services are that can be accessed at all Martins Bank Branches, however large or small they might be.  This trio of generic ads from 1939 and 1942 include details of Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks Branches.

3 Mar 1939

Kent and Sussex Courier

4 Aug 1939 

Kent and Sussex Courier

5 Jan 1940 

Kent and Sussex Courier

Images © LocalWorld/Trinity Mirror  Images created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD  

Images reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive

Sep 1.jpg Branches change out of all recognition, and today 28 Mount Pleasant Road along with its near neighbours forms part of a Sainsbury’s Local Store. The only clues left that this was ever a Branch of Martins Bank are the upstairs windows, but how fitting that a cash machine now sits in what was once the main window of the Bank!

Sep 1.jpg

Image © Barclays Ref 0030-2990

Image: Martins Bank Archive Collections



1936 to 1953 Mr B S Noakes Manager MBM-Sp53P50.jpg

1939 Mr F E Gillham joined the bank here MBM-Au59P08.jpg

1942 to 1943 Mr P J Lewis joined the bank here MBM-Su64P07.jpg

1946 to 1946 Mr J W T Cotter MBM-Au66P02.jpg

1952 Miss B Woodgate MBM-Su52P42.jpg

1952 Mr F A Pardoe MBM-Su52P42.jpg






Mr B S Noakes


1936 to 1953

Mr F E Gilham

Joined the Bank Here


Mr P J Lewis

Joined the Bank Here

1942 to 1943

Mr J W T Cotter

On the Staff

1946 to 1946

Miss B Woodgate

On the Staff


Mr F A Pardoe

On the Staff


Sep 1.jpg






1952 Mr J P Teesdale MBM-Su52P42.jpg

1952 Mr R C Pearson MBM-Su52P42.jpg

1953 to 1956 MR J Gordon Manager MBM-Wi56P48.jpg

1966 Mr RJW Neale pro Manager MBM-Sp66P04.jpg






Mr J P Teesdale

Branch Second


Mr R C Pearson

Branch Junior


Mr J Gordon


1953 to 1956

Mr R J W Neale

Pro Manager





Sep 1.jpg




Index Number and District:






11-70-80 Tunbridge Wells

Full Branch

28 Mount Pleasant Street Tunbridge Wells Kent

436 London

Mon to Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

Tunbridge Wells 22488/9

Nightsafe installed

Mr R D Batey Manager


Tunbridge Wells 15 Mt Plsnt Road


8 January 1966

Opened by Martins Bank Limited

Closed and moved to 64 Mount Pleasant Road

Tunbridge Wells 64 Mt Plsnt Road